Concerning the General Companions
All the jurisprudential rulings and Islamic beliefs have been transmitted to us by the companions. No one can claim that he worships Allah based upon the Qur'an and the sunna without the companions acting as the intermediaries to reach these two fundamental sources for the Muslims the world over.
Yet the companions disagreed and differed among themselves after the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.), reviling and cursing each other, fighting and eventually killing each other. It is not possible for us then, given these circumstances, to accept rulings from them without discussion, critique, examination and opposition. Likewise, it is not possible to judge for or against them without knowing their status and without reading their biographies concerning what they did during the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and after his death. This is [necessary so as] to distinguish the trustworthy from the falsifier, the believer from the corrupt one, the sincere one from the hypocrite, and to know those who turned back upon their heels, from those who remained devoted.
Regrettably, the ahl al-sunna in general do not allow this and vehemently prevent criticism of the companions or finding [any] fault with them. They are pleased with all of them and send blessings upon them, as they send blessings upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, without the exception of any of them.
The question that must be posed to the ahl al-sunna wa'l-Jama'a is this: Does criticizing and finding fault with the companions deserve banishment from Islam? Or does this [act] conflict with the Qur'an and the sunna?
To answer this question, it is necessary for me to examine the deeds and sayings of some of the companions during the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and after his death, referring to what has been mentioned by the scholars of the ahl al-sunna in their Sahihs, Musnads and their historical works. I shall do this in a concise manner without referring to any Shi'i book, since their views on some of the companions are well known and require no further elucidation.
To remove any confusion, and so as not to leave any proofs for an opponent to use in arguing against me, I must state that when we mention the companions in this chapter, we refer to some, not to all of them. Those [whom we refer to] may be the majority or the minority, we will discover this during the course of our research, if Allah wishes.
[I say this] because many trouble makers accuse us of being against the companions. They say that we revile and curse the companions so as to influence those who listen [to us] and to block the path to research. On the contrary, we refrain from insulting and reviling the companions. We are pleased with the sincere companions whom the Qur'an calls "the thankful ones". We dissociate ourselves from those who turned back upon their heels, those who reverted after the Prophet (S.A.W.) and caused most Muslims to be misguided. Yet, even these we do not malign nor insult them. We merely expose their deeds, which have been chronicled by the historians and the hadith scholars, so that the truth may become manifest for the researchers. Our brothers from the ahl al-sunna do not like this, they consider it as [an act of] cursing an insulting.
The noble Qur'an, and it is Allah's word, [which] does not shy away from the truth, has opened this door for us and has informed us that amongst the companions were hypocrites, corrupts ones, tyrants, liars, polytheists, reverts, and amongst them were those who troubled Allah and His Messenger.
The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.), who did not speak from desire and, in Allah's name, cannot be reproached, has opened this door for us and has taught us that among the companions were apostates, heretics, those who broke oaths and dissenters; [amongst them were] those who will enter the fire without their companionship benefitting them. On the contrary, it (companionship) will work against him, causing an increase in punishment on the day when no wealth or progeny can be of any benefit.
Allah, the most wise, in his book, as well as the great sunna of His Prophet bears witness that the situation is so, but, in spite of this, the ahl al-sunna want to prevent the Muslims from speaking or debating about the companions, so that the truth may not be known. [They do this so that] the Muslims may not know the friends of Allah [whom] they can befriend. [They do this also] as the Muslims might know the enemies of Allah and His Prophet and would oppose them.
One day, I was in the capital of Tunisia in one of its largest mosques. Having completed the obligatory prayer, the Imam sat in the middle of a circle of those who had prayed and he began the session disparaging and labelling as infidels, those who speak against the companions of the Prophet (P). He talked at length saying: "Beware of those who, under the pretext of academic research and a desire to reach the truth, speak against the honour of the companions. The curse of Allah, the angels and all mankind are upon them. They wish to create doubt in people about their religion. The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) said: 'If there comes to you a hadith from my companion, accept it, for, by Allah, even if you were to spend to the extent of Uhud in gold, you would not reach the standing of even a one tenth of them'".
One of the enlightened members who was accompanying me interrupted him and said: "This hadith is false and a lie against the Prophet of Allah". The Imam and some of the audience became furious and turned to us in disbelief and aversion. Realising that the situation called for diplomacy with the Imam, I said to him: "O Sir, eminent teacher, what is the sin of the Muslim, who reads in the Qur'an: 'Muhammad is just a Messenger. Other Messengers have gone before him. If he dies or is killed, will you turn back upon your heels? Whosoever turns back upon his heels will not harm Allah. And Allah will reward those who are thankful' (3:144).
And what is the sin of the Muslim who reads in Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim the saying of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) to his companions: 'On the day of resurrection you will be grabbed from the left, and I will say: 'Where are they [being taken] to?' It will be said: 'To hell, by God'. I will say: 'My Lord! These are my companions'. It will be said: 'You do not know what they did after you. From the time you left them they never ceased to apostatize'. I will say: 'Away with him, away with him, woe to him who changed things after me. And I do not see anyone of them being saved except that he will be like a forlorn sheep'".
Everyone listened to me in silence, alarmed. Some of them asked me if I was sure the hadith is to be found in al-Bukhari? I responded: "Yes, just as I am sure that Allah is one, He has no companion and that Muhammad is His slave and Prophet".
When the Imam realised the effect I had on those present, due to my memorizing the hadith which I related, he said calmly: "We learnt from our shaykhs, may Allah have mercy on them, that sedition always lies dormant. May Allah curse one who awakens it".
I said to him: "O Sir, the discord in its lifetime has not been dormant. But we are sleeping. The one amongst us who wakes up and opens his eyes to know the truth you accuse him of reviving discord. In any case, Muslims claim to follow the book of Allah and the sunna of His Prophet (P), not the sayings of the shaykhs who are pleased with Mu'awiya, Yazid, and 'Amr b. al-'As".
The Imam interjected saying: "Are you not pleased with our master Mu'awiya (R), the scribe of the revelation?" I said: "This matter will take a long time to explain. If you wish to know my view regarding this [subject], I give you my book "Then I was Guided". Perhaps it will awaken you from your sleep and open your eyes to some realities".
The Imam accepted my talk and my gift with some reluctance. After a month, however, he wrote a wonderful letter to me, praising Allah for having guided him to the right path and showing affection and love for the ahl al-bayt, peace be upon them. I sought his permission to print his letter in the third edition [of the book], as it contains sublime affection and sincerity of the soul which, when it recognizes the truth, adheres to it. This reflects the reality of most of the ahl al-sunna, who lean towards the truth as soon as the veils are lifted.
However, he requested me to keep his letter secret and not publish it since it was necessary for him to have adequate time to convince the congregation who prayed behind him. He also wished his conversion to be peaceful, without any commotion or confusion, according to what he said.
Let us return to the subject of the discussion on the companions so that we may reveal the bitter truth which the Qur'an, the most wise book, has recorded and [which] the noble Prophetic sunna has mentioned.
Let us begin with the words of Allah, through which no falsehood comes, neither from the front nor from behind. It is the [final] ruling, the just and it is the criterion (between truth and falsehood). The most exalted says, regarding some of the companions:
"And of the people of Medina are those who are bent on hypocrisy. You know them not, but We know them. Twice will We punish them, and then they will be cast into severe punishment" (9:101) .
"They swear in Allah's name that they did not speak [evil]. They have certainly spoken words of disbelief. They disbelieved after submitting. And they contemplated that which they could not attain" (9:74).
"And among them are those who took a covenant with Allah saying: "If He gives us of His bounty, we will surely spend in charity and be among the righteous people". But when He gave them of His bounty, they were miserly with it and turned back aversively. So He filled their hearts with hypocrisy until the day they meet Him due to their breaking the promise with God which they gave, and because they lied" (9:77).
"The desert Arabs are the most disbelieving, hypocritical and most deserving to be ignorant of the ordinances sent down by Allah unto His Messenger. And Allah is the All Knowing, the Wise" (9:97).
"And of the people are those who say: 'We believe in Allah and the last day'. They believe not and seek to deceive Allah and those who believe. Instead they fool only themselves, though they do not perceive this. In their hearts is sickness, and Allah increases their sickness. For them is a painful chastisement due to their lies" (2:10).
"When the hypocrites come to you they say: 'We bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allah'. Allah knows that you are His Messenger, and Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are liars. They have made their oaths as a shield and turn [people] away from Allah. Evil indeed is that which they do! That is because they believed and then disbelieved. Their hearts were sealed and they do not understand" ( 63:3).
"Do you not see those who claim to believe in what was revealed unto you and what was revealed before you? They seek judgement from the evil ones even though they were ordered to disbelieve in them. Satan wishes to lead them astray completely. When it is said to them: 'Come to what Allah has revealed and [come] to the Messenger', you see the hypocrites turn away from you in aversion. Yet when misfortune befalls them due to what their own hands have earned, they come to you swearing by Allah, saying: 'We merely wished goodness and success'" (4:62).
"The hypocrites [seek to] deceive Allah, but He deceives them. When they stand to prayer, they do so in a lazy manner, they [seek to] show off to the people, they do not remember Allah but for a little [while]" (4:142).
"If you see them, their appearances will please you, and if they speak, you will listen to them. They are as blocks of wood propped up. They believe that every cry is against them. They are the enemy, so beware of them. Allah will destroy them [as] they forge lies" (63:4).
"Allah knows those from among you that hinder people and those who say to their brothers: 'Come to us and you will not have to fight except for a little while'. Covetous they are over you. When fear comes, you will see them looking towards you, their eyes rolling as though death hovers upon them. And when the fear is gone, they assail you with sharp tongues, desiring good. They do not believe and Allah has made their deeds of no avail, that is easy for Allah" (33:19).
"And among them are those who listen to you until, when they leave you, they say to those who have been given knowledge: "What did he just say?" They are those whose hearts Allah has sealed and they follow their own desires" (47:16).
"Do those in whose hearts is sickness think that Allah will not expose their rancour? Had we so wished, we would have shown them to you, you would have recognized them by their signs. Surely you shall know them by the tone of their speech. Allah is aware of your deeds" (47: 30).
"Those who lagged behind from among the desert Arabs will say to you: 'We were busy with our properties and our families. So seek forgiveness for us'. They utter with their tongues what is not in their hearts" (48:11).
These clear verses from Allah's glorious book explain clearly the hypocrisy of some of them who infiltrated the ranks of the sincere companions so much so that, had it not been for Allah's revelation, their realities would have been hidden from the bearer of the message himself.
However, the ahl al-sunna always argue with us concerning this. They say: "What have we to do with the hypocrites? May Allah curse them. The companions are not from them, or these hypocrites were not amongst the companions". If you ask them: "Who are these hypocrites [concerning] whom more than 150 verses were revealed in chapters 9 and 63?" They will respond: "They are 'Abd Allah b. 'Ubayy and 'Abd Allah b. Salul". Besides these two people, they do not find any other [people].
Glory be to Allah! If the Prophet (S.A.W.) himself did not know most of them, how can the hypocrisy be restricted to Ibn Ubayy and Ibn Abi Salul, those two who were known to the Muslims?
The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) knew a few of them and told their names to Hudhayfa b. al-Yamani, as you say, and ordered him to conceal their matters to the point where 'Umar bin al-Khattab, during the days of his Caliphate, used to ask Hudhayfa about himself: "Was he ('Umar) from among the hypocrites? Had the Prophet (S.A.W.) mentioned his name?" This is [in accordance with] what you report in your books. The Prophet (S.A.W.) had given a clear indicator by which the hypocrites would be known, i.e., hatred towards 'Ali b. Abi Talib, as you report in your Sahihs.
Most of these companions, whom you are pleased with and accord top [positions] to, hated 'Ali, they waged wars against him, they murdered and cursed him when he was alive and dead. [They did this] to him, his family and those who loved him. You consider all of them to be amongst the eminent companions.
The wisdom of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) necessitated that he inform Hudhayfa of their names sometimes, and [inform] the Muslims of their signs at other times. [This was done] so that he fulfills his obligation to the people and no one could [then] claim: "We were not aware of this".
What the ahl al-sunna say nowadays is of no value, [they say]: "We love Imam 'Ali (R), may Allah brighten his face". We say to them: "There cannot exist in the heart of a believer, love for the friend and enemy of Allah". Imam 'Ali himself said: "One who equates us with our enemies is not from us".
Furthermore, when the noble Qur'an speaks of the companions, it speaks of them in numerous descriptions and distinctive signs. If we exempt the sincere, grateful companions, then the rest of them have been described in the wise book as being corrupt, deceivers, forsakers, breakers of oaths or they turn back, they [express] doubt in Allah and His Prophet, flee from battle, oppose the truth, disobey the orders of Allah and His Messenger, prevent others from jihad, hasten to vain things and business, abandoning the prayer, saying what they do not practise, claim to do favours to the Prophet due to their Islam, having hard hearts and not being humble in the remembrance of Allah and the truth that was revealed, raising their voices above the Prophet's, troubling the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.), or listening to the hypocrites.
