The Prophet's Last Prayer
The Prophet's Last Prayer
Allamah Sayyid Murtada Askari
The Arabian Peninsula has, in its long history continuously witnessed many events. With the coming of Islam and the formation of religious issues through the heavenly personality of the great Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.) the page of pre-Islam Arab history saw a significant change.
It turned into the Islamic history. Improper individual and collective conduct, wrong ways and styles of life, and similarly the beliefs and superstitions of the ignorant Arabs were the signs of the culture and civilization of the Arab society of those days.
People had wrongly interpreted the meaning of morality. For example, they received respect by burying their alive daughters. Those who displayed more cruelty were regarded more respectable. Loot, arson, killing, and bloodshed were considered as bravery. When they heard about the Paradise, they asked whether the Paradise had its wars or no. When the reply was negative they said what it worth was!
The story of Zaid bin Haritha is an example of the condition of the ignorant Arabs. Zaid bin Haritha, during his childhood, went with his mother, to visit their relatives in another tribe, when bandits assaulted them. He could not run away and became a captive and was brought to the market of Ukaz for sale. Agents of Hadhrat Khadijah purchased him. She gifted him to the holy Prophet. The Prophet released him and when he was not prepared to return to his tribe along with his father and uncle, the holy Prophet announced near Ka'ba and in front of people that Zaid was his adopted son (in law).
Many of those people changed after the appearance of Islam. Mecca and Medina became centers of the light. The change reached to such an extent that an Ansari youth came to the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on the day of the battle of Badr and asked: "O Messenger of Allah! What is the reward of one who fights against this community and gets killed?"
"Paradise." came the divine response. The young said: "Very nice, very nice! Then the distance between me and Paradise [the only barrier in front of me] is this date which I eat!" Saying so he threw away the dates, engaged in fighting until he was martyred. Yes, their fighting was for obtaining God's pleasure, and for prospering in the other world. But the opportunists and the wish-worshipper who saw a danger to their worldly [material] profits with the ever-increasing advance of Islam, tried, by every means, to remove this heavenly Shariat [Code] from their community. In the beginning, they tired to prevent progress.
Thereafter, they resorted to threatening and . The Role of the Imams in the Revival of Religion, Allamah Askari intimidation. They used temptation and force to prevent the message from the masses. But the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) stood fast and firm against all those troubles and continued to fight against the devil and his servants.
But the world-seekers who saw their interests in danger, looked for an opportunity for revenge and for staging a revolt. Yet the holy Prophet took proper remedial steps. By God's help and his sharp planning, he defeated all those mischief and uprisings. The holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.), during his last illness, thought a plan for defeating the coup de etat of the rioter companions, so that all of them could be sent out of Medina along with the army of Usamah. He selected Usamah, an 18-year-old, son of martyr Zaid bin Haritha for the command of that army and ordered that all young and old men must leave Medina with him.
In that battalion, people like Abu Bakr, Umar, Abu Ubaidah Jarrah, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas, Sa'ad bin Ubaldah, and many other famous companions were put under the command of Usamah. In the beginning they began to criticize, and said: "He made us subordinate to a boy of 18 years!" They refrained from proceeding. The holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) delivered a sermon for them and said; "God's Curse be on the one who opposes the Usamah's army. God's curse be on the one who does not join the army of Usamah."
The army of Usamah moved and camped at Joraf, a few kilometers from Medina. At the same time the illness of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) increased and its news reached the camps. The elders of the community returned to Medina. The next morning Bilal came home and cried: Prayer! Prayer! O Messenger of God! Since the holy Prophet had slept with his head on the thigh of Ali (p.b.u.h.), Aysha thought it a good occasion and told Bilal: "The Holy Prophet asked you to call Abu Bakr to lead the Prayer in his place."
Abu Bakr stood for prayer in place of the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.). When the condition of the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) improved and he heard the voice of Abu Bakr, He said: Raise me up. Then he made ablution. According to the narration of Sahih Bukhari, he went to the mosque, supported by two men, as his legs had became too weak to walk, his feet dragging on the ground. Then he disrupted the prayer of Abu Bakr and led it in a sitting state. After concluding the Prayer, he gave a little talk to the people and died on the same day.
Such kind of mischief and misbehavior continued till the demise of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). It increased thereafter to such an extent that they took to the slogan Hasbun? Kitabullah (The Book of God is enough for us). It became a cause of alteration and carelessness towards the Prophet's traditions! With the passage of time, a new style was adopted, whereby false traditions were spread in condemnation of the Progeny of the Prophet, especially Amirul Mo-mineen Ali (p.b.u.h.), and in praise of the Caliphs in such a way that it became impossible to differentiate the true from the false!
Those events have created the need for a thorough research in history, so that false statements could be separated from the true ones. The said story is an example of such events, which the great scholar Syed Murtaza Askari has dealt with.
The Cultural and Scientific
Institution of Allamah Askari
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful
Praise be to Allah the Lord of the worlds and peace be upon the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers, Muhammad and his Purified Progeny. This servant has been frequently asked about the morning Prayer of Abu Bakr, on the day of the passing away of the holy Prophet. Is it a true incident, and is it a correct narration? And if we assume that it was a fact, then how was the circumstance? In any case, what conclusions can be derived from it?
Due to this, it came to my mind that a discussion on it be presented to answer these queries.
In Sunan Abu Dawood - Chapter about the successorship of Abu Bakr, Musnad Ahmad, Sirah Ibn Hisham, Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad, and Ansabul Ashrâf of Balazari it is narrated (We quote Sunan Abu Dawood from Abdullah Ibn Zam?) that when the illness of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) got severe, he was with a group of Muslims near the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). Bilal informed the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) about the time of Prayer. He said: "Tell someone to lead the people in Prayer."
When he got out of the group, Umar was among the group but Abu Bakr was absent. I (Abdullah Ibn Zam?) said: Umar get up and lead the people in Prayer. "Umar got up and said the Takbiratul Ihram of the Prayer." When the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) heard his voice, which was very loud, he said: "Then where is Abu Bakr? Allah and Muslims do not accept this!"
