Wednesday 6th of December 2023
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The Life of Imam Ali (a.s)

The Start of the Trouble

The approach of the long awaited hour for the realization of their cherished hopes through the execution of their plans, acted as a stimulus to the mischievous minds to actuate them. The inordinate behaviour of the Visitors to the Holy Prophet, while he was about to breathe his last, made him turn out all of them from his presence. When the people were sure of the impending departure of the Holy Prophet, the Mohajirs (the immigrant Meccans) and the Ansars (the supporter Madinites) assembled at the Saqa-e-fae Bani Saa'ada and started parading their respective rights for the paramount power and authority to rule over the vast Muslim empire, in the place of the Holy Prophet. (IQ, IA., Tb., Rs., EHI)

 The contending arguments were that

"The Mohajirs claimed preference in view of Their priority in Islam, their kinship with the Holy Prophet, and their immigration with him, at the manifest end of their life and property. The Ansars urged that they had as much right as any others whatsoever, on account of their receiving the Prophet in his escape from his Meccan enemies, of protecting him in the time of adversity, and of helping him making head against his powerful foes, resulting ultimately in the establishment of the paramount power and authority. They even alleged that they apprehended revenge if authority went to the people whose fathers and brothers they had killed in defending the Prophet. When Hobab expressed this view Omar indignantly retorted Thou shouldst die if Kalifate settled with suck people as whom thou fearest. (E.H.I.)

The fears of Hobab were not unfounded for the spirit of retaliation was ingrained in the blood of the Arabs :-

"Revenge was almost a religious principle among the Arabs. To revenge a relative slain was the duty of his family, and often involved the honour of his tribe; and these debts of blood sometimes remained unsettled for generations, producing deadly feuds. (WI.)

 History proves that the fears of Hobab were not false :-

"The fears of Hobab proved correct with the revengeful massacre of the Prophet's or Ali's posterity at Karbala condemning even a six months' Babe and with the hideous crimes perpetrated in the outrages and the massacre of the Ansars at Harra. (EHI)

Refusing the claim of the Ansars, Omar said :-

"The Qpreish did not deny the services rendered by the Ansars to promote the cause of Islam, but with all their meritorious services they should not deem themselves entitled to aspire to the sole authority over the Qoreish". (TB., IA., SHI., EHI)

"The Ansars then said that they would be content to have one Kalif from each of the two parties to exercise joint authority and even nominated Saa'd bin Obida, their leader to be elected from them". (IQ, RAi., RS)


The Qoreish would by no means agree to any such proposal and they persisted saying that:-

"The Government must remain in the hands of Qoreish while the Ansars should content themselves with the Wazirate or ministry". (IQ, RA., RS., EHI,)

The discussion developed into a regular quarrel and the tension got precipitated and the parties were about to come to blows :- "The Ansars not yielding, the contention grew so hot that they were just upon falling to blows when Abu Bakr intervened and asked them if they had not heard the Holy Prophet saying that none was apt to exercise authority over the Qoreish but one from among themselves. Bashir Sa'd one of the Ansars who shared the views of the Mohajirs at once answered in favour of tile Mohajirs.' Thus encouraged, Abu Bakr resolutely exclaimed that the Qoreish would not accept any one but a Qoreisk to rule over them and stepping forth pointed out Omar and Abu Obeida to the Ansars to choose either of them as the Kalif".

"Now the Ansars began to say that they should prefer paying homage to A/i, the best of the Qoreish". (IA., TB., HS.,)

The question arises when the quarrel could be avoided by any saying of the Holy Prophet

I. Why the unchallengable verdict of the Prophet at the historic assembly at Ghadeer-e-Khum' about Ali, was not quoted?

2. Why the covenant taken from them by the Holy Prophet, by a definite Baiy'at' about Ali, was not reminded of?

3. If what was said about the rule over the Qoreish: was true, the wording itself clearly indicates that the rule refers to the rule over the Qoreish, and not the rule over all the people, and the Kalifate contested for, was not a Tribal matter but of the Muslims as a whole. Besides the saying that Qoreish only to rule the Qoreish' assigned to the Holy Prophet, does not tally with the Holy Quran which declares superiority to he recognized only on the basis of piety Inna akramakum indallahi ataqaakom' 49:13

Verily, the most honoured of you wit!, God is the most pious of you and any saying attributed to the Holy Prophet not tallying with the holy .Qpr'an is to he thrown on the wall.

4. If the Qoreish wanted only a Qoreish to rule, why Ali was not accepted? who had a joint right, both, as one appointed by the Apostolic declaration at Gkadeer-e- Khum' and also as a Qoreishite.

5. (a) Besides, if they wanted one with the highest knowledge to rule over them there was none but Ali about whom the Holy Prophet had said. "I am the City of knowledge and Ali is its Gate'.

(b) If they wanted the most just one to be their ruler, the people knew that the holy Prophet had said. Aqzakurn Ali ibne Abi Taleb (the most just among you is Ali).

(c) If they needed the bravest to rule over them, the position of Ali in this respect is unique, for it is he about whom the Holy Prophet had declared at Khaiber Karearan ghzaira farrarin' the repeated attacker who knew no running away. History is there to vouch: that it was Ali who stayed with the Holy Prophet in the worst of the situations in tile battles for the faith, wizen most of the companions had deserted him and had fled away, disappearing for days together. The Holy Qur'an has a reference to this fact. Besides, in the Muslim World as a whole, none but Ali is called A'sadullah', the Lion of God, and it is Ali in whose praise the Muslims sing even to this day La fata illa Ali la saif illa Zulfiqar', i.e., there is no youth braver than Ali and there is no sword save the unfailing Zulfiqar.

(d) If the nearest to the Holy Prophet was the one wanted, who else was there save Ali about whom the Holy Prophet had openly said: "I and Ali are of the same Divine Light. "O' Ali thy flesh: is my flesh and thy blood is my blood".

It is obviously peculiar and also amazing that not even one of the repeated declarations of the Holy Prophet about Ali's unique position was remembered at the Saqeefa, neither by Abu-Bakr nor even by Omar.

History says that Omar cried out to Abu-Bakr :- "Stretch forth thy hand O' Abu Bakr, verily I will swear allegiance to thee !. (IA., TB., Etc.)