Let us be satisfied with this brief [description], for there are many verses which we have not cited for the sake of brevity. For the benefit of all, however, it is necessary to mention some verses that were revealed to criticize the companions who were described by those attributes but who, due to politics, were all regarded, after the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) and after the cessation of revelation, as upright, trustworthy and just. It was not possible for any Muslim to speak against them or criticize or find faults with them.
The Qur'an reveals the Truth about some companions
In order that an obdurate person may not think that the verses on the hypocrites do not pertain to the companions, as the ahl al-sunna claim, we have decided to present some of the verses that refer specifically to the believers.
In the wise book, Allah's says: "O You who believe! What is it with you that when it is said to you to go forth in the cause of Allah you cling heavily to where you are? Do you prefer the life of this world to that of the hereafter? Little is the comfort of this life when compared to that of the hereafter. If you do not go forth, He will inflict a grievous punishment upon you and substitute another people in your place. You cannot harm Him in the least. And Allah has power over all things" (9:34).
"O you who believe! whoever of you reverts after having believed, Allah will bring a people whom He loves and who love him, humble with the believers, powerful over the disbelievers, struggling in the way of Allah, not afraid of the sternest critics. That is the grace of Allah. He bestows it upon whom He wills. Allah's knowledge encompasses [everything]" (5:54).
"O you who believe! Do not be treacherous to Allah and His Prophet. Do not knowingly betray your trust. And know that your property and your children are a test and that with Allah lies great reward" (8:28).
"O You who believe! Respond to Allah and His Prophet when they call you to what enlivens you. And know that Allah comes between a man and his heart and that to Him you shall be gathered. Beware of discord that it should not affect especially those of you who do wrong; know that Allah is severe in punishment" (8:25).
"O You who believe! Remember the bounties of Allah when armies came against you but we sent against them winds and forces that you could not see. Allah saw clearly all that you did. They came to you from above and from below. And behold! The eyes became dim and the hearts gaped up to the throats and you imagined various things about Allah. Then the believers were tested and they were shaken tremendously. The hypocrites and those in whose hearts there is sickness say: "Allah and His Messenger have promised us nothing but delusions" (33:12).
"O You who believe, why do you say what you do not practise, grievous is the sin in the eyes of Allah that you say what you do not do" (61:3).
"Has the time not now arrived for those who believe that their hearts should humbly be engaged in the remembrance of Allah and the truth which has been revealed" ( 57:16)?
"They seek to impress upon you that they accepted Islam as a favour to you: Say: 'Do not count your Islam as a favour to me. Allah has done you a favour by guiding you to the faith, if you are truthful'" (49:17).
"Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates and your kins or the wealth that you have gained, or the business in which you fear a decline, or the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah and His Prophet or struggling in His path then wait until Allah brings about His decision and Allah does not guide those who are corrupt" (9:14).
"The desert Arabs say: 'We believe'. Say: 'You have not believed. Rather, say: 'We have submitted ourselves to Allah' for faith has not yet entered your hearts" (49:14).
"Those who do not believe in Allah and the last day seek to be excused. Their hearts are in doubt and in their doubt they hesitate" (9:45).
"Had they come out with you they would have only added disorder, hurrying to and fro in your midst and sowing sedition among you. And there are some amongst you who would have listened to them. Allah is well aware of the wrongdoers" (9:47).
"Those who stayed behind rejoiced in their inactivity, [doing so] behind the Messenger of Allah. They hated to struggle with their property and their lives in the path of Allah. They said: 'Do not go forth in the heat'. Say: 'The fire of Hell is more hot', if only they understood" (9:81).
"That was because they followed what brought forth the wrath of Allah. And they hated Allah's pleasure. So He made their deeds of no value. Or do those in whose hearts there is sickness reckon that Allah will not bring their wickedness to light? Had We so wished, We would have shown them to you, you would have recognized them by their marks. Surely, you will know them by the tone of their speech. And Allah knows your deeds" (47:30).
"And a group from the believers disliked it. They dispute with you about the truth after it was made clear, as if they were being driven to death whilst they were watching it" (8:6).
"Here you are invited to spend in the way of Allah! Amongst you are some who are misers. And whoever is miserly is only miserly to his own soul. Allah is free from all wants and you are needy. If you turn back He will substitute another people and they will not be like you" (47:38).
"And among them are those who slander you in [the distribution of] alms. If they are given from it, they are pleased. If they are not, they become angry" (9:58).
"And among them are those who listen to you until, when they leave you, they say to those who have been given knowledge: 'What did he say just now?' They are those upon whose hearts Allah has placed a seal. They follow their desires" (47:16).
"And among them are those who trouble the Prophet and say: 'He is all ears'. Say: 'He listens to what is best for you. He believes in Allah and has faith in the believers. And he is a mercy to those of you who believe'. But those who trouble the Prophet will have a grievous punishment" (9: 61).
This amount of clear verses are sufficient to satisfy the researchers that the companions can be divided into two groups:
1. One group believed in Allah and His Prophet (S.A.W.), submitting its affairs and leadership to them. It obeyed Allah and His Prophet, dedicating [itself] whole heartedly to them, sacrificing for their cause. This [group] was the successful one. It represented a minority. The Qur'an called these [people] the 'grateful ones'.
2. Another group outwardly believed in Allah and His Prophet, but had sickness in it's heart. It did not submit it's affairs except for personal interests and worldly benefits. It opposed the Prophet in his rulings and commands, and preferred itself over Allah and His Prophet. This group was amongst the losers and represented the majority. The Qur'an referred to it succinctly when Allah, the Glorified and Honoured, said: "We have come to you with the truth, but most of you hate the truth" (43:78).
The researcher discovers that this "majority", during the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.), lived with him, prayed behind him and accompanied him when he travelled. They sought, by any means possible, to get close to him so that their [true] state may not be revealed to the sincere believers. They tried their best to put up a show, making the believers envious due to their excessive worship and piety in the eyes of the people.
If this was their state during the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.), what were they like after his death? No doubt they were energetic, they multiplied in numbers, spread and increased, as did their cover-ups and representatives (in the community). There was no Prophet who could recognise them and no revelation to disgrace them. Especially as, with his death, appeared the early signs of dissension and fragmentation amongst the people of Medina, who were inclined towards hypocrisy. The Arabs in the peninsula apostatized for they were severe in their disbelief and hypocrisy. Among them were those who claimed prophethood such as Musaylima the liar, Tulayha, Sajjah bint al-Harth and their followers. All of them were among the companions.
If we leave aside all of them and concentrate solely on the Medinan companions of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.), we can certainly state that the thorns of hypocrisy appeared in them too. Most of the believers amongst them turned back upon their heels for the [sake of the] Caliphate.
In the previous discussion, we learnt that they plotted against the Prophet (P) and his successor, they disobeyed the commands that the Prophet of Allah (P) had issued to them when he was on his deathbed.
This reality is something from which there is no escape for the researchers, seeking the truth, for they are confronted with it when reading the historical texts and the biographical accounts of the Prophet. Allah's most glorified book has recorded it in the most clear expression and the most wise verses when it said: "Muhammad is just a Messenger. Other Messengers have gone before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back upon your heels? And whosoever turns back upon his heels will not hurt Allah in any way. Allah will reward those who are grateful" (3:144).
The grateful ones are a minority amongst the companions, who did not turn back, they were steadfast to the covenant they gave to the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) and did not change in any way.
This noble verse, with its clear implications, refutes the claim of the ahl al-sunna, i.e., that the companions have no relation to the hypocrites. Even if we, for argument's sake, accept this, then this noble verse is addressed to the sincere companions who were not hypocrites during the life of the Prophet (P), but instead reverted upon their heels immediately after his death.
The reality of them will become clear when we examine their status during the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.), and after his death, and what the Prophet of Allah said regarding them. This is abundantly clear in the hadith, biographical and historical works.
The Prophet's sunna reveals the truth about some of the companions
In order that no obstinate person may allege that the Prophetic hadiths, which relate to the companions, have any defect and so judge them as being weak, we have relied solely upon the hadiths [cited] in al-Bukhari, which is the most authentic book for the ahl al-sunna. In keeping with his well known approach, al-Bukhari has concealed many of these hadiths in order to protect the reputation of the companions. Although the other Sahihs of the ahl al-sunna have recorded other numerous traditions and in more explicit terms, we shall be contented with this concise [number of traditions] which al-Bukhari has reported, so that our argument may be complete.
In volume 1, in the chapter entitled: "The Fear of the Believer of His Acts being made Futile without him Realising It", in "The Book of Faith", al-Bukhari reported: "Ibrahim al-Tayyimi said: 'Whenever I compare my words with my deeds, I fear I [may] have lied'. Ibn Abi Mulayka said: 'I met thirty companions of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and each one of them feared hypocrisy within himself. Not one of them could claim to believe in Gabriel or Michael'" (volume 1, page 97).
If Abu Mulayka met thirty companions of the Prophet (P) and each one felt that he was a hypocrite and could not claim to have proper belief, how can the ahl al-sunna raise them to the level of Prophets, and not accept criticism of any of them?
In volume 4, in "The Chapter on Spies and Spying", in "The Book of Jihad and Campaigns", al-Bukhari related: "Hatib b. Abi Balta'a (he was amongst the companions of the Prophet (S.A.W.)) sent [someone] to the polytheists of Mecca informing them of some of the plans of the Prophet of Allah (P). His letter was brought to the Prophet (S.A.W.). The Prophet of Allah (P) said to him: 'What is this, O Hatib?' He apologised to the Prophet saying that all he wanted was to protect his relatives in Mecca. The Prophet of Allah (P) believed him but 'Umar (R) said: 'O Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) let me chop off the head of this hypocrite'. The Prophet (S.A.W.) replied: 'He witnessed [the battle of] Badr. How do you know, perhaps Allah looked upon the people of Badr and said: 'Do as you wish, for I have forgiven you'" (vol. 4, p. 19).
If Hatib, who was among the first companions at Badr, could divulge the secrets of the Prophet (P) to his idolatrous enemies of Mecca and could betray Allah and His Prophet (P) with the excuse of protecting his relatives, and if 'Umar himself testifies to his hypocrisy, what can be said of the companions who converted after the conquest of Mecca? Or after Khaybar, or after Hunayn? And what [can be said] of those who were freed after they had surrendered, without accepting Islam?
As to what has been quoted in the last paragraph, i.e., the words attributed to the Prophet (P), that Allah said to the people of Badr: "Do as you wish for Allah has forgiven you" we will leave the remarks to the perceptive reader.
In volume 6, in "The Book on the Merits of the Qur'an, Sura al-Munafiqun", al-Bukhari reported in his Sahih in "The Chapter on Allah's words: 'It is the same whether you seek forgiveness for them or you do not. Allah will never forgive them, for Allah will not guide the corrupt ones'": "A man from the Muhajirun hit an Ansari man. The Ansari said: 'O Ansar, help [me]'. And the Muhajir said: 'O emigrants, help [me]'. The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) heard this and said: 'What is this argument which is characteristic to the claims of the period of ignorance?' They said: 'O Apostle of Allah! A Muhajir hit an Ansari'. He said: 'Leave that alone for it is a detestable [act]'. 'Abd Allah b. 'Ubayy heard that and said: 'They have done it? By Allah, if we returned to Medina, those who are powerful will expel the weaker!' This reached the Prophet (S.A.W.) and 'Umar got up and said: 'O Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.), let me cut off the head of this hypocrite'. The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: 'Leave him alone. Let the people not say that Muhammad kills his companions'" (Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 6, p 65).
The hadith clearly shows that hypocrites were among the companions. For the Prophet of Allah accepted 'Umar's words, that the man was a hypocrite, but prevented him from killing him, lest it be said that Muhammad killed his companions. Perhaps the Prophet (S.A.W.) knew that most of the companions were hypocrites and that if every hypocrite was killed, not many of his companions would remain [alive]. Where are the ahl al-sunna with regards to this painful reality which refutes their claims?
In volume 3, al-Bukhari reported in "The Chapter on Traditions of Fabrications", from "The Book of Testimony": "The Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) said: 'Who will help me against a man who has hurt me by harming my family?' Sa'd b. Mu'adh got up and said: 'O Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.), I will relieve you from him. If he is from the Aws, we will behead him. And if he is from our brothers, the Khazraj, we will do as you order'. Sa'd b. 'Ubada got up, and he was the chief of the Khazraj, and before this he was a righteous man but he was filled with zeal (for his tribe) and said: 'By Allah! You have lied. You will not kill him for you are not capable of doing it'. Usayd b. al-Hudayr rose and said: 'By Allah, you have lied! By Allah, we will certainly kill him for you are a hypocrite and argue on behalf of the hypocrites'.
The argument between the Aws and the Khazraj became so heated that they were about to fight each other. The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) was on the pulpit, and he kept on placating them until they finally kept quiet, whereupon he also kept quiet" (al-Bukhari, vol. 5 p. 156, and vol. 6, p. 8).
