By Qadi Bohlool Bahjat Âfandi
We shall also discuss in brief the Shura for the selection of the third caliph. We have always claimed that people, who do not accept that Nass existed for Imamat, must accept that Ijma is the right of the Ummah. But from the very beginning, it was deprived of this right. Even if it is proved for the first and the second Caliph, our aim here, is to prove that the Shura appointed by Umar did not constitute Ijma.
After the ten years of his Caliphate, the second Caliph, it must be said, committed error in appointing the Shura.
Firstly: The second caliph devised the selection of Caliph through a Shura (Committee) of six persons. Such an appointment of Shura is not based on Nass, or nomination or Ijma. It was not Nass because he did not specify a particular person. It was also not Ijma because it was entrusted to only six persons.
Secondly: In the appointment of six members, the second caliph gave all sorts of proof yet there remained many doubts. Because if just being a companion was their merit, there were thousands of others as well who were almost equally qualified if not more than most of the members of the Shura. If being present in the battle of Badr was their virtue, there were many others who were also present at Badr. If it is for some rare tradition that mentions some merit of these six people (who constituted the Shura), then a tradition is solely recorded regarding the merits of Ammar Yasir. That is, “Truth turns with Ammar.” Such a tradition was not recorded for all the members of Shura together, how it can be for each of them separately.
Thirdly: The second caliph ordained that the decision of Abdul Rahman bin Auf should be final. This is unacceptable!
Fourthly: Muhammad bin Salmah was instructed that if after six days a caliph is not selected, all these six persons should be executed. Now we say: This was an extremely improper and illogical matter. Because in case the opinion of all the Ummah was made subservient to these six persons and each of them asserted their own rights or in spite of the Nass rejected the Shura, it was possible that the appointment of caliph had been delayed for some days. It was possible that six days might have passed without the selection of caliph and Muhammad bin Salmah would have killed them with the help of the fifty men under his command. Who would have been responsible for that?
Fifthly: The second caliph after appointing the Shura members, pointed out some defect in each of them. Thus, implicitly implying by these alleged defects that the matter of caliphate was not of much importance.
Sixthly: He also ordered that his son should be present there without expressing his opinion – but Umar totally ignored Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (a.s.) the beloved grandson of the Prophet (s.a.). Even though at that time Imam Hasan (a.s.) was much more deserving and concerned with this matter than Abdullah.
Seventhly: Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib was not included in the Shura even though he was more suitable for it than five of the members.
Eighthly: The second Caliph made unworthy mention regarding each member of the Shura but when he came to Ali (a.s.) he said: This is the man sufficient for your affairs if he hadn’t a humorous strain for it- meaning for Caliphate. After mentioning the names of the five members of Shura, Talha, Zubair, Uthman, Abdur Rahman and Sa’ad and implying that not one of them deserved caliphate he said: Only this man Ali bin Abi Talib is suitable for it and would fulfil your affairs. And I would have appointed him for the caliphate if he had not been greedy for it.
The famous scholar of Baghdad Ibne Abil Hadeed in his book Sharh-e-Nahjul Balagha has discussed this matter in detail. Now in this matter there are some points that become clear, so much so that respectable scholars did not consider them suitable to write about.
The worst of these was the fact that in spite of confessing that the most suitable candidate for Caliphate was Ali (a.s.), the Second Caliph advised him not to contest. If at all the Second Caliph had been concerned with the welfare of Islam and Muslims, he should have himself appointed Ali (a.s.) as the Caliph, whom he considered most suitable. This would have guarded the Islamic faith from hypocrisy, divisions, sedition and confusion till the day of Qiyamat. Is there any other matter, which caused such divisions and shook the pillars of Islam? No, it is this very matter!
This Shura was invalid from the aspect of reason as well as traditional proof. We consider it to be absolutely illogical. Now let us examine the opinion of Ghazali: He says: If Nass (Quranic verse or Hadith) had been present the companions would not have differed! Just for argument sake we can say that Nass was there but the companions did not act on it, in this way or that the Nass was not known to them or they intentionally did not act on it. We have explained both these matters at their appropriate place but here we only state that Nass did exist, as proved with logical as well as traditional proofs. Because it is the most important point of our analysis.
First of all, we shall present the logical proofs in brief and then move on to textual proofs: Yes! Nass was present for Imamate as apparent from the fact that the Holy Prophet (saw) struggled greatly to expound and explain the religion of Islam. He made every effort for the protection and defence of the upright faith.