Thus Omar declared Abu-Bakr as the Chief and took the oath of fealty to him.

Hobab had an altercation with Bashir for his treacherous conduct in preferring Abu-Bakr over Sa'd bin Obada- (IB.)

Sa'd bin Obada, the head of the Ansars, was deeply chagrined at being thus superseded. He did not pay homage to Abu Bakr. He left Madina and retired in disgust, to Syria, where it is said he was found murdered in 15 A.H. (SM., AqF., RS., EHI.)

It is now left to the scholars of political science and the seasoned politicians to say if:-

1. What took place at the Saqeefa was an election in any sense or the meaning of the term?

2. Or it was the nomination or the choice of any one individual which was forced upon the others?

3. Do the proceedings satisfy the demands of a democratic procedure?

4. If the procedure had any sanction from Qur'an, Hadith or of any of the canons of democracy?

5. Was it not that the right of Ali was totally forgotten or his position with the exclusive excellence of the unique godly qualities, deliberately or undeliberately was altogether ignored at tile Saqeefa?'

6. Could the decision of the interested disputant few, assembled at the Saqeefa', be counted as the voice or the choice of f/ic millions of the people of the whole of the Muslim World?

 The Logical Inference

Since both the Immigrants as well as the Ansars claimed the worldly privileges and the secular advantages in return for what they had done, any intelligent reader could reasonably say that neither the giving of the asylum to the Holy Prophet by those Ansars nor the immigration of those Immigrants with him, was exclusively for God and the Faith. The object of their respective services enumerated by them, as their respective claims, could be nothing but what they claimed in return for those services.

If what they enumerated had been done exclusively for God and for no worldly gains or material advantages, the people, both the disputant Mohajirs and the contestant Ansars would never, for anything in the world, have stirred from the side of the Holy Prophet in the last moments of his stay with them, and after his breathing his last, they would have only minded their first concern with the last services to the Apostle of God, observing the solemnity of the serious occasion and their sad plight of having lost the Best and the Holiest one of God's creation, from among their midst, as did the Holy Ahlul-Bait and the other Hashimites who never even cared to know about what went on in the Saqeefa.'


By the claims advanced by both the groups themselves, it gets quite evident that those of both the groups, were only waiting for the opportunity to establish their claims, the objects of all their respective services to the Holy Prophet and the Faith, each group apprehending to be forestalled by the other. This could be the only logical inference of any intelligent reading of the facts of the history of the dispute at the Saqeefa.'

The following are a few of the impartial opinions of the celebrated Non-Muslim historian scholars, about Ali: "Ali was the cousin-germain of Muhammad and husband of Fatema, his beloved daughter. The right of succession in order of consanguinity, lay with Ali; and his virtues and services eminently entitled him to it. On the first burst of his generous zeal, when Islamism was a derided and a persecuted faith, he had been pronounced by Mohammad his Brother, his Vicegerent; he had ever since been devoted to him in word and deed, and had honoured the cause by his magnanimity as signally as he has vindicated it by his valour". W. Irving

"The birth, the alliance, the character of Ali which exalted him above the rest of his countrymen might justify his claim to the vacant throne of Arabia. The son of Abu Taleb was, in his own right, the Chief of the family of Ha shim, and tile hereditary prince or guardian of the city and the temple of Mecca. The light of prophecy was extinct, but the husband of Fatema might expect the inheritance and the blessings of her father, the Arabs had sometimes been patient of a female reign; and the two grandsons of the Prophet had often been fondled in his lap, and shown in his pulpit, as the hope of his age, and the Chief of the Youth of Paradise. From the first hour of the mission to the last rites of his funeral, the Apostle was never forsaken by a generous Friend, whom he delighted to name his Brother, his Vicegerent and the faithful Aaron of a second Moses". Gibbon-abridged by XV. Smith p. 466

Besides the above two quotations, the following is the one which the great learned scholar and the judicial head Amir Ali has chosen to quote in his famous work The Spirit of Islam:- "Had, says Sedillot "the principle of hereditary succession in favour of Ali been recognized at the outset, it would have prevented the rise of those disastrous pretentions which engulfed Islam in the blood of Muslims. The husband of Fatema united in his person the right of succession as the, lawful heir of the Prophet as well as the right by election. It might have been thought that a/l would submit themselves before his glory so pure and so grand". Spirit of Islam-Amir Ali

However, the right of Ali was ignored and later at a stage the fate of the people passed into the hands of those who enacted the gruesome scene of Karbala and the massacre of the godly members of the House of the Holy Prophet.


Ali's patience

Even at this juncture the Lion of God abided with the will of the Holy Prophet and like a helpless one, kept quiet without any resistance or retaliation which, if he had only willed to resort, would have played havoc with the insurgents.

In short, if the valour and prowess of Ali during the time of the Holy Prophet in the establishment of Islam and its propagation was a wonder, his patience and forbearance and fortitude which he exercised against all the atrocities from even the cowards among the people, was no less a surprise and a wonder.

The point quite obvious in this regard is that to Ali the first concern was the safety, security and the maintenance of the faith and not the owning of any fortune through any temporal power, though the right to be the temporal leader as well, besides being the spiritual guide, in the place of the Holy Prophet, was of none but his, which fact is unanimously acknowledged and openly declared even by his antagonists.

 Ali arrested

However when the crowd shouted to Ali to come out, and even the door of his abode had fallen on the side of his wife the Holy Lady Fatema, throwing her down unconscious and seriously hurt, Ali came out. He was tied by a rope round his neck and the world witnessed the unbelievable sight of Ali the Lion of God, the Conqueror of Khaiber, the Victor against the giant warriors of Arabia, Omar ibne Abda'ood and Marhab, being dragged by the people to the court of the Kalifate. It is to this extent that Ali fulfilled his promise of patience, to the Holy Prophet.

The Holy Prophet had predicted to Ali saying: "Others will be preferred to thee when they will not be in their own rights. Resign thyself to it until thou reach me at the Spring (Kauthar)". (S.M.)


