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THE HIJJAT AL-WADA`

 

In 6H the Prophet (a.s) started with the intention of performing `Umrah (the Minor Pilgrimage) at Makkah but the Quraysh obstructed the effort and he returned to al-Madinah from Hudaybiyah. During 7H too he went for `Umrah but because of the terms of the truce with the infidels he could not stay in Makkah for more than three days. In 8 A.H. Makkah was conquered and the Ka`bah was cleared of the idols. In 9H `Ali (a.s) was deputed to Makkah with the Verses of the Sūrah of Bara’ah to purify the various aspects of the Hajj from the undesirable practices of the infidels. He banned the infidels from entering the precincts of the Ka`bah. In 10H the Prophet (a.s) decided to perform the Hajj and the invitation for the pilgrimage was announced all over:

وَأَذِّنْ فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَى كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِنْ كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ.

“And proclaim among men the Pilgrimage: they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, coming from every remote path. (22:27)”

On the call of the Prophet (a.s) Muslims came from all over and assembled in al-Madinah to join his entourage to Makkah to learn about the Islamic Rites of the Hajj and to perform the pilgrimage with him. The Prophet (a.s) left al-Madinah along with thousands of pilgrims on 26 Dhul-Qa`dah. Fatimah al-Zahra’ (a.s) and the Prophet’s spouses too were in the group. When around the ²uhr Prayer the caravan reached the Valley of Dhul-Halifah, they took the bath prior to wearing the Hajj uniform and everyone recited the talbiyah.

`Ali (a.s) was still in Yemen when the Prophet (a.s) wrote to him to proceed to Makkah for Hajj. With a small contingent of troops, he started on the journey. On the way, he gave the command of the men to a senior person, wore the Ihram at Yalamlam, and reached Makkah before the arrival of the Prophet (a.s) to welcome him. When the Prophet (a.s) saw him, his face glowed. He asked, “O `Ali (a.s)! With what Intent have you put on the Ihram?”

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`Ali (a.s) replied, “Since you had not mentioned about the matter in the letter, I have worn the Ihram with the intent that I shall perform the same pilgrimage that you perform! I have left behind 34 camels for the sacrifice.” The Prophet (a.s) said that he had with him 66 camels and that `Ali (a.s) was a member of his family for the rites of the Hajj and the Sacrifice of the animals. Then `Ali (a.s) made a report about his campaign in Yemen and gave the account of the booty and jizyah collected. He said that he had left those things in the charge of the contingent and had started for the pilgrimage. The Prophet (a.s) asked him to fetch his contingent to Makkah. He must have gone a small distance when he saw his contingent arriving. He reprimanded the men for coming away without orders. He also saw that they were all wearing cloth from the booty as Ihram. He told the person in charge of the contingent to take the cloth pieces from the men. The men were not too happy about this order and they complained to the Prophet (a.s) when they met him. The Prophet (a.s) said:

 

“O people! Do not complain about `Ali (a.s)! He is strict in the Cause of Allah!”[1]

Prior to Islam people used to perform two types of Hajj; hajj al-ifrad hajj al-qiran. In both these types, `Umrah has a definite and permanent place which is performed after the rites of the Hajj. The only difference between the two types is that for the Hajj al-Qiran the sacrificial animals have to be with the pilgrim and for the hahh al-ifrad the sacrificial animals will not be with the pilgrim.

At this time, the verse “And accomplish the pilgrimage and the visit for Allah… (2:196)” was revealed and a third type of Hajj, Hajj al-Tamattu` came into vogue. In this type of Hajj, both Hajj and `Umrah are performed together. The `Umrah here is performed, at the same time, prior to the Hajj. After the `Umrah the Ihram is removed and is again put on for the Hajj. This is called Hajj al-Tamattu` because the restriction of wearing Ihram between `Umrah and Hajj is removed. Here the Ihram is removed and again put back on the eighth of Dhul-Hijjah, the Day of Tarwiyah and the rites of Hajj are performed. This Hajj is for the people who live within 48 miles or more from Makkah.

During the Hijjat al-Wada`, mostly there were people who did not have the sacrificial animals with them. The Prophet (a.s) asked them to change their intent for Hajj to that of `Umrah and remove the Ihram thereafter. Those who

[1] Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 402

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had the animals with them must keep wearing the Ihram after the `Umrah. Since the Prophet (a.s) was having the sacrificial animals with him, his intent was for Hajj al-Qiran and since `Ali’s intent too was same as that of the Prophet (a.s), he too did not remove the Ihram and continued with the performance of the Hajj al-Qiran. When the people saw the Prophet (a.s) continuing with the Ihram, they were hesitant about removing theirs. When he saw them not obeying the orders, he felt sad and anger appeared on his face. `A’ishah says about it:

“The Prophet (a.s) arrived at Makkah on the 4th or 5th of Dhul-Hijjah and came to me in great anger. She asked him, “Who has angered you? May Allah send the person to the Hell!” He said, “Do you not know that I gave an order to the people and they hesitated in obeying it! If I had known that the situation would develop like this, I would not have brought the sacrificial animals with me, bought the animals here and then I could have removed my Ihram as they are supposed to do!”[1]

As people opposed the Hajj al-Tamattu` during the lifetime of the Prophet (a.s), they did the same after him as well and preferred their own wish against the order of the Shari`ah. Therefore `Imran ibn Husayn says:

“The Verse of Hajj al-Tamattu` was revealed in the Qur’an and the Prophet (a.s) ordered us about it. Later on no further Verse was revealed on the matter to change the order nor did the Prophet (a.s) stop us from it until his death. But there was one person who said, what he said with his own intuition.”[2]

 

The Commentator of Sahih Muslim, al-Nawawi writes:

“Here, `Umar ibn al-Khattab is meant, because he was the first to raise objections against the Hajj al-Tamattu`. As far as `Uthman and others were concerned, they were his followers!”[3]

Anyway, on 8 Dhul-Hijjah the Prophet (a.s) ordered the people who had removed Ihram after the `Umrah to wear them again for the Hajj. The Prophet (a.s) was already in Ihram and so was `Ali (a.s) on the instructions of the Prophet (a.s). When the people wore the Ihram, they proceeded to Mina. The next day, after the Morning Prayers, the pilgrims moved to `Arafat. Prior to

[1] Sahīh Muslim, Vol 1, Page 403

[2] Sahīh Muslim, Vol 1, Page 403

[3] Sharh Sahīh Muslim, Vol 1, Page 402

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Islam the Quraysh had established a custom that they used to stop at al-Mash`ar al-Haram and say that they were the Ahl al-Haram and that they would not go out of the Haram. But the other people used to go to `Arafat. The Quraysh were thinking that the Prophet (a.s) too would not go beyond al-Mash`ar al-Haram. But the Qur’an ordained, “From where others start to go, you too should go!” Therefore, the Prophet (a.s) proceeded towards `Arafat, and reaching there, camped at Namirah. The ²uhr and `Asr Prayers were offered together and then spending the night at al-Mash`ar al-Haram they returned to Mina on the day of `Id. After stoning the jamarat al-`aqabah, the Prophet (a.s) sacrificed the thirty camels with his own hands and asked `Ali (a.s) to sacrifice the remaining animals. After the sacrifice he took one piece of meat from each animal, got it cooked, tasted a little and got the rest distributed. After the sacrifice, they got their heads shaved, changed from the Ihram into ordinary clothes and returned to Makkah. Then they circumambulated the Ka`bah and did the sa`y between the Safa and Marwah. Now they returned to Mina where they waited until 13 Dhul-Hijjah and did the stoning of the ramy al-jamarat. Now all the rites of the Hajj were over and the prophet (a.s), with his retinue, started for al-Madinah.

