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Ka'b During The Reign Of The Third Caliph ('Uthman)

The influence of Ka'b continued to grow after the death of 'Umar. During the reign of the Third Caliph, 'Uthman the righteous Umayyad, Ka'b was able to give verdicts in Islamic affairs. The Caliph often agreed with him, and no one among the attendants of the Caliph's meetings would oppose him, except for people like Abu Dharr who became so furious one time upon hearing Ka'b giving verdicts in Islam that he hit him with his rod, saying "Son of a Jewish lady, are you trying to teach us our religion?"

To secure for himself a bigger influence and a better future after the death of 'Uthman, Ka'b tried to please Mu'awiyah by predicting his future arrival to the helm of the Islamic rule. Ibn Al-Athir reported in his Kamil (part 3, page 76) and Al-Tabari reported in his History (part 4, page 343) that while the Caliph 'Uthman was returning from his pilgrimage accompanied by Mu'awiyah and Ka'b, the caravan driver sang a song in which he predicted that Ali would be the successor of 'Uthman. Ka'b belied the singer saying:

"By God, you lie. The ruler after 'Uthman will be the rider of the blond mule." Ka'b was referring to Mu'awiyah, and he falsely attributed this information to the Old Testament."

With this prediction, Ka'b, the international Jew, took aim at more than one target:

1. He continued his campaign against Imam Ali, trying his best to convince the Third Caliph to keep the Imam away from power. He had previously succeeded in convincing the Second Caliph to keep the Imam away.

2. He inflamed the ambition of Mu'awiyah to ascend the caliphate.

3. He secured for himself a prominent position with Mu'awiyah. History records that Ka'b moved from Medina to Damascus during the reign of 'Uthman. There he lived in the shadow of Mu'awiyah who befriended him and made him one of his closest associates. Mu'awiyah directed Ka'b to report anything that he considered advantageous to him.

Mahmood Abu Rayyah, in his book Adhwa (lights) on AI-Sunnah AI-Muhammadiyyah, reported that Ibn Hajar Al-'Asqalani, recorded in his book (Al-Isabah, part 5, page 323), that Mu'awiyah ordered Ka'b to narrate to the people of Damascus anything that puts Damascus and its people above other provinces.

We should not forget to mention that Ka'b belied the caravan driver, saying: "By God, you lie. The ruler after 'Uthman will be the rider of the blond mule." This prediction did not come from the Old Testament as Ka'b said. He actually heard it from the good companions who heard it from the mouth of the Prophet when he was informing them of what will happen after his death.

Abu 'Uthman Al-Jahiz, in his book Al-Safyaniyah, reported that Abu Dharr said that he heard the Messenger of God saying:

"When the man with big eyes, a wide throat, and who eats and never gets full, becomes the ruler of the nation, the nation should be alarmed."

Abu Dharr also reported in the presence of 'Uthman that the Messenger of God said:

"When the children of Abu Al-As (the Umayyad clan of Marwan) reach the number of 30, they will make the Islamic treasury their own, treat the servants of God as their servants, and stereotype the religion." (the author, Amir Al-Mu'minin, page 431).

It should be mentioned that the Prophet prohibited taking from the book of the people of the scripture.

Ahmad reported that Jabir Ibn Abdullah reported that 'Umar came to the Prophet with a book which he obtained from some followers of the scripture. He read it in front of the Prophet. The Prophet became furious and said: "Son of Al-Khattab, by the One in Whose hand is my soul, if Moses were alive, he would have to follow me."

Al-Bukhari reports that Ibn Abbas said:

"How do you ask the people of the scriptures about anything while your book, which was revealed by Allah to His Messenger (Muhammad), is the newest Book? You read it pure without interpolation by any non-Qur'anic words. The Qur'an has informed you that people of the scripture tampered with and changed their book."

However, Abu Hurayrah and Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn al-As reported that the Messenger of God said:

"Take from the Israelites, and you will not be committing a sin."

Both Abu Hurayrah and Abdullah were students of Ka'b.

It is reported that Abdullah Ibn Amr Al-As acquired two camels loaded with books of people of the scripture and used to give information to Muslims from these books.

Ibn Hajar said:

"Because of this, many prominent scholars among the students of the companions of the Prophet avoided taking information from Abdullah Ibn Amr Al-As (Fath Al-Bari, part 1, page 167).

Sayyid Muhammad Rashid Rida, in his magazine Al-Manar of Egypt, said about Ka'b (correcting those who stated that Ka'b is very knowledgeable):

"Being extremely knowledgeable does not necessarily mean being truthful." Ka'b's knowledge was attributed to the Old Testament so that it would be accepted. He also reported from other books and attributed these reports to the Old Testament to make them acceptable.