Since Islam ensures for its followers the well-being of this life as well as the hereafter, in order to protect this institution from external as well as internal dangers, it was incumbent on the Messenger of Allah (saw) to specify in his lifetime, a capable and deserving person to manage the affairs of this institution.
This matter is clearer when we consider that at the time of his death, the Holy Prophet (saw) was aware of his approaching death and was concerned for Islam. And since the Holy Prophet (saw) was the most concerned person for the well being of Islamic religion, he naturally should have appointed the most capable person at the helm of its affairs. That person should also be the most deserving.
It is necessary according to the dictates of wisdom and not acting upon it would have destroyed the very aim of sending Prophets and Messengers, which is against divine wisdom. Then in this situation it was necessary for the Holy Prophet (saw) to appoint a suitable person. We shall mention the traditional proofs in brief and prove our point. We shall be content to discuss the following points: Firstly: All the great Prophets and Messengers (a.s.) had appointed their successors to manage the affairs of the community after them as is evident from the Holy Quran. Therefore it was also incumbent on the Holy Prophet (saw) to maintain this practice and appoint somebody as his successor. So that the saying “As is the leader, so are his followers” will be fulfilled.
Secondly: The traditions that are recorded and famous among the Ummah, especially the Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, which are considered our most authentic books. All the traditions mentioned therein are considered reliable and no one has an iota of doubt among them. These traditions shall be quoted by us.
These traditions will prove that the Messenger of Allah (saw) did appoint a successor. And this was none but Ali (a.s.) because the Holy Prophet (saw) had announced at Ghadeer Khum. “Of whomsoever I am the Master, this Ali is his master.” ‘Master’ in this context meant the master of affair (one who possesses absolute authority).
If this was merely a command for love and devotion to Ali (a.s.), there was no need to announce it to such a large gathering because the Holy Prophet (saw) had time and again advised the Muslims to love Ali (a.s.). Hence the announcement of this did not call for arrangements of such magnitude. The Prophet (s.a.) had repeated many times: “Love for Ali is a virtue. One who loves Ali loves me. The sign of the believers is love for Ali.”
But here the meaning of Wali is Successor and master of affair.
Secondly: The Hadith-e- Manzilah proves that the Holy Prophet (saw) appointed Ali (a.s.) as his successor because the similarity with Haroon, apart from successor ship and Wisayat, nothing else was worth comparing.
Thirdly: The tradition of the ‘Mender of Shoes’ (Khaasif al- Na’l) proves the Wilayat of Ali (a.s.). Because in this tradition the Holy Prophet (saw) says: As I had struggled for the revelation of Quran this person will struggle for its interpretation and this is none but the mender of my shoes, that is, Ali (a.s.). Indeed, it is clear that the one who is supposed to wage a holy war for the propagation and interpretation of the Quranic message must also be the legatee and successor of the Holy Prophet (saw).
Fourthly: Imam Hasan (a.s.) says in a report that, “My grandfather the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, ‘And you Ali are from me and I am from you. And you are the guardian of all the believers after me.’ From this tradition, it is clear that after the Holy Prophet (saw), Ali (a.s.) is the master and guardian of all the believers. Because if ‘Wali’ denoted only love (for Ali), it was incumbent during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (saw) as well.
Fifthly: Imam and Mujtahid Ahmad bin Hanbal has recorded in his Musnad a tradition from Abdullah bin Hanbal that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “O Bani Waliya!
Either you will be destroyed or I will send to you a man who is like me and establishes my command and will fight for truth and make children prisoners.” After that he looked at Ali (a.s.) and said: “It is this man!” This Hadith proves that Ali (a.s.) was appointed by the Holy Prophet (saw) to manage the affairs of Islam. This is a clear Nass in favour of Imamat.
Sixthly: The case of announcing the verses of Surah Bara’at also proves that Ali (a.s.) was to manage the affairs of the community after the Prophet (saw). Because initially the Surah was given to the First caliph and he departed to Makkah. But on this juncture divine revelation descended commanding that the announcement of the Surah Bara’at must be entrusted to Ali (a.s.). This was in keeping with Allah’s order that the Prophet (s.a.) himself, or his successor, must announce the divine laws. And since Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) was the successor of the Holy
Prophet (saw), he was deputed to take the Surah from Abu Bakr and recite it himself.