Sa'd b. 'Ubada, the chief of the Ansar, is accused of hypocrisy, having been, as the report testifies, a righteous man, and he is called a hypocrite in the presence of the Prophet (P) who did not defend him. The Ansar, whom Allah has praised so much in His book, instigated the 'Aws and Khazraj who were prepared to fight [each other] for a hypocrite who had annoyed the Prophet (P) concerning his family and [they were prepared] to defend him and had raised their voices in the presence of the Prophet (S.A.W.). [Knowing all this] how can we be surprised by the hypocrisy of others, those who had dedicated their lives to fighting against the Prophet (P) and his message, or those who intended to burn the house of his daughter after his death, for the sake of the Caliphate?
Al-Bukhari has reported in his Sahih, in volume 8, in "The Book of Unity", in "The Chapter on Allah's words: 'The angels and the holy spirit ascend to Him...'", "'Ali b. Abi Talib sent some pieces of gold from Yemen to the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.). The Prophet (P) distributed it among some people. The Quraysh and the Ansar became angry and said: 'He has given to the notables of the Najd and forsaken us'. The Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) said: 'Rather, I was placating them'. A man came to him and said: 'O Muhammad! Fear Allah!' The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: 'Who will obey Allah if I were to disobey him? He entrusts me to the people of the earth, don't you trust me?'
Khalid b. al-Walid asked him if he could kill him, but the Prophet (P) prevented him from that. When he went away, the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: 'From the offspring of this man will come a people who will recite the Qur'an but it will not go past their throats. They will pierce Islam as an arrow pierces the game. They will kill the Muslims but will spare the idolaters. Were I to meet them, I would kill them as 'Ad was killed'" (al-Bukhari, vol. 8 p. 178).
This is another hypocrite among the companions, accusing the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) of injustice in distribution, and then confronts him in total disrespect with the words: "O Muhammad, fear Allah". Although the Apostle of Allah (P) knew of his hypocrisy, and that from his descendants would emerge a people who would pierce Islam as an arrow pierces the game, killing the Muslims and sparing the idolaters, despite all of this, the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) prevented Khalid from killing him.
In this is an answer to the ahl al-sunna, who always argue with me saying: "If the Prophet of Allah knew that there were hypocrites among his companions who would be the cause for leading the Muslims astray, it would have been obligatory upon him to kill them so as to protect his umma and to protect his religion".
In volume 3, in "The Chapter if the Imam urges for a Treaty" in "The Book of Treaties", al-Bukhari relates:
"Al-Zubayr reported that he argued against a man from the Ansar who had participated at [the battle of] Badr, and that he presented the matter to the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) about a stream which both used for irrigation. The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) said to al-Zubayr: 'Irrigate from it, O Zubayr, and then let [the water] flow to your neighbour'. The Ansari became angry and said: 'O Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.), is it because he is your cousin?' The face of the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) changed (with anger) and he said: 'Irrigate and then hold it (the water) until it reaches the walls'" (Volume 3 p. 171).
This is another group of the hypocritical companions who believed that the Prophet of Allah (P) was influenced by sentiments and would favour his cousin. They said it impudently until the Prophet's face changed colour due to intense anger.
Al-Bukhari reported in his Sahih, in volume 4, "The Chapter on What the Prophet used to give to those whose Hearts were to be Placated"; in "The Book of "Jihad and Campaigns"; "From 'Abd Allah (R), who said: 'On the day of the battle of Hunayn, the Prophet (S.A.W.) favoured [some] people in the distribution (of booty). He gave al-Aqra b. Habis one hundred camels, and he gave 'Uyayna the same amount. He also granted some to the eminent Arabs, giving them preference in the distribution that day. A man said: 'By Allah! There is no justice in this distribution and the pleasure of Allah is not sought in it'. I said: 'By Allah, most certainly I will inform the Prophet (S.A.W.)'. So I came and informed him. He said: 'And who will be just if Allah and His Prophet are not just? May Allah bless Moses. He was troubled more than this, and yet he remained patient'" (al-Bukhari Volume 4, p. 61).
This is another hypocrite amongst the companions of the Prophet of Allah (P) and perhaps he was amongst the prominent Qurayshis. As a result, the narrator refrained from mentioning his name, afraid of the repercussions from the rulers of the time. You observe that the hypocrite is certain in his belief and swears that Muhammad was not just, and that he (the Prophet) did not wish to please Allah in his distribution. May Allah have mercy on Muhammad for he was troubled more than this, yet he was patient.
In volume 4, in "The Chapter on the Signs of Prophethood in Islam", in "The Book of the Beginning of Creation", al-Bukhari recorded: "Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (R) said: 'We were with the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) and he was distributing portions. Dhu'l-Khuwaysira came to him. He was from the Banu Tamim. He said: 'O Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.). Be just'. He said: 'Woe be to you! Who will be just if I am not just? You would be disappointed and at a loss if I were not just'. 'Umar said: 'O Prophet of Allah give me permission to smite his neck'. He said: 'Leave him alone. He has companions whose prayers and fasts, when compared with one of yours, makes it appear insignificant. They recite the Qur'an but it does not go past their throats. They pierce [through] the religion as an arrow pierces through the game'" (al-Bukhari, vol. 4, p. 179).
This is another group of hypocritical companions who outwardly exhibited such an abundance of piety and humility that even the Prophet (P) said to 'Umar: "The prayers and fasts of one of you seems little compared to their prayers and fasts". There is no doubt that they would memorize the Qur'an completely, but it did not go past their throats. The words of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.): "Leave him alone for he has companions" indicates the presence of the hypocrites in huge numbers among the companions.
In volume 7, in "The Chapter on He who does not Face The People with Reprimand", in "The Book of Ettiquettes", al-Bukhari reported: "'A'isha said: 'The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) did something and allowed it, but some people kept away from it. This reached the Prophet (S.A.W.). He delivered a sermon, wherein, after praising Allah, he said: 'Why is it that a group of you refrain from doing something that I do? By Allah, I am the most knowledgeable of them concerning Him, and I fear Him most'" (al-Bukhari, vol. 7, p. 96).
This is another type of companions who kept away from the practice of the Prophet (P). No doubt they mocked at his actions and, as a result, we see him (S.A.W.) delivering a sermon and swearing by Allah that he was the most knowledgeable of them regarding Allah, and that he was the most God fearing.
Al-Bukhari in volume 3, in "The Chapter on Sharing Together in Sacrifice and the Sacrificial Animals", in "The Book of Oppression" stated: "'Ibn 'Abbas said that on the fourth morning of Dhu'l-hijja, the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) came, having declared the intention to make the pilgrimage, and not anything else. When we came forth, he ordered us to make 'umra and then go to our wives (there was a lot of things that the people said against that). 'Ata said: "Jabir said: 'If one of us goes to Mina, the semen would still be dripping from his penis'. That reached the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) and he addressed the people saying: 'It has reached me that some people say so and so. By Allah, I am the most pious and God fearing amongst you'" (al-Bukhari vol. 3, p. 114).
Here is another group of companions who disobeyed the commands of the Prophet in the shari'a rulings. The saying of the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.): "It has reached me that some people say so and so" indicates that a lot of them had refused to free [themselves] from the state of ihram for their wives, on the pretext that they did not wish to go to Mina with semen dripping from their penises. It did not occur to these ignorant ones that Allah had enjoined a ritual bath and purification upon them after every physical union. How could they proceed to Mina with semen dripping from their penises? Were they more versed than the Prophet of Allah himself in the rulings of Allah? Or were they more virtuous and God fearing than him?
No doubt the mut'a marriage, or temporary union with women, was proscribed after the Prophet (P) by 'Umar, following the [same] pattern [as above]. For if, during the life of the Prophet (P), they rejected his commands concerning the cohabitation with their wives during the days of the pilgrimage, then it is not surprising to find them prohibiting temporary marriage after his death, denying for themselves what the Prophet (S.A.W.) ordered and considering the marriage of mut'a as fornication, as the ahl al-sunna say today.
In volume 4, in "The Chapter What the Prophet used to give to Those whose Hearts were to be won Over", in "The Book Of Jihad And Campaigns", al-Bukhari reported from Anas b. Malik that when Allah had given the Prophet some property of Hawazin, he gave it to Qurayshi men. The Ansar said: "May Allah forgive the Apostle of Allah, he gives the Quraysh and neglects us when our swords are still dripping with their blood". The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) gathered them in Quba, summoning only them, not leaving any one of them aside and said: "What is this that has reached me about you?" When they repeated their words to him, he said: "I have given it to men who recently converted from disbelief. Aren't you happy that the people go away with wealth, and that you return to your homes with the Prophet of Allah? By Allah, what you return with is better than what they return with". They said: "Certainly, O Prophet of Allah we are pleased". He said: "After me you will see a lot of egoism, so be patient until you meet Allah and His Prophet at the pond". Anas said: "But we were not patient" (Sahih, al-Bukhari vol. 4 p. 60).
Now we ask ourselves: "Was there amongst all the Ansar [even] one man [who was] guided and convinced by what the Prophet of Allah (P) did? Did he believe that he (the Prophet) did not follow his own desires and inclination? Did he understand Allah's words in this regard: 'Nay! By your Lord, they cannot believe until they appoint you as a judge in their disputes and [until] they do not find in their souls, resistance against your decisions and they totally submit' (4:65).
Was there anyone amongst them defending the Apostle of Allah (P) when they said: 'May Allah forgive the Apostle of Allah?' Certainly not! There was no one who had the level of belief which the noble verse demanded. Their words after that: 'Certainly, O Prophet of Allah, we are pleased' were not out of conviction. The testimony of Anas b. Malik, who was amongst them, was appropriate when he said: 'He advised us to be patient, but we were not patient'".
In volume 5, in "The Chapter on the Battle of al-Hudaybiyya", in "The Book of Wars", al-Bukhari reported from Ahmad b. Ishkab, who said: "Muhammad b. Fudayl informed us from 'Ala b. Musayyab, from his father who said: 'I met al-Bara' b. Azib (R) and said: 'You are honoured, you accompanied the Prophet (S.A.W.) You [also] paid allegiance to him under the tree'. He said: 'O nephew! You do not know what we innovated after him'" (al-Bukhari, vol. 5, p. 66).
Al-Bara' b. Azib spoke the truth. Most people do not know what the companions did after the death of their Prophet (S.A.W.), who oppressed his successor, his cousin and distanced him from the Caliphate. [Nor do they know] who oppressed his daughter al-Zahra and threatened to burn her. Nor do they know of the usurping of her rights to the gifts from her father, her inheritance and the khumus. [Nor do they know of] their opposing the successors of the Prophet (P) and the changing of the shari'a rulings, of the burning of the Prophetic sunna, or placing restrictions upon it. [Nor do they know] of the injury done to him due to the cursing and killing of his family, and their banishment and exile and granting power to hypocrites and corrupt ones, the enemies of Allah and His Prophet.
Yes, all these and more they did after his death. These [things] remain unknown to the masses who do not know the facts except what has been dictated to them by the Caliphs' schools, who specialised in changing the rulings of Allah and His Prophet, doing so by personal judgments which they called good innovations (bida' hasana).
Due to this, we say to the ahl al-sunna: "Do not take pride, O our brothers, in the companionship and the companions. For here is al-Bara' b. 'Azib, and he is amongst the foremost who pledged fealty to the Prophet (P) under the tree, saying to his nephew in the present tense: "Do not take pride in my companionship or my pledge under the tree, for you do not know what I did after him".
Allah said: "Those who pay allegiance to you in fact pay allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands. And whoever violates that oath has done so against his own [self]" (48:10).
How [great] was the number of companions who violated the pledge, so much so that the Prophet (P) took a pledge from his cousin 'Ali to fight them as has been documented in the historical texts.
In volumes 1 and 3 of his Sahih, in "The Chapter on if People who leave the Imam in the Friday prayer", in "The Book of the Friday prayer", al-Bukhari reported from Jabir b. 'Abd Allah (R), who said: "A caravan came from Syria bringing foodstuffs. We were praying the Friday prayer with the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.). All the people left except twelve men. This verse was then revealed: 'And if they see trade or vain [things], they hurry away and leave you standing'". (al-Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 225: vol. 3, p. 6, 7).
This is another group of hypocritical companions who observed no piety or humility. They fled from the Friday prayer to inspect the caravan and trade, leaving the Prophet of Allah standing in front of Allah, fulfilling his obligation in humility and awe.
Was the belief of these Muslims complete? Or were these the hypocrites who scoffed at the prayers and when they stood to observe it, did so in a lacklustre manner? None [of them] is exempted from this except those who stood with the Prophet (S.A.W.) to complete the Friday prayer, they were twelve men in all.
Whoever studies their status and investigates their reports will be appalled by their actions. No doubt their flight from the Friday prayer occurred several times and, as a result, the book of Allah, the most Glorified, has recorded it by stating: "Say that which is with Allah is better than vain pleasures and trade".