Fatema's house attacked

In compliance with God's command Baligh maa onzila ilaik-' (5:67) the Holy Prophet had inaugurated the serial of Irnamate' (Divine guidance in succession to the Final apostleship) and had placed Au as the First in charge of it, and had declared it at the historic ceremonial event at Ghadeer-e-Khum, before the multitude of the thousands of the Hajies, on x8. 12.10 A.H. at the conclusion of which event was revealed 5:6... declaring the religion to be perfect and Islam to be the religion for man, accepted by God. In pursuance of the expressed divine will of the Lord, Au could not recognize or yield to the man-made authority set up at the Saqeefa' and hence had not paid fealty to it.


Ali to exercise patience

 The holy Prophet who knew through the divine gift of knowledge, as to what would happen after him till the Day of Judgment, had advised Ali to exercise the maximum possible patience against every atrocious move that might confront him. In compliance with the apostolic will, without the least interference into, or any concern with the affairs that proceeded at the Saqeefa', Ali had retired with a determination not to get out until he collects together all the notes on the Holy Qur'an which he had from the Holy Prophet about the external as well as the internal meanings of the Final Word of God.

Without Ali being subjugated, the authority set up at the Saqeefa' could not have the seal of the recognition of it, by the Holy Ahul-Bait and Ali was now the Chief of the Ahlul-Bait, the House of the Holy Prophet, and he would not yield. The retirement of Ali was exploited and a charge of conspiracy was coined and the people of the newly set up rule, headed by Omar, collected at the door of Fatema, demanded Au to come out of the house. The reply from inside was that it was a vow Au had made not to come out until the collection of the important notes on the Holy Qur'an is not completed. But the insurgent crowd would not agree and a big row was set into action.

Fatema's house threatened with fire

The Holy Lady Fatema, bereaved only a day or two before, deeply sunk in grief; standing behind the door of her abode remonstrated saying:

"O' people! it is only yesterday that my father, the holy Prophet, departed from you and today you have the audacity to attack his house in which his daughter is mourning for him, which door he did not enter but with a salutation on its inmates".

Some historians say that fire and firewood was already- collected at the door of the holy house with the threat to set the abode on fire and some say fire was already kindled. However, Shibli No'mani in his well-known Alfarooq' says: - "Some say that fire was already set, but with the short temperedness of Omar this act was not improbable". (AF)

Fatema wounded

 A violent kick at the door from one among the crowd pushed it down on the side of the Holy Lady Fatema standing behind it, breaking her rib and the Khatoone Jannat' the Queen of Paradise, fell unconscious and ultimately the hit and the wound killed the Holy Mother along with the baby son in her womb. According to the tradition of the Ahlul-Bait, the Baby was already named Mohsin.


Fatema martyred: succumbing to the Wound

Thus after seventy-five or ninety days after the departure of the Holy Prophet, as prophesied, the Holy Lady passed away. But before breathing her last, she called Ali and desired that none of those particularly a few ones, who had turned hostile to the House of the Prophet and violated the will of the Apostle of God, should be informed of her departure from this world, and that she should be quietly buried in the darkness of the night.

Some reporters say that when the body was lowered into the grave, by Ali, in the grave appeared the two hands of the Holy Prophet, with a voice addressing Ali:- "Come on! Ali! Return thou the part of mine, to me". It is said that Ali shedding tears responded to the voice saying:-

"I am ashamed of thee O' Apostle of God,for I took Fatema from thee sound in her body but I am now returning her unto thee rib-broken".

Thus the Holy Lady was the first of the martyrs among the Ahlul-Bait, after the departure of the Holy Prophet.

It is now left to the intelligent ones of the readers to judge the position of those who annoyed this holy one of God, (i.e., Lady Fatema) under the apostolic announcements of the Holy Prophet and the verse of the Holy Qur'an referred to above.

It is authentically reported that the Holy Lady once referring to her miserable plight and the sorrowful life she had to lead, addressing her father, the Holy Prophet, standing before his grave, said :- "Oh! Father dear! After thee, fell on me such miseries that had they fallen on bright days, the bright days would have turned into darkest nights.

The Holy Lady of Light left behind two sons and two daughters whose ages at the time of her departing from them, were :-

Hasan about 8 years.

Husain about 7 years.

Zainab (daughter) about 6 years.

Umme Kulthoom (daughter) about 5 years.


Fadak in the Political Arena

 In addition to being a reason encouraging others to be unjust to Ahlul-Bayt, the usurping of Fadak by Abu Bakr ignited political unrest throughot history. Sheik Jafar Subhani, a leading historian, wrote the following in his book The Message P.60 1 regarding Fadak throughout history:

"The foundation of the deprivation of the descendants of Fatima s claim of Fadak was laid in the time of the First Callph. After the martyrdom of Ali, Mu awiyah assumed the reins of government and divided Fadak amongst three persons (Marwan, Amr bin Uthman and his own son, Yazid). During the preriod of the Caliphate of Marwan, all three shares were assumed by him and he gifted them to his son, AbdulAziz. He, in turn, gave the same to his son, Umar. On account of the fact that Umar Bin Abdul Aziz was an upright person from amongst Bani Umayyah, the frist heresy which he removed was that he returned Fadak to the descendants of Fatima. After his death, however, the succeeding Umayyad Caliphs again took away Fadak from the Bani Hashim and it continued to remain in their possession till their rule came to an end.

During the Caliphate of Bani Abbas, the question of Fadak vacillated in a strange manner. For example, Saffah gave it to Abdullah Bin Hassan and after him Mansur Dawaniqi took it back but his son Mahdi returned it to the descendants of Zahrah. After him Musa and Harun took it a way from them on account of some political considerations. When Ma`mun assumed the office of caliph, he handed it over formally to its owner. After his death, the conditions of Fadak vacillated once again and it was returned at one time to the descendants of Fatima and then taken away from them again.

During the periods of the Caliphate of Bani Umayah and Bani Abbas, Fadak assumed largely a political aspect as compared with its pecuniaiy aspect. And even if the First Caliphs were in need of income from Fadak the later Caliphs and nobles were so rich that they did not stand in any need of income from it. Hence, when Umar Bin Abdul Aziz handed over Fadak to the descendants of Fatima, Bani Umayyah reproached him and said,' By this act of your, you have found fault with the two venerable men (viz. Abu Bakr and Umar).' They, therefore, persuaded him to distribute the income from Fadak among the descendants of Fatima, but to keep its ownership with himself."