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) repeated this; then sent someone to Abu Bakr. He came after the Prayer led by Umar was over and prayed again with the people!1 Anxiousness of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) over the Imamat of Abu Bakr In another tradition it has come, "When the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) heard the voice of Umar, he brought his holy head out of the room and said:
No! No! No! Son of Abu Qahafa (Abu Bakr) should lead the people in Prayer. The holy Prophet said these words in anger."
In Musnad Ahmad, it has come that Abdullah Ibn Zam? said that Umar told him: "Woe upon you, O son of Zam?, what are you doing with me, by the promise of Allah?" When you gave me orders to pray, I was thinking nothing but that the holy Prophet had ordered so, and if it was other than this, I would not have prayed with the people.
He told Umar; "By the promise of Allah, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) has not told me that you should pray with the people, but when I did not see Abu Bakr, I saw you more eligible from Sunan Abu Dawood Vol. 2, P. 115, Kitab-us-Sunnah, Musnad Ahmad Vol. 4, P. 322, 330, Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad Vol.2, P. 222, 223, Ansabul Ashrâf Vol. 1, P. 554, Tarikh Ibn Kathir Vol. 5, P. 232 with many narrators in the tradition of Ibn Sa'ad and Balazari has come like this: (Then the rows for Prayer got ready and Umar returned, after sometime we saw that Ibn Abi Qahafa came forward and led the Prayer for the people.) amongst those who were present for leading the Prayer."
In Sunan Ibn Majah it is narrated from Sâlim Ibn Abid that, When the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was in his deathbed, his condition was acute. Then he got somewhat better and said: "Is it time for Prayer?"
We said: "Yes."
He said: "Ask Bilal to inform the people that it is time for Prayer."
Again the condition of the Prophet got severe. When his condition got better he said, "Is it time for Prayer?"
We replied affirmatively.
He said: "Call Bilal so that he can make people aware of the time of Prayer and call Abu Bakr, that he lead the people in Prayer."
Aysha said: "My father is mild and soft hearted. When he stands in your place, he would weep and would not have the capability to pray. So it would be better if you order someone other than him."
After that again the condition of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) got bad. After sometime his condition got better.
Again he said: "Ask Bilal to make people aware of the time of Prayer. You are like the woman around Joseph." Sâlim Ibn Abid says: "Bilal gave Adhan. Then Abu Bakr prayed with the people."1 Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 1, P. 390 H. no. 1234 Another tradition quoted by Anas says; "When the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) got ill and in that illness he died; Bilal came to the Prophet and told him about Prayer time.
He said: "Bilal I became aware (of Prayer time). Then whoever wants he may pray, and whoever wants he may leave."
Bilal returned to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and said: "O Messenger of Allah, my parents be sacrificed for you, who will lead the people in Prayer?" He replied: Give order to Abu Bakr, that he may lead the people in Prayer. While Abu Bakr was ahead, the illness of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) went away ... 1
Pray of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) behind Abu Bakr
In Musnad Ahmad it is narrated from Aysha that the Messenger of Allah in his deathbed said, "Give order to Abu Bakr to he lead the people in Prayer."
Then Abu Bakr prayed and the holy Prophet sat behind Abu Bakr and prayed.1 In Musnad Ahmad and Ansabul Ashrâf it is narrated (We quote the tradition from Musnad Ahmad by Aysha): "When the Messenger of Allah was on the deathbed he sat behind Abu Bakr and prayed." 2
Musnad Ahmad, Ansabul Ashrâf, Vol. 1, P. 555, Tarikhul Islam Zahabi, Vol. 1, P. 312, Ibn Kathir Vol. 5, P. 234. Ibn Kathir in his Tarikh Vol. 5, P. 234 from Baihaqi narrated from Anas that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) sat behind Abu Bakr with the people prayed in one dress. Ibn Kathir says: And this is a good certificate, on the basis that is right and this rule that the last Prayer of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) prayed with the people is a good legislation.
Balazari in Ansabul Ashrâf Vol. 1, P. 555 has narrated four traditions in this context and Tarikh Ibn Kathir Vol. 5, P. 234 two traditions and in Tarikhul Islam Zahabi Vol. 1, P. 313 one tradition and in Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad Vol. 2, P. 220, Happiness of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) by the leading of Abu Bakr Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Moslem, and Musnad Abu Avana narrate (We relate the tradition from Sahih Bukhari from Zohari, who said):
"Anas Ibn Malik Ansari, who was from the companions of the holy Prophet informed us that Abu Bakr used to pray during the illness of the Prophet. At the time of his death, people were in rows for Prayer and the holy Prophet pulled aside the curtain of the room (which was between his room and the mosque) and looked at us. After that the Prophet smiled.
I could not understand the reason of his happiness at that moment. Then Abu Bakr wanted to come back so that he could take place in the rows of the congregation. He thought that the holy Prophet had come out to lead the Prayer. Then the holy Prophet gestured him to finish the prayers and put down the curtains and died on the same day.1
223 and European Edition Part 2, Vol. 2, P. 20, 22-23 from Umme Salma and Abu Saeed Khudri, narrated by them that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in the morning prayers prayed behind Abu Bakr. He prayed one rakat (units) with him, at the time when Abu Bakr said the Salaams of the Prayer. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) prayed the last rakat on his own and then changed. Sahih Bukhari Vol. 1, P. 87, Musnad Abu Avana Vol. 2, P.
118. 119, Fathul Bari, Vol. 2, P. 305, Sahih Moslem, Vol. 2, P. 24, Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad Vol. 2, P. 217, European Edition Part 2, Vol. 2, P. 18, Ibn Kathir Vol. 5, P. 235,
Bukhari, Abu Avana, and Balazari have narrated from Anas Ibn Malik (we are quoting from Sahih Bukhari) that the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) did not come out of his house for leading us in prayers for three days. When it was time for Prayer he pulled aside the curtain and said…till the end of the tradition. 3
In another tradition Anas says: The Muslims had gathered on the morning of Monday to pray when Abu Bakr was leading the prayers. 4 All the traditions mentioned so far were according to Sahih Bukhari. But five were from Sunan Abu Dawood, one from Sunan Ibn Majah, two from Musnad Ahmad and they are used to prove the caliphate of Abu Bakr. (Very soon these traditions will be analyzed).