So that you may realise, O dear reader, the extent of their respect for the prayer (the contemporary Muslims show more [respect] than they did) I present the following narration to you:
Al-Bukhari reported in volume 3, in "The Chapter on what has been [narrated] Regarding Plants" in "The Book of Deputyship": "From Sahl b. Sa'id (R) who said: 'We used to rejoice on Fridays for there was an old woman who used to cut some roots of the silq (a kind of vegetable) which we used to plant on the banks of our water streams. She would cook them in her pot adding some barley on it, I do not know the amount of it except that there was no fat or melted fat on it. When we finished the Friday prayers, we would go to her and she would serve it to us. Due to that, we used to he happy on Fridays. We would neither eat nor take the midday nap until after the prayer'" (Sahih al-Bukhari vol. 3 p.73).
Good for those companions who rejoiced on Fridays, not because they would meet the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) or listen to his sermons and his exhortations or would pray behind him, nor because they would meet each other, or [would rejoice] due to the day's blessings and mercy; they rejoiced on Fridays because of a special dish that an old woman would prepare for them. If a contemporary Muslim were to say that he rejoiced on Fridays for food, he would be regarded as dimwitted and negligent (of the importance of the day).
If we wish to research and investigate more, we would find that the grateful ones, whom the Qur'an praised, were a minority, they did not exceed twelve in number. These were the devoted ones who did not hurry towards vain pleasures and trade, abandoning their prayer. They were steadfast with the Prophet (S.A.W.) in wars on a number of occasions when the rest of the companions turned their backs and fled.
In volume 4, in "The Chapter on what is Detested in Argument and Disagreement in War", in "The Book of War and Campaigns", al-Bukhari reported from al-Bara' b. 'Azib who said: "The Prophet (S.A.W.) appointed an infantry of fifty men on the day of Uhud, and appointed 'Abd Allah b. Jubayr as the leader. He said to them: 'Even if you see birds snatching us, do not leave your positions until I send for you'. They were defeating them. He said: 'And I saw, by Allah, the women fleeing with their anklets and legs visible as they had raised their dresses. The companions of 'Abd Allah b. Jubayr said: 'The booty! O people, the booty! Your companions have prevailed so what are you waiting for?' 'Abd Allah b. Jubayr said: 'Have you forgotten what the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) said to you?' They said: 'By Allah! We will go to them and take [something] from the booty'. When they came to them, their faces were turned away and they started to retreat. At that time, the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) called them from behind. Only twelve men remained with him whilst seventy of us fell". (Sahih al-Bukhari vol. 4, p. 26).
We know from what the historians relate of this battle that the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) left with one thousand companions, each one desiring to fight in Allah's path, allured with the help that had come at Badr. However, they disobeyed the commands of the Prophet (P), causing a loathsome, horrible rout in which seventy people were killed, the chief of whom was Hamza, the uncle of the Prophet (P). The remainder fled, and only twelve people remained with the Prophet (P) on the battlefield, according to what al-Bukhari says. The other historians reduce this number to only four. These were 'Ali b. Abi Talib, who resisted the polytheists, thereby protecting the front of the Prophet (S.A.W.); Abu Dijana who protected the rear, Talha and Zubayr. It is said that Sahl b. Hanif [was also there].
It is in this context that we [can] understand the saying of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.): "I do not see any one amongst them saved except like abandoned livestock". (We will discuss this hadith presently).
Allah, Glory be to Him, the Most Exalted, threatened them with hellfire if they fled from battle and said: "O you who believe! If you meet those who disbelieve in battle, do not turn back! Whosoever flees from them on that day, except as a strategy or to [regroup] with [his] party, has brought upon himself Allah's wrath and his abode is in Hell, it is an evil path" (8:6).
What, then, is the status of these companions who flee from prayer to pursue vain things and trade, and then flee from battle due to fear of death abandoning the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) alone in the midst of the enemy? In both cases, they all turn their backs and flee, none remain with him except twelve men [according] to the best estimate. Where were the companions, O people of perception?
Perhaps some researchers, when they read of such events and narrations, pay little attention to them and assume that they were occasional happenings which Allah forgave and that the companions did not repeat them afterwards.
Certainly not, the noble Qur'an informs us of startling facts, for Allah, Glory be to Him, has recorded their fleeing on the day of the battle of Uhud in His words: "Allah fulfilled His promise when you, by His Permission, were about to rout your enemy, yet you failed and fell to arguing about the order and disobeyed it after He brought you in sight of what you coveted. Amongst you are those who desire this world and amongst you are some who desire the hereafter. Then did He divert you from your foes in order to test you. But He forgave you. And Allah is full of grace to the true believers. You were climbing (high ground) without glancing at any one and the Prophet was calling you from behind. Then God gave you one distress after another so that you should not grieve at what [booty] you lost and what has befallen you, and Allah is well aware of what you do" (3:153).
This verse was revealed after the battle of Uhud, wherein the Muslims were routed due to their craving after the worldly goods when they saw the women raising their dresses and showing their legs and their ankles, according to al-Bukhari's report. They disobeyed Allah and His Prophet (P) as is related by the Qur'an. Did the companions pay heed to that event and repent and seek His forgiveness, not repeating such acts afterwards?
Certainly not! They did not repent and perpetrated worse than this at the battle of Hunayn, which occurred in the latter part of the life of the Prophet (S.A.W.). According to the historians, they were 12,000 in number in that battle. Despite their larger numbers, they took to flight and turned their backs as usual, leaving the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) amidst the enemies of Allah, the polytheists. He had only 9 or 10 persons from Banu Hashim, at the head of whom was Imam 'Ali b. Abi Talib, according to al-Ya'qubi in his history, as well as according to other [sources].
If their flight on the day of Uhud was disgraceful, then, at Hunayn, it was even more despicable and evil, for the steadfast ones who stayed with him at Uhud were four from out of a thousand companions, a ratio of 1:250.
At Hunayn, there were only ten patient and steadfast ones from 12,000 companions, a ratio of 1:1200. If Uhud occurred at the beginning of the emigration and the people were still few [in number], and only recently converted from the [period of] ignorance, what was their excuse at the battle of Hunayn which occurred at the end of 8 A.H., when only two years of the life of the Prophet remained? Despite their superior numbers and preparedness, they ran away head over heels from the battle, not even looking back at the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.).
The noble Qur'an clearly explains their feeble stances and their running away from that battle in the following words: "And on the day of Hunayn when your large numbers elated you but yet availed you naught, the land constrained you despite its width, and you turned in retreat. Allah sent tranquillity on the Prophet and on the believers and sent down an army which you did not perceive, and punished those who disbelieved, that is the chastisement for the disbelievers" (9:26).
Allah explains that He strengthened [the position of] His Prophet (P) and those who persevered with him in the fight, by sending tranquillity to them, and then assisted them with an army of angels who fought by their side and helped them against the disbelievers. There was no need of the deserters who fled from the enemy because they were afraid to die, disobeying thereby their Lord and their Prophet. Every time Allah tested them He found them failing.
For further clarification, it is necessary for us to examine the narration reported by al-Bukhari, especially the routing of the companions in Hunayn. He reported in volume 5, in "The Chapter on Allah's Words"; 'On the day of Hunayn when you were elated by your numbers, yet it availed you not...'", in "The Book of Military Campaigns", from Abu al-Qatada who said: "On the day of Hunayn, I saw a Muslim fighting a polytheist while another polytheist was coming up from the rear to kill him. I hastened to the one who was coming up from the rear. He raised his hand to strike me, and I struck his hand and dismembered it. He grabbed me and squeezed me heavily until I feared [for my life]. Then he let up; I broke free and struck him, killing him. The Muslims were routed, and I was defeated with them. 'Umar b. al-Khattab was with the people; I said to him: 'What is the matter with the people?' He said: 'It is by Allah's decree...'" (al-Bukhari, vol. 5, p. 101).
By Allah, how amazing is the conduct of 'Umar b. al-Khattab, who is held by the ahl al-sunna to be among the bravest of the companions, if not the bravest of them all? They relate that Allah strengthened Islam through him and that the Muslims did not openly preach [Islam] until after his conversion. History informs us of the true events and how he turned his back and fled from battle on the day of Uhud. Just as he turned back on the day of Khaybar when the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) sent him to the city of Khaybar to conquer it, placing him at the head of an army. He and his companions were routed and they returned accusing him ('Umar) of cowardice, and him accusing them of cowardice. He also retreated and fled on the day of Hunayn with those who fled; perhaps he was the first to flee, and people followed him since he was the bravest of them. As a result, we see Abu Qatada [who was] among the thousands who fled, turning and asking 'Umar b. al-Khattab, as one surprised: "What is the matter with the people?" 'Umar b. al-Khattab was not satisfied with his running away from the battle and leaving the Prophet of Allah (P) in the middle of the polytheists. He [further] pretended to Abu Qatada that it was the decree of Allah!
Did Allah order 'Umar b. al-Khattab to flee from the battle? Or did He command him to remain firm and to persevere in the wars and not to run away? He said to him and his companions: "O you who believe! If you meet the disbelievers in battle, do not turn upon your heels" (8:1).
Allah took a covenant from him and his companions about that, as has been related in Allah's wise book: "They had promised Allah before not to turn upon their heels, and the covenant with Allah must be answered for" (33:15).
How can Abu Hafs ('Umar) turn away from the battle and allege that it is Allah's decree? Where does he stand regarding the injunctions of these clear verses? Or are there seals upon the hearts?
We are not here discussing the personality of 'Umar b. al-Khattab, we shall devote a special chapter to him. The hadith of al-Bukhari is nonetheless striking and leaves us with no alternative [but] to make quick observations. What concerns us at this point is the testimony of al-Bukhari that the companions, in spite of their large numbers, turned back on the day of Hunayn. Whoever reads the historical texts on those wars and military campaigns will encounter the most surprising things.
If the decree of Allah was not obeyed by most companions, as we realized from the preceding discussions, then their disobedience to the commands of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) while he was alive and in their midst is not surprising. As for his commands after his death, may my father and mother be sacrificed for him, these were neglected, changed and altered without any concern.
The Companions' position regarding the Orders of the Prophet during his lifetime
Let us begin with the commands he issued during his lifetime which were countered by the companions with revolt and disobedience.
For the sake of brevity, we shall discuss only those [reports] documented by al-Bukhari in his Sahih. We will devote special pages to the rest of the Sahihs of the ahl al-sunna, they are replete with far more instances, and with far more explicit and challenging reports.
Al-Bukhari reported in volume 3, in "The Chapter on the Conditions on War and Making Treaties with those who Wage Wars", in "The Book of Conditions", after reporting the episode of the treaty of al-Hudaybiyya and 'Umar b. al-Khattab's opposition to what the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) had agreed to, he doubted him, saying to him openly: "Aren't you really the Prophet of Allah"?.. to the end of the story... Al-Bukhari said: "When they finished the matter of writing down the terms [of the treaty], the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) said to his companions: 'Arise and sacrifice the animals and then shave your heads'. He said: 'By Allah! Not a man stood up from them, even after he repeated himself three times. Yet no one amongst them rose. He went to Umm Salama and related to her what he had encountered from the people'" (Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 3, p. 182).
Are you not surprised, O reader, at the insolence and disobedience of the companions with regards to the order of the Prophet (S.A.W.)? Although it was repeated three times, none of them responded.
It is necessary here to relate a discussion that took place between some scholars and myself in Tunis after the publication of my book "Then I Was Guided". In it, they had read my remarks on the treaty of al-Hudaybiyya, and, in turn, had added their comments to mine, saying: "If the companions had disobeyed the order of the Prophet (S.A.W.) on the sacrifice and shaving, and none of them complied with his order, then 'Ali b. Abi Talib was among them and therefore he [also] did not comply with the order of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.)". I responded to them with the following:
Firstly: 'Ali was not reckoned to be among the companions. For he was the brother and cousin of the Prophet of Allah, the husband of his daughter and the father of his progeny. 'Ali was with the Prophet of Allah on one side, and the rest of the people on the other. If the narrator in Sahih al-Bukhari said that the Prophet (S.A.W.) ordered his companions to slaughter the animals and to shave their heads, then Abu'l-Hasan (A.S.) was not counted among them. For he was to him (the Prophet) what Aaron was to Moses. Don't you see that the greetings upon the Prophet are not complete unless the greetings upon his family are added to them? Without doubt he ('Ali) is the leader of the progeny of Muhammad. [As for] Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman and other companions, their prayers are not complete unless they mention 'Ali b. Abi Talib along with Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah.
Secondly: The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) always used to share with 'Ali, his brother, his sacrifices, as occurred in the farewell pilgrimage when 'Ali came from Yemen and the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) asked him: "What did you offer [for sacrifice] O 'Ali?" He replied: "What the Prophet of Allah offered". The Prophet shared his sacrifice with him. All the hadith reporters and historians have recorded this incident. He must have been his partner at al-Hudaybiyya too. Thirdly: 'Ali b. Abi Talib was the one who wrote the terms of the treaty of al-Hudaybiyya, as dictated by the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.), and had never disputed with him in anything throughout his life; not at al-Hudaybiyya, nor at any other occasion. History has not recorded a single instance at which 'Ali (A.S.) delayed [carrying out an order of] the Prophet (P) or disobeyed him even once, God forbid, or that he ever fled from a battle and left his brother and cousin amongst the enemies. Rather, he constantly offered himself [as a sacrifice]. In short, 'Ali b. Abi Talib was like the Prophet (P) himself. As a result, the Prophet (S.A.W.) used to say: "None is allowed to remain in the mosque while ritually impure (junub) except I and 'Ali".
