Rafed English

The Case of Saqeefa and Imam Ali's (as) Situation

Adopted from the book : "Fadak in History" by : "Shahid Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr"

At the same time there was another meeting held by Ansar at the saqeefa of Beni Sa'ida led by Sa'd bin Obada,the chief of al-Khazraj.1He invited them to choose him as the caliph and they agreed. 2 "They discussed the matter among them and supposed: " If the Muhajireen refused and said that they were the prophet's tribe and people,we would say: An emir from us and an emir from you. "Sa'd said: "This is the first sign of weakness."

When Omar knew of this meeting, he came to the prophet's house and sent for Abu Bakr to come out. Abu Bakr said that he was busy. Then Omar sent him a message that something had happened and he had to attend.He came out. They, with Abu Obayda, went to the Saqeefa. Abu Bakr made a speech, in which he mentioned the close relation between the Muhajireen and the prophet and that they were his tribe and assistance. Then he said: "We are the emirs and you are viziers.We will not opinionate without your counsel or decide any matter without you." Al-Hubab bin al-Munthir bin al-Jamooh stood and said: "O people of Ansar, keep to your opinion.The people are with you. No one will dare to object to you or to oppose your opinion.You are the people of power and glory.You are the majority with courage and valor. People look forword to what you do. Do not be in disagreement lest you spoil decision. If these people (Muhajireen) refuse but their opinion,so it will be one emir from us and one emir from them".

Omar said: "How far! Two swords never meet in one sheath. By Allah, the Arabs do not accept to give you the caliphate whereas the Prophet was giving it to those whom the Prophet was from. Who dare to dispute us for the authority of Muhammad while we are his tribe and guardians?" Al-Habub bin al -Munthir said: "O people of Ansar, keep to your agreement and do not listen to the right. If they deny, you are to expel them from this country because you are worthier of this matter than them. By your swords people Submitted to this religion, It is our thought that we defend and we suffice to. I swear by Allah that we, if you want, will fight for it." then Omar said: "Allah may kill you." He said: "It is you, whom Allah may kill." Abu Obayda said: "O People of Ansar, were the first ,who supported the Prophet, do not be the first, who change the sunna."

Basheer bin sa'd, the father of an-Nu'man bin Basheer stood up and said; "O people of Ansar, Muhammad was from Quraysh and his people are worthier of him .I swear by Allah that I never disput with them about this matter." Abu bakr said: "These are Omar and abu Obayda. You may pay homage to any of them." They both said; "By Allah we will not do that when you are the best of the Muhajireen and the successor to the Prophet in prayer, which is the best pillar of religion. Extend your hand!" When he Extend his hand so that Omar and Abu Obayda would pay homage to him, Basheer bin sa'd preceded and paid homage to before them. Al -Hubab bin al- muntjir said to him : "misfortunes may hit you !Do you begrudge your cousin the emirate?" Ossayd bin Khudhayr, the chief of the tribe of al-ouss 3 said to his follows : By Allah, if you do not pay homage, the tribe of al- Khazaraj will gain the virtue for ever." the paid homage to Abu bakr. People,from every side began to pay homage.4

We notice in this tradition that it was Omar, who heard about the meeting of the Ansar at the saqeefa and told Abu bakr of it. As long as we know that Omar was not inspired with this news by the heaven, so he must have left the Prophet 's house after Abu Bakar had convinced him of the prophet"s house death. Why did he leave the prophet 's house ? And Why did he tell Abu Bakr alone about the event of saqeefa ? And many other questions like that , which we do not find reasonable answers for. It leads us to think that there was a previous agreement between Abu bakr,Omar and Abu Obayda on a certain plan concerning the caliphate.

We can find many evidences for this concept that may permit us to suppose so.

First : Omar told Abu Bakr alone about the news of Saqeefa and he insisted on calling him even after his excusing himself as being busy until he hinted at the purpose. He went out and the both hurried to the Saqeefa.5 it was possible for Omar to call for any other one of the great companions of the Muhajireen after Abu Bakr apologized that he could not come out. This insistence of Omar could not be interpreted as the freindship that was between them because the matter was not a matter of friendship and the dispute of the Ansar did not depend on that Omar was to find a friend but to be asisted by anyone ,who was to agree with him on the precedence of the Muhajireen.