Hasan Basri says that the holy Prophet was ill; Abu Bakr was ordered to lead the people in Prayer. He (Hasan Basri) explains the reason of Abu Bakr's Imamate in this way: People come to know, by Ansabul Ashrâf Balazari, Vol. 1, P. 561, Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 3, P. 110 and 163
Allah, that he is the master and leader after the holy Prophet.1 Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz sent a person to Hasan Basri to ask if the holy Prophet had appointed Abu Bakr as his successor?
Hasan Basri replied: Does your Master and friend have any doubt? By Allah he chose him for his successorship. Because he ordered only him, and not others, to lead the Prayer and Abu Bakr was afraid of Allah, that he should sit on that seat.2 Balazari, Ansabul Ashrâf, Vol. 1 P. 560 Balazari, Ansabul Ashrâf, Vol. 1, P. 561
Imamat of Abu Bakr is the proof of his Caliphate
Abu Avana (d. 316) after narrating some traditions in his Musnad which were quoted earlier, has said: "This tradition makes apparent the caliphate and successorship of Abu Bakr after the demise of the holy Prophet." It is because the Prophet said: "The most aware about the recitation of Qur'an should lead the prayers; and from the companions of the holy Prophet were some persons, who were more learned than Abu Bakr and more aware than him.
Even from the companions were some persons whose voices were louder in reciting the Qur'an. The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had told many times, "Tell someone, other than Abu Bakr, to lead the people in Prayer. Abu Bakr is not capable for this job, and he is a mild and soft hearted person and he cries in his Prayer."
After all these discussions the Prophet didn't order anyone other than Abu Bakr, and was not happy in this matter with anyone except Abu Bakr. On this basis, according to the narration of Abu Masood, the holy Prophet said: "A man in his period of power and kingship should not pray behind another person." 5 This proves that he is the caliph and successor after the Prophet.
Ibn Kathir 6 after bringing many sections of the traditions, and after finding solution for the contradiction of those traditions said, "the holy Prophet gave preference to Abu Bakr for leading the Prayer over all the companions. Prayer, which is one of the greatest pillars of practical Islam."
Shaykh Abul Hasan Ashari said: "The holy Prophet preferred Abu Bakr for leading the Prayer, which in Islam is a clear and illuminated matter." He says: Giving preference to Abu Bakr for leading the Prayer is the proof that he was the most knowledgeable and most aware about the recitation of Qur'an amongst the companions!! 7 The Conditions of Imamat of Prayer in the school of Caliphate There is a tradition that all the scholars unanimously have accepted as "correct", in which the holy Prophet said: One who is most knowledgeable about the recitation of Quran will lead the prayer.
Then if two are similar in recitation of Qur'an, the more knowledgeable about the traditions of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) will lead. If they are similar in sunnat also, then that person who brought Islam earlier will lead the Prayer.
Kathir says: It would have been better if this statement of Ashari was written with gold. Anyhow, all the conditions were gathered in Abu Bakr!!! 8
Imamat of Abu Bakr in the traditions of the Caliphs The Sunni scholars bring a tradition from Imam Ali (p.b.u.h.), which could not be true. Hasan Basri has narrated from Ali that the demise of the holy Prophet was not sudden.
He died due to illness. During the illness Bilal came to him and told him about the Prayer time. Then he said: "Call Abu Bakr, so that he could lead the people in Prayer." The Prophet said it while he saw me."
When the holy Prophet passed away, the Muslims saw that the holy Prophet gave Wilayat (mastership) to Abu Bakr in the matter of religion. They gave Wilayat to Abu Bakr in the worldly matters too. 9
In another tradition it is stated that Hazrat Ali (p.b.u.h.) said: At the time when the soul of the holy Prophet departed, he gave preference to Abu Bakr in Prayer. We also, in the worldly matters, gave preference to the one who was given preference by the holy Prophet in the matter of religion, we preferred him!! Then we gave preference to Abu Bakr for the Imamat of Prayer in congregation!!!1 Anas has narrated from Ali, "The holy Prophet was ill; looking at us, he ordered Abu Bakr to lead the Prayers. When the Messenger passed away, the Muslims, in worldly matters chose that person, with whom the holy Prophet was happy in the matter of religion. So the Muslims accepted the leadership of Abu Bakr and by the promise of Allah, Abu Bakr was fit for leadership (Wilayat).
What factors could undermine the position given by the holy Prophet to Abu Bakr?
After this, what comes is not surprising. Zar Ibn Hobaish has narrated from Abdullah, that when the holy Prophet passed away, the Ansars said, "there should be an Amir (chief) from us, and an Amir from you." Zar Ibn Hobaish added that Umar came to the people and said: "O people of Ansar! Are you not aware that the holy Prophet ordered Abu Bakr to lead the people in Prayer?"
They replied: "Yes."
Umar said, "Who, amongst you all, wants to exceed the position of Abu Bakr?" Ansar said: "We take refuge in Allah that we go ahead of Abu Bakr."1
Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad, Vol. 2, P. 224, European Edition Vol. 2 Part 2, P. 23, Balazari in Ansabul Ashrâf Vol. 1, P. 580 from the chain of narrators from Zar Ibn Hobaish it has been quoted from Abdullah bin Masood.
Imamat of Sâlim and Ibn Umme Maktum in place of the holy Prophet The elders of the school of Caliphate claim that such traditions prove the Caliphate of Abu Bakr. Now the question is: Whether praying in place of the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) is the proof for being his successor and Caliph?
I don't know how the scholars overlooked what Bukhari has stated in his Sahih?
Sâlim, the freed slave of Abu Huzaifa, used to lead the Prayer for Muhajireen and companions in Quba mosque, and amongst the companions were Abu Bakr and Umar. 10
It is worth saying that Abu Bakr was there a Mamoom (praying behind), and following someone else, who was from Mawali (a freed slave).