Most of the participants [in the discussion] were convinced by what I had presented and admitted that 'Ali b. Abi Talib never in his life opposed any order of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.).
Al-Bukhari reported in volume 8, in "The Chapter on Abhorrence of Differences", in "The Book on Adherence to the Qur'an and Sunna", from 'Abd Allah b. 'Abbas who said: "When the time of the Prophet's (S.A.W.) death drew near, there were people in the house, among them 'Umar b. al-Khattab. He said: 'Come so that I may write for you [something] so that you may never go astray'. 'Umar said: 'Surely the Prophet (S.A.W.) is overcome by pain; you have with you the Qur'an, and the book of Allah is sufficient for us". The members of the household differed and argued [amongst themselves]. Among them were those who said: 'Come closer, the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) will write for you [something] so you will never go astray afterwards'. Among them were those who said what 'Umar had said. When the noise and differences intensified in the presence of the Prophet (S.A.W.), he said: 'Go away from me'".
Ibn 'Abbas used to say: "The calamity of all calamities was the clamour and differences that occurred between the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) and his writing the dictate for them" (al-Bukhari, vol. 8, p. 161; vol. 1, p. 37, and vol. 5, p. 138).
This is another command of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) which the companions countered with rejection, disobedience and degradation [of the status of] the Prophet (S.A.W.).
It must be noted that when he (the Prophet) asked for paper and ink to be brought so that he could write for them a letter which would prevent them from going astray, 'Umar b. al-Khattab said in the presence of the Prophet (S.A.W.): "The Prophet of Allah is delirious", i.e., hallucinating, God forbid.
Al-Bukhari, however, rectified that expression and changed it to "overcome by pain", because the one who said it was 'Umar b. al-Khattab. You see, he omitted the name of 'Umar in the narration, saying: "and they said the Prophet of Allah is delirious". This is the honesty of al-Bukhari in transmitting hadith. (We will, God willing, devote a special chapter to this.)
In any case, most hadith scholars and historians relate that 'Umar b. al-Khattab said: "Surely the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) is delirious" and many companions followed him and said what he said in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.). It is for us to picture the awful event and those raised voices, the intense clamour and dissension in his presence. No matter how the narration expresses it, it can inform us only a little of the actual scene. It is the same if we read a historical book on the life of Moses (P); no matter how vivid the book is, it will not have the effect of a film which we see with our eyes.
In volume 7, in "The Chapter on What is Allowable in Anger and Intensity for Allah's sake", al-Bukhari reported in "The Book of Morals": "The Prophet (S.A.W.) made a small room with a mat from palm leaves. He came out (of his house) and went out to pray on it. The people followed him in this. The [next] night they [also] came, but the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) delayed and did not come out to them. So they raised their voices and threw stones at the door. He came out angrily and said: 'You insisted on it (the prayer), until I thought it would become obligatory upon you. Offer your (optional) prayer in your homes, for surely the best prayer of a man is in his house, except the obligatory prayer'" (Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 7, p. 99; vol. 2, p. 252; vol. 4, p. 168).
Most unfortunately, 'Umar contravened the order of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and gathered the people for supererogatory prayer during his Caliphate, saying regarding his action: "This is an innovation, a wonderful one". Most of the companions followed his innovation, they espoused his views and supported him in every thing he did and said. 'Ali b. Abi Talib, and the ahl al-bayt, differed with him for they did not act, except [according to] the orders of their master, the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) and did not substitute anything for it. If every innovation leads to error and every error leads to the fire, what about the errors which were invented to oppose the rulings of the Prophet (S.A.W.)?
In volume 5, in "The Chapter on the Battle of Zayd b. Haritha", in "The Book of Campaigns", al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Ibn 'Umar (R) who said: "The Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) ordered Usama b. Zayd to [lead] a group but they sought to find fault in his leadership. He said: 'If you find fault in his leadership, you [also] sought to find fault in the leadership of his father before him. By Allah, he was created for leadership and was the most beloved of men to me; and now he (Usama) is the most beloved of people to me after him'" (al-Bukhari, vol. 5, p. 84).
This event has been related in detail by the historians; how they angered the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) until he cursed those who stayed behind the expedition of Usama, as he was a young general who had not reached seventeen years of age. The Prophet (S.A.W.) had put him in charge of an army in which were Abu Bakr, 'Umar, Talha, al-Zubayr, 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf and all the Qurayshi notables; the Prophet (S.A.W.) did not draft 'Ali b. Abi Talib, nor any of the companions who followed him ('Ali) in that army.
Al-Bukhari always summarizes events and edits the hadith to protect the honour of the "pious predecessors" amongst the companions. Despite this, what he reports is sufficient for one who wishes to attain the truth.
In volume 2 of his Sahih, in "The Chapter on Reproach of He who Fasted Continuously", in "The Book of Fasting", al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Abu Hurayra who said: "The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) forbade fasting [two days] continuously without breaking it and a Muslim said to him: 'But you fast continuously, O Prophet of Allah!' He replied: 'And who among you is like me? Verily I stay awake at night and my Lord grants me sustenance and water'. When they refused to stop fasting continuously, he joined them one day's fast with another [day], and then they sighted the crescent. Then He said: 'Had it (the crescent) been delayed, I would have continued [fasting] with you'. It was as a reproach to them for having failed to desist as he had ordered" (Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 2, p. 243).
Well done to these companions who the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) prohibited from doing something but they did not desist from it. He kept on repeating the prohibition, but they would not listen. Did they not read Allah's words: "Whatever the Prophet gives you, accept it, and whatever he forbids you from, keep away from it, and fear Allah! Indeed Allah is severe in punishment" (59:7).
Despite the threat of grave punishment by Allah, Glory be to Him, to those who opposed His Messenger, some companions did not attach any importance to His threats and warnings.
If this was their condition, then there can be no doubt about their hypocrisy, even though they outwardly exhibited an abundance of prayer, fasting and strict [adherence to] religion, to the extent that they even forbade themselves from cohabitation with their wives so that they might not travel with their penises dripping with semen. They refrained from what the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) did, as has been discussed previously.
Al-Bukhari, in his Sahih, volume 5, in "The Chapter on the Prophet's (S.A.W.) sending of Khalid b. al-Walid to Banu Judhayma", in "The Book of Military Campaigns", on the authority of al-Zuhri from Salim from his father, he said: "The Prophet (S.A.W.) sent Khalid b. al-Walid to Banu Judhayma and he invited them to Islam. It did not seem proper to them to say we have submitted ourselves and so they said [instead]: 'We have left idol worship. We have left idol worship'. Khalid started to kill them and to take captives. He gave each one amongst us his captive. Then, one day, Khalid ordered each man to kill his captive. I said: 'By Allah! I will not kill my prisoner and none of my companions will kill theirs'. [This happened till] we came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and we related this to him. The Prophet (S.A.W.) raised his hands and said twice: 'O Allah! I am innocent of what Khalid has done'" (al-Bukhari vol. 5, p. 107, vol. 8, p. 118).
The historians have chronicled this event in some detail and [shown] how Khalid perpetrated this despicable act of disobedience. He, and some of his companions who obeyed him, did not adhere to the commands of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) regarding the prohibition of killing anyone who accepted Islam. Certainly, this was one of the worst sins that caused the flowing of innocent blood, and the Prophet (S.A.W.) had ordered them to invite the people to Islam, not to kill them.
Khaild b. al-Walid was overcome by the urge of the Jahili period, and a Satanic force overcame him. [This was because] the Banu Judhayma had killed his uncle al-Fakiha b. al-Mughira, during the time of Ignorance. He came upon them and said: "Lay down your arms for the people have accepted Islam". He then ordered that their hands be tied and many of them be killed.
When some of the sincere companions learned of Khalid's intentions, they fled from the army and joined the Prophet (P) and related the news to him. The Prophet of Allah (P) then dissociated himself from his acts and sent 'Ali b. Abi Talib who compensated them for the loss of blood and property.
To know this incident in some detail, there is no harm in reading what 'Abbas Mahmud al-'Aqqad has written in his book: "The wonderful [exploits of] Khalid", wherein al-'Aqqad writes on pages 57 & 58 as follows:
"After the conquest of Mecca, his (the Prophet's) concern was directed to the cleansing of the Bedouin tribes surrounding it (Mecca) from idol worship. He sent expeditions to the tribes to invite them and to ascertain their intentions. Amongst the expeditions was that of Khalid b. al-Walid to Banu Judhayma, numbering about 350 emigrants, Ansars and Banu Sulaym. He sent them as missionaries and did not order them to fight. Banu Judhayma were the fiercest tribe during the period of Ignorance and were known as the "spoonful of blood".
Among those that they had killed on one occasion were al-Fakiha b. al-Mughira and his brother, the paternal uncles of Khalid b. al-Walid and the father of 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf and Malik b. al-Sharid and his three brothers from Banu Sulaym in one place, as well as several others from various tribes.
When Khalid came to them and they knew that the Banu Sulaym were with him, they donned their weapons and rode forth for battle, refusing to give in. Khalid asked them: 'Are you Muslims?' It is said that some of them answered in the affirmative and some of them said: 'Saba'na! Saba'na!' i.e., we have left idol worship! We have left idol worship! He then asked them: 'Why are the weapons on you?' They replied: 'There is enmity between us and some Arab tribes and we feared that you might be them, so we donned our weapons'.
He said to them: 'Drop your weapons for the people have accepted Islam'. A man among them who was called Juhdam cried out: 'Woe be unto you O Banu Judhayma! This is Khalid. By Allah, captivity will follow your dropping of weapons. After captivity [he will] behead you. By Allah! I will never give up my weapons'. He was still saying this when his weapons were taken away along with those of others. The other [people] dispersed.
Khalid ordered that they be handcuffed and put to the sword. Banu Sulaym and the other Arabs with them accepted his orders of killing them. The Ansars and Muhajirun, however, refused to kill anyone without being commanded by the Prophet (P) to fight [them]. The news reached the Prophet (S.A.W.) who raised his hands towards the sky and said three times: 'O Allah! I dissociate myself of what Khalid has done'. He then sent 'Ali b. Abi Talib to Banu Judhayma to compensate them for the blood and property that had been destroyed.
The event appalled the prominent companions, those who had accompanied the expedition as well as those who had not. 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf was so incensed that he accused Khalid of deliberate slaughter to avenge his two uncles".
This is the verbatim quote of what al-'Aqqad reported in his book "The wonderful [exploits of] Khalid". And al-'Aqqad is like the other ahl al-sunna thinkers, for, after relating the entire episode, he seeks a cold, fictitious explanation [to defend] what Khalid had done, [an explanation] which is baseless and which no sound reason can accept. There is no excuse for al-'Aqqad except that he wrote "The wonderful [exploits of] Khalid". Everything he presented in defence of Khalid is presumptuous, fragile as a spider's web. Whoever reads it realises the folly and weakness of his defence.
How can there be any excuse when he himself bore testimony in his own words that the Prophet (P) sent them as missionaries and did not order them to fight? And he admitted that the Banu Judhayma had removed their arms after having donned them when Khalid deceived them by telling his companions: "Remove your weapons, for the people have become Muslims". He also confessed that Juhdam had refused to lay aside his arms and warned his tribe that Khalid will deceive them by his words: "Woe unto you O Banu Judhayma, he is Khalid! By Allah, there is nothing after the removal of your arms except captivity, and after captivity beheading. By Allah! I will never lay down my arms". Al-'Aqqad said that the Banu Judhayma crowded him until he removed his arms. This shows the submission of the tribe and of their good intentions.
If the Prophet of Allah (P) sent them as preachers of Islam and had not ordered them to fight, as you yourself testified, O 'Aqqad, then what was Khalid's excuse in opposing the orders of the Prophet (P)? I don't think you can legitimize it, O 'Aqqad!
If the tribe had removed their weapons, declared their Islam, and finally won over their companion, who had sworn that he would not lay aside his weapons until they pacified him, as you have yourself admitted, O 'Aqqad, then what is Khalid's excuse for betraying them and killing them when [they were] passive and were bereft of their weapons?
You have said that Khalid issued orders against them, their hands were tied and they were put to the sword. This is another deed that I do not think you can justify, O 'Aqqad! Did Islam order Muslims to kill those who do not fight them, [even] assuming that they did not declare their Islam? Certainly not. This is the argument that the Orientalists, the enemies of Islam, propagate today.
Then, once again, you admit that the Prophet (P) did not order him to fight the people, for you said that the emigrants and the Ansar rebuked Khalid for having killed anyone without being commanded by the Prophet (S.A.W.) to fight. What is your excuse, O 'Aqqad, for seeking excuses for Khalid?