GHADIR KHUMM

When the Prophet of Islam (a.s) started his journey towards al-Madinah after the Hajj, there were approximately one hundred thousand persons in the entourage who hailed from various towns and villages. Some people wanted to travel to al-Madinah with the Prophet (a.s) before they disbursed towards their respective homes. There were others who would leave the caravan when they reached the places from where they were to take diversion towards their homes. As the homes of the people were getting nearer, they advanced faster. Some of them were very happy that they were returning safely after performing the pilgrimage and some others were morose that the felicitous journey was coming to an end. The caravan was moving smoothly when at a place about three miles from al-Juhafah was a thorny valley that is known as Ghadir Khumm. The Prophet (a.s) ordered the caravan to halt there. This was such a sudden and unexpected order that the people were rather surprised. The surprise was more because the place was not for the halting of caravans. There was no provision for shelter from the sun in the place.

The purpose of stopping the caravan was that the Prophet (a.s) wanted to communicate to the Muslims an important Commandment of Allah. This was the most appropriate place and time because very soon the crowds would disburse and proceed towards their respective homes. People from all the places were there and it was the best occasion to disseminate the important message to all the nooks and corners of the Islamic domain. There was another valid reason to stress the importance of the message that Ghadir Khumm was not a regular station for rest and recuperation of the caravans. They were asked to stop there specifically because something very vital was to be communicated to them. They were eagerly and patiently waiting to hear about the important Commandment of Allah.

Prior to this, the Da`wat al-`Ashirah was in a small group of close persons from Banū-Hashim, and during the ghazwah Tabūk and the Propagation of the Sūrah of Bara’ah the Prophet (a.s) had subtly indicated about the succession that was sufficient for any intelligent person to know that `Ali (a.s) was the person he desired to succeed him as his Vicegerent. On the other side were

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the persons who did not like even small matters of import assigned to `Ali (a.s). How was it possible for them to bear with the declaration of `Ali (a.s) as the Prophet’s Successor! The Prophet (a.s) was fully aware of this tendency in some persons. He was reading from their faces their inner feelings concerning `Ali (a.s) and their actions strengthened his conviction about their thinking and knew that they would bring about all sorts of impediments in the matter of the succession. He wished that there should be a positive Command from Allah in this regard and He fulfilled his wish thus:

يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ وَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنْ النَّاسِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ.

“O Messenger! Deliver what bas been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people. (5:67)”

`Allamah al-Shawkani writes:

“Abū-Sa`id al-Khidri says that the verse was revealed in Ghadir Khumm concerning `Ali ibn Abi-Talib (a.s)”[1]

After receiving this implicit Command, there was no scope for any delay in communicating the contents to the Ummah. The Prophet (a.s) dismounted from his camel and others too followed suit. On the shouting of the slogan of hayya `ala khayr al-`amal (Come to the Best of Deed) those who were going ahead turned back and the stragglers hurriedly came forward. They all gathered in that desert wilderness. It was midday and the winds were scorching hot. Barring some thorny Acacia bushes there was no greenery around. The Companions took off their cloaks, tied them round their limbs, and sat down intently listening on the burning sands. The Prophet (a.s) asked his men to improvise a pulpit by stacking saddles of the camels one over another between two Acacia bushes. He then ascended the pulpit. Zayd ibn Arqam says:

“The Prophet of Islam (a.s) stood at the dried lake, Ghadir Khumm, which lies between Makkah and al-Madinah, and after Praising Allah and sermonizing the gathering, said,’ O People! I am a mortal human being and the time is not far when the Messenger will come from Allah and I shall have to abide by

[1] Fath al-Qadīr, Vol 3, Page 57

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the Call! I am leaving behind with you two weighty things; one is the Book of Allah which has radiance and Guidance. Keep holding it firmly!’ He stressed on the need of the people holding fast to the Book of Allah. Then he said, ‘The second weighty thing that I leave with you is my Ahl al-Bayt. I remind you of Allah regarding the Ahl al-Bayt! I remind you of Allah regarding my Ahl al-Bayt! I remind you of Allah regarding my Ahl al-Bayt!’”[1]

After these introductory words, the Prophet (a.s) called three times in a high pitch, “Do I not have more right over you than you have yourself?” The gathering assented in unison, “Of course! It is so!” After obtaining this assent from the people, the Prophet (a.s) raised `Ali (a.s) by putting his hands under his arm pits and said:

“O People! Allah is my Master and I am the Master of all the Believers, I have more right over them than their selves! Remember of whomsoever I am the Master, he too is their Master! O Allah: Be a friend to one who befriends him and be an enemy of one who is his enemy!”[2]

Ibn `Abd al-Barr writes:

“The Prophet (a.s) said on the Day of Ghadir Khumm, ‘of whom I am Master, this `Ali (a.s) too is his Master! O Allah! Whosoever befriends him, be his friend; be the enemy of those who have enmity for him!”[3]

After this announcement, the Prophet (a.s) descended from the makeshift pulpit and offered the ²uhr Prayer in congregation. After the prayers he went into his tent and asked people to go to `Ali’s tent in groups and congratulate him on his appointment to the august position. Therefore, the Companions met him and gave their felicitations. The Prophet’s Consorts and other ladies too expressed their happiness over the event. `Umar’s words of praise are an indelible part of the History:

Felicitations, O son of Abū-Talib! You have become the master of all believing men and women!”[4]

[1] Sahīh Muslim, Vol 2, Page 279

[2] Al-Sawā`iq al-Muhriqah, Page 41

[3] Al-Istī`āb, Vol 2, Page 460

[4] Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol 4, Page 281

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While the people were felicitating `Ali (a.s), Archangel Gabriel came and gave the good news of the Completion of the Faith and the Fulfillment of the Blessings:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمْ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا.

“This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion. (5:3)”

Jalaluddin al-Suyūti writes

“Abū-Sa`id al-Khidri says, ‘When the Prophet (a.s) raised `Ali (a.s) in his place at Ghadir Khumm and announced his Wilayah, Jibril (Archangel Gabriel) came to the Prophet (a.s) with the Verse.”[1]

The tradition of Ghadir has been narrated in continuity and is free of any doubt whatsoever. None could refute it. But people have been making some interpretations to dilute its importance. `Alam al-Huda Sayyid al-Murtada has said that refuting the event of Ghadir is like denying the existence of the Sun and the Moon! `Allamah Muqbali has said that if the event of Ghadir is not certain, then there is nothing certain in the Din! The narrators of both the schools agree that the Prophet (a.s) addressed a huge gathering of Muslims and took oath of their allegiance to himself. Then he told them that for whomsoever he was the Master, `Ali (a.s) too was the Master. But efforts have been made to interpret the meaning of the word Master to hide the fact of the matter. Because if they accepted that `Ali (a.s) had the same status for the Ummah as did the Prophet (a.s), the plan of some people to manipulate the succession and the event of Banū-Saqifah would have failed. Therefore, they attach the meaning of friend to the word mawla. Sometimes they say that it means supporter and helper. But it is a matter of conjecture that the Prophet (a.s) had to hold the crowds eager to reach their homes in that hot desert to communicate the message of help, support and friendship? The message was of such import that he did not want it communicated to their homes through individual couriers and wanted to convey in the huge gathering of the Believers. At that time a part of the Caravan was staggering far behind and another group was advancing fast in front and reached al-Juhafah, about three miles ahead He ordered both the groups to assemble in the hot desert and started his talk only when all had arrived. Then the Prophet (a.s) took an oath from the large gathering that he had complete right over each and every

[1] Tafsīr al-Durr al-Manthūr, Vol 2, Page 259

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individual in the Ummah. When they assented in unison, the Prophet (a.s) said that `Ali (a.s) too was their master with the same rights as himself. No intelligent person will agree that the Prophet (a.s) went through all the inconvenience and trouble at that extremely hot place just to stop people and tell them that if he was their friend and supporter, `Ali (a.s) too was the same! There was not any need for him to announce about the friendship because the Holy Qur’an had already proclaimed:

وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ.