Abu Dawood in his Sunan, and Ahmad in his Musnad narrate that the holy Prophet chose the son of Umme Maktum as the Caliph of Medina. 11 In Musnad Ahmad there is a tradition, which indicates: Ibn Umme Maktum used to pray with the people although he was blind. 12
In Magh?zi Waqidi (died in 207 A.H), Tabaq?t Ibn Sa'ad, and Sirah Ibn Hisham it is narrated that Ibn Umme Maktum took part in the battles of Badr, 13 Uhud, 14 Bani Nuzayr, 15 Ahzab, 16 Bani Qurayza, 17 Fat'h 18 and other battles. 19 Waqidi and Ibn Masood narrate, "Ibn Maktum used to be present in Friday prayers with the people, and recite the sermon near the pulpit and the pulpit was on his left." 20
I don't know how the learned scholars forget that Bukhari has mentioned in his book in the chapter of Prayer:
(i)Chapter of Imamat of the slave and the free ones;
(ii) Chapter of the tradition, which says Zakwan (the slave of Aysha) use to lead for Aysha from the aspect of Quran.
(iii) Chapter of the Imamat of illegitimate children and Bedouins.
Chapter of Imamate of the young boy (who has not reached the age of puberty). 21
It is narrated from Amr Ibn Salma, in the chapter of the Victory of Mecca, that his community used to prefer him in leading the Prayer, because he knew to recite the Quran much more than others.
Amr Ibn Salma says: "I was asked to lead the Prayer although I was six or seven years old, and there was a dress on my body while going in prostration it moved on one side."
Then a woman said: "Wouldn't you cover your back and buttocks from your followers?" "Then clothes were purchased for me, and nothing like those clothes has made me happy." 22 A similar version of this tradition in Sunan Abi Dawood has appeared from Ibn Salma: "I was continuously leading my tribe (in prayers). My dress was torn from behind. When I used to prostrate my buttocks were visible." In other tradition he says; "The condition in which I was leading my tribe there was a small coat on my body and it was yellow. When I used to go into prostration my body was visible."
A woman from the tribe said; "Cover the private parts of your body from us."
Sahih Bukhari Vol. 3, P. 44, Fathul Bari Vol. 9, P. 84 "Then a Yemeni dress was purchased for me."1 Justice is not the condition in Imamat! Bukhari has narrated, about a person who was misguided, from Hasan Basri that, "Read Prayer behind a person who is misguided and brings wicked ideas! His ideas harms him only, and are not related to us!" 23
He has also narrated from Zuhari that, "We don't believe that a "Mukhannas" (Gay) should become Imam-e-Jamat, except in an emergency. 24 Companions have narrated from Abu Huraira that the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said; "Daily Prayers can be performed behind any Muslim. Whether he is of a good or bad character; even if he has committed "great sins". 25
Examining and Analyzing the traditions I don't know how the Sunni scholars have forgotten these words and concluded Abu Bakr's Caliphate and successorship from the leading of a congregation pray during the last illness of the Prophet? How did the clear and apparent contradictions between the traditions that have come in the "Sahih books" remain hidden from the scholars?
Did the holy Prophet take permission from his wives to pass the days of his illness in Aysha's house?
Or he observed the turns of his wives and used to say, "Where am I tomorrow?"
Was he interested that Aysha's turn come and when Aysha's turn came, the Prophet got comfort in her house? Or perhaps when it was not Aysha's turn the Prophet did not go to her house? Actually what did happen in Aysha's house on that day? What was the holy Prophet asking for? Did he ask for Ali? So when the names of Abu Bakr, Umar and Abbas were mentioned did he agree to it? When Abu Bakr came to the Prophet, did he tell him to lead the Prayer?
Or the Prophet's condition was constantly deteriorating. When his condition found little improve, he used to take ablution and when he wanted to get up, his condition become bad. Then he said, "Call Abu Bakr so that he may lead the Pray or other answers that are mentioned in the traditions or other occasions?
Did Bilal come to the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) to inform him of the time of the Pray? Did the Prophet said: "Bilal I became aware of the time of Prayer, whoever wants can pray, and whoever wants can go?" Did the holy Prophet order Bilal to make him aware about the time of Prayer? Or rather he said, "Ask someone to lead the people in Prayer."
Then Ibn Zam? went to Umar and told him that he should lead the people in Prayer. When the holy Prophet heard his voice he said: Allah will not accept this.
Did the holy Prophet order Abu Bakr to lead the people in Prayer, then Aysha went so many times to the holy Prophet so that he may appoint Umar to lead the Prayer, but the holy Prophet did not accept it and said "you are like the women around Joseph"?
Who, in fact, addressed these words to the Prophet? Aysha or Hafsa? Who invited Umar to lead the Prayer? Did Abu Bakr invite Umar to lead the Prayer? Then he didn't accept it and said, "You are more eligible to lead the Prayer?" Or Ibn Zam?, invited Umar to lead the prayer? Then he accepted it and prayed and the Prophet got angry with him? When, for the last time, people saw the holy Prophet, was he praying in a sitting position behind Abu Bakr? Or it was when he turned the curtain aside, in Aysha's house, and people were standing in rows behind Abu Bakr?
All these questions are related only to the reports mentioned in the Sahih, Sunan, and Musnads books, which are considered authentic by the Sunni scholars! But when we refer to the correct historical sources we find more information than the ones mentioned earlier.
In Ans?bul Ashr?f it is narrated from Aysha that the holy Prophet said: "Take me to Aysha's house." Aysha says, "When I heard this, I stood up. I didn't have a servant. I swept the house and spread a carpet for him and kept a pillow below his head; the pillow was filled with dry grass. At the time of Prayer, the Prophet asked me to send someone to call Abu Bakr so that he may lead the people in Prayer.
Aysha continues: "I sent someone to call Abu Bakr." But he replied "I am old and aged, and do not have the capacity to take the responsibilities of the holy Prophet and stand in his place. The holy Prophet should tell Umar to do this, and for this take the help of Hafsa."
