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Thursday 20th of June 2024
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The Brother of the Prophet of Allah

BROTHERHOOD-THE GREATEST GLEAM OF FAITH

The centralization of Muslims in Madina opened a new chapter is the life of the Prophet. Before his arrival there he had been engaged in attracting the hearts and in propagating his religion, but from that day onwards it was necessary that he should protect his own existence as well as that of his followers like an experienced statesman and should not permit' the internal and external enemies to penetrate into the Muslim society. At this juncture he was faced with three main difficulties:

1. Danger from Quraysh and other idol-worshippers of the Arabian Peninsula.

2. The Jews of Yathrib who lived within and outside the city

and possessed enormous wealth and resources.

3. The differences which existed between his own supporters.

As the Muhajirs and the Ansar had been brought up in two

different environments there was a vast difference between their

ways of thinking and culture. And then there were the two

components of Ansar (viz. Bani Aws and Bani Khazraj) who had

been fighting for one hundred and twenty years and were the

sworn enemies of each other. With all these dangers and diffe

rences there was no possibility of their continuing to lead

a peaceful religious arid political life. However, the Prophet

overcame these difficulties in a perfectly wise manner. As

regards the first two problems he took measures the details of

which will be recorded later, and as regards the differences

between his followers he removed them with perfect wisdom

and ingenuity.

He was ordered by Allah to establish brotherhood between the Muhajirs and the Ansar. One day he turned to his followers in a general meeting and said: "Now you should become brothers in faith in pairs". The particulars of persons who became brothers of each other have been recorded by the Muslim historians including Ibn Hisham.(Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. I, pp. 123 - 126.)

Hence, by this method the Prophet ensured the political and spiritual unity of the Muslims and this unity enabled him to think about ways and means of solving the other two difficulties as well.

 

TWO GREAT DISTINCTIONS OF ALI

Most of the Shi'ah and Sunni historians and traditionalists have mentioned two great distinctions of Ali which we record here briefly: The Prophet established brotherhood between a pair of two among three hundred persons out of the Muhajirs and Ansar and told every one of them that he was the brother of such and such person.

When the establishment of brotherhood was completed Ali, with tears in his eyes, said to the Prophet: "You have established brotherhood amongst your companions but have not made me the brother of anyone". Thereupon the Prophet turned to Ali and said: "You are my brother in this world as well as in the Hereafter".

Qandozi has quoted this incident in a more comprehensive manner and says that the Prophet replied to All: "By the Almighty (who has appointed me to guide the people) I postponed the question of your brotherhood for the reason that I desired to become your brother when brotherhood among all others had been completed. Your position vis-a-vis myself is similar to that of Harun and Musa, except that there will be-no Prophet after me. You are my brother and my successor". (Yanabi'ul Muwwadah, vol. I, page 55.)

Ibn Kathir has, however, doubted the authenticity of this incident(al-Bidayah wan Nihiyah, vol. II, page 226.). But as his doubts are the product of his special mentality and are nothing short of the apology which he has tendered on behalf of Mu'awiyah and his supporters, we refrain from quoting his remarks and refuting them.

- The Message (The holy Prophet of Allah), by Ayatullah Jafar Subhani.

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Ali is my brother

In order to indicate at which level spiritual brotherhood existed between the prophet and Ali, to what extent Ali inherited the virtues of the prophet, how Ali's soul acquired the colour of prophethood, how much he was loved by the prophet and to what extent he respected and honoured the prophet with his heart and tongue, it is necessary that a few traditions may be quoted. Only then we can conclude that in accordance with the sublime rules which became the source of strengthening the religion of Islam, the prophet was paving the way for the caliphate of Ali. And he was doing so, because he could see his own face in the mirror of the person of Ali - and the good qualities possessed by him were also possessed by Ali as will be explained later.

Tabrani has quoted Ibn Mas'ud as saying that the prophet said: "Looking at Ali's face amounts to worship". And Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqas quotes the prophet as saying: "Whoever hurts Ali hurts me".

Ya'qubi has quoted in parts of his history that when the prophet was returning to Madina from the "Farewell pilgrimage" he stopped on the 18th day of Zil-Hajj at Ghadir al-Khum near johfah, delivered a sermon and then held the hands of Ali and said: "Of whomsoever I am the master, Ali too is his master. O God! Love him who loves Ali and be inimical towards him who is inimical towards Ali".

Fakhruddin al-Razi has quoted in Tafsir al-Kabir that thereafter Umar son of Khattab greeted Ali and said to him: "O Ali! You have become my master as well as of every Muslim man and woman".

This hadith has been quoted from sixteen companions of the prophet by the ulema and historians like Tirmizy, Nasa'iand Ahmad bin Hanbal, and has also been verified by many poets, the foremost among them being Hassan bin Thabit Ansari. He says: "On the day of Ghadir the prophet called the people at Khum and made his voice reach the ears of all and said: Who is your chief and master? The people did not feign ignorance and said: Your God is our master and you are our prophet and we are not disobedient to ,you". Then the prophet said to Ali: "Rise; for certainly I have chosen you to be the imam and the guide after myself. Hence, of whomsoever I am the master this Ali, too, is his master. You should, therefore, be his true friends and supporters".

Abu Tamam Tai is one of the poets who have mentioned the event of that day. Another poet Kumait Asadi has given a detailed account of it in his al-nasidah al-Ainiyya. He says inter alia: "In the ground of Ghadir al-Khum the prophet made an announcement about his caliphate. I wished that the prophet's decision had been accepted. I never saw a day as important as the day of Ghadir and I never .saw such a right being violated".