“As for the believing men and the believing women, they are guardians of each other. (9:71)”

The announcement was not necessary just to create or strengthen friendship between all the Believers. That was already expected and mandated by Allah. The purpose was that there were pressure groups in the Ummah and Allah had also said “Allah will save you from the mischief of men.” This mischief was not only external but also from the inside and therefore the announcement was made so forcefully. In fact, this announcement was the echo of the announcement that the Prophet (a.s) made to the small group of Banū-Hashim twenty years ago at the Feast of al-`Ashirah:

“This is my brother and my heir and successor. Hear him and obey him!”[1]

This announcement not only cleared the matter of the Caliphate but its importance in all the propagation of the Faith carried out by the Prophet (a.s). Although the Prophet (a.s).had from his Annunciation to Migration and then until Hijjat al-Wada` spelled out the commandments that were revealed from time to time. The Muslims implicitly started following these commands as and when they were communicated to them. Therefore, they started offering mandatory prayers, fasting during the month of Ramadan, participated in the jihad and came in hordes for the Hajj. But the Verse “If you do not do this, it will be as if you have not delivered any message at all”, proves that all the earlier commands would be ineffective unless the last and final commandment was communicated to the Ummah. This means that the twenty-three years of the Prophet’s Mission depended on its completion on the conveyance and fulfillment of the last Commandment Revealed at Ghadir Khumm.

[1] Al-Kāmil fit-Tārīkh, Vol 2, Page 42

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If this message were not communicated, the task of Prophethood would have remained incomplete. Two things become evident from this. One is that this Commandment is the principal and foundation of the Faith of Islam. The other tenets have a secondary, though mandatory, nature. As a superstructure cannot stand firm, like a house of cards, without a strong foundation, so also this Commandment is the foundation of the Faith of Islam.

THE CONTINGENT OF USAMAH IBN ZAYD

The Prophet of Islam (a.s) had deputed al-Harith ibn `Umayr al-Azdi as his ambassador to the ruler of al-Basrah with the Message of Islam. But on the way the ruler of Balqa’, Shurahbil arrested and killed him. When the Prophet (a.s) got this sad news, he sent a contingent under Zayd ibn Harithah, Ja`far ibn Abi-Talib and `Abdullah ibn Rawahah with instructions that if Zayd was killed, Ja`far ibn Abi-Talib should assume command. If he was martyred, `Abdullah ibn Rawahah should take charge of the contingent. When they reached Ma`an, they got news that Heracles of Rome was camping at Balqa’ with the armies of Rome and Syria. When the Muslims got wind of the huge enemy armies, they halted at Ma`an and wanted to call more troops from al-Madinah. But `Abdullah ibn Rawahah encouraged the men to improve their morale and said that they should not be afraid of the disparate groups forming the enemy ranks and that they must go forward and confront the enemy! The courage of the Muslims was thus boosted and they marched forward. When they reached, Mushrif, a satellite town of Balqa’, they turned towards Mu’tah sensing the movements of the enemy and confront them appropriately. They organized their men into proper left and right flanks. The enemy troops too arrived there and organized themselves. Zayd ibn Harithah went forward with the Standard in his hand and was martyred fighting. Now Ja`far ibn Abi-Talib took the Standard in his hand and lost his right hand fighting the enemy. He took the Standard in his left hand. That too was severed during the fight. He now held the standard close to his chest and bearing more than eight wounds from swords and arrows, he was martyred. The Prophet (a.s) gave him the posthumous titles of Dhul-Janahayn (One with two wings) and al-Tayyar fil-Jannah (The one who flies in the Heaven). `Abdullah ibn Rawahah now took charge of the battle and he too was martyred fighting. After these well-known commanders, there was none of the renowned warriors left. But one al-Ansari, Thabit ibn Arqam picked up the Standard and asked the men to select a standard-bearer from amongst them. They proposed that he himself should do the duty. He said that he was not ready to take the responsibility. Therefore, Khalid ibn al-Walid came forward to become the Standard-bearer. After a little while of fighting, the dusk fell and it became dark. The fighting stopped

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because of the darkness. Khalid considered the nightfall was to his advantage and withdrew with the men in the cover of darkness and started the return journey to al-Madinah. When the fleeing contingent reached al-Madinah, the people started pelting dust on their faces to shame them. They used to hide their faces while going around and Salamah ibn Husham stopped going to the congregational prayers in shame. When they went to the mosque, the people used to shame them with the calls of deserters! They used to say:

“Are you one of the persons who deserted from Allah’s Way?”[1]

This event took place in Jumada I, 8H but no steps were taken to exact qisas for the martyrs of Mu’tah. It appears that, for some reason, the Prophet (a.s) wanted to postpone it for his last days. Therefore, during his illness, he called Usamah ibn Zayd, a youth of 18 or 19 years, and put him at the head of a contingent. Ibn Sa`d writes:

“From the Ansar and Muhajirūn there was hardly any prominent person who was not asked to join the ghazwah. Amongst them were Abū-Bakr Siddik, `Umar ibn al-Khattab, `Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah, Sa`d ibn Abi-Waqqas, Sa`id ibn Zayd, Qutadah ibn al-Nu`man and Salamah ibn Aslam ibn Huraysh were included”[2]

When the Prophet (a.s), despite his illness, handed over the Standard to Usamah ibn Zayd, the Muslims started criticizing his capability instead obeying the Commands of the Prophet (a.s) and accepting him as their commander. Sometimes they said that Usamah was too young and inexperienced and at other times, they said that he was the son of a freed slave and it was below their dignity to serve under him. When the Prophet (a.s) got wind of this gossip, he came out with covered head, in a state of high fever, and said:

“If you have objection about his Commanding the Contingent, you have been critical of his father’s command too. By Allah! He was capable of the Command and in my eyes more likeable than others! This youth too is dear to me than the others!”[3]

[1] Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 323

[2] Al-Tabaqāt, Vol 2, Page 190

[3] Sahīh Muslim, Vol 2, Page 283

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Then he went into the house and the ailment became more acute. Even in that state, he was repeatedly telling, “Send the Contingent of Usamah soon, send the Contingent of Usamah urgently, and send the Contingent of Usamah urgently!”

Usamah came to the presence of the Prophet (a.s) to see him and said, “O Prophet of Allah (a.s)! It would be better if the contingent leaves after you recover from your illness!” He replied, “No! You must start forthwith without any delay!” Usamah got up to go and prepare for the departure of the contingent. On the other side, the Prophet’s ailment increased and he swooned. When he recovered slightly he asked if the Contingent had left or not. When he was told that the preparations for the departure were under way, he folded his brow and said,

 

“Send the Contingent of Usamah urgently and Allah’s curse on those who do not join it”[1]

With repeated exhortations of the Prophet (a.s) the Contingent moved out of al-Madinah, but it halted at a distance of three miles in Wadi al-Jurf. Someone came to them and gave the tiding that the Prophet (a.s) was in his last throes. Hearing this Usamah, `Umar and Abū-`Ubaydah came back to al-Madinah. When the Prophet (a.s) demised, the rest of the Contingent returned to al-Madinah.