Aysha said that she performed that work, but the Prophet said: "You are like the women around Joseph! Send someone to call Abu Bakr." 26 In Tabaq?t of Ibn Sa'ad there is a tradition from the holy Prophet that in the state of illness, he said to Abu Bakr: "Lead the people in Prayer."
Then the Prophet felt better. When Abu Bakr was leading the people in Prayer, the Prophet came out of the room, but Abu Bakr did not see him, until the holy Prophet touched the shoulder of Abu Bakr.
Abu Bakr returned backwards and the holy Prophet sat on the right side of Abu Bakr. He prayed and the Prophet followed him! When the Prayer got over, the Prophet said: "Always before the demise of a Prophet a person from his nation has done Imamate for the Prophet." 27
Yet we find in Tabaq?t Ibn Sa'ad and Ans?bul Ashrâf of Balazari (From Fuzail Ibn Amr Faqimi) that Abu Bakr three times led the Prayer during the life of the Prophet. 28 Ibn Sa'ad and Balazari have narrated a similar tradition from Akrama. 29
In other traditions it has come that Abu Bakr prayed seventeen times with the people.1 Balazari has related from Minhal Ibn Umar, from Suwaid Gafla, from Hazrat Ali that the holy Prophet chose Abu Bakr for leading the Prayer of the believers, and during the life of the holy Prophet, Abu Bakr prayed for nine days, and after that the Prophet expired.
Ibn Sa'ad had quoted from Muhammad Ibn Qays that the holy Prophet was sick for 13 days. Whenever he felt better he lead the prayers, and whenever he felt heavy, Abu Bakr prayed in front of the people!!
The true history
Duty of Abu Bakr and Umar to the command of Usamah and the necessity to obey him Many traditions in the Sahih, Sunan, and Mosnad books, life sketches and histories have come to the scholars of the Caliphate school. There are beautiful and strange anecdotes in them; but none are authentic!
The reason is that at that time the holy Prophet had sent Abu Bakr, Umar and many other elder muslims for the expedition to Rome, under the command of Usamah. How then did he had repeatedly asked them to join the army Tabaq?t Ibn Sa'ad, Vol. 2, P. 223, European Edition, Vol. 2, Part. 2 P. 23, Ibn Kathir Vol. 5, P. 235 and Mohammad Ibn Umar have narrated that Abu Bakr prayed 20 times with people.
of Usamah. The holy Prophet cursed these who would disobey the army of Usamah. 30
On the day of 26th Safar, 11 years after Hijrat, the holy Prophet ordered the people to get ready for the expedition to Rome. On the next day he called Usamah bin Zaid and said: "Go towards the place where your father was killed. Raise an army for them as I have made you the commander of this army."
On the next day, which was Wednesday, the Prophet became ill. He had fever and headache. On Thursday the Prophet gave the flag to Usamah and told him: "By the name of Allah and in the way of Allah, fight with those who disbelieve in God." Usamah came out with the flag, and gave it to Burida Ibn Hasib Aslami, and arranged the army in groups, so that no earlier muslim (Mohajirs and Ansars) were left but were recalled to the war.
They included Abu Bakr, Umar Ibn Khattab, Abu Ubaidah Jarrah, Sa'ad Ibn Abi Waqqas, Sa'eid Ibn Zaid, Qutada Ibn Noman, and Salma Ibn Aslam.
Some persons remarked about the Usamah and said: "This young has been made the Commander over the elders! So the holy Prophet became very angry. He came out while he had wrapped a cloth on himself. Then he went on the pulpit and said: "The talk of some people about the selection of Usamah as a commander has reached me.
They are reproaching him. On the selection of his father, they had also reproached him. After that he came down from the pulpit and went home. Those Muslims, who had came out of the army of Usamah, said farewell to the holy Prophet and went away towards the army.
On the same day the illness of Prophet became severe. He constantly said; "Obey the commands of Usamah." On Monday, Usamah returned to the holy Prophet from where the army was stationed. The holy Prophet had a better feeling that morning. Then he said to Usamah: "Move under the shade of Mercy and Grace of Allah."
Usamah bade farewell to the holy Prophet and returned to his army. He gave them orders that they should set out for war. When he was about to mount the horse a messenger came from his mother, Umme Aiman, and said: "The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is in his last moments."
Usamah returned to Medina just before sunset. Umar and Abu Ubaidah also returned at the time when the Prophet had passed away from this world.
The Muslims who had gathered in groups (army) entered Medina and Buraida bin Hasib entered Medina with the flag of Usamah and fixed it in the ground near the Prophet's house. In the tradition of Jawhari we see that Usamah requested the holy Prophet to postpone his departure, so that he could be assured about the Prophet's health. The Prophet said to him: "Act upon whatever I have told you."1 Then the condition of the Messenger became serious. Usamah stood up and prepared to return.
When the holy Prophet's condition got better he asked about Usamah and the army. He was told that the army was ready for departure. The holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) repeatedly said, "Obey the commands of Usamah and may Allah curse those who go against the orders of Usamah." He repeated this many times.
Usamah came out of Medina with the standard of war in his hands and the companions were moving ahead and behind him till that they halted at Jaraf. There were Umar, Aseed bin Hazeer, Bashir bin Saad and other elders of the muslims. A messenger of Umme Aiman (mother of Usamah) arrived and told Usamah: "Keep patience and do not proceed for war. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) is on the deathbed." Then the flag, which was with him, entered Medina…
Yaqubi says: Never in their lifetime did Abu Bakr and Umar address Usamah by his name; they always called him "commander" or "Amir"! When Abu Bakr became Caliph, he gave order to Usamah bin Zaid to move the army, and asked him to leave Umar in Medina as the Abu Bakr administration Tradition of Ibn Abil Hadid that which is in Sharh Nahjul Balagha advisor. Usamah said: What do you say about yourself?
Abu Bakr replied: "O son of my brother! you see what people have done. They have selected me to rule over them; leave Umar for my help and you proceed on your task."