Abu Said Khudari has been quoted in Kitab Aal Ibn Khalwiyya as having said that the prophet said to Ali: "Love for you is faith and enmity towards you is hypocrisy" "Your friend will be the first person who will enter Paradise and your enemy will be the first person who will be thrown into Hell".

The narrators believe that the prophet looked at the face of Ali time and again, and said: "This is my brother".

Abu Huraira has been quoted to have said that the prophet addressed his companions saying: "If you want to see the knowledge of Adam, the determination of Noah, the habits of Abraham, the supplications of Moses, the peity of Jesus and the guidance of Muhammad combined in one person look at the man who is coming towards you". When the people raised their heads they saw that it was Ali".

Once a man complained against Ali before the prophet.

The prophet said in reply: "What do you want from Ali? What do you want from Ali? What do you want from Ali? Ali is from me and I am from Ali and after me he is the master of all believers". ((The prophet sent two detachments of the soldiers to Yemen one under the command of the Imam and the other under the command of Khalid son of Walid and said that if both the contingents reached there together, the command would rest with Ali. Khalid who was perfectly imbued with the habits and sentiments of the age of ignorance was very much annoyed at this. After the completion of the assignment, therefore, he sent some persons to the prophet to complain against Ali.

The companion Buraidah, the bearer of the letter says: "I placed before the prophet the letter which I had brought and it was read out for him. The prophet was so much annoyed that I observed the signs of anger on his face. Then I said: "O prophet of God! I seek refuge in you. The letter has been sent by Khalid and he ordered me to bring it to you. As he has been my commander, I obeyed his orders. The prophet said: "Do not talk ill of Ali. fie is from me and I am from him and he is your master and man of authority after me". (Al-Musnad-Ahmad bin Hanbal, vol. 5,p.356, Al-Khasais-Nasa'i, p.24).

In one of the texts of Hadith, an addition to the above-mentioned Hadith is available and it is that when Buraidah saw the behaviour and the extreme anger of the prophet he entertained doubt in his mind about his own faith and, therefore, said to the prophet: "I administer you an oath of the rights of companionship which exist between us that you may stretch out your hand so that I may take an oath of allegiance de novo and my sin may be forgiven". (Majma al-Zawaid by vol. 9, page 128).

On the basis of this narration the Imam is the supervisor, man of authority and guardian of the Muslims, after the prophet. Viz. he enjoys exactly the same guardianship, over the life and property of the people, in the capacity of the successor of the prophet as the prophet himself and, of course, exercises this authority for their material and spiritual benefit as the exigencies of the circumstances demand.))

 

The prophet sent Ali to Yemen. Some of his companions requested him to give them the camels received as alms to mount so that their own camels might take rest. Ali did not accede to their request. When all of them returned to Madina the persons waose request had been rejected by Ali complained against him to the prophet. S'ad son of Malik Shaheed acted as their spokesman. He said that Ali had been harsh towards them and also made a mention of the relevant incident. While he was speaking the prophet struck his thigh with his hand and said loudly: "O Sa'd! Stop complaining against Ali. You should know that he is dedicated to the path of God".

It appears from the above mentioned traditions as well as from many others which have not been quoted here that the prophet considered Ali to be his brother, and All, too, was very much pleased with his brotherhood. Moreover, the prophet used to invite the attention of the people to the attributes and virtues which had concentrated in the personality of All so that they might know that he was the best person to carry on the Islamic mission after him.

Some instances have been quoted in authentic traditions, which go to show that the natural conditions also helped in creating harmony between Muhammad and Ali, and shaped the events and the environments in such a way that All displayed the attributes which were not shared with him by any one.

One of those attributes was that he was born in the Ka'bah, which is the "Qibla" of the Muslims and his birth took place at a time when the Islamic call was about to be given by Muhammad and he had not made it public. In those days he resided in the house of Ali's father Abu Talib. When Ali opened his eyes he saw Muhammad and Khadijah offering prayers. He was the first man who expressed faith in Muhammad although he was not yet fully grown up. When the people reproved him for embracing Islam without the permission of his father he replied at once: "God created me without seeking Abu Talib's agreement. 'then why should I obtain my father's permission to worship God".

For quite a long time the religion of Islam remained confined in the house of Muhammad and there were then only four Muslims in the world: namely, Muhammad, his wife Khadijah, his cousin Ali and his slave Zaid bin Harith.

On the day when Muhammad invited his kinsmen to a feast and wished to address them and communicate the message of Islam to them, his uncle Abu Lahab interrupted him and incited those present against him. Consequently all of them stood up and left Muhammad's house. The prophet invited them once again and said after meals were over: "I do not know any person in Arabia who may have brought a present which is better than the one which I have brought for you. Who from amongst you will help me?" The persons present declined to commit themselves and wanted to leave the house as before, but in the meantime Ali, who was still a boy and had not attained the age of manhood stood up and said: "O prophet of God! 1 shall assist you and shall fight against anyone who opposes you". Members of Bani Hashim family laughed out and then went away ridiculing Abu Talib and Ali.

In every battle Ali was the standard-bearer of the prophet. He dedicated his valour, blood, heart, tongue and his very life for his cousin, the prophet, and for the success and victory of Islam. He crushed the enemies of Muhammad and showed his mettle as and when the occassion demanded. At the time of the Battle of the Ditch when the companions of the prophet were worried and perplexed on account of the fear of the enemy, Ali stood like a rock before the chiefs of Quraysh and displayed such feats of valour that the Muslims became hopeful of their victory, and the Quravsh and their allies had to suffer defeat.