Seventhly: In all the military expeditions Ali (a.s.) was appointed as the Commander while the three caliphs were under Ali’s command and none of them ever held command. Another important point that is derived from the above is that Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) was appointed as the Master of the affair through divine Command whereas the three Caliphs were under Ali’s command. Since only an indication is sufficient for the people of intellect we feel that the above logical and textual proofs are sufficient to prove our view. Yes! Ghazali said: It is the belief of Ahle Sunnat that all the actions of companions be justified and we must praise them all. In reply we say: It’s a pity!
Hujjatul Islam, while making this statement has not paid attention to the meaning of Tazkiye Jamea (purification of all). Because, the word Sahaba (companions) in that period denoted hundreds of people. And the term ‘All the companions’ indicates the purification of all companions and makes them immune from errors and mistakes. Because by ‘cleansing’ Ghazali means to prove their infallibility and inerrancy from all evils and sins.
Actually, infallibility is restricted to the Prophets (a.s.) and very few personalities called the Imams (a.s.), but according to Ghazali it is incumbent for all to consider all the companions infallible. We say if that is the case then why Haatib, who was an immigrant (Muhajirin) and one of the senior most convert, try to betray the secret plans of the Holy Prophet (saw) regarding the conquest of Makkah? And hundreds of companions even after entering the circle of companionship had resorted to hypocrisy and intrigue and thus reneged from faith! The supreme example is that of Thalaba, who refused to obey the laws of Shariat. That Mughira bin Shu’bah committed fornication was absolutely proved to the Second Caliph.
Harqoos bin Zuhair, in spite of the fact that he was a companion at Badr, became the leader of the Khawarij in the battle of Naharwan. Similarly in Naharwan a few thousand companions joined the sect of Kharjities. And Ghazali himself agrees that all of them were beyond the pale of Islam.
Mu’awiyah and Marwan despite the fact that they had been companions, rebelled and reneged and their acts of rebellion are well known and well chronicled among the scholars of Ahle Sunnat. Mu’awiyah also mobilised his army to fight against the Imam of the Muslims (Ali a.s.). He also initiated the vile practice of cursing Ali (a.s.) from the pulpits of Islam. This is recorded in the history of Islam. Such acts were not only against Nass, they even amounted to infidelity.
If we begin to relate the crimes and evil deeds of all the companions in this book, we will stray from the main purpose. But the engagements of Jamal, Naharwan and Siffeen are mentioned here just to clarify the matter.
If we were to act upon the view of Ghazali we would be agreeing to the cleansing of all the misguided Satans and their justifications. Their crimes are such that judicious and religious people remain aloof from such things. But since the writer himself belonged to the Ahle Sunnah, he will endeavour to clear the misconceptions about Ahle Sunnah – because Ahle Sunnah means the followers of the Sunnah (practice) of the Holy Prophet (saw). Thus one who justifies all the vile acts of companions would not have followed the practice of Holy Prophet (saw). How apt is the couplet of the great Sufi thinker, Hafiz Shirazi:
One who does not befriend Ali (a.s.) is an infidel. Whether he is the pious one of his time or a Shaikh.
All the sects of Islam are obliged to respect and have regard for all those that follow the path of the Allah’s Messenger (saw), whether Ahle Sunnat or others. Ghazali says, ‘Respect and regard for all the companions of the Prophet (saw) is incumbent on us’! The reply to this baseless assertion has been given in my book Irshad-e-Hamzavi in detail and it will not be repeated here.
Ghazali says, ‘No one refrains from justifying the deeds of the companions except the Raafedis’! It is pity! It is a statement that does not befit the scholarship of Ghazali, because some people use the word of Raafedi as a weapon to save themselves. That is those who are helpless in logical reasoning and those who are ignorant. But the status of Hujjatul Islam Ghazali is much higher. Yes! We repeat that no one from the Muslim Ummah is capable of refuting the proven merits of the companions but if one does not accept the alleged and mythical virtues of the Sahaba, he cannot be labeled as Raafedi. With all pleasure we announce to the readers that Hujjatul Islam Ghazali has mentioned some things in Ihyaul Uloom. And in another book Sirrul Aalemain, he has contradicted himself drastically. I request the reader to read carefully the chapter titled “The Fifth Essay on Caliphate”. And I feel indicating this much is sufficient.
Translation from Persian: Syed Athar Husain Rizvi