In replying to al-'Aqqad, it is sufficient for us [to note] that he completely refuted and destroyed his own excuses by saying: "The revulsion to the event extended to all the prominent companions, those who were present in the expedition and those who were not". If the prominent companions expressed [their] disgust towards Khalid to the extent that they fled from his army and complained to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and if 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf accused Khalid of deliberately killing the people in revenge for his two uncles, as al-'Aqqad has testified, and if the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) had raised his hands to the sky and said three times: "O Allah, I dissociate [myself] from what Khalid b. al-Walid has done", [and] if the Prophet sent 'Ali with property to compensate the Banu Judhayma for the blood [spilt] and [for the loss] of property so as to appease them, as al-'Aqqad has testified, this [in itself] proves that the community had accepted Islam, but that Khalid had wronged them and committed excesses against them. Can someone ask al-'Aqqad, who tries his best to defend Khalid, is he (al-'Aqqad) more learned than the Prophet of Allah (P) who dissociated [himself] from his acts three times? Or is he more learned than the prominent companions who reproached him? Or more than the companions who were present at the event but escaped from the expedition dismayed by his repulsive acts which they had witnessed? Or [is he more learned] than 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf, who was with him in the expedition and, without doubt, knew Khalid better than al-'Aqqad? He accused him of deliberately killing the people so as to exact revenge for his uncles.
May Allah fight blind fanaticism and jahili zeal which changes the truth. Although al-Bukhari summarized the matter in four lines, what he has mentioned is sufficient to convict Khalid, and the other companions who obeyed him in killing innocent Muslims, and whom al-'Aqqad has mentioned by saying: "Banu Sulaym and those Arabs with him obeyed him in killing them". However, al-Bukhari [mentions] only two or three who did not comply with his commands, they fled from the army and returned to the Prophet complaining of Khalid. You cannot convince us, O 'Aqqad, that the emigrants and Ansars who totalled 350, as you have said, did not obey Khalid in killing the people, and that they all fled from the army, no researcher can believe this. This is [merely] an attempt on your part to preserve the nobility of the pious ancestors, the companions, and to hide the realities at any cost. The time has come to remove the veils and to know the truth.
How many despicable massacres of Khalid b. al-Walid has history related to us, especially on the day of al-Battah when Abu Bakr appointed him to be the head of a big army comprising of foremost companions. He deceived Malik b. Nuwayra and his people when they removed their weapons; he ordered that their hands be tied and then beheaded them without a fight. He entered Layla, Umm Tamim, the wife of Malik, on the same night that her husband was killed. When 'Umar b. al-Khattab came to know [what happened], he castigated him and told him: "You killed a Muslim man then sprang on his wife, by Allah, I will stone you with your stones, O enemy of Allah". Abu Bakr stood beside Khalid and said to 'Umar: "Stop [moving] your tongue against Khalid, he used [his reasoning] and erred". This is another issue whose discussion is lengthy and mentioning it is repulsive.
The rights of how many unfortunate people have been usurped because a tyrant is strong and powerful? How [frequently] a tyrant is helped in his tyranny and falsehood because he is rich and close to the apparatus of the rulers. When he examines the story of the Banu Judhayma, al-Bukhari cuts the story short and says: "The Prophet sent Khalid to Banu Judhayma, he invited them to Islam. They did not deem it proper to say 'We have submitted', so they said 'We have turned away from idol worship'".
Were the Banu Judhayma Persians or Turks or Indians or Germans that they did not deem it proper to say "We have submitted", O Bukhari? Or were they an Arab tribe in whose language the Qur'an was revealed? Blind fanaticism and the major plots which were conspired to protect the nobility of the companions made al-Bukhari utter such statements so as to vindicate the act of Khalid b. al-Walid. Al-'Aqqad also says: "Khalid asked them: 'Are you Muslims?'" Al-'Aqqad then says: "It is said that some of them replied in the affirmative and some of them replied 'saba'na, saba'na (we have left idolatry)'". The words "it is said" show clearly that the community would accept anything which people conjured up so as to defend Khalid b. al-Walid. [This is] because Khalid b. al-Walid was the raised sword of the ruler and was the defender of the usurping Caliphate. He was its follower, exemplifying overwhelming strength to whoever resolved to rebel or revolt against what had been decided by the heroes of Saqifa on the day that the Prophet (S.A.W.) passed away. There is no power nor strength except with Allah, the most High, the most Great.
The Companions' conduct towards the Prophet's commands after his death.
Their neglecting of the Prophet's sunna:
Al-Bukhari reports in volume 1 in "The Chapter of Neglecting of the Salat" from Ghaytan: "Anas b. Malik said: 'I know nothing which is [performed] now that was performed in the time of the Prophet (S.A.W.)'. It was said: 'The prayer'. He (Anas) responded: 'Have you not neglected it [amongst the things] that you have neglected?'
He said: "I heard al-Zuhri say: 'I visited Anas b. Malik in Damascus and [I found him] crying. I said to him: 'What makes you cry?' He said: 'I do not know of anything which I encountered [during the time of the Prophet] except this salat and this has [also] been abandoned'" (al-Bukhari volume 1, p. 134).
Al-Bukhari has also reported in volume 1 in "The Chapter of the Superiority of the Fajr in Congregation: "Al-A'mash told us: 'I heard Salim saying: 'I heard Umm Darda say: 'Abu Darda came to me whilst he was angry. I said to him: 'What has angered you?' He said: 'By Allah, I do not know from the umma of Muhammad (S.A.W.) anything else except that they prayed in congregation'" (al-Bukhari vol. 1, p. 159).
In volume 2 in "The Chapter of going to a Mosque in which there is no Minbar" al-Bukhari reports that Abu Sa'id al-Khudri said: "The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) used to go out on the day of 'id al-fitr and 'id al-duha to the mosque. The first thing that he used to do was to pray, then he would exhort the people. The people continued this [practise] until I went out with Marwan when he was the governor of Medina on the day of 'id al-duha or 'id al-fitr. He wanted to ascend the pulpit before praying. I caught hold of his clothes but he pushed me away, ascended the minbar and delivered the sermon before the prayer. I said to him: 'You have altered [the sunna], by God'. He said: 'Abu Sa'id, what you know has gone away'. I said: 'By Allah, it is better than what I do not know'. He responded: 'The people would not remain after the prayer, so I delivered it before the prayer'" (al-Bukhari, vol. 2, p. 4).
The companions during the time of Anas b. Malik and Abu Darda and during the lifetime of Marwan b. al-Hakam, and this was a period [which was] very close to the lifetime of the Prophet (S.A.W.), changed the sunna of the Prophet (P) and had discarded everything, even the prayer, as you have heard, and reversed the order of the sunna of the chosen one (P) for their evil benefits, i.e., the Banu Umayya adopted the practise of reviling and cursing 'Ali and the ahl al-bayt from the pulpits after every sermon. Most of the people at the 'id al-fitr and 'id al-duha had dispersed when the prayer was completed, as they did not like to hear the Imam curse 'Ali b. Abi Talib and the ahl al-bayt. As a result, the Banu Umayyad intended to change the sunna of the Prophet (P), so they delivered the khutba before the prayer at the two 'ids, so that the practise of cursing and abusing 'Ali could be established in the presence of the entire Muslim community, against their will.
At the head of this was Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan, for he established this practice which, for them, became one of the best ways of getting close to Allah. It reached a point where some historians reported that one of their Imams finished his sermon on a Friday and, having forgotten to curse 'Ali, started to descend the minbar to lead the prayer. The people from every corner started screaming at him: "You have abandoned the sunna!, You have forgotten the sunna! Where is the sunna?"
Yes, unfortunately, this innovation which Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan initiated, remained in continuous practice for eighty years on the minbar of the Muslims - and even to this day its influences remain. Despite this, the ahl al-sunna wa'l-Jama'a are pleased with Mu'awiya and his followers and they do not accept any reproach or criticism of him, under the pretext of respect for the companions.
Praise be to Allah that the sincere Muslims researchers have begun to differentiate between truth and falsehood. Many of them have begun to distance themselves from the deeds of the companions which Mu'awiya, his partisans and followers, instituted. Now the ahl al-sunna wa'l-Jama'a have begun to wake up to this repulsive inconsistency. They defend all the companions to the extent that they curse one who reviles [even] one of them. If you tell them: "This curse of yours includes Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan, for he reviled and cursed the best of all companions and certainly meant to curse the Apostle of Allah who said: 'He who has cursed 'Ali has cursed me, and he who has cursed me has cursed Allah'"; at that, they stammer and hesitate in answering. They say things, which if they point to anything, merely indicate the stupidity of their minds and deep, blind fanaticism. Some of them, for example, respond by saying: "These are the lies fabricated by the Shi'as" and others say: "They are the companions of the Prophet of Allah, they can say what they wish to about others. As for us, we are not at their level to criticize them".
Glory and all Praise be to You, my Lord! Your words in the noble Qur'an led me to the realities which were difficult for me to comprehend and believe. Everytime I used to read: "And We have prepared for hell many of the jinn and humankind, they have hearts through which they understand not; they have eyes with which they see not and ears with which they hear not. They are like cattle, nay, worse yet, they are those who are heedless" (7:179).
I used to be astonished [at this] and would ask myself: "How can this be?" Can a dumb animal be better guided than this human? Is it possible for a person to admire a stone, then worship and seek sustenance and assistance from it? However, praise be to Allah, my astonishment ceased when I dealt with people and travelled to India where I saw astonishing upon astonishing things, doctors in anatomy, well versed in knowledge of the cell structure of human and its formation, yet they worshipped the cow.
Had this sin been committed by the ignorant Hindus, one would have accepted their excuse. But you will see the cream of their intellectuals worshipping cows, stones, the sea, the sun and the moon. After [seeing] this, there remains [no alternative] but for you to submit and to understand the things to which the glorious Qur'an points to, especially those human beings who are more misguided than animals.
Abu Dharr al-Ghifari's testimony regarding some of the companions
Al-Bukhari reports in volume 2 under the heading "That from which Zakat is paid is not Buried Treasure" from al-Ahnaf b. Qays [who] said: "I was sitting with the notables from Quraysh, and there came a man of coarse hair, clothes and appearance who stood in front of them, greeted [them] and said: 'Inform those who hoard (wealth) that a stone will be heated in the hell fire and will be put on the nipples of their breasts until it comes out from their shoulder bones, then it will be put on their shoulder bones until it comes from their nipples, it will be moving [inside them]'. Then he went away and sat near a pillar. I followed him and sat near him, although I did not know who he was. I said to him: 'I do not think the people liked what you said'. He replied: 'They do not understand anything. My friend said to me....'. I said to him: 'And who is your friend?' He said: 'The Prophet (S.A.W.)'. He said to me: 'O Abu Dharr, do you see Uhud?' He said: 'I looked at the sun, to see how much of the day remained. I thought that the Prophet wanted to me to go somewhere for a need. So I said: 'Yes'. He said: 'I do not wish to have gold the size of Uhud unless I would spend it all (in charity) except three dinars'. These [people] do not understand, they collect only worldly pleasures. No, by Allah, I will not ask them for worldly possessions nor seek their guidance in religion until I meet Allah the most Honourable, most Majestic'" (al-Bukhari, volume 2, p. 12).
Al-Bukhari also reports in section seven in "The Chapter [entitled] 'The Fountain and the Saying of Allah, the Most High: 'Indeed I have given you al-kawthar'". On the authority of 'Ata b. Yasar, from Abu Hurayra, that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "While I will be standing, a group of my followers will be brought there and, after I recognise them, a man will come between me and them and will say: 'Come along'. I will ask: 'Where to?' He will say: 'To the fire, by Allah'. I will say: 'What is with them?' He will say: 'They apostatized after you and moved backward'. Then another group will be brought and, as I will recognize them, a man will come between me and them saying: 'Come on'. I will say: 'Whereto?' He will say 'To the fire, by Allah'. I will say: 'What is their case?' He will say: 'They renegated and apostatized after you and I do not see any of them being spared except a few who are like cattle without a shepherd'".
From Abu Sa'id al-Khudri: "It will be said: 'You do not know what they initiated after you'. I will say: 'Woe, woe unto those who changed [things] after me'" (Bukhari vol. 7, p. 209).
Al-Bukhari volume 5 in "The Chapter of The Battle of al-Hudaybiyya and the Saying of Allah the Almighty: 'And verily Allah was pleased with the believers as they pledged their fealty to you under the tree'". From 'Ala b. al-Musayyab, who narrated from his father, who said: "I met al-Bara'a b. 'Azib (R) and said to him: 'You are fortunate, you were a companion of the Prophet and paid allegiance to him under the tree'. Whereupon he said: 'My nephew, you do not know what we innovated after him'" (al-Bukhari, volume 5, p. 66).
This is a major testimony from a prominent companion who was, at least, honest with himself and with the people. His testimony is confirmation of what Allah said regarding them: "If he dies or is killed, will you then go back on your heels?"