Evidence regarding Umar's saying



Qazi Fazlullah Bin Ruzbahan, the fanatic, in his Ibtalu'l-Batil; Ibn Hajar Asqalani in his Tihdhibu'l-Tahdid, printed in Hyderabad Daccan, page 337; Ibn Hajar in Isaba, Volume II, printed in Egypt, page 509; Ibn Qutayba Dinawari in Ta'wil-e-Mukhtalafu'l-Hadith, page 201-202, Ibn Hajar Makki in Sawa'iq-e-Muhriqa, page 78; Hajj Ahmad Afindi in Hidayatu'l-Murtab, page 146 and 152; Ibn Athir Jazari in Usudu'l-Ghaiba, Volume IV, page 22; Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Ta'rikhu'l-Khulafa, page 66; Ibn Abdu'l-Birr Qartabi in Isti'ab, Volume II, page 474; Seyyed Mu'min Shablanji in Nuru'l-Absar, page 73; Shahabu'd-Din Ahmad bin Abdu'l-Qadir A'jili in Zakhiratu'l-Ma'al; Muhammad bin Ali As-Saban in Is'afu'r-Raghibin, page 152; Nuru'd-Din bin Sabbagh Maliki in Fusulu'l-Muhimma, page 18; Nuru'd-Din Ali bin Abdullah Samhudi in Jawahiru'l-Iqdain; Ibn Abi'l-Hadid Mu'tazili in Sharhe Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume I, page 6, Allama Qushachi in Sharh-e-Tarid, page 407, Khatib Khawarizmi in Manaqib, page 48, 60, Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul sub-Chapter 6, page 29, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal in Faza'il as well as Musnad; Sibt Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkira, page 85, 87, Imam Tha'labi in Tafsir Kafshu'l-Bayan, Allama Ibn Qayyim Jauzi in Turuqi'l-Hakim, recording Ali's judgments from page 41 to page 53; Muhammad bin Yusuf Ganji Shafi'i in Kifayatu't-Talib, Chapter 57; Ibn Maja Qazwini in Sunan, Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i in Manaqib; Ibrahim bin Muhammad Hamwaini in Fara'id; Muhammad bin Ali bin Hasani'l-Hakim in Sharh-e-Fathi'l-Mubin, Dailami in Firdaus, Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Chapter 14, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim Ispahani in Hilyatu'l-Auliya as well as in Ma Nazala'l-Qur'an fi Ali, and a host of other great ulema of your sect, with slight variation in words, have narrated Umar's saying, "If there were no Ali, Umar would have been ruined."

The great theologian, Ganji Shafi'i, in Chapter 57, of his Kifayatu't-Talib Fi Manaqib Ali Bin Abu Talib, after narrating some authentic hadith, reports from Hudhaifa Bin Yaman that "one day Umar met him and asked him: 'What was your condition when you awoke in the morning?' Hudhaifa said, 'I rose in the morning hating the Truth, liking mischief, bearing witness to the thing unseen; learning by heart the uncreated, reciting salutations without being in the state of ritual purity, and knowing that, what is for me on the earth is not for Allah in the Sky.' Umar was infuriated by these remarks and intended to punish Hudhaifa when Ali came in. He noticed the signs of rage on Umar's face and asked why he was so angry. Umar told him, and Ali said: 'There is nothing serious about this remark: What Hudhaifa said was correct. Truth means death, which he detests; mischief means wealth and children, which he likes; and when he says he bears witness to what he has not seen, this means that he testifies to the oneness of Allah, death, the Day of Judgement, Paradise, Hell, the bridge over it named Sira, none of which he has seen. When he says he learns by heart what is uncreated, this refers to the Holy Qur'an; when he says that he recites salutations without ablution, this refers to reciting salutations on the Prophet of Allah, which is permissible without ablution; when he says he has for himself on earth what is not for Allah in the sky, this refers to his wife, as He has no wife or children.' Umar then said, 'Umar would have been lost had Ali not arrived.'" Ganji Shafi'i says that Umar's statement is verified according to reports of most of the narrators of hadith. The author of Manaqib says that Caliph Umar repeatedly said: "O Abu'l-Hasan! (Ali). I would not be a part of a community without you." He also said: "Women are unable to give birth to a child like Ali."

Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i in his Matalibu's-Su'ul and Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, Chapter 14, narrating from Tirmidhi, record a detailed report from Ibn Abbas at the end of which he says: "The companions of the Prophet used to seek religious judgments from Ali, and they accepted his decisions. Thus, Umar Bin Khattab said on various occasions, 'If it were not for Ali, Umar would have been ruined."

In religious matters and learned discussions Umar showed no vehemence. On the contrary, he admitted his own inability and acknowledged Ali as his refuge. Even Ibn Hajar Makki in Chapter III of Sawa'iq Muhriqa, reporting from Ibn Sa'd, quotes Umar as saying, "I seek Allah's help in deciding those difficult problems for which Abu-l-Hasan (Ali) is not available."



As for Umar's vehemence on the battlefield, history recorded no instance of it. On the contrary, historians of both sects relate that whenever Umar encountered a powerful enemy, he took to his heels. Consequently, other Muslims also fled, and the Muslim army was often defeated.

Hafiz: You have gradually increased the unkindness. You have insulted Caliph Umar, who was the pride of the Muslims and in whose age the Muslims achieved great victories. Because of Umar, Muslim armies won their battles. You call him a coward and say that he ran away from the battlefield and that the defeat of the Muslim army was due to him! Is it proper for a man of your caliber to defame Caliph Umar?

Well-Wisher: I'm afraid you are mistaken. Though you have been with me for many nights, you have not understood me. Perhaps you think that it is due to enmity that I criticize or praise men. It is not. There is a great liability in religious debates, which has been a source of antagonism among Muslims for centuries. Such debates often excite malicious tendencies, which are not in accord with the injunctions of the Holy Qur'an. The Qur'an clearly says: "O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin." (49:12) You assume that my statements are motivated by malice. The fact is otherwise. I have not uttered a word contrary to what your own ulema have written. You have just said that I have insulted Caliph Umar. But there was not the slightest indication of an insult. What I said corresponds to the records of history. Now I am constrained to give a clearer view of facts in order to quiet this antagonism.