In the Battle of Khaybar Ali performed a jihad, which was astonishing. 'fhe forts of Khaybar, although very strong, were conquered at his hands. This was notwithstanding the fact that very brave and experienced soldiers were assembled there and the companions of the prophet were afraid of them. In short the siege of the fort by the. Muslims was prolonged. The soldiers within were defending themselves courageously, because they knew that if they were defeated by Muhammad their power in the Arabian Peninsula would come to an end and their business and authority would go.

The prophet sent Abu Bakr to conquer the fort. He displayed his efficiency in his own way and came back without achieving the success. On the following day he sent Umar son of Khattab, but he also returned like Abu Bakr without achieving any success and could not overcome the lofty fort and the armed soldiers. The prophet then called Ali and ordered him to conquer the fort. Ali gladly proceeded to perform this duty for the sake of Islam. When he approached the fort, and its inmates came to know that this time Ali son of Abu Talib, who had not sustained defeat in any campaign', had come to join the battle, many squads of theirs came out from the fort- all at once, and one of their soldiers attacked so forcefully that the shield fell down from the hand of Ali. He immediately pulled out the gate of the, fort and continued to fight, using it as a shield, till the fort was conquered. And the fort was not conquered till a number of soldiers were killed, the first among whom was Harith son of Abi Zainab. At this stage we come across a strange phenomena. In the history of our ancestors we come across many champions who fought battles for the sake of their beliefs, but in the heart of their hearts they desired peace and wished that the problem had been solved without resorting to warfare. Besides them we also know many brave men who met martyrdom to achieve their objective. However, such battles and martyrdoms are mostly without any forethought. There are sudden occurrences which usually take place owing to eruption of enthusiasm and ardour in the presence of the onlookers. However, the case of Ali son of Abu Talib is most surprising, because in order to defend the faith of Muhammad and his own, and for the sake of brotherhood, and in the path of God he exposed himself to the gravest danger. It is an event which is unparalleled in history and abundantly proves the unity and harmony of these two great personalities.

When persecution by Quraysh reached its maximum limit and they were planning to kill Muhammad and destroy Islam, the prophet went to the house of Abu Bakr and told him that as Quravsh were conspiring to kill him he had decided to mign:ite. Abu Bakr expressed his desire to accompany the prophet and the latter a ceded to his request. When both of them decided to migrate, they, were certain that the Quravsh would pursue them. Muhammad therefore proposed to follow a deviated path and should )eave their houses at a time at which they could not normally be expected to do so. On the very night during which Muhammad decided tc, migrate, the Quraysh had decided to kill him and had posted a group of experienced warriors round his house so that he might not escape under the cover of darkness. However, Muhammad asked his cousin Ali confidentially to sleep in his bed and to cover himself with his green sheet. lie also asked him to stay on in mecca till he had restored to the people the things which they had deposited with him. (i.e. with Muhammad ).

As usual Ali obeyed the orders of the prophet very gladly. As mentioned above Quraysh had besieged the house of the prophet. They peeped through the holes and saw a man sleeping in the bed of the prophet. They were therefore, satisfied that the prophet had not escaped. In the latter part of the night when the enemies imagined that the prol•het was sleeping in his bed he was actually in the house of Abu Bakr, wherefrom both of them proceeded to the Cave of 'fhour. On finding a clue the Quraysh reached this place also, but God kept them hidden from the eyes of the enemies.

The examples of self-sacrifice set by Ali are very rare. One wavers between life and death and reflects whether one should sacrifice high morals, which are the capital of one's life, for the sake of the base and transitory comforts of worldly life. If, on such an occasion a person chooses martyrdom, it is a proof of the fact that in his eyes real life is eternal life and not temporary mudane life.

Of course, such devotion and self-sacrifice is very rare in the world. If Socrates and others like him welcomed death gladly, Ali son of- Abu Talib also placed his life at the disposal of the prophet of his own free will. However, to go into the battlefield and curt death or .to drink a cup of poison is easier as compared with the heroic act performed by Ali. Just imagine how difficult it is for a person to sleep in the bed of one whom his enemies are bent upon to kill and it is not possible to escape from their hands, especially when they may be watcoing him from a distance of a few steps and making signs for a murderous attack and he may be observing their movements and hearing their words and seeing their blood thirsty swords flashing on his head and may spend the entire night in this condition.

At this dangerous stage Ali imitated the prophet and displayed the power of resistance which he had acquired by his association with his illustrious cousin. His sleeping in the bed of the prophet was a specimen of his jihad and effort for the promotion of the faith propagated by him. This dangerous fact unveils the nature of the Imam that his actions were not tainted with artificiality and resembled the coming out of apearl from a shell. It also shows his strong intellect and matchlzss insight, because it is not possible for any other person to understand fully the reality of the Islamic call at such a young age.

This fact also shows many other traits of Ali. It shows that he did not attach am importance to worldly life. He was very faithful and sincere. fie did not prefer himself to others. He was prepared even to lay down his life for the sake of the oppressed, so that they might be relieved of the oppression, and the prophetic mission of the prophet might succeed. Fidelity, manliness, righteousness valour and all other good qualities were concentrated in this person. The self-sacrifice displayed by him at this stage was an introduction of the heroic acts performed by him in future.