For the Muslims every Command of the Prophet (a.s) is the Command of Allah. Going against his commands is tantamount to disobeying Allah. Despite the repeated exhortations by the Prophet (a.s), the persons nominated to be a part of the Contingent were hesitant in proceeding on the campaign. When the Prophet (a.s) asked for paper and pen to dictate his will, they said that he was in a state of delirium and not in his senses. But when they refused to obey the Command for proceeding on the Campaign what excuse they were offering for disobeying the Orders of Allah’s Prophet (a.s)?

To understand the reasons for the behavior of the Companions at that time, we shall have to go into the scenario of the event. History points out that after the Hijjat al-Wada`; the Prophet (a.s) started keeping indifferent health. This illness was the forerunner of his death. The Prophet (a.s) had hinted in his Sermons of the Hijjat al-Wada` and Ghadir Khumm that the time for his departure was nigh. After returning from the H ijjat al-Wada, ` he hinted about it. The Companions understood that this sun was about to set after giving his radiance for twenty-three years! `Abdullah ibn Mas`ūd says:

[1] Al-Milal wan-Nihal, Page 8

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“Our Prophet (a.s) gave the tiding of his death a month before he died.”[1]

On the one hand, the Prophet (a.s) was talking about his imminent demise and on the other; he was expressing concern about mischief by some people in the Ummah. Therefore, one night he walked with much difficulty to Jannat al-Baqi` and prayed for the people of the graves and said, “Seeing the living people the way they are, your condition is praiseworthy. Now mischief is spreading like dark nights and the mischief that will rise will be worse than the earlier one!”

In the trying circumstances when the time for his Call was nigh on one hand and on the other mischief was raising its ugly head. He had to think whether to suppress the mischief or to seek qisas for the martyrs of Mu’tah. Almost two years had passed since the persons were martyred at Mu’tah and the qisas was not obtained so far. The subject was almost in the cold storage for very long and why did the prophet (a.s) think of sending a contingent to extract the qisas now when he was himself critically ill? He also did not have the tendency of conquering people and annexing places. He always fought in his own defense. Then why did he repeatedly order the contingent to go, and prayed for the Curse of Allah for those who abstained from joining the Contingent. He had never taken such a stringent stand before. Whenever any person made excuses for not joining to jihad, he readily conceded his request. But here there is only one command that the people in the Contingent must leave immediately for the campaign. Generally, people during their last days have the wish to have all their kin and companions near them to make their passage smooth and help in arranging the last rites. Here the Prophet (a.s) was sending away two of his closest Companions on a campaign under the Command of a youth of nineteen years! If the Prophet (a.s) had the matter of the Shūra and the imminence for the selection of the successor in his mind he would never have tried to send the two important contenders for the position hundreds of miles away from al-Madinah at this critical juncture! If he had the idea of prevention of possible mischief after his demise through their good offices, he would never have packed them away to a distant destination! It is a fact that the Prophet (a.s) was not happy with the men around him. Some persons were deviating from Islam when they felt that his end was near and others gave indications that they were paving their way to capture the seat of power. They were busy designing and devising ways to usurp power through

[1] Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 435

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these stratagems dividing people. The Prophet (a.s) had already declared at Ghadir Khumm that `Ali (a.s) was his Vicegerent and Caliph. But he was foreseeing certain difficulties in the implementation of this decision. He had felt that attaching the slightest importance to `Ali (a.s) upset and disturbed certain persons. He knew that these persons would oppose the implementation of what was decided at the Feast of Dual-`Ashirah and Ghadir Khumm. Those who did not accept the Command of Usamah ibn Zayd in the Prophet’s lifetime, they would go to any length to deny the Caliphate to `Ali (a.s) when the Prophet (a.s) was not around. The Prophet (a.s) had appointed Usamah the

Commander of the contingent over Abū-Bakr and `Umar because he was indirectly impressing on them that youth was no bar for persons holding positions of responsibility. The Prophet (a.s) did feel that his antagonists would raise the question of `Ali (a.s) youth when the question of Caliphate came up. Even after this exercise of care the opponents did raise the question that `Ali (a.s) was young and an old person should take the office of the caliph. The contingent of Usamah ibn Zayd was set up with the twin purpose of extracting qisas for the martyred Muslims and to send away the main contenders for the Caliphate hundreds of miles away to facilitate smooth succession. But the contenders had their well thought out plan ready and even at the cost of getting cursed by the Prophet (a.s) they did not move more than a few miles from al-Madinah. It was their utter misfortune that they did not comply with the last Command and instruction of their beloved Prophet (a.s)!

During the lifetime of the Prophet (a.s), his command was treated in a cavalier manner. But soon after his demise, the first thing the Caliph did was to send Usamah’s Contingent on the Campaign. It was a poor attempt to cover their tracks that they had blatantly disobeyed the prophet’s Commands. This was done by Abū-Bakr despite opposition from many quarters. The Ansar were of the view that the Campaign should be postponed and, if not, some person other than Usamah should command it. Therefore, `Umar took sides with the Ansar and Abū-Bakr pulled `Umar’s beard in anger and said:

“You die and let your mother sit in mourning for you! O son of al-Khattab! He was appointed the Commander by the Prophet (a.s) and you ask me to remove him!”[1]

If sending of the Contingent was in compliance of the Command of the Prophet (a.s), then no demand should have come for removing him from the post because he was selected by the Prophet (a.s) himself. Usamah was the

[1] Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 462

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choice of the Prophet (a.s) and although `Umar was asking Abū-Bakr to remove Usamah as a mouthpiece of the Ansar, he should have himself told them that he was the choice of the Prophet (a.s) instead of strongly seeking his removal! Abū-Bakr too should have taken out his ire on the Ansar for their demand instead of pulling at the beard of `Umar in anger. Abū-Bakr did not join the campaign because of his duties as the Caliph. `Umar took permission from Usamah, the Commander, to stay away. The question is whether Usamah had the right to permit the persons named and detailed by the Prophet (a.s) to join the contingent for the Campaign to stay away. But how could the poor youth act against the might of the ruling clique!

 

LEADING THE CONGREGATION

The Prophet (a.s), during his illness, as long as he had strength, regularly kept going to the mosque for prayers. But when the ailment increased, he had to stop going there. Therefore, on Monday, after the call for the morning prayers was sounded, Bilal came to the Prophet (a.s) and reminded him to go for the prayer. He told him that he did not have enough strength to reach the mosque and that someone else may be asked to lead the congregation. `A’ishah suggested that her father, Abū-Bakr, be asked to do it. Hafsah said her father `Umar could do the job. When the Prophet (a.s) heard the names of Abū-Bakr and `Umar from them, he realized that instead of being in the Contingent of Usamah they were still in al-Madinah contrary to his orders. In anger, he got up and with difficulty proceeded towards the mosque. He thought that one of them might lead the prayer and make it an excuse for elevation to the position of the Caliphate. He kept his arms round the shoulders of al-Fadl ibn `Abbas and `Ali ibn Abi-Talib and went to the mosque. He found that Abū-Bakr had reached the arch of the mosque. The Prophet (a.s) waved him to move back, went forward and led the congregation. The incident had been given another color that the person who was the deputy of the Prophet (a.s) at the congregation, deserved to be the first Caliph of Islam. But we have to see whether Abū-Bakr, on his own, went to the Prophet’s place of prayer or he was ordered to do so? Even if he was ordered to lead a prayer in the mosque, is it a qualification to be named the Caliph?