Following Ali to the mosque

 After the Messenger of Allah, Abu Bakr seized Caliphate. He and his followers claimed that since he was unanimously elected by the Muslims, he was the righteous leader of the Ummah.

Yet, with little reflection upon the matter of Caliphate, one realizes that it is an extension and continuation of the Prophethood without revelation. Thereupon, since Prophethood can only be assigned to someone through Divine specification, likewise Caliphate can not be assigned to any-one by mankind; rather, it is a Divine code bestowed upon men by Divine specification.

Moreover, this consensus which Abu Bakr and his followers claim to have achieved is not valid; because the Ansar, Bani Hashim, Ammar, Salman, Miqd ad, Abu Dhar and many other companions opposed the election of Abu Bakr to the Divine post which was previously granted to Ali (a.s).

Nevertheless, Abu Bakr was able to seize power and eradicate Ali's (a.s) and his followers attempts to regain his righteous post.

 Why was Abu Bakr Elected?

Several factors can be cited to have motivated some Muslims to choose Abu Bakr as their leader:

1. Resentment to see both Prophethood and Imamate posts occupied by Bani Hashim. This factor was revealed by Umar in a long conversation with Ibn Abbas: According to Umar:

If Prophethood and Imamate posts were both occupied by Bani Hashim, then they would constantly brag about them!!

2. Ali's young age.

3. The Arabs, especially the Quraishans envy of Ali (a.s).

4. Ali (a.s) would lead and judge people according to righteousness and the right path, had he been chosen as the leader, as Umar stated.

It is inevitable after Abu Bakr seized power that Ali (a.s) should pay allegiance to him, for it is the natural path of every coup to force the opposition to announce its support to the -new regime. But what can they do with Ali who refused to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr?

Can they threaten him? But he is the famous hero who was able to extinguish the Arab heros, kill their brave men, and compete with their "wolves"!!

Can they deceive him (a.s) into doing so?! But Ali is that cautious man who is aware in such matters!!

Nevertheless, allegiance must be taken from Ali at any rate.

But behold! What would Lady Fatima's stand be had Ali (a.s) been forced to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr? In other Words, what can be done if Lady Fatima (a.s) chooses to defend her husband?!

Should they ignore all these obstacles?! Or what should they do?!

This created an unsolvable problem for the coup leaders who spent long hours reflecting on the issue. Meanwhile, Imam Ali (a.s) confined himself to his house to collect the Holy Quran, after realizing the fruitlessness of his efforts to regain his rights. He was virtually secluded from the outside world. This situation was disadvantageous to the coup leaders, for in Ali's refusal to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr lies a deep meaning and an excuse for others to object to Abu Bakr's seizure of power.

Yet, opinions met of the necessity to bring Ali (a.s) by force to the Mosque, whatever the price may be. Especially in light of the fact, which they later came to realize, that he was more concerned about the Islamic interests than his own. Therefore, a commissioned force led by Umar's slave boy, Qunfud, was sent to Ali's house. When this force reached the house, Qunfud requested permission to enter so they may speak to him regarding the issue; but Ali (a.s) refused them permission to enter; after which they returned to the Mosque and said to Abu Bakr and Umar:

"We were refused permission to enter."

Umar said: "Go back and if you are denied permission again, then enter (the house) with force."

So the group once again asked for permission, but Fatima (a.s) said: "You are prohibited from entering my house without permission."

Upon hearing this, the members of the force went back-save Qunfud. They informed Umar that they were not allowed to enter the house. This angered Umar who said: "What do women have in this?!"

Events continued to occur, and two pictures are drawn in front to us:

First: Umar orders his slave boy to start Fatima's house on fire! A man objects by saying:

"But Fatima is in it."

Yet Umar replied: "So what!!"


 (According to Jahidh and the author of Abayat A1-Anwar):

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) assigned Ali (a.s) as his successor. All the companions had full knowledge of this assignment. Yet, Umar forges the fact for the sake of Abu Bakr and strikes Fatima's womb, which caused her to miscarry Mohsen.

 (Two pictures with no comments.)

At any rate, Ali (a.s) was forced to the Mosque. When Fatima Zahra (a.s) saw this, she followed him and addressed Abu Bakr by saying:

 "Do you wish to make me a widow?! By Allah if you do not let him go, I will uncover my head, rip my shirt, and go to my Father's tomb and cry to my Lord..."

So she (a.s) took Al-Hassan and Al-Hussain's hands and proceeded towards her father's (a.s) tomb!

When Imam Ali (a.s) saw the seriousness of the situation, he immediately interfered and said to Salman:

 "Prevent Muhammad's daughter (form reaching her father's grave) for surely I can see the outskirts of Medina being sunk into the earth."

Salman later said: "I was near Lady Fatima when, by Allah, I saw the foundations of the Mosque's walls being elevated up to a point that had a man wanted to go from under them, he would have been able to do so. So I said: 'My Mistress, surely Allah, the Exalted sent your father to be mercy, thus do not become the cause of His wrath."

These noble stands of Fatima, forced Abu Bakr and Umar to release Ali (a.s); Fatima (a.s) returned home after setting the most honorable example of devotion to her husband.

Encounters in the Mosque:

As we have already mentioned, Abu Bakr sent Umar to Fatima's house with orders to compel Ali and his friends to come and pledge allegiance to him. If they could not be persuaded by fair means, Umar was going to set the house on fire. When Fatima asked him what he meant, he told her that he would certainly burn the house down unless they would be content to do as the rest of the people had done.

Knowing Umar's temper, Ali and his friends chose to come out of the house. Imam Ali, who was accompanied by Abbas and Zubair, reproached Umar's party saying:

"O you Muhajirs! You claim the succession to the Prophet of Allah preferring your priority in Islam and your kinship to him before the Ansars. Now I put forward the same arguments in preference to you. Am I not the first who believed in the Prophet before any of you embraced his faith? Am I not the nearest in relation to the Prophet than any of you?