It is [also] a confirmation of the Prophet's (S.A.W.) statement: "Then it will be said to me: 'They apostatized after you and receded [from Islam]'".
Al-Bara' b. 'Azib was an eminent companion amongst the earliest notables who pledged their allegiances to the Prophet under the tree. He is bearing witness against himself and against other companions that they innovated [practices] after the death of the Prophet (P) so that the people may not take pride in them. He made it clear that being a companion of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and giving him allegiance under the tree which was called "the pledge of pleasure" did not prevent a companion from going astray and reverting [to unbelief] after the Prophet (P).
In volume 8 al-Bukhari has reported under the heading "The Prophet's (S.A.W.) words: 'You will surely follow the practices of those who were before you'". "On the authority of 'Ata b. Yasar, from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: 'You will follow the practices of those before you, literally even if they enter a lizard's burrow, you will follow them'. We said: 'O Prophet of Allah, (do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?' He said: 'And who else'" (al-Bukhari vol. 8, p. 151)?
History's testimony about the companions
For us, after the Qur'an and the sunna, there is another form of testimony which can be more explicit and clear for it was actually lived and felt by the people. They witnessed and interrelated with it, this evolved into history which was recorded and related, memorized and printed.
If we read the ahl al-sunna wa'l-Jama'a historical books like the works of al-Tabari, Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Sa'd, Abu'l-Fida, Ibn Qutayba and others, we see the most surprising things; we realise that what the ahl al-sunna say regarding the upright conduct of the companions and the absence of blemish in any of them are simply views which are based on no proof, no sound reason will accept them. No one will agree with [these views] except the fanatics, [in them] light has been overcome by darkness. They do not differentiate between the companions and Muhammad, the Prophet (S.A.W.), the infallible one, who uttered not one word from his own desire and did nothing but what was right. The Qur'an bore witness to their hypocrisy, corruption and lack of uprightness. You find them defending the companions more than they defend the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.). I cite some examples of these:
When it is said to any one of them that Sura 'Abasa does not refer to the Apostle of God (S.A.W.) but, rather, refers to one of the prominent companions whom Allah rebuked for his pride and arrogance when he saw a poor blind man, you will not find him accepting this interpretation. He says instead: "Muhammad was nothing but a man, he erred on several occasions and Allah rebuked him more than once. He is not infallible except in proclaiming the Qur'an". This is his view regarding the Prophet of Allah.
If, however, you tell him that 'Umar al-Khattab erred in innovating salat al-tarawi which the Prophet of Allah (P) forbade and instead ordered the people to pray in their houses by themselves if a prayer is of a supererogatory nature (i.e., not compulsory), you will see him defending 'Umar b. al-Khattab with defences which cannot be discussed. He will say: "It is a good bida'" and he will exert all efforts to find an excuse, despite a clear text from the Prophet (P) forbidding [it]. If you say to him that 'Umar abrogated a share for those whose hearts were to be appeased as [a share] ordained by God in His glorious book, you will find him replying: "Our master 'Umar knew that Islam was strong, therefore he said to them: 'We do not need you'. He is more versed in the Qur'an than everyone else". Are you not surprised at this?
The limit was reached when I said to one of them: "Let us leave aside this "good bida'" and those whose hearts were to be placated. What is your defence of him when he threatened to burn the house of Fatima al-Zahra and all who were [residing] in it unless they came out to pledge allegiance"?
He said to me quite candidly: "The truth was with him. Had he not done that, many of the companions would have sided with 'Ali b. Abi Talib and discord would have occurred".
Our conversations with this group of people does not help or benefit us. It is very unfortunate that most of the ahl al-sunna wa'l-Jama'a reason in this way for they do not know the truth except according to 'Umar and his actions. They have inverted the rule and know the truth by the men; they are supposed to know the men by the truth (know the truth and you will know it's people as Imam 'Ali has said).
This type of belief spread amongst them and 'Umar surpassed all the sahaba. They are all [seen as] upright and it is impossible for anyone to disparage or criticize them. By this method, they built a thick wall and an impenetrable barrier for every researcher who seeks to know the truth. You will find that he does not finish one wave but several [others] oppose him; he does not overcome one danger except that several others are put in his path. It is impossible for the poor researcher to arrive at the shore of safety unless he is persevering, patient and brave.
If we return to the topic of history, we find that in the case of some companions, their secrets are exposed, their veils dropped and their true colours are shown, [things] which they had sought to hide from the people. Their helpers, followers and evil judges who sought to be close to them, [also] tried [to hide].
The first thing that grabs the attention is their stance regarding the Prophet (S.A.W.), the morning after his death, may my soul be sacrificed for him. How could they leave his corpse when they had not prepared, washed it nor shrouded or buried it? Instead, they rushed to their meeting in the hall of Banu Sa'ida, debating and arguing amongst themselves over the Caliphate, whose religiously designated owner they knew. They had pledged allegiance to him during the lifetime of the Prophet (P).
What convinces us that they used the occasion to benefit from the absence of 'Ali and the Banu Hashim, whose morals had prevented them from leaving the Prophet of Allah (P) and rushing to the Saqifa, is that these [companions] wanted to finalize the matter quickly, before they had completed their noble task, and then impose upon them a decided issue. They (the Banu Hashim) were not able to say [anything] or debate since those at the Saqifa had vowed to kill anyone who sought to nullify the matter which they had decided upon, on the pretext of combating those who opposed and [on the pretext] of averting anarchy.
The historians have recorded surprising and strange things, that had occurred in those days, by those companions who later became the Caliphs of the Prophet (P) and commanders of the believers; like their forcing people to pay allegiance by violence, threats and power; their attack on the house of Fatima and opening it, and the pressure on her stomach with the door which she was behind, causing her to miscarry her child. And their coercing 'Ali, with his hands tied, and threats to kill him if he refused to pay allegiance. [Similarly], their denial of Fatima's rights of gifts and her inheritance and her share as a close relative [of the Prophet]. Up to her death, she was angry with them and she would pray against them in every prayer. She was buried at night in secrecy and no one attended her funeral.
[Another example is] their killing of companions who refused to pay the zakat to Abu Bakr in protest until they knew the reason of 'Ali being overlooked for the Caliphate. [This was because] they had pledged to him during the Prophet's time at Ghadir Khum.
Or like their dishonoring the women and transgressing the limits of Allah in their killing of innocent Muslims and forcing themselves upon the women without observing the stipulated waiting period ('idda).
[Historians have also recorded] their altering the rulings of Allah and His Prophet (P) which are clear in the book and the sunna and substituting, instead, judgments based on their personal reasoning that served their personal purposes.
[They have recorded events] like some of them consuming alcohol and continuing to commit fornication when they were governors of Muslims and their judges.
[Events] like the exile and banishment of Abu Dharr al-Ghifari from the city of the Prophet (P) until he died in solitude without having committed any sin. [Similarly] their beating of 'Ammar b. Yasir until he became unconscious and the beating of 'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud until his limbs broke and their isolating the sincere companions from positions of power which they gave instead to the corrupt ones and hypocrites from the Banu Umayya, [who were] the enemies of Islam.
[Historians have also recorded] the insults and curses directed against the ahl al-bayt, whom Allah had cleansed and purified completely, and the killing of virtuous companions who followed them.
[Events] like their usurping the Caliphate by force, aggression, murder and threats; and removing anyone who opposed them by different ways like assassination, poisoning and other [means] and their seizing the city of the Prophet by the army of Yazid to do in it as they pleased in spite of the saying of the Prophet: "Indeed, my sanctuary [lies] in the city, whoever violates it will have the curse of Allah, the angels and mankind all upon him".
[Historians have also recorded events] like their stoning the house of Allah with [large] catapults and burning the holy sanctuary and their killing some companions who were in it.
[Events] like their waging war against the Commander of the Faithful and the leader of the successors and the master of the pure household at the battles of the Camel, Siffin and al-Nahrwan, due to their despicable greed for this transitory world. He was, to the Prophet of Allah, [the position that] Aaron was to Moses.
[Events] like their killing of the two masters of youths in paradise, Imam al-Hasan by poison and Imam al-Husayn by slaughter and mutilation, and their killing of the whole household of the Prophet (P). Apart from 'Ali, b. Husayn, no one was saved. They committed other acts due to which human conscience cries out. I spare my pen from writing about them. The ahl al-sunna wa'l-Jama'a are aware of many of these [deeds] and [due to that] try their utmost to prevent the Muslims from reading history or researching the lives of the companions.
All the crimes and acts of violence that I have mentioned [quoting] from the historical books are, without doubt, the actions of the companions. It is not possible for anyone with intelligence, after reading this, to insist on the companions being faultless and to judge them [all] as being virtuous, [not allowing] criticism of any of them.
It must be stressed that we are absolutely aware of the moral probity, uprightness and piety of some of them, of their love for Allah and His Prophet (P) and their remaining true to the covenant [given to] the Prophet (P) until they died and that they did not change in the least. Allah is pleased with them and makes them reside in the proximity of their beloved Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).
They are too great, honored and exalted for any person to ruin their reputation, or to fabricate any lies about them, for the Lord of Glory and Power has Himself praised them on several occasions in His glorious book just as He has acclaimed their companionship and their sincerity to the Prophet of mercy more than once. History has recorded nothing but the most honourable status, filled with chivalry, nobility, bravery, piety and servitude to Allah; congratulations to them, peaceful be their abode and gardens of eternity with doors opened for them, the pleasure of Allah is greatest for those who are grateful. As the book of God reminds us, the grateful ones are a small minority, so do not forget!
As for those who submitted yet no faith entered into their hearts, they accompanied the Prophet of Allah (P) either out of desire, fear or some personal motives which they kept hidden. The Qur'an rebuked and threatened them, the Prophet of Allah warned and cursed them on several occasions. History has recorded some despicable acts and stances ...they do not deserve any respect and reverence, let alone that we should be pleased with them and accord them the position of Prophets, martyrs and upright ones.
This, by my life, is the true view for those who weigh things in a just manner and do not transgress the limits imposed by Allah for His slaves, i.e., love for the believers and enmity and dissociation from the corrupt ones. Allah says in His glorious book: "Do you not see those who befriend a group that has Allah's anger upon it? They are not from you, nor you from them. They swear falsely, knowingly. Allah has prepared a severe punishment for them. Evil indeed is what they used to do! They used their oaths as a cover to obstruct [men] from the path of Allah; for them is a humiliating chastisement. Neither their wealth nor their progeny will avail them with Allah. They are the inhabitants of the hell fire, they will dwell therein eternally. On the day when Allah will resurrect all of them, they will swear to Him as they swear to you. They will think that they have something, but they are liars. Satan has won them over and caused them to forget the remembrance of Allah. They are the party of Satan. Most certainly, the party of Satan are the losers! Those who resist Allah and His Prophet are the most abased. Allah has written that I and my Prophet will triumph, indeed Allah is most Strong, Powerful. You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the last day loving those who resist Allah and His Prophet, even if they be their fathers, their sons, their brothers or their kinsfolk. For them, Allah has written faith in their hearts and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And He will grace them with gardens below which rivers flow to dwell therein forever. Allah is pleased with them and they with Him, they are the party of Allah. Certainly, the party of Allah are the successful ones" (58:14-22).
I must not fail to record in this respect that the Shi'as are on the truth for they do not accord love except to Muhammad and his progeny and for the companions who walked on their path and the believers who followed them in goodness until the day of judgement. On the other hand, non-Shi'a Muslims accord love to all the companions paying no heed to those who resisted Allah and His Prophet, and they generally cite as their proof the words of Allah the Exalted: "O Allah, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith, and cause not in our hearts any rancour for those who believe. O Our Lord, you are most kind, most Merciful" (59:10).
You will find them being pleased with 'Ali and Mu'awiya without being concerned with the deeds which the latter committed. The least of what can be said of them is that these are [acts of] disbelief, deviation and fighting against Allah and His Apostle. I have previously mentioned an odd [instance], there is no harm in repeating it. One of the righteous people visited the grave of the eminent companion, Hujr b. 'Adi al-Kindi and found a man crying bitterly. Assuming him to be a Shi'a, he asked him: "Why are you crying?" He replied: "I am weeping over our master Hujr, may Allah be pleased with him".
He said: "What befell him?" He replied: "Our master Mu'awiya, may Allah be pleased with him, killed him".
He asked: "Why did he kill him?"
He replied: "Because he refused to curse our master 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him".
Whereupon the righteous man said to him: "And I weep for you, may Allah be pleased with you".
Why this persistence and obsession with the love for every companion? We find that they do not send blessings to Muhammad and his family without adding "and all the companions". The Qur'an did not order them to do this nor did the Prophet (P) demand it nor did any companion say it. The sending of blessings is only for Muhammad and his household, as revealed in the Qur'an and as was taught by the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) to them.
If I ever doubted anything, one thing I do not doubt and never will doubt, is that Allah asked the believers to love the close relatives, they are the ahl al-bayt. He made this obligatory for them, like a reward for the message of Muhammad. The most High said: "Say, I do not seek from you any reward except love for [my] kindred" (42:20).