The traditions recorded in the books of History are so different and contradictory that it is very difficult to accept them as authentic. One narration says something and another something else about the same incident. Most of these narrations are from `A’ishah. The contradictory nature of these narrations render them weak. We shall mention a few of the narrations to prove our point of view. Ibn Husham writes:

“Bilal reminded the Prophet (a.s) of the prayer when he asked `Abdullah ibn Zum`ah to ask someone to lead the congregation. `Abdullah says, ‘I went out and did not find Abū-Bakr and `Umar with the people there. I asked `Umar to come

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and lead the prayer. When he loudly sounded the Takbir, the Prophet (a.s) asked where was Abū-Bakr? Allah and the Muslims do not agree that `Umar leads the prayer. Then Abū-Bakr was called but he arrived when `Umar had already finished the prayer. Abū-Bakr too offered the prayer with the congregation.”[1]

It appears from this tradition that in the beginning the Prophet (a.s) did not name any particular person to lead the prayer and had left it to the discretion of `Abdullah to ask someone to do the job. Because of this open permission he asked `Umar to lead When he started the prayer the Prophet (a.s) called for Abū-Bakr to lead the prayer. But before he arrived `Umar had completed the prayer and Abū-Bakr repeated the process. It surprises seeing this narration that when the Prophet (a.s) had told `Abdullah that he should ask someone to lead the congregation, and `Umar complied, then what was the need to rush a person to call Abū-Bakr to come and repeat the process? Was praying behind `Umar not legitimate? If it was legitimate, then what was the sense in repeating the process? If the Prophet (a.s) wanted that only Abū-Bakr should lead the prayer, then he could have instructed `Abdullah in the first instance to ask that person to lead! If that was done, `Umar could have been spared the ignominy that his leading the prayer was voided!

 

Ibn Sa`d says:

“When `Umar sounded the Takbir the Prophet (a.s) said, ‘No! No! Where is the son of Abū-Quhafah?’ Hearing this, the rows got disturbed and `Umar moved away from the niche and Abū-Bakr came forward and led the prayer.”[2]

In the first narrative quoted above it is mentioned that a person was sent to call Abū-Bakr and from this narration it seems that he arrived himself. In the first narrative it is recorded that Abū-Bakr arrived after the prayer was over and in this narration it is said that `Umar had to give way from the middle of the prayer! Besides the contradictions, there is one thing that disturbs the minds is that what was the need to interrupt the prayer. If it is accepted that the person leading the prayer was a sinner and transgressor, there is one group in Islam, which does not enforce the condition of decency (`adalah) for Imamate during prayers. And the group in which decency of the Imam is mandatory, breaking the prayer in progress is not permitted! If during the

[1] Sīrat ibn Hushām, Vol 2, Page 302

[2] Al-Tabaqāt, Vol 2, Page 222

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prayer it is learned that the Imam is a sinner, the people can change the intent from the congregational prayer to individual prayer and complete the process. In no event, they can break the prayer when they have started to offer it.

 

Ibn Jarir al-Tabari writes:

“The Prophet (a.s) said that Abū-Bakr be told lead the prayer. Then he himself took support of two persons and stirred out in a manner that his two feet were dragging on the ground. When he reached near Abū-Bakr, the latter moved back. The Prophet (a.s) waved him to stay where he was. He sat near Abū-Bakr and offered his prayer. (`A’ishah says) that Abū-Bakr was following the Holy Prophet and the other people were following him.”[1]

This narration suggests that the Prophet (a.s) had sent for Abū-Bakr to be called to lead the prayer. When he stood up for the prayer, the Prophet (a.s) himself, despite his sickness, came and joined the congregation sitting next to Abū-Bakr. The Prophet (a.s) asking Abū-Bakr to lead the prayer and then himself coming to the mosque, despite his sickness, gives a doubt whether he really asked for Abū-Bakr to lead the prayer. The narration does not mention that the Prophet (a.s) himself asked Abū-Bakr to go and lead the prayer. Perhaps like `Abdullah ibn Zum`ah asking `Umar to lead, similarly someone else might have prompted Abū-Bakr to come and take the lead at the prayer. When the Prophet (a.s) learned of these happenings, he would have decided, despite the poor condition of his health, to go to the mosque. The narration that Abū-Bakr was following the Prophet (a.s) in his prayer and the other persons in the congregation were following him is a meaningless contention. Because if Abū-Bakr was the Imam for that particular prayer, he could not have been the follower of anyone else for that prayer! If the Prophet (a.s) was the Imam then Abū-Bakr would be only the follower and nothing else. It is not possible that a person can be an Imam and the follower at the same prayer! If such was the case then those who are in the back rows, they become followers of those who are in the rows in front of them!

Ibn Jarir al-Tabari writes

“The prophet (a.s) asked `Ali (a.s) to be called. `A’ishah said she wished he had called Abū-Bakr. Hafsah said she wished he had called `Umar. In that time, all of them assembled near the

[1] Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 439

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Prophet (a.s). The Prophet (a.s) said, ‘You people go away. I shall call you when needed!’ Therefore, they went away. Then the Prophet (a.s) asked if it was time for prayer. He was told it was the time. He wanted to ask Abū-Bakr to lead the prayer. `A’ishah said he was weak of heart and `Umar must be asked to lead. The Prophet (a.s) then agreed for `Umar to be asked for leading the prayer. `Umar said that with Abū-Bakr around he would not agree to lead. Abū-Bakr went forward. In this time, the prophet (a.s) felt some relief from his ailment and came out of his room. Abū-Bakr heard his footsteps and tried to move back. The Prophet (a.s) pulled at the lapel of his cloak and made him stand where he was. He himself sat down and where Abū-Bakr had stopped the Recitation, he continued.”[1]

In this narration certain things have come that help in understanding the real facts. One thing is very evident that the prophet (a.s) had asked for `Ali (a.s) to be called but why and for what reason, the narration does not elucidate. In the last part of the narration, the Prophet (a.s) asked if it was time for the prayer. He was replied in the affirmative. This highlights that the Prophet (a.s) was calling `Ali (a.s) when it was the time for the prayer. What else could have been the reason of calling him at the time of the prayer other than that he was to be asked about leading the prayer? This was so evident that `A’ishah and Hafsah read between the words and suggested and wished that their fathers were called. If the Prophet (a.s) was calling `Ali (a.s) for some other specific work there was no reason for `A’ishah and Hafsah suggesting that their fathers be called! Their suggestion would be reasonable when they were sure of the purpose of the call and that they preferred their fathers to substitute `Ali (a.s) for performing that task. There is another point to be noted that as soon as the names of the two persons are suggested, they arrive. Their arrival suggests that it was a pre planned move thinking that the Prophet’s condition would not warrant his coming to the mosque and that when a call came from `A’ishah and Hafsah they would rush to the mosque to take the lead in the prayer. On this basis, their claim to caliphate would strengthen. But the Prophet (a.s) sends them away saying that he did not need their presence immediately and would call them when needed. This proves that the Prophet (a.s) wanted to be alone at that time to discuss the matter for which he had called `Ali (a.s). If he wanted Abū-Bakr to lead the prayer, what was preventing the Prophet (a.s) to ask Abū-Bakr to lead the prayer before

[1] Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 439

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asking him to go away from his presence. It was the time for prayer and Abū-Bakr was present before the Prophet (a.s)! As soon as he goes out of the room, he is given a message that he should lead the prayer! The question arises that why Abū-Bakr was not asked to lead the prayer when he came to the Prophet’s presence and was sent the instruction immediately after coming out of the room. What was the strategy in the message and who carried the message to him? The answer to this question is that neither any message was given to him nor was there any messenger who carried it to him!