Fear Allah, if you are true believers, and do not snatch away the Prophet's authority from his house to your own."

Standing behind the door, Fatima (a.s) reproachfully addressed the raiding people thus:

"O people! You left behind the Prophet's dead body to us and proceeded to wring out the Caliphate for yourselves, extinguishing our rights."

She (a.s) then burst into tears and cried:

"O Father! 0 Prophet of Allah! How soon after you troubles are pouring on us at the hands of the son of Khattab (Umar) and the son of Abu Quhafa (Abu Bakr). How soon they have ignored your words at Ghadir Al-Khum and your saying that Ali was to you as Haroun was to Musa."

Hearing Fatima's wailing, most of the people in Umar's party turned back. Ali was, however, taken to Abu Bakr and was asked to swear allegiance to him.

Imam Ali (a.s) said: "What if I do not do him homage?"

He was answered: "By Allah, we shall kill you if you do not do as others have done."

Upon hearing this Ali said:

"What! Will you kill a man who is a ser ant of the Lord and a brother of the Prophet of the Lord?"

Hearing this Umar said:

"We do not acknowledge you as a brother of the Prophet of the Lord, and addressed Abu Bakr, who was silent, requesting him to speak out Ali's fate. But (it was claimed) Abu Bakr said that so long as Fatima was alive, he would not compel her husband to do so. So Ali (a.s) departed and proceeded directly to the tomb of the Prophet where he cried out:

"O my brother! Your people now treat me with contempt and are bent on killing me."



Omar Succeeds

Omar came to power as the Second Caliph 14 years after the Hijrah (635). He proved to be the most effective among the caliphs in directing the policy of the Muslim World and its events.

The period of his leadership was full of spectacular accomplishments and conspicuous events. If the policy of a head of state has domestic and foreign aspects, Omar's policy had all that, plus past and future aspects, for its influence went beyond the boundaries of his own reign, with far-reaching consequences.

The success of his external policy was dazzling to the eyes of the historians, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. He inherited from his predecessor, Abu Bakr, a World War against the two great empires of his time: The Persian and the Roman empires.

The Muslim forces, during his reign, faced the Persian armies and were able to place Iraq and Persia, including Al-Ahwaz and Azarbaijan, under the dominion of Islam. The Muslim forces on the North Western front were able to defeat the Romans and bring Syria and Egypt into the Islamic Jurisdiction.

Thus, under his leadership, Muslim armies were able to disintegrate the two prominent empires of his time. The spiritual conquest which accompanied the military conquest was the greater of the two. His policy towards the non- Muslim inhabitants of the conquered lands was fair. He levied taxation on the conquered land, plus a personal taxation on the adult males. None of the followers of other religions were oppressed during his reign. He recognized their natural rights and freedoms. History recorded his word as directed to Amr Ibn Al-Aus, who was his appointed governor of Egypt whose son hit a Coptic Christian: "Amr, when did you enslave people after they were born free?"

His domestic policy was mostly successful. It may be summed up as follows: In relation to his family; in relation to Muslims in general; in relation to his colleagues of the companions of the Prophet; and in relation to the members of the House of the Prophet.

In relation to himself and his family, his policy was ideal. Hundreds of millions of dirhams (a dirham of his time is equivalent to a dollar of our time) were pouring into the treasury of the Islamic State. Though he had unlimited authority, he and his family lived in poverty. It is reported that he said: "I deal with the Muslims' treasury as I deal with a fund of an orphan. If I am in no need, I will not touch it; and if I am in need, I only satisfy my necessity". (1)

In relation to the Muslims in general, his policy was characterized as just, firm, and helpful. He sufficiently provided for the soldiers, their families, and the inhabitants of Medina, plus many others.

As to his relation to the companions, he allotted to them according to the record of their participation in the defense of Islam. Trying to prevent the companions' temptation of wealth or fearing the use of their brilliant record for advancing their influence, he prevented the companions from residing in any city other than Medina. "I am standing at the mouth of Al-Harrah (the entrance of Medina), he said, holding the Qureshites' throats and belts, lest they fall into the fire. (2) Thus, he kept the ambitious companions of the Prophet under his watchful eyes.

In relation to the members of the House of the Prophet, his policy was mixed with admiration and caution. He did not grant any governmental post to any of them. However, the tension between him and Ali which started after the death of the Prophet and continued during the period of Abu Bakr, abated and gradually was replaced by a friendship which grew by the passage of time. Omar used to resort to Ali's counsel in important events, seeking solutions of serious problems.

When he was informed that the Persian government had mobilized an extremely huge army to fight the Muslims, he wanted to attend the battle in order to strengthen the morale of the Islamic army. When he consulted the Imam Ali and other companions, the Imam told him:

"The Islamic cause did not triumph or retreat by a great or small number. It is the religion of God Who made it prevalent and His host which He prepared and extended until it reached what it reached and appeared as it appeared. We are promised by God and He will fulfill His promise and help His Host. The place of the leader is the place of the string in the beads. It collects them and makes them join each other. If the string breaks, the beads will scatter and never rejoin each other completely. Though the Arabs today are few compared to others, they are numerous through Islam and strong by their unity. Be like an axis of a mill, let the mill go around and let the Arabs participate in the war without your presence. If you leave, you will leave behind you dangers which will be of more concern to you than what you will face.

"If the Persians see you on the battlefield, they will say: This is the source of the danger. If you destroy him, you will triumph.' Their war will be more intensive and their hope in defeating the Muslims will grow higher. As to what you mentioned of the Persian march to fight the Muslims, God the Almighty hates their march more than you do, and He is more capable of changing what He dislikes. As to what you have mentioned of their great number, we never fought by quantity. We fought only by the help of God and His assistance". (3)

Omar and Ali's Knowledge

Omar was deeply impressed with Ali's profound knowledge. It is reported that he said: "No one should give any verdict at the Mosque (of the Prophet) when Ali is present. When he made wrong decisions in Islamic rules, Ali used to correct him. He repeatedly said: "Had Ali not been present, Omar would have perished (spiritually)". (4) He expressed his serious need to Ali's knowledge by saying: "May God not keep me to a problem when Abu Hassan (Ali) is not available.