Critical analysis of the traditions
The holy Prophet had sent Abu Bakr and Umar for the war against Rome. He had sent them under the command of Usamah. And whoever went against his order were cursed by him! The Messenger of Allah emphasized it many times. The subject that the holy Prophet had selected one of them for leading the prayer is not true because he (p.b.u.h.) had cursed those who went against the orders of Usamah. So they must have been with the army of Usamah. Can a cursed one by the Prophet be eligible to become the Imam? Furthermore, how can we conclude the successorship and caliphate from the Imamate of Prayer?
Let us study the traditions that are recorded in the books "Sahih" and "Musnads" again, in order to clarify the reality.
In Sahih Bukhari, the chapter of Prayer, about a person who follows the Imam, and people follow him, it is narrated from the Prophet that he said, "Follow me in this way. Those who are after you, can follow you."
In Sahih Moslem, Sunan Ibn Majah, Musnad Abu Avana, Musnad Ahmad, Tabaq?t Ibn Sa'ad, and Ansabul Ashraaf of Balazari it is narrated that when the illness of the holy Prophet become severe, Bilal came and informed the Prophet about the time of Prayer. He said: "Call Abu Bakr so that he may lead the people in prayer:
Aysha said: "When Abu Bakr entered the mosque, the holy Prophet felt better. Then he stood up, and due to weakness, had taken the support of two men and his holy feet were dragged on the ground, till they entered the mosque. When Abu Bakr perceived the movement of the holy Prophet, without turning his face, he came back. The holy Prophet gestured to Abu Bakr to remain in the same position and the Messenger sat on the left of Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr prayed standing and the holy Prophet prayed sitting. Abu Bakr followed the Prayer of the holy Prophet, and people followed Abu Bakr. 31
Abu Bakr made the voice of Takbir of the Prophet reach the people!
In the chapter that the voice of Takbir of Imam must reach the people, from the book of Prayer (in Sahih Bukhari and Musnad Abu Avana) it is said that: 32
"Abu Bakr, without turning his face, returned and the holy Prophet sat next to Abu Bakr. He repeated the Takbir of the holy Prophet to the people, in a louder voice.
In the chapter (Condition when a sick person can join the congregation), there is a tradition in the book of Adh?n. Aysha said: "When the holy Prophet was ill, and when it was time for Prayer, the Prophet got aware about the time of Prayer and said: "Call Abu Bakr so that he can lead people in Prayer.
" Abu Bakr came out and prayed. At that time the Messenger (s.a.w.a.) felt somewhat better and came out of the house. He was so weak that he walked with the support of two persons, as if I was seeing that both the feet of the Messenger were being dragged due to pain. …then the Prophet came and sat next to Abu Bakr. 33
It is narrated in Musnad Abu Avana, and Musnad Ahmad from Aysha, and in Ansabul Ashrâf from Ibn Abbas and Aysha, that the holy Prophet in his deathbed ordered Abu Bakr, "To lead the people in Prayer." Then the holy Prophet was ahead of Abu Bakr and prayed with the people while sitting, then Abu Bakr followed the Prayer of the holy Prophet, and people followed Abu Bakr. 34 In the books Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Moslem, Sunan Ibn Majah, Musnad Abu Avana and Muwatta Malik it is quoted that the holy Prophet sat next to Abu Bakr. Then Abu Bakr followed the Prayer of the holy Prophet and people followed Abu Bakr. 35
From all the available records we conclude that in the last hours of the illness of the holy Prophet, Bilal came to the house of the holy Prophet to inform him about the time for prayer. Then the Prophet came to know about the time of the prayer.
Aysha has related that the Messenger said: "Inform Abu Bakr! He should lead the people in prayer." When Abu Bakr stood for Prayer, the holy Prophet felt better. Therefore, he came out of the room, supported by two persons from beneath his armpits, and they carryied him; and the feet of the Messenger were dragged on the ground due to pain and weakness. He was absolutely unable to lift his holy feet from the ground. They took him the near of Mehrab (Prayer niche), and the Prophet sat down in front of Abu Bakr.
Shafei says: In the beginning Abu Bakr was the Imam (Leader of Pray). Then he became a Mamoom (follower), and caused the voice of Takbir of the holy Prophet reach to the people! 36
Questions and Objections about the Traditions
Some basic and important questions may arise. One way ask:
1. How is it possible that the holy Prophet once ordered Abu Bakr to pray, and after he had started, the prophet came out of the house in a bad condition and severe illness, to stop him from continuing the Prayer? Yet he was not able to stand up, so he sat down and prayed with the people?
2. Does not the situation show that the people stopped their previous pray, and started a new pray behind the holy Prophet?
3. Similarly we ask:
a. How was the condition of the holy Prophet when he ordered Abu Bakr to pray instead of him?
b. In other traditions, Aysha and all the narrators have said that when the Messenger was taken to the mosque he was unable to stand on his feet and his holy feet were been dragged due to weakness and severe pain.
c. How much heavy and acute has been his illness?
d. If we accept this stage of inability, pain, and difficulty, as the lightness of his condition, then certainly the acute and hard condition had been like coma or unconsciousness.
e. In that condition how it has been possible that the holy Prophet in the state of coma, (after hearing the voice of Bilal to lead the Prayer) call Aysha and say: "Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in Prayer?"
4. When the holy Prophet was in the special room of Aysha, resting on the bed in a state of coma, who said to Bilal that the holy Prophet had said, "Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in Prayer?" The true Imamate in the two Schools [The School of Ahle-Bayt (Shia) and the School of the Caliphate (Sunnite)]
The answers to these questions can be found from the tradition of Ibne Abil Hadid, from his Shaikh (teacher). Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)stated that: Aysha ordered Bilal to inform Abu Bakr to lead the people in Prayer. The holy Prophet said: "You are like those women around Joseph." The Prophet said those sentences in order to reject that programme. He got angry on them because, both Aysha and Hafsa wished their fathers be appointed. The holy Prophet came out and put aside Abu Bakr from the Mehrab (Prayer niche).Then the holy Prophet cursed Aysha in seclusion and complained to Allah about the injustice of Aysha.
Ibn Abil Hadid says that he asked his Shaikh (teacher), "Do you say that Aysha appointed her father to pray and the Prophet did not appoint him?"