There existed a firm relationship of love and brotherhood between Muhammad and Ali and they assisted each other in connection with the Islamic call. This co-operation commenced from the time when Muhammad recognized Abu Talib and Ali recognized Muhammad i.e. from the time when these three illustrious personalities were living together in a house which was founded on piety and virtue. It was one of the characteristics of the house of Abu Talib that it was there that Ali and Abu Talib were able to realize the greatness of Muhammad. As a result of this Abu Talib bestowed his love and kindness on Muhaminad and Ali displayed obedience and devotion to him. This very recognition prepared Ali for supreme sacrifices. The prophet also realized this reality fully well. He loved Ali beyond measure. He did not only love Ali himself but endeavoured to make others also love him, so that he might assume the responsibilities of the caliphate after him. He wished that people might become fully aware of the qualities of Ali so that after his own death they should see in Ali the person of Muhammad himself as if Muhammad were still alive. Hence, they should select him with love and kindness of their own free will, and not because he belonged to the Family of Bani Hashim and was the cousin of the prophet. This was so because the prophet himself opposed such discriminations and had strictly prohibited them. It was for this reason that just as he had himself avoided material benefits, he also kept Bani Hashim away from governmental offices which might bring worldly benefits. (' The prophet had declared zakat, which formed a large part of the assets of the public treasury, to be unlawful for Bani Hashim, so much so that he did not even send them to collect zakat so that the people might become aware that it was not utilized by the prophet's Family, and was collected only to assist the indigent persons and to meet common needs of the Muslims.)

Ali was more entitled to the leadership

One of the reasons which led to my enlightenment and ultimately made me leave the tradition [Sunna] of my forefathers was the comparison between the positions of Ali ibn Abi Talib and that of Abu Bakr, based on logical deductions and historical references.

As I started in earlier parts of this book, I only included in my research the references which have been agreed on by both, the Shiites and the Sunnis.

I searched in the books of both parties and found that only Ali received total support, and both Shiites and Sunnis agreed on his leadership in accordance with the texts they approved of. However there is neither support nor agreement on the leadership of Abu Bakr except by a small group of Muslims, and we have mentioned what Umar said about his succession to the caliphate. Furthermore. there are many virtues and good deeds attributed to Ali ibn Abi Talib by the Shiites and cited as authentic references in the Sunni books. The sayings are full of the virtues of Ali, more than any other Companion ever received, and even Ahmed ibn Hanbal said: No one among the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (saw) had more virtues than Ali ibn Abi Talib.

al Mustadrak, al Hakim, vol 3 p 107

al Manaqib, al Khawarizmi, p 3 and 9

Tarikh, Suyuti, p 168

al Sawaiq al Muhriqah, Ibn Hajar, p 72

Tarikh, Ibn Asakir, vol 3 p 63

Shawahid at Tanzil, al Haskani al Hanafi, vol 1 p 19

Qadi Ismail, al-Nasa'i and Abu Ali al-Naisaburi said: No Companion had as many virtues attributed to him as Ali.

al Riyadh al Nazarah, Tabari, vol 2 p 282

al Sawaiq al Muhriqah, p 118, 72

We notice that the Umayyads tried hard to force people to curse him and insult him and not to mention any of his virtues, and even they prevented anybody from being named after him, but despite all that hatred, his virtues and good deeds (as) continued to spread.

Regarding that Imam al-Shafi'i says: I am surprised about a man whose virtues were kept secret by his enemies, out of envy, and were kept secret by his followers, out of fear, but nevertheless, an enormous amount of them spread."

As for Abu Bakr, I searched in the books of the two parties, and found that the virtues attributed to him by the Sunnis were much less than that attributed to Ali. The virtues of Abu Bakr that have been mentioned in historical books were narrated either by his daughter Aisha, whose position vis-a-vis Ali is well documented, and she tried hard to support her father, even by fabricating sayings, or by Abdullah ibn Umar, who was never close to Ali, and he was one of those who refused to pay homage to Ali despite the popular support he had received. Abdullah ibn Umar used to say that the best people after the Prophet were Abu Bakr then Uthman, and after that everybody was equal [78]. Thus, he made Imam Ali like any other ordinary person, without preferences or virtues.

Sahih, Bukhari, vol 2 p 202

What was Abdullah ibn Umar's attitude towards the facts that had been mentioned by the leading personalities of the nation that "No companion had as many virtues attributed to him as Ali". Had Abdullah ibn Umar not heard about even one of Ali's virtues? Yes, by Allah, he had heard and understood, but political intrigues tend to distort the facts.

The virtues of Abu Bakr were also mentioned by Amr ibn al-'As, Abu Hurayrah, Urwa and Ikrima, and all of them hated Ali and fought him either with arms or by plotting against him and attributing virtues to his enemies.

Ahmed ibn Hanbal said, "Ali had many enemies who searched hard to find a fault attributable to him, but they could not, so they brought a man whom Ali had-fought and battled with, and praised him because of their hatred towards Ali." But Allah said: "Surely they will make a scheme, and I too will make a scheme so glad the unbelievers a respite: let them alone for a while" [Holy Qur'an 86:15-17].

Fath al Bari (Sharah al Sahih Bukhari), vol 7 p 83

Tarikh, Suyuti, p 199

al Sawaiq al Muhriqah, p 125

It is a miracle from Allah - praise be to Him - that the virtues of Imam Ali spread after six centuries of oppression and injustice against him and Ahl al-Bayt, and the Abbasids were not less evil than their predecessor the Umayyads in their treatment of Ahl al-Bayt. The poet Abu Firas al-Hamdani wrote the following verses:

What Banu Harb have done to them is nothing in comparison to what you did to them,

How many times have you clearly violated the Religion?

And how much of the Prophet's [family's] blood Has been spilt by you?

You pretend to be his followers, but on your hands Is the blood of his purified sons.

After having finished with all these sayings, and having came out from the darkness, I leave the last judgement to Allah, and there will be no more excuses from the people after all that.

Despite the fact that Abu Bakr was the first caliph, and had all the power and authority, despite the bribes and gifts that the Umayyads gave to every one who praised Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, and despite all the alleged virtues and good deeds that they invented for Abu Bakr, which filled many books ... despite all that, they did not amount to a fraction of the true virtues of Imam Ali.