The Muslims have unanimously agreed upon the need for the love for the ahl al-bayt (A.S.) and have differed about others. The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) said: "Leave that which causes you doubt, for that which causes you no doubt".
The position of the Shi'as regarding love for the ahl al-bayt and their followers is indubitable, whereas the view of the ahl al-sunna wa'l-Jama'a for the love for all companions presents grave doubts. Otherwise, how can the Muslims accord love to the enemies and murderers of ahl al-bayt (A.S.) and be happy with them? Isn't there a clear contradiction?
Let us leave aside the talk of those who have gone astray and some Sufis who maintain that a person's heart does not become pure and knows no real faith until there remains not an atom's weight of hatred for all of Allah's servants be they Jews, Christians, heretics and polytheists. They have some incredibly strange sayings about that, agreeing with the Christian church evangelists who deceive men by saying that Allah is love and religion is love. One who loves His creation has no need for prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and other [rituals].
These, by my life, are idle talks, not accepted by the Qur'an, sunna nor reason. The noble Qur'an says: "You will not find a community believing in Allah and the last day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger". He also says: "O you who believe! Do not take Jews and Christians as friends. For they are friends of each other. Whosoever amongst you takes them as friends, they are amongst them, God does not guide the wrongdoing community" (5:51).
The Most High has said: "O you who believe! Do not take your fathers and brothers as friends if they prefer disbelief over belief. Whoever amongst you befriends them, they are the wrongdoers" (9:23). He also said: "O You who believe, do not take My enemy and your enemy as friends and protectors. You show them love when they have rejected the truth that has come to you" (60:1).
The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) has said: "The faith of a believer is never complete until his love is for Allah's sake and his hatred is for Allah's sake". And he also said: "Love for Allah and love for His enemy can never co-exist in the heart of a believer".
Traditions of this genre are innumerable. Reason in itself is enough proof that Allah, Glory be to Him, has made believers love faith and adorned it in their hearts. He has made them hate disbelief, corruption and disobedience. For a man may hate his son or his father or his brother for his opposition to the truth and his swaying back and forth to the path of Satan; and he may love a stranger to whom he has no connection, except the brotherhood of Islam.
For all of this, it is incumbent that our love, affection and friendship be to those whom Allah has commanded us to love, just as it is necessary that our animosity, hatred and dissociation be from those whom Allah, Glory be to Him, has ordered us to dissociate from.
As a result of this, our affection is for 'Ali and the Imams from his progeny, even though there was no preceding love for them; [this is] because the Qur'an, sunna, history and reason have left us no doubt regarding them.
Because of this, we dissociate ourselves from those companions who usurped his rights to the Caliphate, even though there was no preceding hatred for them; [this is] because the Qur'an, sunna, history and reason have left for us grave doubts regarding them.
Since the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) instructed us: "Abandon that which causes doubt for that which does not cause doubt", a Muslim must not follow any doubtful matter nor neglect the book in which there is no doubt.
Similarly, it is incumbent on every Muslim that he free himself from the chains and blind imitations and judge according to his reasoning, without any preceding notions nor latent jealousy; because desires and Satan are two very dangerous enemies, they adorn a person's evil deeds so he sees them as beautiful. What a wonderful poetry Imam al-Busayr said in al-Barda:
"Deny the soul and the devil. Obey them not
They are foul advisers so refute them".
It is incumbent on Muslims to fear God [in dealing] with His upright servants. As for those who are not pious, there is no sanctity for them. The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) said: "There is no [sin] in slandering a corrupt person". This is so that the Muslims be made aware of his matter, and so that they may not be deceived by him nor befriend him.
It is necessary today that Muslims be truthful with themselves and take a good look at their painful, sad, debased reality and do away with praising and taking pride in the greatness of their predecessors and seniors. If our predecessors were on the right path, as we think today, we would not have arrived at this conclusion which is certainly the result of the revolution that occurred in the community after the demise of its Prophet, may my soul and the souls of all the world be ransomed for him.
"O you who believe, stand firmly for justice and bear witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents or your kin whether they be rich or poor. For Allah is better than them both. Do not follow desires lest you stray. And if you deviate or decline then verily Allah is well informed what you do" (4:135).
Views of those who know regarding some of the Companions
Imam 'Ali (A.S.) said, describing those companions who are seen as among the earliest companions: "When I finally accepted the matter [of leadership], one group broke [their pledge]; the other deviated and others missed the truth as if they did not hear Allah's words when He said: "That is the abode of the hereafter that we have created for those who do not strive to exalt themselves in the earth nor to create mischief. The best outcome is [for] the pious ones". Nay, indeed, by Allah, they heard and perceived it's meaning but alas! the world seemed glittering in their eyes and it's embellishments seduced them"...(Nahj al-Balagha, p. 90).
And he (A.S.) also said about them: "They chose Satan as their master in their affairs, and he made them partners. He has laid eggs and hatched them in their bosoms. He creeps and crawls in their laps, he sees through their eyes and speaks through their tongues. He has led them to sins and adorned for them what is foul, like the action of one whom Satan has made a partner in his authority and speaks falsehood through his tongue (Nahj al-Balagha page 96).
He said regarding 'Amr b. al-'As, the famous companion: "How strange it is with the son of Nabigha .. he has uttered falsehood and sinned with his tongue. Is not the worst of speech, lies? When he speaks, he lies; when he promises, he breaks [it]; when he seeks a favour, he nags; and when he is asked for something, he is miserly. He betrays his pledge, and he ignores kinship..." (Nahj al-Balagha, page 200).
The Prophet of Allah said: "The signs of a hypocrite are three: When he speaks, he lies; when he promises he breaks [it]; when he is entrusted [with something], he betrays". All these vices, and even more than these were present in 'Amr b. al-'As.
He said, in praise of Abu Dharr al-Ghifari and in criticism of 'Uthman and those with him who had banished him to Rabdha, and exiled him till he died alone: "O Abu Dharr, You were angry for Allah's sake, so place your hopes in Him for whom you were angry. The people were afraid of you for their world, and you feared them for your religion. So leave in their hands that, due to which, they were afraid of you, and flee with that, due to which, you feared them. How badly they need what you have denied them and how little you need what they have denied you. Tomorrow you will know who has profited and you will know the envious ones. Were the skies and the earth a burden for a servant and were he to fear Allah, then Allah would remove his burden. So love nothing but the truth and hate nothing but lies. Had you accepted their world, they would have loved you, had you appropriated to yourself some part of it, they would have given you asylum" (Nahj al-Balagha, page 299).
Regarding al-Mughira b. al-Akhnas, who was also a prominent companion, he (A.S.) said: "O son of the accursed one! O tree which has neither root nor branch. By Allah, He will not assist whoever you help and whoever you raise will not stand straight. Go away from us. May Allah distance you from your purpose. Do what you like, and may His mercy be withheld from you if you remain alone" (Nahj al-Balagha, p. 306).
He (A.S.) said of Talha and al-Zubayr, the two famous companions who waged war against him after having sworn their oaths of allegiance to him, then they breached it: "By Allah, they did not find any evil in me, they did not do justice between me and them. They are demanding a right which they abandoned and blood which they spilled". This is a rebellious group which contains the near one (Zubayr), the scorpion's venom and doubts which cast veils. The matter is clear and falsehood has been shaken from it's foundation, and it's tongue has stopped uttering mischief.
You hurried to me shouting allegiance! allegiance! like she camels having delivered newly born young ones, leaping towards their young. I held back my hand but you pulled it towards yourself. I drew back my hand but you dragged it. O Allah, these two have severed all bonds of friendship and wronged me! They broke their oaths and instigated the people against me. My Lord, let what they plot against me fail. Unfasten what they have tied, and do not make strong what they have woven. Show them the evil of what they aimed and acted upon. Before the battle, I gave them a chance to correct their deed and treated them with respect but they belittled the blessing and refused the safety" (Nahj al-Balagha, p. 306).
In a letter to them, he said: "O two respected Shaykhs! Revert from your present position for the worst that can befall you now is shame. Later, both shame and hell fire will be combined [against you]. Peace" (Nahj al-Balagha, p. 626).
Regarding Marwan b. al-Hakam, who had been taken as captive at the battle of the Camel, then set free. He was amongst those who had given a pledge and then broke the pledge: "No need have I for his pledge for it is the palm of a Jew. If he swears with his hand, he will violate it after a short while. He will get power for so long as a dog licks it's nose, he is the father of four rams who will also rule. The people will face hard days through him and his sons" (Nahj al-Balagha, p. 176).
He said of those companions who journeyed with 'A'isha to Basra in the battle of the Camel, amongst them were Talha and Zubayr: "They came out dragging the wife of the Prophet (S.A.W.) just as a maid slave is dragged for sale. They took her to Basra where they put their women in their houses but exposed the wife of the Prophet (S.A.W.) to themselves and to others in the army in which there was not a single person who had not offered me his obedience and sworn to me allegiance willingly, without being forced. They approached my officers and treasurers of the public treasury and its other inhabitants. They killed some of them in prison and others by treachery. By Allah, even if they had killed willfully a single Muslim without any fault, it would have been lawful for me to kill the whole of this army because they were present in it but did not disagree with it nor prevented it by tongue or hand, not to say that they killed Muslims of a number equal to that with which had marched on them" (Nahj al-Balagha, page 370).
His words regarding 'A'isha and the companions who followed her at the battle of the Camel: "You were the soldiers of a woman and the followers of an animal. The animal snorted and you responded, and when it was killed you fled. Your character is low, your pledge is broken and your religion is hypocritical" (Nahj al-Balagha p. 98).
"As for so and so, she is gripped by feminine views while malice is boiling in her bosom like the furnace of a blacksmith. If she were called upon to deal with others as she is dealing with me she would not have done it. Even then she will be given the original respect, while her accounting [of her acts] is with Allah". (Nahj al-Balagha, p. 334).
As for the general Quraysh, who were certainly companions, he said about them: "As for the eviction of us from this position, although we were the highest as far as descent was concerned and the strongest in relationship with the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.), it was a selfish act towards which the hearts of the people became greedy while some people did not care for it. The arbiter is Allah and to Him is the return on the day of Judgement. Leave this story of devastation about which there is hue and cry. Come and look at the son of Abu Sufyan. Time has made me laugh after weeping. No wonder, by Allah, what is this affair which surpasses all wonder and which has increased wrong doing? The people have tried to extinguish the light of Allah from His lamp and to close His fountain from it's sources. They mix epidemic producing water between me and themselves. If the trying hardships are removed from us, I would take them on the course of the truth, otherwise I do not feel sorry for them. 'Do not let your soul go out vainly, sighing after them. Surely, Allah knows what they are doing'" (Nahj al-Balagha, p. 348).
When he buried Fatima al-Zahra, leader of the women of paradise, he addressed the Prophet thus:"Your daughter will inform you of how the
umma joined together to oppress her. Ask her in detail and she will explain the situation. This has happened when you have recently left us and your remembrance has not disappeared" (Nahj-al Balagha, 460).
In a letter to Mu'awiya, 'Ali (A.S.) said:
"You are one whom the devil has taken complete possession of, he has secured his wishes in you and has taken complete control over you like the soul and blood. When were you, O Mu'awiya, the protector of the subjects and guardian of the affairs of the people? Without any forward step or conspicuous distinction? We seek Allah's protection against the befalling of previous misfortunes and I warn you lest you continue getting deceived by desires and your appearance be different from your inner self.
You have called me to war. Leave the people on one side, come out to me [for fighting] and spare both parties from fighting so that it may be known which of us has a rusted heart and covered eyes. I am Abu'l-Hasan, slayer of your father, your uncle and your brother, all in single combat on the day of Badr. That same sword is still with me and I meet my adversary with the same heart. I have not altered the religion nor put up any new Prophet. I am surely heading on that very path which you had willingly forsaken and which you had embraced by force (Nahj al-Balagha, 526).
As for what you say, that "We are of the progeny of 'Abd al-Manaf", so too are we. But Umayya was not like Hashim, nor Harb equal to 'Abd al-Muttalib, nor Abu Sufyan to Abu Talib nor one freed (at the conquest of Mecca) equal to a Muhajir, nor one of clean descent a match for him who has been adopted, nor the truthful one the same as one on falsehood, nor is a believer a match for a hypocrite. How bad are the successors who go on following the predecessors who have fallen in hell.
Besides that, we also have the distinction of Prophethood among us, by virtue of which we subdued the strong and raised up the down trodden. When Allah caused the Arabs to enter his religion in overwhelming numbers, and this umma accepted Islam, some did so willingly while others did so forcefully. You were among those who entered Islam due to greed or fear at a time when others had preceded and the first Muhajirs had taken away all the distinction (Nahj al-Balagha, page 533).
You have called us to follow the judgment of the Qur'an but you are not the people of the Qur'an. We did not accept your proposal but we respond to the Qur'anic injunctions, Peace" (Nahj al-Balagha, 595).
"And say: 'Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Falsehood [is bound] to perish'".