A lady was accused of adultery because she gave birth to a child six months after she married. Omar decided to stone her. Ali said to him: "Leader of the Believers, if she appeals to the Book of God, contesting your decision, she will prevail against you. God says: "Pregnancy and nursing periods are thirty months. Again He says: "Mothers nurse their children two complete years for whoever wants a complete nursing. If we subtract twenty four months from thirty, the balance would be six months. Omar reversed his position, and let the lady go free.

Ali at one time was with Omar while others were present. When he left, one of them criticized Ali and accused him of pride and conceit. Omar said: "A man like Ali is entitled to be proud. By God, without his sword the pillar of Islam could not have been erected. He is the highest magistrate in the nation, its earliest Muslim, and its most honorab1e" (5) When the critic asked what prevented him from giving him the leadership after the death of the Prophet, Omar replied: "We did not like his young age, and his love to his clan.

However, this does not mean that Omar used to consult Ali in all affairs or follow all his opinions in religion. Omar was extremely independent. Sometimes, he appeared as if he were in disagreement with the Prophet. The Messenger made the duty of any pilgrim who did not accompany animals of sacrifice to perform a pilgrimage of "Tamattu' (in which the pilgrim takes leave of restrictions which are imposed at the start of the Pilgrimage). The Prophet commanded such a person to make the seven circuits around the Kaaba and the seven walks between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah; then it would be legal for him to approach his wife before he resumed his pilgrimage again before leaving for Arafat.

The Prophet also legalized the temporary marriage. Omar chose to prohibit both, and to punish severely whoever married a woman for a limited period. Muslim in his Sahih reported that Abu Nudrah said the following:

"Ibn Abbass (a cousin of the Prophet) used to legalize "Muta (temporary marriage) and Ibn Al-Zubeir used to prohibit it. When I mentioned that to Jabir Ibn Adbullah (a prominent companion of the Prophet), he said: In my presence the following took place":

We practiced the temporary marriage during the days of the Prophet. . . . When Omar came to power he said:

God used to legalize to His Messenger whatever He chose, through whatever He chose. The Qur'an was revealed to regulate our life. You have to complete your pilgrimage and the Omrah (which precedes the pilgrimage) as God commanded you to do (without terminating the regular restrictions before going to Arafat). Desist from marrying women for a limited time. If a man married a woman for a limited time and is brought to me, I shall stone him (to death). (6)

This opinion of the Second Caliph, concerning pilgrimage, seems to be in a clear conflict with the Holy Qur'an:

"And when you are in safety, any pilgrim, who at the "Omrah (the devotional part that precedes going to Arafat) satisfies his carnal desires (after terminating the state of restriction) until the resumption of pilgrimage, he should offer what is easily available of sacrificial animal. If he can not, he should fast three days during the pilgrimage and seven when you have returned; that is ten in all. That is for the one whose family is not residing at the Inviolable place of worship". Chapter 2, verse 196.

The hadith, however clearly indicates that temporary marriage was legal during the time of the Prophet, and that he did not Prohibit it after legalizing it. Had the Messenger prohibited such a marriage, the Second Caliph would have reminded the companions of that prohibition. His saying: "Desist from marrying a woman for a limited time" tells us that the companions were still practicing the temporary marriage during his time. Otherwise, he would not have commanded them to stop that practice. Had the Messenger prohibited such a practice after he legalized it, the companions would not have continued to practice it, and the Second Caliph would not have had to admonish them and threaten to stone those who practiced such a marriage?

As to the pilgrimage of "Tamattu', the Messenger in his valedictory pilgrimage said while he was in Mecca:

"Had I been at the beginning of my pilgrimage, I would not have accompanied the sacrificial animals, and I would have made it Omrah (separate from the pilgrimage by termination of the restrictions of the Ihram). Whoever did not accompany sacrificial animals, should terminate his Ihram and make it Omrah. Suraqah lbn Malik Ibn Jaasham, stood up and said to the Messenger: Is it for our present year exclusively or forever? The Messenger put the fingers of his two hands between each other and said: "The Omrah entered into the pilgrimage (repeating that twice). It is not for this year. It is forever".(7)

Thus, the extreme independence of the Second Caliph had made him prohibit the pilgrimage of Al-Tamattu' and legalize killing the practicer of temporary marriage. Yet the Messenger commanded the Muslims to make the pilgrimage of Al-Tamattu' and legalized temporary marriage.

A man so extremely independent in his opinion would not be expected to consult the Imam Ali in every problem or follow all his opinions. However, he considered Ali to be the most knowledgeable among the companions and the highest authority on religion.




The relationship between the Caliph and the Imam continued to improve, and finally Omar married Om Kulthoum, daughter of the Imam. In spite of these improvements, history, as far as I know, does not record any dialogue between the Caliph and the Imam concerning the caliphate. But the Caliph had several dialogues with Abdullah Ibn Abbass (a cousin of the Prophet and the Imam), concerning the disagreement between the Imam and himself. In most of these dialogues, Omar appeared to be satisfied with what took place. One of the dialogues went as follows:

Omar: ". . . The Qureshite community was unwilling to let you (the Hashimites) have the honor of both the caliphate and the Prophethood, lest you compromise the right of your community. Quraish chose for itself. It succeeded and made the right decision".

Ibn Abbass: ". . . You said that the Qureshites were unwilling to let us have the honor of both the caliphate and the Prophethood. But the Almighty described some people as "resentful when he said: Because they resented what God had revealed, God nullified their deeds.' You said that the Qureshite community chose for itself and that it succeeded, and made the right decision. Had they chosen for themselves what God chose for them, the right would have been on their side, neither objected to, nor envied". (8)

In another dialogue Omar told Ibn Abbas the following: "There were high words from the Messenger of God (concerning Ali). But those words did not constitute a clear evidence for his leadership, nor did they eliminate all excuses (for those who did not side with him). The Messenger was trying to give Ali the leadership. He wanted to record his name when he was in his ailment, but I prevented him from doing that, for the interest of Islam. By the Lord of the Ka-abah, Quraish will never rally around him. Had he come to power after the death of the Prophet, the Arabs would have revolted against him. (9)

In another dialogue, the following conversation took place:

Omar: "Son of Abbass, this man has exerted himself in worship until he had become lean, trying to show his piety.