At that time `A’ishah made an excuse that Abū-Bakr was weak at heart and that `Umar should be asked to lead the prayer in his place! When `Ali (a.s) was called, she did not talk of `Umar and said that she wished Abū-Bakr was called and later on she expressed about the weakness of her father’s heart and suggested the name of `Umar for leading the prayer. The more surprising thing about the narrative is that the Prophet (a.s) agrees with this suggestion! Although in the narration of `Abdullah Ibn Zum`ah it is mentioned that when the Prophet (a.s) heard `Umar loudly saying the Takbir, he was angered and said that `Umar leading the prayer was neither to the liking of Allah nor do the Muslims like it! Now, in the latter narration the Prophet (a.s) is very willingly allowing `Umar to lead the prayer! Now the dilemma is whom to believe and whom not to believe. How is it possible that the person whose lead in the prayer is not to the liking of Allah and the Muslims is permitted to lead in the end on the recommendation of `A’ishah? When `Umar is at last asked to lead, he withdraws saying that when Abū-Bakr was around he would not come forward to lead. This does not sound correct because when `Abdullah ibn Zum`ah asked him to lead, he immediately agreed without a whimper of protest in favor of Abū-Bakr. It is another matter that the prayer that was already offered was voided, or left incomplete, and Abū-Bakr took over the lead. No sooner Abū-Bakr stood up to lead the prayer, the Prophet (a.s) arrived. The plausible reason is that when the Prophet (a.s) called `Ali (a.s), it was thought that he might ask `Ali (a.s) to lead the prayer. To circumvent this, they told Abū-Bakr, as if on behalf of the Prophet (a.s), that he should lead the prayer. When he stood up to lead the Prophet (a.s), somehow arrived at the mosque to stop him and take the lead himself. Otherwise, when the Prophet (a.s) had expressed in ability to go to the mosque, what persuaded him to change his plan? In this narration a sentence has been added saying that the Prophet (a.s) continued the Verse that Abū-Bakr was reciting from the point where the latter stopped. This was an attempt to make Abū-Bakr a partner to the Prophet (a.s) in leading the prayer. We wonder if this prayer too was void like the one that `Umar was leading a

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while ago. If the recitation is done from the middle, it will be in complete and there will be a doubt of the prayer becoming void.

Muhammad ibn Isma`il al-Bukhari writes:

“`A’ishah says that when the Prophet (a.s) suffered from his last illness, Bilal came and mentioned about the prayer. The Prophet (a.s) said that Abū-Bakr be asked to lead the prayer. I said that Abū-Bakr had a weak heart and standing in your place he might start crying and may not be able to recite the Verses Again the Prophet (a.s) said that Abū-Bakr must lead the prayer and repeated the same words. On the third or fourth repetition he said, ‘You are like the women of Yūsuf! Abū-Bakr must lead!’ Abū-Bakr started the prayer. In that time the Prophet (a.s), leaning on the shoulders of two men, went out and I remember the scene that his two feet were dragging on the ground under them. When Abū-Bakr saw the Prophet (a.s) he started withdrawing. The Prophet (a.s) asked him to continue with the recitation. Abū-Bakr withdrew a little backward and the Prophet (a.s) sat beside him. Abū-Bakr was sounding the Takbir to the hearing of the congregation.”[1]

In this narration too the weakness of the heart of Abū-Bakr is mentioned with a corollary that when he stood in the niche of the mosque he might cry. This way `A’ishah wanted to impress on the Prophet (a.s) that the concern that Abū-Bakr had about his illness, none other had it. He will shiver standing in the Prophet’s place in the Mosque thinking that his master would never again stand there! The purpose behind this talk certainly was to impress on the Prophet (a.s) that her father had the greatest love and regard for him and therefore none other qualified more than he did to lead the prayer in the absence of the Prophet (a.s). The author of “al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah” says the Prophet (a.s) compared `A’ishah to the lady with Yūsuf (a.s) that Zulaykhah had gathered the ladies of Egypt for a feast, although the purpose was only to show Yūsuf (a.s) to them. Similarly `A’ishah wanted Abū-Bakr to lead the prayer but outwardly gave an impression that she did not want him to do that

In this narration it is also mentioned that the Prophet (a.s) insisted on Abū-Bakr leading the prayer. On the one hand they talk of the Prophet’s insistence and on the other as soon as Abū-Bakr stood up for the prayer; they say that the Prophet (a.s) arrived with the support of two persons to lead the

[1] Sahīh al-Bukhārī, Vol 1, Page 95

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congregation! Reading this tradition, even a person with average intelligence would neither accept that the Prophet (a.s) insisted on the assignment to Abū-Bakr to lead nor even permitting him to stand at the niche of the Mosque. If this appointment was from the Prophet (a.s) he would certainly have asked Abū-Bakr to lead the congregation to the completion of the prayer! When the Prophet (a.s) took over the lead, Abū-Bakr acted as the Mukabbar who sounds the Takbir when the Prophet (a.s) went into genuflection and prostration. The Mukabbar is not the Imam and crediting Abū-Bakr of leading the prayer instead of the Prophet (a.s) is not right!

Seeing the contradictory nature of these narratives, one cannot believe that the Prophet (a.s) nominated Abū-Bakr to lead the prayer. There was no question of his nomination because the Prophet (a.s) had detailed Abū-Bakr, `Umar and other Companions to proceed on the campaign with Usamah ibn Zayd and kept insisting until his last moment that they should go in obedience to his orders! How is it possible that on the one hand he orders them to leave al-Madinah with the Contingent of Usamah and on the other to stay back and lead the prayer? This story of leading the prayer has been created to justify elevating and justifying Abū-Bakr’s appointment to the Caliphate. Ibn Hajar al-Makki went to the extent of considering his leading in the prayer as the text for Abū-Bakr’s Caliphate. He writes:

 

“On account of this Imamate, all the scholars believe that there was a text for Abū-Bakr’s caliphate.”[1]

If certainly the Prophet (a.s) appointed Abū-Bakr as the Caliph on account of a Divine commission through his leading the congregation at the prayer, then despite his poor condition of health why did the Prophet (a.s) come out of his room and removed Abū-Bakr to lead the prayer himself? If it is assumed that leading the congregation is the Nass caliphate then how could Abū-Bakr nominate `Umar as Caliph when the Prophet (a.s) had stopped him from leading the congregation at prayer? If leading the congregation in prayer is the Nass caliphate, then the Prophet (a.s) used to detail someone or other to do this whenever he was away from al-Madinah in connection with the Ghazwah. With this logic Ibn-Ummi-Maktūm was the most deserving candidate because he was given this privilege many a time! Ibn Qutaybah writes:

[1] Tathīr al-Jinān, Page 40

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“The prophet (a.s) generally on the occasions of ghazawat used to leave behind Ibn Ummi-Maktūm in al-Madinah to lead the people in prayers.”[1]