He replied: "I do not say that. It is Hazrat Ali who had said this, and my duty is other than him. Ali was present there and I was not. So I have no choice but to submit to these traditions and quotations, which have reached me." 37
Hazrat Ali (p.b.u.h.) was present on that scene, and he himself knew what had happened and what was happening. The historical facts and traditions in the school of Ahle Bayt (Shia) match with what has been narrated by Amirul Mo-mineen Ali (p.b.u.h.).
In "Irshad" of Shaikh Mufeed and A'al?mul Wara of Tabarsi, there are traditions which says: "The holy Prophet in the days of his illness was in the house of Umme Salma. He had stayed a day or two in the house of Umme Salma that Aysha came to Umme Salma and requested that the Prophet be shifted to her house, so that she could nurse him; and in this matter she took the permission of all the The same tradition that we analyzed earlier and in the exegesis of the sermons of Nahjul Balagha titled: Wa men kalama lahu... The exegesis of Abduh P. 156; and in Sharh Abil Hadid Vol. 2 P. 458, Egypt Edition wives. The permission was given and the holy Prophet was transferred to Aysha's house. The illness of the Prophet continued in Aysha's house. Day by day, his condition worsened. Then at the time of Morning Prayer, although the whole body of the Prophet was feverish, Bilal came and said: "Prayer! May the Mercy of Allah be upon you." In Khasaisul Aimma there is a tradition: "When the illness of the Messenger increased, he called Ali. Then the Prophet put his head on the lap of Hazrat Ali and his condition got bad till he got aware about the time of prayer…" 38
Shaikh Mufeed has stated: …..Then Aysha said: 'Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in Prayer'. And Hafsa said: 'Tell Umar to lead the people in Prayer.'
When the holy Prophet heard the conversation of Ayesha and Hafsa, and saw their deep interest for the Imamate of their fathers and their delusion in that matter (while the Prophet was still alive), he said: "Stop it! You are like those women around Joseph." Then the Messenger got up due to the fear that one of them may perform the pray. Although he had ordered both of them to go out of the city with Usamah, yet they were near the Prophet. So there was no doubt that those two persons had disobeyed. When the holy Prophet heard the conversation of Aysha and Hafsa, he understood that Abu Bakr and Umar had disobeyed his orders.
To stop the mischief and remove the doubts, the Prophet tried to stand up, although due to severe weakness, he was unable to walk. Then Ali Ibn Abi Talib and Ibn Abbas took the hands of the Prophet and he took the support of them. His feet, due to weakness and inability, were dragged on the ground. When the holy Prophet came to the mosque he saw Abu Bakr, who had stepped towards the Mehrab. The Prophet showed Abu Bakr, with his hands, to go behind the Mehrab, and the holy Prophet stood in front place, and said the Takbiratul Ihram of the prayer. The Prayer, which was started by Abu Bakr, was discontinued, and the Prophet started a new prayer. When the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) finished the Prayer, he told Abu Bakr, Umar, and a group from the Muslims who were present in the mosque: "Did I not order you to join the army of Usamah?"
They said: "Yes, O Prophet of Allah."
The Prophet said: "Then why did you disobey my orders?" Abu Bakr said: "I went out, but I returned so that I may renew my allegiance to you!" Umar said: "O Prophet of Allah, I did not go out of Medina because I didn't like to ask about your condition from others."
Then the holy Prophet said: "Join the army of Usamah", and repeated it thrice. After that, due to pain, tiredness, and sadness, which inflicted the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), his condition deteriorated. 39 Conclusions and Analyses of traditions The contents of tradition about the Imamate of Abu Bakr during the illness and demise of the holy Prophet are very contradictory.
In spite of the contradictions, the scholars consider these traditions as a proof of the correctness of Abu Bakr's successorship of the Prophet.
Indeed the scholars have forgotten what is recorded in Sahih Bukhari regarding Abu Bakr, Umar, and other elder muslims who followed and prayed behind Sâlim (the freed slave of Abu Huzaifa). And the holy Prophet put Ibn Umme Maktum (who was blind) to lead the perform of the public prayers in his absence in Medina. Ibn Umme Maktum used to lead the Friday Prayers with the people.
Scholars have forgotten that Bukhari, in his Sahih, has kept a special chapter about the Imamate of slaves, the freed ones, illegitimate children, the Arab gypsies, the Bedouins, and young boys who had not reached puberty, etc.
The scholars have forgotten what the traditionist companion, Abu Huraira, has narrated: "Prayer which has become obligatory, can be performed behind every Muslim, whether he has a good character or bad; even though he may be indulging in major sins!"
The conclusion and evaluation of the Sunni scholar from the traditions consisting of strange and astonishing stories, is not correct. Since, the holy Prophet had sent Abu Bakr, Umar, and many other muslims for the expedition to Rome, under the command of Usamah bin Zaid. He had repeated his order many times, and had cursed those who disobeyed Usamah. Then how the story of appointing Abu Bakr as Imam of Prayer could be true?
When we study the traditions mentioned in the Sahih books, we find narrations which specify when Abu Bakr stood up and started praying, the holy Prophet came in the mosque. He was very weak, and movement was not possible for him.
Two people (Hazrat Ali and Fazl Ibn Abbas) supported him. The feet of the Prophet were dragged on the ground. In that condition the holy Prophet was brought to the mosque. He sat in the Mehrab and in a sitting position, led the people in Prayer. Abu Bakr who was the Imam, became a Mamoom (follower) and just repeated the takbirs of the holy Prophet loudly.
It means that he was reciting the takbir for Prayer, and suddenly the holy Prophet came out to stop him.The holy Prophet removed him from Imamate.
Now it is necessary to pose a question. How Abu Bakr was present in the mosque, whereas, he was ordered to join the army of Usamah? In that case it is not correct that the holy Prophet ordered him to lead the Prayer, when he had previously ordered him to join Usamah.