Let us notice too that Omar send a Messenger to Abu Bakar telling him of that and he himself did not go fearing that the news might spread in the Prophet's house and that the Hashimites and the other might hear of it.

The second time he asked the Messenger to tell Abu Bakr something had happend, which required his attendance. We do not think that the attendance of of Abu Bakar was so important unlees the matter was so private and purpose was to carry out of a plan that was agreed on previously.6

Second : Omar's situation about the Prophet 's death when he Claimed he did not die. We cannot interpret it as that Omar was confused because of the disaster of the Prophet's death and lost his reason to claim what he claimed because the conduct of Omar along his life do not show he was from this kind, especially his situation in the Saqeefa after this matter immediately. He,who was effected by the disaster to a degree that he lost his reason,would not do what he did after one hour of that. He argued, resisted and struggled.7

We know too that Omar had not that opinion, which he declared in that critical moments some days or some hours before , when the prophet became serious ill. The Prophet(s) wanted to write a will to safeguard People from deviation but Omar opposed him and said; "the Book of Allah (the Quran ) is enough for us. The Prophet is raving. 8 or (he is overcome by pain)" as it was mentioned in the sunni Books (sahih). He believed that the Prophet would die (like the others) and that his illness might make him die, otherwise he would not oppose him.It was mentioned in Ibn katheer's Tareekh (history) that Omar bin za'id had recited the verse, which Abu Bakr recited to Omar, before Abu Bakr recited it to Omar, but Omar was not satisfied with it yet he accepted Abu Bakr 's speech and was satisfied with it.9

So can we interpreted that but to say that Omar wanted to make disturbance among People by his word (that the prophet did not die) and to make People busy confirming or refuting it as long as Ab Bakr was absent lest some thing would happen concerning the caliphate and some thing that Abu Bakr must attend - according to Omar's saying? thus when Abu Bakr appered, Omar became tranquil and felt save that the caliphate had turned away from the Hashimites as long as the oppositionist had a voice in the field. He went to pick up the news expecting what would happen untill he got the news that he did not expect.

Third : The form of the government that was produced in the Saqeefa; Abu Bakr became the caliph, Abu Obayda became incharge of the treasury and Omar became in charge of judgement.10 In modern terms that the first was in charge of the high political authority, which second was in charge of the economic authority, and the third was in charge of the judicial authority, which were the main authorities in the system of the islamic government.

The divition of vital position of the islamic government on that day among these three men who played the prominent role at the saqeefa, did not happen by chance or that it was improvised.

Fourth : The saying of omar when he was about to die : "If Abu obayda was alive, i would appoint him as the caliph."11

It was the sufficiency of Abu obayda that led Omar to wish so, because he thought that Ali was the most sufficient one for the caliphate; nevertheless he did not want to undertake the responsibility of the Umma alive or dead.12

It was not the fidelity of Abu Obayda, of which the prophet (s)had witnessed -as Omar claimed- that was the reason of that because the prophet did not distinguish Abu Obayda with praise whereas many of the great Muslims at that time were honored by the prophetic praise much more than that of Abu Obayda13 as it mentioned in the Sunni and Shia books.

Fifth : Fatima (s) accused the rulers of the political partisanship as you will see in the next chepter.

Sixth : The saying of Imam Ali to Omar :O "Omar milk a milking that you will have a half of it. Suppor him (Abu bakr) today so he may recompense you tomorrow".14

It was clear that imam Ali hinted at mutual understanding between the two persons and at an agreement on a certain plan between them,otherwise the day of saqeefa itself would not hold all those political accounts that made Omar have a half the milk!Seventh : What was mentioned in the letter of Mu'awiya bin Abu Sufyan to Muhammad bin Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) about accusing his father (Abu Bakr) and Omar of having agreement together to spoil Imam Ali's right (the caliphate) and of their secret planinng for the attack against Imam Ali. He said in his letter:

"We and your father knew the virtue of ibn Abu Talib and his right that we had to regard and accept.When Allah chose for His prophet what He had, carried out of His promise, spread His mission and cleared His evidence then he raised his ( the prophet's) soul to the better world,your father and Omar were the first, who exorted his (Ali) right and opposed his claim.On that they agreed and became consistent.Then they asked him to pay homage to them but he did not respond to them so they intended to force him to by any means even the worst of it."15

We notice that Mu'awiya added after Abu Bakr and Omar's asking Imam Ali to pay homage "Then they agreed..and became consistent" to show that their movement was planned previously and the agreement on the caliphate preceeded their political actions on that day.