Furthermore, if we analyze the alleged sayings that were in favour of Abu Bakr, we find them incompatible with the historical facts, and no sensible man or creed could accept them. Earlier on we explained the saying attributed to the Prophet: "If the faith of Abu Bakr and the faith of my nation is put on the balance, the faith of Abu Bakr will be heavier".

If the Messenger of Allah was aware of this high degree of faith in Abu Bakr, he would not have appointed Usama to command the army; nor would he have refused to bear witness for him as he did for the martyrs of Uhud, and then said to him that he did not know what he was going to do after him", so that Abu Bakr cried. In addition to that, the Prophet would not have sent Ali ibn Abi Talib to take "Surat Bara'a" from him and prevented him from transmitting it.

Muwatta, Malik,. vol 1 p 307

Maghazi, al Waqidi, p 310

Sahih, al Tirmidhi, vol 4 p 339

Musnad, Ahmed Hanbal, vol 2 p 319

Mustadrak, al Hakim, vol 3 p 51

Nor would the Prophet have said in Khayber while presenting the flag: "Tomorrow I will give my flag to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger, ever going forward and never retreating, Allah had tested his heart with the faith" then he gave it to Ali and no one else.

Sahih, Muslim (Chapter on the virtues of Imam Ali (as))

If Allah knew that Abu Bakr had such a high degree of faith, and that his faith exceeded the faith of all Muslims, Allah - praise be upon Him - would not have had to threaten him that He would spoil his work when he raised his voice above the Prophet's voice.

Sahih, Bukhari, vol 4 p 184

If Ali and the Companions who followed him knew that Abu Bakr had this high degree of faith, they would not have hesitated to pay homage to him. If Fatimah al-Zahra, the leading lady, knew that Abu Bakr had this high degree of faith, she would not have been angry with him, nor would she have refused to talk to him or return his greetings, or cursed him in her prayers , and even banned him - according to her will - from attending her funeral.

al Imamah was Siyasah, Qutaybah, vol 1 p 14

Treatise, al Jahiz, p 301

A'alam al Nisa, vol 3 p 1215

He who had such a degree of faith, and whose faith was greater than the faith of all Muslims. would not have regretted, in the last moments of his life, his attitude towards Fatimah, and his burning of al-Fuja'ah al-Salami and his succession to the caliphate . Also, he would not have wished not to be a human being but to be a hair or animal droppings. Is this man's faith equal to, or even greater than the faith of the entire Islamic nation?

Tarikh, Tabari, vol 4 p 52

al Imamah wa Siyasah, vol 1 p 18

Tarikh, Masudi, vol 1 p 514

Let us consider the saying: If I was taking a close companion, I would have chosen Abu Bakr. This saying is like the previous one. Where was Abu Bakr on the day of the small Brotherhood" in Mecca before the Hijra, and on the day of the great Brotherhood" in Medinah after the Hijra; when in both of them the Messenger of Allah (saw) chose Ali as his brother then said to him, You are my brother in this life and in the Hereafter" and did not turn to Abu Bakr, thus depriving him of the brotherhood in the Hereafter and from the close companionship. I do not wish to go on about this subject, and it is sufficient to bring the above mentioned examples which I have found in the Sunni books. As for the Shiites, they do not recognize these sayings at all, and they have their own clear proof that they were invented some time after the death of Abu Bakr.

Tadhkirat al Khawass, Sibt ibn al Jawzi, p 23

Tarikh, Ibn Asakir, vol 1 p 107

al Manaqib, al Khawarizmi, p 7

Al Fusul al Muhimmat, Ibn al Sagh al Maliki, p 21

If we leave the virtues aside and concentrate on the sins, we will never find a single sin committed by Ali that has been mentioned in historical books (both Shiite and Sunni), whereas we find that many other people have committed sins and were mentioned in the Sunni books such as al-Sihah, the various books Sirah and annals.

Thus, we find total agreement from both parties regarding Ali alone, also historical facts point out that the correct acclamation was for Ali alone.

He abstained, but the Muhajireen and Ansar insisted on his acclamation; then when he was finally nominated, some people refused to pay homage to him, but he never forced them to change their minds.

On the other hand we find that the acclamation of Abu Bakr was a "mistake" - as Umar ibn al-Khattab put it - "may Allah protect the Muslims from its evil." The acclamation of Umar was based on a promise given to him by Abu Bakr. The acclamation of Uthman was a historical comedy: Umar nominated six people for the caliphate and told them to choose one candidate, and said if four agreed and two disagreed, then the two should be killed, however, if the six were divided into two equal camps, then the camp which was supported by Abdul Rahman ibn Awf should be considered. but if after a certain time passed and no agreement had been reached, the whole six should be killed. The story is long and rather strange, but the important thing is that Abdul Rahman ibn Awf chose Ali on the condition that he should rule in accordance with the Book of Allah [the Qur'an] and the tradition of His Messenger and the tradition of the two Shaykhs: Abu Bakr and Umar. Ali refused these conditions but Uthman accepted them, so he became caliph. Ali came out from the conference of the acclamation and knew in advance the result, and talked about it in his famous speech known as al-Shaqshaqiyya.

After Ali, Muawiya took over the caliphate and changed it to a hereditary system within Bani Umayya, and after them came Bani al- Abbas where the caliphs succeeded one after the other either by personal nomination [from the previous caliph] or by means of force and seizure of power. From the beginning of the Islamic era until Kamal Ataturk - who abolished the Islamic caliphate - there has been no correct acclamation except that for the Commander of the Believers Ali ibn Abi Talib.