Sayyid Muhammad Rashid Rida added that Ka'b was undoubtedly one of the most intelligent Rabbis before declaring his Islam and very capable of deceiving the Muslims.

Sayyid Muhammad Rida also said that Ka'b was one of the Jewish heretics who displayed Islam and worshipped only to make his religious reports and opinions accepted. His conspiracy became popular and it deceived some of the companions. When some of the companions conveyed Ka'b's reports without attributing them to him, some of their students and people after them took the reports as the words of the Prophet Muhammad. The scholar and journalist Sayyid Rida said "Ka'b was a volcano of fabricated hadiths. I am sure that he was a liar and I have no confidence in his Islam." (Al-Manar magazine, part 27, page 541)

Sayyid Rashid Rida said about Ka'b Al-Ahbar and Wahb Ibn Munabbih the following:

"These two men were the worst Israelite reporters and the most deceptive to the Muslims. All fairy tales pertaining to Islam, to the creation, the Prophets and their words, faith-testing trials, and the Day of Judgement, have no other source than these two men."

They were an example of the popular proverb: "There is in every valley a mark from the fox," meaning that these two men left their mark on everything they touched. No one should be frightened by the fact that some of the companions and their students were deceived by the tales these two persons told. No one is immune from the belief in statements of liars. (Sayyid Rida, Al-Manar; part 27, page 783). This information was recorded by Muhammad Abu Rayyah, AI-Sunnah AI-Muhammadiyyah, page 174.

We ought to mention that Muhammad Ibn Sa'd, in his book Al-Tabaqat, part 5, page 542, mentioned that Wahb Ibn Munabbih said:

"I have read 92 books, all of which came from heaven. 72 are in the churches and in the hands of the people, and 20 are only known to a few."

This is what Wahb Ibn Munabbih said. But the Holy Qur'an only mentions five revealed books!

1. The Book of Ibrahim
2. Al- Tawrat (Old Testament)
3. AI-Injil (New Testament)
4. Al-Zabur (Psalms of David)
5. The Holy Qur'an

Thus, we have only five Heavenly books. Where did Wahb Ibn Munabbih find the other 87 books?

As we come to this point, we find that many companions, many of their students, and many commentators on the Qur'an from the righteous Sunni scholars have taken a great deal of information from Ka'b Al-Ahbar and Wahb Ibn Munabbih.

The Second Caliph, 'Umar, was one of those who accepted the reports of Ka'b Al-Ahbar. The Third Caliph believed him as well. Mu'awiyah, furthermore, not only accepted the reports of Ka'b, but also ordered him to pass his information along to the people of Damascus. This means that Mu'awiyah wanted the people of Damascus to accept what Ka'b reported.

Abu Hurayrah, the most frequent reporter of hadith among the companions, Abdullah Ibn 'Umar, and Abdullah Ibn Amr Al-As also accepted the reports of Ka'b.

On the other hand, we find that Imam Ali, the companions who followed him, and their students did not take from Ka'b or any other Israelite reporter who embraced Islam. Ka'b did not even contact Imam Ali or the companions who were around him, such as Abu Dharr, Ammar Ibn Yasir, Al-Miqdad Ibn al-Aswad, Salman Al-Farisi, and Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari.

Readers of books of hadiths, which were recorded by Shi'ite scholars, do not find reports that were originated by Ka'b, Wahb, or any of the Israelites. If there is anything of that kind found in Shi'ite books, it was taken from books of Sunni scholars.

It has already been mentioned that Imam Ali said about Ka'b: "Certainly he is a professional liar."

The Imams from the descendants of Imam Ali did not accept the hadiths of Ka'b. It is reported that Zurarah Ibn A'yan was sitting near Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir, grandson of the Imam Ali, while the Imam was facing the Ka'bah. The Imam said: "Certainly looking at (Ka'bah) is a worship of God." A man from Bajilah said to Abu Ja'far: Ka'b Al-Ahbar says: "The Ka'bah prostrates to the Temple of Jerusalem every morning." Abu Ja'far (Muhammad Al-Baqir) said to the man: "What do you think about what Ka'b said?" The man answered: "Ka'b told the truth." Abu Ja'far retorted saying: "No, you have lied and Ka'b has lied."

Zurarah said: I have never seen the Imam before this event saying to any other person: "You have lied." (Sayyid Hashim Ma'ruf, Sirat A1-Imams Al-Ithna 'Ashar, part 2, page 418).

Adapted from the book: "The Shi'ites Under Attack" by: "Imam Muhammad Jawad Chirri"

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