From this Imamate of Ibn-Ummi-Maktūm, that was for much linger duration that the one time Imamate of Abū-Bakr, have people ever thought that it was the Nass caliphate for Ibn-Ummi-Maktūm? Even in his presence, the Prophet (a.s) asked others to lead the prayers on several occasions. The prominent among such persons are Abul-Bu`bu`, Sabbah ibn `Arfatah, `Attab ibn Usayd, Sa`d ibn `Abadah, Abū-Dharr al-Ghifari, Zayd ibn Harithah, Abū-Salamah al-Makhzūmi and `Abdullah ibn Rawahah. Did any one of them who did the Imamate of the congregation stake their claim for the caliphate on the basis of this singular privilege enjoyed by them? Then what is the meaning of considering Abū-Bakr standing up to lead a prayer as the Nass caliphate in his favor? Abū-Hurayrah al-Dūsi narrates from the Prophet (a.s):

“The obligatory prayers can be offered behind any Muslim, virtuous or otherwise, even if he had committed the major sins.”[2]

If this Imamate is the Nass caliphate, then the appointment of Usamah above Abū-Bakr, `Umar and other senior Companions can also be sited as a Nass for claiming the position of the Caliph! The command of the contingent was more important than the Imamate of the Congregation at that time as, otherwise, the Muhajirūn and Ansar would not have objected to making the son of a slave, and a youth, to lead such heavyweights like `Umar and Abū-Bakr in battle!

[1] Al-Ma`ārif, Page 126

[2] Al-Mishkāt, Page 100

THE CALAMITY OF QIRTAS

Islam was the life’s achievement for the prophet (a.s) for the propagation of which he had borne all sorts of hardships and severe opposition. Every individual desires that whatever he has developed with hard work remains safe from the machinations of destructive opponents. He preserves and protects it in his lifetime and tries to leave it in safe hands when the time for leaving the world arrives. He therefore makes an oral will or reduces his instructions on paper to doubly safeguard his legacy. Can we imagine that the Prophet (a.s) would leave intestate especially when it was the question of preserving and protecting his legacy which was the great Faith of Islam!

In view of this very important and urgent need, knowing that his sickness was of terminal nature, the Prophet (a.s) asked for pen and paper brought to him two to four days before he demised. He wanted to write a document that would be a source of guidance for the people until the end of the world and safeguard his Ummah from getting divided into many sects and groupings. But some persons conspired to obstruct the Prophet (a.s) from making his will and testament.

“`Umar said that the Prophet (a.s) was overwhelmed with pain and for us the Book of Allah is sufficient.”[1]

This is a narration from al-Bukhari who also says:

“The Prophet (a.s) said, ‘Bring a paper to me that I write for you a document after which you will not go astray!’ On this, persons started sharp arguments, although quarreling near the Prophet (a.s) was not proper. People said, ‘The Prophet (a.s) is in a delirium!’ the Prophet (a.s) said, ‘Leave me to my scruples! I am fine in whatever condition I am than what you are calling me to!”[2]

[1] Sahīh al-Bukhārī, Vol 1, Page 25

[2] Sahīh al-Bukhārī, Vol 2, Page 121

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When the differences overstretched and the sounds of shouts were coming, the consorts of the Prophet (a.s) said from behind the curtains:

“Give to the Prophet (a.s) whatever he is asking for. `Umar asked them to keep quiet and said that they were like the women of Yūsuf who cry when the Prophet (a.s) falls ill and when he is hale and hearty ride on his neck. At this, the Prophet said, ‘they are better than you!’”[1]

The ladies kept calling from their private quarters but none paid any heed and never gave a paper and pen to the Prophet (a.s). The Prophet (a.s) was sad over the Companions disobeying his Commands, terming his ill heath, although he was in full senses, as delirium and raising a rumpus instead of leaving him in peace. He was fed up of the happening around him and said, “Go away from me!” this was the worst calamity of the History of Islam that its founder wanted to write down his last will and testament for the benefit of the Ummah to protect them from going astray and his voice was submerged with in the noise raised by the people around him. Alas! He left this world disappointed and dismayed with certain of his close associates! Ibn `Abbas used to cry much thinking of the events of that day and the pebbles of sand kept in front of him used to get wet with the tears that dropped from his eyes:

“It was such a great calamity that the differences between the Companions and their shouting and misbehavior obstructed the Prophet (a.s) writing down his will.”[2]

People have tried in several ways to find excuses from the happenings of that sad day. They tried to put the blame on the entire crowd instead of pin pointing the culprits and exposing their evil designs and faces! But all these efforts went in vain and the facts could not be hidden from the public gaze. Al-Bukhari’s two narrations quoted above are a reflection of this. While in the first narration there is reference of the Prophet’s acute pain and the accusation of delirium, he has tried to hide the name of the person by referring to the accuser in the plural form instead of mentioning it as a singular and recording the name of that person. Where the events are light of nature al-Bukhari does not refrain from using the names of the characters involved! Where the words used are unpalatable, he cleverly tries to avoid the name of the person who used them. But this attempt does not seem to protect the memory of the perpetrators of those cruel and undesirable words. In some

[1] Al-Tabaqāt Ibn Sa`d, Vol 2, Page 244

[2] Tabaqāt Ibn Sa`d, Vol 2, Page 244

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narratives, they use the word “some” instead of blaming the “crowd” to protect the big ones from ignominy. Ibn Sa`d says:

“Some persons who were there said that because of the intensity of the ailment, the Prophet (a.s) was uttering insensible words.”[1]

In this narration, the circle of the perpetrators has been narrowed down. Bu even there the use of the word “some” does not pinpoint the real culprit! However Shaykh Shihabuddin al-Khafaji has lifted the curtain from the face of the person and written the fact, and nothing but the fact!

“`Umar said that the Prophet (a.s) was uttering insensible words.”[2]

Accusing the Prophet (a.s) of delirium and insensible talk, from whatever quarter, is the most heinous thing to do and the persons who perpetrated such talk must be identified! A person having the ordinary knowledge of the Divine Knowledge of the Prophet will never dare to say that the prophet (a.s) was talking insensible things in his delirium. Because of this impertinent talk, the Prophet (a.s) had to ask those persons to leave him alone! It is really a great calamity that the people succeeded in preventing the Prophet (a.s) from making his will and testament. One fails to understand what fear the person had in his mind that he was not allowing the Prophet (a.s) to get the paper and pen. Even in the state of delirium he wanted to write something, what was the problem for the person allowing reducing to writing down the last wishes of a person no lesser than the Prophet 0f Islam (a.s)? The persons who were bent on disobeying the Prophet (a.s) succeeded in disobeying his last Command and wish!

Here, to get over the blame of disobeying the Prophet (a.s) they said that the Faith was Complete and the chain of the Revelations was already broken. Therefore, it was not necessary to write down any thing else. Of course, the Din or Faith was complete, but it does not mean that the Ummah was totally safe from going astray. If it were the case, there would never have been schisms in the ranks of the Muslims nor the springing up of myriad sects. This is all the result of the Ummah going astray. To eliminate these causes the Prophet (a.s) wanted to write down his final Will and Testament. If he had not thought it necessary, what was the need for him to ask for paper and pen? It is

[1] Tabaqāt Ibn Sa`d, Vol 2, Page 242

[2] Nasīm al-Riyā¤, Vol 4, Page 278

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he Revelations. Therefore, Anas ibn Malik says:

“Allah continued the series of Revelations from the time before the demise of the Prophet (a.s) until his last breath and the maximum revelations came on the day of his death.”[1]

This proves that whatever the Prophet (a.s) was saying, and whatever he wanted to be written down, was on the basis of revelations and the commands of Allah. The person who said that it was delirious talks, even if it were reduced to writing; they would have rejected it to suit their own ends!