Announced Brotherhood

The nucleus of the Islamic State started at the beginning of the Hijrah. The birth of this state was a unique prototype in the history of man. We do not know before Islam any state that was established on a brotherhood springing from the belief in the oneness of God, and His universal justice which denies all clannish, national and racial discrimination. As a matter of fact, it is difficult to find in history a clear example other than the early Islamic State in which a government was established as a spontaneous outcome of people's sharing spiritual and worldly ideals.

However, this general brotherhood may remain an abstract idea if no tangible example of it is realized. The Messenger wanted to give the Muslims a tangible example through small brotherhoods, a special relation between two Muslims, in which each one becomes to the other a brother in God and treats the other as he treats his brother who was born from his parents. The Holy Prophet issued and announced individual brotherhoods during the first year after the Hijrah, but one was established ten years , before the Hijrah. This was the one which he initiated between himself and Ali at the conference which took place at the Prophet's house in Mecca.

It is recorded in Al-Seerat Al-Halabeyah, that the Prophet issued a brotherhood between Abu Bakr and Omar; between Abu Bakr and Kharijah Ibn Zeid; between Omar and Atban Ibn Malik; between Abu Ruwaim Al-Khath-ami and Bilal; between Oseid Ibn Hudheir and Zeid Ibn Haritha; between Abu Obeidah and Saad Ibn Maath; between Abdul-Rahman Ibn Ouf and Saad Ibn Al-Rabi.

Then he held the hand of Ali Ibn Abu Talib, saying: This is my brother. Thus, the Messenger of God and Ali became brothers.(1)

Ibn Husham in his "Seerah" (Biography of the Prophet) reported the following:

"The Prophet, after the Hijrah said to the Muslims: Be brothers in God. Every two should be brothers. Then he held Ali Ibn Abu Talib's hand and said: This is my brother. Thus, the Messenger of God, the leader of the Messengers, the Imam of the righteous, the one who has no equal among the servants of God (he) and Ali Ibn Abu Talib became brothers. AI-Hamzah, Lion of God and of His Messenger and Zeid Ibn Haritha became brothers and Abu Bakr and Kharijah Ibn Zuhair became brothers. Omar Ibn Al-Khattab and Atban Ibn Malik became brothers . .(2)

This type of brotherhood may serve at least one of the two following purposes:

1. It substitutes the blood relationship with a spiritual relationship. When two persons are from two clans, tribes or communities, their brotherhood in principles and beliefs take the place of brotherhood by birth. This makes the two brothers in reiigion ready to co-operate in promotion of their religion. Both brothers become immune to hostility if some misunderstanding takes place between one of the two brothers and the relatives of the other.

The brotherhood between two persons from two tribes or clans makes each one of them a friend to the members of the clan or tribe of the other. Each one of the two brothers loves the other, and each has relatives with whom he reciprocates love. These relatives through this brotherhood become indirectly tied to the spiritual brother of their relative. Thus, the religious brotherhood becomes an extension of the blood relationship, and the blood relationship becomes an extension of the religious brotherhood.

2. When it is by the Prophet's selection, this kind of brotherhood is an evidence of a mutual spiritual resemblance between the two brothers. The Prophet knew about his companions more than they knew about themselves. Two companions may not be aware of their spiritual resemblance as much as he is. Thus, when he makes two of them brothers, their brotherhood should enhance their cooperation and develop in proportion to their sincerity towards their religion.

Ali was more entitled to the leadership.

One of the reasons which led to my enlightenment and ultimately made me leave the tradition [Sunna] of my forefathers was the comparison between the positions of Ali ibn Abi Talib and that of Abu Bakr, based on logical deductions and historical references.

As I started in earlier parts of this book, I only included in my research the references which have been agreed on by both, the Shiites and the Sunnis.

I searched in the books of both parties and found that only Ali received total support, and both Shiites and Sunnis agreed on his leadership in accordance with the texts they approved of. However there is neither support nor agreement on the leadership of Abu Bakr except by a small group of Muslims, and we have mentioned what Umar said about his succession to the caliphate. Furthermore. there are many virtues and good deeds attributed to Ali ibn Abi Talib by the Shiites and cited as authentic references in the Sunni books. The sayings are full of the virtues of Ali, more than any other Companion ever received, and even Ahmed ibn Hanbal said: No one among the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (saw) had more virtues than Ali ibn Abi Talib. [76]

[76]

al Mustadrak, al Hakim, vol 3 p 107

al Manaqib, al Khawarizmi, p 3 and 9

Tarikh, Suyuti, p 168

al Sawaiq al Muhriqah, Ibn Hajar, p 72

Tarikh, Ibn Asakir, vol 3 p 63

Shawahid at Tanzil, al Haskani al Hanafi, vol 1 p 19

Qadi Ismail, al-Nasa'i and Abu Ali al-Naisaburi said: No Companion had as many virtues attributed to him as Ali. [77]

[77]

al Riyadh al Nazarah, Tabari, vol 2 p 282

al Sawaiq al Muhriqah, p 118, 72

We notice that the Umayyads tried hard to force people to curse him and insult him and not to mention any of his virtues, and even they prevented anybody from being named after him, but despite all that hatred, his virtues and good deeds (as) continued to spread.

Regarding that Imam al-Shafi'i says: I am surprised about a man whose virtues were kept secret by his enemies, out of envy, and were kept secret by his followers, out of fear, but nevertheless, an enormous amount of them spread."