Ibn Abbass: "Who is that man?

Omar: "That is your cousin (Ali) ."

Ibn Abbass: "What does he gain by showing his piety?

Omar: "He wants to present himself for the caliphate.

Ibn Abbass: "The Prophet nominated him for the caliphate and he did not attain it.

Omar: "He was in his youth, and the Arabs thought that he was too young. But now he has reached the age of maturity. Did you not know that God never sent a Prophet before the age of forty?

Ibn Abbass: "People of wisdom and good judgment regard him perfect and mature since God heightened the light of Islam. But they consider him deprived and unlucky".

Omar: "He will reach it after difficulties, then his foot will slip and he will not reach his aim. Abdullah, you will witness that. Then the dawn will appear to anyone who has two eyes. Then you will know the soundness of the opinion of the early migrant companions who diverted the leadership away from him. (10)

In another dialogue, Omar appeared to have remorse for the way in which Ali was treated. He said to Ibn Abbass while they were walking on one of the streets of Medina, holding hands:

Omar: "I think that your man (Ali) was treated unjustly.

Ibn Abbass: "Amir Al-Mu'mineen (leader of the Believers), give him back his right.

Omar took his hand away from the hand of Ibn Abbass, and left while talking to himself angrily. Then he stood and called Ibn Abbass. When Ibn Abbass came to him, Omar said:

"What prevented the Qureshites from giving him the leadership was his age. They thought he was too young.

Ibn Abbass replied: "By God, neither God nor His

Messenger considered him too young when they commanded him to take the chapter of "Bara-ah from your man (Abu Bakr) when he was setting out, taking with him Bara-ah to announce it in the pilgrimage.

Upon this, the Caliph turned away from Ibn Abbass and left hurriedly. (11)

In another conversation with Ibn Abbass, Omar appeared to be milder than usual. He said to Ibn Abbass:

You may think that Abu Bakr was the first one who pushed you (the Hashimites) back. He did not mean that. Something emerged and there was no wiser way for him to take than the path he took. Had he not had his opinion about me, he would have given you your share of the leadership. Had he done that, your people (the Qureshites) would not make you enjoy the leadership.... They look at you as a bull looking at his butcher. (12)


The attitude of the Second Caliph towards Quraish and its line of thinking was far-reaching in its consequences. We can see its effects in the events that took place before and after his reign where it directed the future policies of the Muslim World to a great extent.

His influence was visible during the days of Abu Bakr. He was the man behind his election and his strongest supporter and the most effective person in establishing his leadership.

The following anecdote shows the extent of his influence during the days of Abu Bakr:

Oyeinah Ibn Hissn and Al-Aqra Ibn Habis came to Abu Bakr and said: "Caliph of the Mesenger of God:

There is a piece of unproductive land, void of herb and useless. We request that you give it to us, so we may till it and plant in it. God may benefit us through it in the future. Abu Bakr consulted the companions around him. As they counseled him positively on the matter, he wrote a document, signed it, and the witnessing companions also signed it. Then he handed it to the two men.

Since Omar was not present among the companions, the two men went to him to have his signature on the document. As they found him busy applying tar on a camel, they informed him that the Caliph had given them a document and that they came to have his signature. They asked him if he would like to read it or they should read it to him. He told them to read it to him. As he heard it, he took the document, spat on it and erased the writing. The two men exploded in anger and made uncomplimentary remarks. He told them that the Messenger of God used to appease them when the faith of Islam was not in strength. God had strengthened Islam. "Go away, he said to them, "and do whatever is in your power. They went back to Abu Bakr complaining, and said to him: "We do not know who is the ruler. Is it you or Omar? Abu Bakr replied:

"He is if he wants to be".

When Omar came, the following dialogue between him and Abu Bakr took place:

Omar: "Tell me of this land which you gave to the two men. Is it yours or does it belong to all Muslims?

Abu Bakr: "It belongs to all Muslims".

Omar: "What made you give this land to these two men, excluding the rest of the Muslims?

Abu Bakr: "I consulted the companions around me and they agreed.

Omar: "Have you consulted all the Muslims and acquired their consent?

Abu Bakr: "I had told you that you are more capable than I in handling the nation's affairs, but you prevailed against me (and made me the Caliph) ·"(13)

It is difficult to understand how Omar expected Abu Bakr to consult all the Muslims in giving a piece of unproductive land, while he did not consult all the Muslims in giving Abu Bakr the leadership. The leadership was more important to the Muslims than a piece of land. However, the event tells us of the magnitude of his influence during the time of Abu Bakr.

His influence extended not only to the time of Abu Bakr. It was also visible at the ailment of the Messenger himself. The readers of the Sahihs know that the Prophet wanted during his ailment to write a document to assure that the nation would not go astray. Omar opposed writing such a document, and said that the Prophet was overpowered with his ailment or that he was hallucinating. By his objection, the Muslims were deprived of the Prophet's document which was expected to illuminate for the nation the path of its future and provide it with security against straying.


Notes: 1. Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat, Part 3, p. 276.

2. Abdul-Fattah Abdul-Maqsoud, A1-Imam Ali Ibn Abu Talib, Part 1 p. 223.

3. A1-Sayed A1-Radhi, Nahjul-Balaghah, Part 2, pp. 29-30.

4. Abdul-Fattah Abdu~-Maqsoud, A1-Imam Ali lbn Abu Talib, Part 1, p. 226.

5. Ibn Abu A1-Hadeed, his Commentaries on Nahjul-Balaghah. Vol. 3, p. 179.

6. Muslim in his Sahih, Part 8, p. 169.

7. Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Part 8, pp. 172-179.

8. Ibn Al-Atheer, in his book A1-Kamil, Part 3, p. 31.

9, 10 and 11 are recorded by Ibn Abu Al-Hadeed, Commentaries on Nahjul-Balagha, Part 3, pp. 97, 105, and 155.

12. lbn Abu Al-Hadeed recorded this dialogue in his Commentaries on Nahjul-Balagha, Vol. 3, p. 94.

13. Ibn Abu A1-Hadeed, his Commentaries on Nahjul-Balaghah, Vol. 3, pp. 108-109.


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