We find the answer from what Ibn Abil Hadid has narrated from Imam Ali. "Aysha was the one who asked Bilal (freed by her father) to tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in Prayer." Then the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) told Aysha and other women: "You are like the women around Joseph!" It was due to the way that they behaved. Also he came to the mosque, carried by two people, to halt the congregational prayer led by Abu Bakr.
Traditions in the school of Ahlul Bayt emphasize and specify that the holy Prophet came out and stopped Abu Bakr from leading the Prayer, and started the Prayer again. And when he (s.a.w.a.) finished the Prayer he returned to his house. Then Umar and Abu Bakr were called and interrogated for disobeying the command to join the army of Usamah. One of them said: "I went out of Medina, but I returned so that I could see you again!"
The other said: "I didn't like to go out of Medina and ask about your condition from others!" Then the holy Prophet said: Go and join the army of Usamah. He repeated it three times, till his condition became worse.
After all, one more question remains. If these were the facts, how all those traditions in the Sahih, Sunan, Musnads, books of traditions, history, and biographies are regarded correct, and how they have been spread in the School of Caliphate? Answer: The political intrigue employed by the Caliphs to befool the people required that such traditions be fabricated and distributed.
After the time of the Caliphate, the validity of the rule of the Umayyad, Abbaside and Ottoman Caliphs all depended on such traditions. The political rulers spread those traditions during the fourteen centuries and people transferred them, copied them, and gave their support. The books having such traditions were considered authentic. The people were misguided about their authenticity; and generation after generation, people accepted it and did not pay heed to scrutinize them or do research.
There is no power and strength except from Allah, the High and the Mighty.
1. Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 3, P. 202
2. Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 6, P. 159
3. Sahih Bukhari Vol. 1, P. 87, Musnad Abu Avana Vol. 2, P. 119, Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 3, P. 211 and in Ansabul Ashrâf two traditions from Anas Ibn Malik and Fathul Bari, Vol. 2, P. 306
4. Sahih Bukhari Vol. 1, Pg. 145, Vol. 3, P. 64 Musnad Ahmad Vol. 3, Pg. 196-197, Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad Vol. 2, P. 217, European Edition, Vol. 2, Part 2, Pg. 19, Fathul Bari, Vol. 9, P. 209
5. Ibn Musnad Abu Avana Vol. 2, P. 120
6. Ibn Kathir, Vol. 5, P. 236
7. Al Bedayat wal Neh?yat, Vol. 5, P. 236.
9. Ansabul Ashrâf, Vol. 1. P. 558
10. Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, P. 160
11. Sunan Abu Dawood, Vol. 2 P. 43, Musnad Ahmad Vol. 3, P.132, Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad Vol. 4, P 209
12. Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 3, P. 192
13. Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad, Vol. 2, P. 27, European Edition Vol. 2, Part 1 P. 18, Maghazi of Waqidi P. 199-277
14. Ibid. Vol. 2 P. 31, European Edition Vol. 2, Part 1 P. 27, Maghazi Waqidi, P. 119-277
15. Ibid. Vol. 2, P. 58, European Edition Part 1, P. 47, Sirah Ibn Hisham Vol. 3, P. 192
16. Maghazi Waqidi P. 441, Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad European Edition Vol. 2, Part 1 P. 47, Sirah Ibn Hisham Vol. 3, P.
17. Waqidi P. 496, Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad Vol. 2 P. 74, European Edition Vol. 2, Part 1 P. 53, Sirah Ibn Hisham Vol. 3 P. 235
18. Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad Vol. 2 P. 139, European Edition Vol. 2, Part 1 P. 97
19. Sirah Ibn Hisham Vol. 2 P. 425, Vol. 3, P. 53, 321, 327, Maghazi Waqidi P. 197, 537, 547, 573, Ansabul Ashrâf Vol. 1, P. 311 can be referred.
20. Maghazi Waqidi P. 184, Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad Vol. 4, P. 209
21. Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 1, P. 90 Imamate of a young boy who had not reached the age of puberty
22. Sunan Abu Dawood Vol. 1, P. 159-160, Nasai Vol. 1 P. 127
23. Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 1, P. 9
24. Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 1, P. 9
25. Sunan Abu Dawood, Vol. 1, P. 80
26. Ans?bul Ashrâf, Vol. 1, P. 553-554
27. Tabaq?t Ibn Sa'ad, Vol. 2, P. 222, European Edition Vol. 2 Part 2 P. 22
28. Tabaq?t Ibn Sa'ad Vol. 2 P. 224, European Edition Vol. 2 Part 2 P. 23, Ans?bul Ashrâf Vol. 1 P. 555
29. Tabaq?t Ibn Sa'ad Vol. 3 P. 180, European Edition Vol. 1 Part. 2 P. 127
30. Extracts from Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad Vol. 2, P. 190, Uyoon-ul- Aasar, Vol. 2 P. 281- it has come
31. Sahih Bukhari Vol. 1 P. 92, Sahih Moslem Vol. 2 P. 23, Sunan Ibn Majah similarly in Musnad Ahmad Vol. 6 P. 210, 224, Tabaqat Ibn Sa'ad Vol. 3 P. 179, Ansabul Ashrâf Vol. 1 P. 557
32. Sahih Bukhari Vol. 1. P. 92, Musnad Abu Avana Vol. 2. P.
33. Sahih Bukhari Vol. 1 P. 85-86, Musnad Abu Avana Vol. 2 P. 115
34. Musnad Abu Avana Vol. 2 P. 113, Musnad Ahmad Vol. 6 P. 249, Ansabul Ashrâf Vol. 1 P. 557
35. Sahih Bukhari Vol. 1, P. 88, Sahih Moslem Vol. 2 P. 23-24, Sunan Ibn Majah, fifth book, Chapter 142 Tradition 1233, Muwatta Malik Vol. 1 P. 156, Musnad Abu Avana Vol. 2 P. 117
36. Sirah Ibn Hisham Vol. 4 P. 332, Tabari European Edition Vol. 1 P. 1813
37. Shaikh Mufeed, Irsh?d, P. 86.
38. On the basis of the tradition of Allamah Majlisi in Bihar Vol. 22 P. 485
39. Irshad of Mufeed P. 86-87
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