As for Abu Bakr, I searched in the books of the two parties, and found that the virtues attributed to him by the Sunnis were much less than that attributed to Ali. The virtues of Abu Bakr that have been mentioned in historical books were narrated either by his daughter Aisha, whose position vis-a-vis Ali is well documented, and she tried hard to support her father, even by fabricating sayings, or by Abdullah ibn Umar, who was never close to Ali, and he was one of those who refused to pay homage to Ali despite the popular support he had received. Abdullah ibn Umar used to say that the best people after the Prophet were Abu Bakr then Uthman, and after that everybody was equal [78]. Thus, he made Imam Ali like any other ordinary person, without preferences or virtues.

[78]

Sahih, Bukhari, vol 2 p 202

What was Abdullah ibn Umar's attitude towards the facts that had been mentioned by the leading personalities of the nation that "No companion had as many virtues attributed to him as Ali". Had Abdullah ibn Umar not heard about even one of Ali's virtues? Yes, by Allah, he had heard and understood, but political intrigues tend to distort the facts.

The virtues of Abu Bakr were also mentioned by Amr ibn al-'As, Abu Hurayrah, Urwa and Ikrima, and all of them hated Ali and fought him either with arms or by plotting against him and attributing virtues to his enemies.

Ahmed ibn Hanbal said, "Ali had many enemies who searched hard to find a fault attributable to him, but they could not, so they brought a man whom Ali had-fought and battled with, and praised him because of their hatred towards Ali." [79]. But Allah said: "Surely they will make a scheme, and I too will make a scheme so glad the unbelievers a respite: let them alone for a while" [Holy Qur'an 86:15-17].

[79]

Fath al Bari (Sharah al Sahih Bukhari), vol 7 p 83

Tarikh, Suyuti, p 199

al Sawaiq al Muhriqah, p 125

It is a miracle from Allah - praise be to Him - that the virtues of Imam Ali spread after six centuries of oppression and injustice against him and Ahl al-Bayt, and the Abbasids were not less evil than their predecessor the Umayyads in their treatment of Ahl al-Bayt. The poet Abu Firas al-Hamdani wrote the following verses:

What Banu Harb have done to them is nothing in comparison to what you did to them,

How many times have you clearly violated the Religion?

And how much of the Prophet's [family's] blood Has been spilt by you?

You pretend to be his followers, but on your hands Is the blood of his purified sons.

After having finished with all these sayings, and having came out from the darkness, I leave the last judgement to Allah, and there will be no more excuses from the people after all that.

Despite the fact that Abu Bakr was the first caliph, and had all the power and authority, despite the bribes and gifts that the Umayyads gave to every one who praised Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, and despite all the alleged virtues and good deeds that they invented for Abu Bakr, which filled many books ... despite all that, they did not amount to a fraction of the true virtues of Imam Ali.

Furthermore, if we analyze the alleged sayings that were in favour of Abu Bakr, we find them incompatible with the historical facts, and no sensible man or creed could accept them. Earlier on we explained the saying attributed to the Prophet: "If the faith of Abu Bakr and the faith of my nation is put on the balance, the faith of Abu Bakr will be heavier".

If the Messenger of Allah was aware of this high degree of faith in Abu Bakr, he would not have appointed Usama to command the army; nor would he have refused to bear witness for him as he did for the martyrs of Uhud, and then said to him that he did not know what he was going to do after him", so that Abu Bakr [80] cried. In addition to that, the Prophet would not have sent Ali ibn Abi Talib to take "Surat Bara'a" from him and prevented him from transmitting it. [81]

[80]

Muwatta, Malik,. vol 1 p 307

Maghazi, al Waqidi, p 310

[81]

Sahih, al Tirmidhi, vol 4 p 339

Musnad, Ahmed Hanbal, vol 2 p 319

Mustadrak, al Hakim, vol 3 p 51

Nor would the Prophet have said in Khayber while presenting the flag: "Tomorrow I will give my flag to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger, ever going forward and never retreating, Allah had tested his heart with the faith" then he gave it to Ali and no one else. [82]

[82]

Sahih, Muslim (Chapter on the virtues of Imam Ali (as))

If Allah knew that Abu Bakr had such a high degree of faith, and that his faith exceeded the faith of all Muslims, Allah - praise be upon Him - would not have had to threaten him that He would spoil his work when he raised his voice above the Prophet's voice. [83]

[83]

Sahih, Bukhari, vol 4 p 184

If Ali and the Companions who followed him knew that Abu Bakr had this high degree of faith, they would not have hesitated to pay homage to him. If Fatimah al-Zahra, the leading lady, knew that Abu Bakr had this high degree of faith, she would not have been angry with him, nor would she have refused to talk to him or return his greetings, or cursed him in her prayers [84], and even banned him - according to her will - from attending her funeral.

[84]

al Imamah was Siyasah, Qutaybah, vol 1 p 14

Treatise, al Jahiz, p 301

A'alam al Nisa, vol 3 p 1215

He who had such a degree of faith, and whose faith was greater than the faith of all Muslims. would not have regretted, in the last moments of his life, his attitude towards Fatimah, and his burning of al-Fuja'ah al-Salami and his succession to the caliphate [85]. Also, he would not have wished not to be a human being but to be a hair or animal droppings. Is this man's faith equal to, or even greater than the faith of the entire Islamic nation?

[85]

Tarikh, Tabari, vol 4 p 52

al Imamah wa Siyasah, vol 1 p 18

Tarikh, Masudi, vol 1 p 514

Let us consider the saying: If I was taking a close companion, I would have chosen Abu Bakr. This saying is like the previous one. Where was Abu Bakr on the day of the small Brotherhood" in Mecca before the Hijra, and on the day of the great Brotherhood" in Medinah after the Hijra; when in both of them the Messenger of Allah (saw) chose Ali as his brother then said to him, You are my brother in this life and in the Hereafter" [86] and did not turn to Abu Bakr, thus depriving him of the brotherhood in the Hereafter and from the close companionship. I do not wish to go on about this subject, and it is sufficient to bring the above mentioned examples which I have found in the Sunni books. As for the Shiites, they do not recognize these sayings at all, and they have their own clear proof that they were invented some time after the death of Abu Bakr.