I do not want to go far in studying this historical side but i may think in the light of that historical account that the caliph was not indifferent to the rule as many researchers described him.In fact we can find in the very agreement,done by the caliph in the Saqeefa on that day,evidence showing that he looked forword to the rule.He, after declearing the main conditions of the caliph, wanted to limit the matter to himself so he suggested one of his two companions (Omar and Abu Obayda),16 who would not precede him. So the natural result of that was that he himself got it.

The heste of Abu Bakr to apply that form,which he presented,as the form of the legal caliph and that he suggested one of his two freinds specially that would not lead except to him ,did mean that he wanted to extort the caliphate from the Ansar and to fix it for himself at the same time. For that reason he did not hesitate when his two friends offered him to be the caliphe. Omar himself witnessed to Abu Bakr that he was a skilled evasive politician on the day of Saqeefa in one of his long traditions, in which he described Abu Bakr as the most enviuos of Quraysh.17

We find in what was mentioned about the two caliphs (Abu Bakr and omar) during the time of prophet(s) that they have a political fancy in their minds and that they thought of something at least. It was mentioned in the Sunni books that the prophet(s) had said: "Some of you will fight for the sake of the interpretation of the Quran as I fought for the sake of reveletion ."Abu Bakr said: It is me, O messenger of Allah."He said: "No" Omar said: "Is it me ,O messenger of Allah." He said:

"No,but he is the one mending the shoes -he meant Ali."18Fighting for the interpretation would be after the death of the prophet and the fighter must be the emir of people ,so each of Abu Bakr and Omar looked forward to be the fighter for the interpretation although the fighting for the revelation was available to them in the time of the prophet but they did not have a share in it that might show the side, which we try to uncover in their psychologies.

In fact I want to go further to clarify that there were many persons working in the interest of Abu Bakr and Omar.19 First of them were Aa'isha and Hafsa20 ,who hurreid to call their fathers when the prophet (s) sent for his beloved (Ali) in his last moments21 that the evidences showed it was the natural circumstances for making the will. they both (Aa'ish and Hafsa) must be meant by the tradition saying that some of prophet's wives sent a messenger to Ossama22 telling him to dely the travel. If we know this and we know it was not done by the prophet's permission,otherwise he (the prophet) would not order ossama to hurry in his travel when he came to him after that and if we know that the travel of ossama with those, who were with him, would prevent the results of the day of the saqeefa from being achieved,we will find case with premidetated plot confirming what we thought.
The opinion of the shia about why the prophet sent ossama with that army was clear.It was because the prophet felt that there was an agreement between some of his companions on a certain thing, which would make them a front of opposition of Ali.


Even if we doubt this, we never doubt that the prophet put Abu Bakr and Ali in the scales many times in front of the muslims to see with their eyes that they (Abu Bakr and Ali) would never even in the fair scales. Would you think that exempting Abu Bakr 23 from informing the unbelievers of the sura of Bara'a , after he was charged with it,it was a natural thing? why did Angel Gabriel wait until Abu Bakr reached the halfway and then he descended to the prophet ordering him to send after Abu Bakr odering him to come back and then to send Ali to carry out the task? was it in vain or inadvertance or some thing else? Yes, it was something else, the prophet (s) felt that the stand by competitor against his cousin and guardian( Ali) was Abu Bakr. So Allah wished him to send Abu Bakr and then to return him after the people knew that Abu Bakr was sent then to send Ali, whom the prophet considerederd as himself,24 to show the Muslims the difference between the two and the insignificance of this competitor,whom Allah did not entrust with a sura to be informed to a group of people,so how about the caliphate and the absolute authority? We get out of this analysis with two conclutions; The first: Abu Bakr was keen for the caliphate and dreamt of it and that he came to it eagerly and longerly.The second: Abu Bakr: Omar and Abu Obayda formed an important political party. We cannot put a clear image for it but we can confirm its existence by many evidences. I do not think that it disparaged them and it was not bad for them to think about the affairs of the caliphate and to agree on a same policy if the prophet had not a verdict concerning the matter but if there was a certain verdict, their being far away from the political fancy and their improvising the concept of the caliphate at the moment of the Saqeefa25 would not acquit them from the responsibility before Allah and the remorse of conscience.