We have also to consider what the Prophet (a.s) was trying to communicate and what was the need for doing it. The books of history and tradition are witness that on his deathbed, the Prophet (a.s) was continuously saying:

“I am leaving behind me two things for you. If you remain attached to both of them, you will not go astray after me. Both the things are bigger than each other. One is the Book of Allah that is a rope that has one end in the Heaven and the other on the earth. The second thing is my `itrah, my Ahl al-Bayt. These two shall not separate from each other until they come to me at the Cistern of Kawthar. You must think yourself what attitude you should have for these things.”[2]

When the time for his death drew nigh, he raised the hand of `Ali (a.s) and said:

“`Ali (a.s) is with the Qur’an and the Qur’an is with him. The two will not separate from each other until they reach me at the Cistern of Kawthar. I shall ask them how you proved yourself in THEIR regard.”[3]

In the tradition previous to this, the Prophet (a.s) had termed remaining attached to the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt as a guarantee against depravity and going astray. The words used by him were, “You will not go astray after me.” We have also used the same words here lest we go astray in our act! After now, you shall never go astray! This proves to every individual of average intelligence that the things that the Prophet (a.s) termed as the

[1] Tabaqāt Ibn Sa`d, Vol 2, Page 93

[2] Al-Mishkāt, Page 599

[3] Al-Sawā`iq al-Muhriqah, Page 126

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guarantee for their protection from going astray, he wanted to write in his Will and Testament for the benefit of the Posterity. He knew that there were certain forces in the Ummah who will leave no stone unturned to obstruct people coming to the Right Path. For this reason he wanted it to be reduced to writing that the people must attach themselves firmly to the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt. The opponents knew it well that the Prophet (a.s) wanted to make his will in support of `Ali (a.s) and they enacted all the drama to obstruct it. Therefore, one of the chiefs said, “Allah’s Book is sufficient for us!” Although this sentence was said in a situation of disorder, it grew and bore fruits in the time to come! One sect made this saying as the foundation of their Faith and rejected even the Traditions of the Holy Prophet (a.s). Although `Umar, in his later life, realized that the Qur’an was not sufficient to guide the people in their lives and he had to make access to the Traditions of the Prophet (a.s). So the author of “Allah’s Book is sufficient for us” realized very soon that he was not right when he said this. When there was a dispute between the Quraysh and Ansar for the Caliphate, instead of seeking a solution from the Qur’an he said “Leaders must be from Quraysh” and for denying the Garden of Fadak to Fatimah (a.s), they quoted the tradition, “We the group of prophets (a.s) do not leave any inheritance. Whenever `Umar said, “Without `Ali, `Umar would certainly perish.” He was turning to `Ali (a.s) for resolution of his problems instead of solely depending on the Holy Qur’an! In practice, he was not following his own dictum of “Sufficient for us is the Book of Allah!” The Qur’an without its interpreters (The Ahl al-Bayt) is certainly not sufficient!

 

THE PROPHET’S LAST JOURNEY

One day prior to his demise the Prophet (a.s) called `Ali (a.s) close to himself and said, “O `Ali! Now is the time for my departure! After my death, you must give me the bath, drape me in the shroud and put my mortal remains in the grave. You must fulfill the promises that I have made with people. I have taken a loan from a certain Jew for the expenses of the Contingent of Usamah ibn Zayd. You must clear this debt!” Then he took out the ring from his finger and asked `Ali (a.s) to wear it. He also gave to `Ali (a.s) his sword, helmet the yellow turban and other arms. That day was over and the next day was Monday 28th of Safar 11H. Now the condition of the Prophet’s health deteriorated. The clouds of death were hovering over his head. He was in semi comatose condition prior to death. The time was close when the human body stops breathing and the spirit travels towards its final destination. The Prophet (a.s) opened his eyes and when he did not find `Ali (a.s), who had gone out for some errand, he said, “Call my friend!” `A’ishah says:

“When the time of his departure was nigh, the Prophet (a.s) asked his dearest one (habib) to be called. Someone went and called Abū-Bakr. The Prophet (a.s) did not look on him and put his head down. He again wanted his Habib to be called. A person went and called `Umar. When the Prophet (a.s) saw him he put his head down and again asked for his Habib. Now `Ali (a.s) came. When the Prophet (a.s) saw him, he took him under his quilt and remained like that until he was dead. His hand was over `Ali (a.s) at that moment.”[1]

This was the greatest tragedy in the History of Islam. Everyone was affected with this sad event but for the Banū-Hashim and his close family it was the most irreparable loss. The condition of the Prophet’s Daughter was such as if her own life had been snatched away from her. Her children were crying for the loss of their doting Grandfather. The entire world of `Ali (a.s) was changed. In spite of exercising maximum control over his emotions, tears were running from his eyes. Crying, he touched his hands to the face of his

[1] Al-Riyā¤ al-Na¤irah, Vol 2, Page 237

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departed mentor and cousin and touched his own face. He closed the eyes of the Prophet (a.s) gently and covered his face with the cloth. Then, as per the wish of the Prophet (a.s), he got busy with the preparation for his interment. Ibn Sa`d writes:

“When the Prophet (a.s) died, his head was on the lap of `Ali (a.s). It was `Ali (a.s) who gave him the last bath. Al-Fadl Ibn `Abbas was supporting the Prophet (a.s) and Usamah ibn Zayd was giving the water.”[1]

When Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s) had given the bath to the Prophet (a.s), he draped his body in the shroud and alone offered the Funeral Prayer. The persons who were gathered at the mosque were discussing as to who must be asked to lead the last parting prayer for the Prophet (a.s) and where he should be interred. Some people thought that the compound of the mosque was a suitable place for the purpose. Other said that the Jannat al-Baqi` was the right place. When `Ali (a.s) learned about these discussions, he came out of the room and said, “The Prophet (a.s) was our leader in his lifetime and is our Imam and leader in his death too! Therefore, every individual group should go into the room and offer Funeral Prayer individually! As far as the place for his interment is concerned, he will be buried at the same place where he breathed his last!” As instructed by the Imam (a.s) the Banū-Hashim first went into the room and offered the Funeral Prayers. Then followed the Muhajirūn and the Ansar. Of course, one group was deprived of offering the Prophet’s Funeral Prayer. They were the persons who were jostled together at the Saqifah of Banū-Sa`idah busy in the worldly conclave of deciding about the corporal power structure! After the Funeral Prayers, the Prophet (a.s) was interred in the same room where he expired. Zayd ibn Sahl excavated the grave. The persons in charge of the interment were `Ali (a.s), `Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib, al-Fadl ibn `Abd al-Muttalib and Usamah ibn Zayd. When the time for burial came, the Ansar called from outside, “O `Ali! Please include one of our persons in the process that we do not remain deprived of the felicity!” `Ali (a.s) called Aws ibn Khawli to come in and allowed him to descend into the grave of the Prophet (a.s). `Ali (a.s) took the body in both his hands and lowered it into the grave. When the body was laid in the grave, he removed the cloth from the face, turned the body towards the Kiblah, and put the cheek on the dust in the grave. `Ali (a.s) put the earth on the body with his own hands, leveled its surface and sprinkled water over it!

[1] Al-Tabaqāt, Vol 2, Page 263

 


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