[86]

Tadhkirat al Khawass, Sibt ibn al Jawzi, p 23

Tarikh, Ibn Asakir, vol 1 p 107

al Manaqib, al Khawarizmi, p 7

Al Fusul al Muhimmat, Ibn al Sagh al Maliki, p 21

If we leave the virtues aside and concentrate on the sins, we will never find a single sin committed by Ali that has been mentioned in historical books (both Shiite and Sunni), whereas we find that many other people have committed sins and were mentioned in the Sunni books such as al-Sihah, the various books Sirah and annals.

Thus, we find total agreement from both parties regarding Ali alone, also historical facts point out that the correct acclamation was for Ali alone.

He abstained, but the Muhajireen and Ansar insisted on his acclamation; then when he was finally nominated, some people refused to pay homage to him, but he never forced them to change their minds.

On the other hand we find that the acclamation of Abu Bakr was a "mistake" - as Umar ibn al-Khattab put it - "may Allah protect the Muslims from its evil." The acclamation of Umar was based on a promise given to him by Abu Bakr. The acclamation of Uthman was a historical comedy: Umar nominated six people for the caliphate and told them to choose one candidate, and said if four agreed and two disagreed, then the two should be killed, however, if the six were divided into two equal camps, then the camp which was supported by Abdul Rahman ibn Awf should be considered. but if after a certain time passed and no agreement had been reached, the whole six should be killed. The story is long and rather strange, but the important thing is that Abdul Rahman ibn Awf chose Ali on the condition that he should rule in accordance with the Book of Allah [the Qur'an] and the tradition of His Messenger and the tradition of the two Shaykhs: Abu Bakr and Umar. Ali refused these conditions but Uthman accepted them, so he became caliph. Ali came out from the conference of the acclamation and knew in advance the result, and talked about it in his famous speech known as al-Shaqshaqiyya.

After Ali, Muawiya took over the caliphate and changed it to a hereditary system within Bani Umayya, and after them came Bani al- Abbas where the caliphs succeeded one after the other either by personal nomination [from the previous caliph] or by means of force and seizure of power. From the beginning of the Islamic era until Kamal Ataturk - who abolished the Islamic caliphate - there has been no correct acclamation [87] except that for the Commander of the Believers Ali ibn Abi Talib.

 

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BROTHERHOOD

Looking at the brotherhood between the Messenger and Ali before and after the Hijrah, we find that their brotherhood does not serve the first purpose, namely: Creation of a close relationship between two persons from two clans, tribes or communities. The Messenger and Ali were not from two cities or tribes or clans. They were first cousins. The Messenger did not "brother" anyone before or after the Hijrah except Ali. From this, we can infer that the purpose of the brotherhood between the Messenger and Ali was to announce their mutual spiritual resemblance.

The brotherhood between the Messenger and Ali is a well known fact in the history of Islam. It was reported through many channels. This brotherhood was meaningful and highly important in the eyes of the Messenger.

Al-Hakim in his Al-Mustadrak reported in two ways that the Messenger of God said to Ali: ,

"You are my brother in this world and in the Hereafter."(3)

The Messenger came out while his face was glittering. Abdul-Rahman Ibn Ouf asked him: What is the good news? The Messenger said:

"A good tidings came to me from my Lord concerning my brother and cousin and my daughter. That God had married Ali to Fatimah." (4)

Again he said to Ali:

"You are my brother, my companion and my associate in Paradise."(5)

He said to him on another occasion:

"As to you, Ali, you are my brother and the father of my children. You are from me and to me."(6)

At another time the Messenger told Ali:

"You are my brother and my minister, you pay my debt, and fulfill my promise ...."(7)

When Fatimah was moved to the house of her husband, Ali, the Messenger said to Om Aiman:

"Call for me my brother." She said (jokingly): He is your brother and you marry him your daughter?"

He said:

"Yes, Om Aiman. She called Ali for him and he came...."(8)

When the Messenger was on his deathbed, he said:

"Call for the my brother. They calledWi and he came. He said: "Come close to me," and Ali did. The Prophet reclined on Ali, and kept speaking to him until his holy soul departed his body.(9)

These hadiths are only a few out of many others about the brotherhood of Ali to the Messenger. They clearly indicate that the Messenger chose him as a brother because he was next to him in purity and character. Ali should have been an unexpected choice. He was thirty years younger than the Prophet. Obviously he chose him because he was the only one who deserved this unique honor.

Notes:

1) Ali Ibn Burhanudeen Al-Halabi, Biography of the Prophet Part 2, p. 97.

2) Ibn Husham, Part 1,p.505.

3) Al-Hakim, in his AI-Mustadrak, Part 3, p. 14.)

4) Ibn Hajar, Assawa-iq Al-Muhriqah, p. 403 (conveyed by Sharaful Deen, AI-Murajaat, p.130.)

5) Al-Muttaqi Al-Hindi, Kanzul-Ummal, hadith No. 6105.

6) Al-Hakim, in his AI-Mustadrak, Part 3, p. 217.

7) Al-Tabarani, in his Big Majmaa of hadith (conveyed by AlMuttaqi Al-Hindi in his Muntakhab (Selected) of Kanzul-Ummal, published on the margins of Imam Ahmad's Musnad, Part 5, p. 32.

8) Al-Hakim in his Al-Mustadrak, Part 3, p. 159.

9) Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat, Part 2, p. 263.

 


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