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1- One of the two great tribes of Medina.

2- At-Tabari'a Tareekh vol.2 p.233.

3- the other great tribe of Medina.

4- Sharh Nahjul Balagha vol.1 p 127 -128 and Tabari's Tareekh

5- At - Tabari 's Tareekh vol.2, p.242.

6- Refer to at- Tabari's Tareekh vol.2, p.234.

7- At-Tabari's Tareekh, vol.2 p.235.

8- Refer to al-Bukhari's Sahih vol.1 p.37 and vol.8 p.161.

9- Al- Bidayeh wen Nihaye by ibn katheer,vol5p.213

10- AL- kamil fit tareekh by ibnul atheer , vol.2, p176. when Abu Bakr became the caliph , Abu obayda sai to him; I will suffice for thetreasure and omar said: I will suffice for the judgement ... the wali of mecca was Etab bin osayd

11- Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol.1, p.64 and at-Tabari's Tareekh,vol.2, p.580. It was mentioned that al-Awdi had said: "When Omar was stabbed, he was asked: If you had appointed the caliph! He said: whom would I appoint? if Abu Obayda was alive, I would appoint him ..."

12- At-Tabari's Tareekh,vol.2, p.580 and al-Ansab by al-Balathiri, vol.5p.16.

13- Refer -for example -to Mukhtasar Tareekh of ibn Assakir ,vol.17p.356to see the vertues of Imam Ali ,an -Nassa'iy's Khassa'iss p.72 and murooj ath-thahab by al-Masou'di , vol.2p.437.

14- Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol.6, p.11

15- Murooj ath-Thahab by al-Mas'oudi, vol.3p.199.

16- At- Tabari's Tareekh ,vol 2 p233.

17- Sharh Nahjul Balagha , vol.1 p125.

18- As-Sawad i'qul Muhriqa by ibn Hajar p.123, Imam Ahmad's Musnad,vol.3p.33, Kanzul Ommal ,vol.15p.94,Khassa i'ss Amirul Mu'mineen by an-Nassa 'ie, p.131, at-Taj aj-Jami lil-Usool, vol.3p.336.

19- Imam as-sadr commented : The prophet was asked when he threatened a group of Quraysh to be fought by a man from Quraysh, whose heart Allah had testesd with faith . He would kill them for the sake of the religion .was that man Abu Bakr? He said: No .was that man Omar? he said : No ... Refer to ahmad's musnad, vol.3 p.33 the tradition ignored the name of the asker, who thought that the man, whom the prophet described ,was either Abu Bakr or Omar. if Abu Bakr and Omar were known neither for courage nor bravery in the wars at the time of the prophet , so there must be another reason led the asker to ask those two question. I let you think of the rest!

20- Aa'ishs was the daughter of Abu Bakr and Hafsa was the daughter of Omar. Both were the prophet waves.

21- Refer to as-sunan al-kubra by an-Nissa'ei vol.5p145 and mukhtassar Tareekh ibn Asakir, vol18p21.

22- Ossama was the leader of the army that the prophet -some days before his death -order to set out for sham.

23- Ahmad's Musnad,vol.1 p.3, al-Kashshaf by az-Zamakhshari, vol.2 p.243 and as-Sawa'iqu Muhriqa by ibn Hajar p.32

24- Refer to al-Kashshaf by az-Zamakhshari,vol.1 p.368 and as-Sawa'iqul Muhriqa by ibn Hajar p.156

25- With refrence to the saying of Omar: "The homage of Abu Bakr was a slip that Allah kept away its evil...." At-Tabari's Tareekh, vol.2, p.235.

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