Third Incident that Projected Shi'ah Versus Sunnah
This incident was represented by the perilous stance adopted by most of the Companions in the Saqifah, in which they expressly contradicted the Prophetic texts in appointing 'Ali (A) for the post of caliphate, and were attended by all of them on al-Ghadir Day after the farewell pilgrimage (Hijjat al-Wada').
Despite the difference between the Emigrants (Muhajirun) and helpers (Ansar) concerning the caliphate, but they finally agreed upon deserting the Prophetic texts, and introducing Abu Bakr for caliphate even at the cost of taking lives, and they have prepared to kill anyone intending to oppose them though being the nearest in kinship to the Prophet (S).8
This incident has also demonstrated that the overwhelming majourity of the Sahabah have backed Abu Bakr and 'Umar in rejecting their Prophet's Sunnah and substituting it with their ijtihadat, as they are supporters of ijtihad.
On the other side, it projected the minority of Muslims, who clung to the Prophetic texts, and refused allegiance to Abu Bakr, who were represented by 'Ali and his followers (Shi'ah).
Thus the Islamic society witnessed, after the mentioned three incidents, the exposure of the identity of the two rival groups or parties, one of them respecting and applying the Prophetic Sunnah, and the other refuting and obliterating it, intending to replace it with exerting its opinion (ijtihad) that tempts most people, making them desire for seizing power or participating in it.
The first Sunni party was headed by 'Ali ibn Abi Talib and his followers, while the second ijtihadi party was headed by Abu Bakr,' Umar and most of the Companions.
The second party, led by Abu Bakr and 'Umar, did its utmost to destroy and break the first party's might, enginearing for this purpose several schemes to exterminate the opposing party, including:
First: Secluding and Paralyzing the Opposition Economically
The first initiative by the ruling party was depriving the opponents from all resources of provision and finance. For instance Abu Bakr and 'Umar have determined to dismiss Fatimah's (A) peasants from Fadak, 9considering that land as property for all Muslims, and not seclusively owned by Fatimah (A) as ordained by her father (S).
They also deprived her from her father's inheritance claiming that the prophets do not lave any inheritance, besides depriving her from the share of khums (one-fifth) which was dedicated for God's Messenger and his Household (Ahl al-Bayt), since charities being forbidden for them.
Thus 'Ali (A) has become economically paralyzed due to losing Fadak land, that was usurped from him, from which was gaining huge profits, and was also deprived from cutting the share of khumsfrom him. So 'Ali (A), his wife and children became in need of someone able to provide their sustainance and clothe them, the case which was exactly expressed by Abu Bakr when he said to al-Zahra (A): "Yes you are entitled to take the khums, but I shall determine it as done by God's Messenger, so I won't let you starve nor be in need of dress".
As mentioned before, most of the Companions tht followed 'Ali (A) were poor bondmen, who could not constitute any danger for the ruling party, as people incline toward that who is rich, and despise the poor one.
Second: Secluding and Paralyzing the Opposition Socially:
The ruling party embarked on secluding the opposition party, led by 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, socially, aiming at causing their decline.
The first thing done by Abu Bakr and 'Umar was smashing the psychological and sentimental barrier, prompting all the Muslims toward venerating and dignifying the kinship to the Holy Prophet (S).
If 'Ali (A), being the Prophet's cousin and the master of the pure progeny, had so many opponents among the Companions, who were jealous of him because of that which Allah of His bounty has bestowed upon him, besides the hypocrites who were lurking for him, so how it be with Fatimah (A), who was the only Prophet's daughter that succeeded him among his Ummah,being the mother of her father as the Messenger (S) used to call her, and the lady of all women of the worlds. She has been respected and glorified by all Muslims due to the status she had near her father, and the traditions he uttered regarding he virtues, honour and purity.
Despite all this, we noticed how Abu Bakr and 'Umar intended to bring to the ground this respect and veneration in the eyes of people, so 'Umar ibn al-Khattab came to her house, holding a firebrand, and sorrounded it with fire-wood, swearing to burn the house with whoever is inside, if they do not go out for swearing allegiance to his comrade (Abu Bakr).
About this incident, Ibn 'Abd Rabbih says in his book al-'Iqd al-farid:10
"But 'Ali, al-'Abbas and al-Zubayr stayed inside Fatimah's house until Abu Bakr sent to them 'Umar ibn al-Khattab to bring them out of the house, telling them: "If they refrain fight them". So he ('Umar) came holding a fire-brand, intending to burn the house with them, whereat Fatimah stood before him saying: "O Ibn al-Khattab, have you come to burn our house?"
He replied :"Yes, unless you enter into what the Ummah entered".
If Fatimah al-Zahra, the lady of all women of the worlds, as mentioned in the Sihah of "Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamah", and her two sons who are the masters of the youth of heaven-dwellers, and the Prophet's aromatic plant (rayhanah), being despised and belittled to the extent that 'Umar openly swears to burn their house upon them should they refuse to acknowledge Abu Bakr as a caliph, shall it remain then any respect or reverence in other people's hearts toward 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was detested and envied by most people, and who became, after the Prophet's demise, the head of the opposition, having nothing of vanities of the world, to be liked by people?
Al-Bukhari relates, in his Sahih, that Fatimah (A) demanded from Abu Bakr her inheritance left by God's Messenger, from which Allah has bestowed over him, with Fadak, and what is left from Khums of khaybar. She was encountered with Abu Bakr's refusal to pay her anything, so she became angry and forsook him, never talking to him till her death. Throughout her life after the Prophet (S) that lasted for six months, Abu Bakr was never allowed to enter her room, until she passed away, where her husband 'Ali (A) buried her at night. When she was alive,' Ali (A) used to receive people but after her demise he disguised himself from people, so he sought to hold compromise and allegaince to Abu Bakr, while he never held allegiance during those months.11
Al-Bukhari and Muslim claim (in their books) that the ruling party managed in imposing economical and social seclusion upon 'Ali, and defaming him in people's eyes, to the extent that he disguised himself from people, and was coered to reconcile and aknowledge Abu Bakr.
Al-Bukhari'a expression "Ali disguised himself from people" presents an express evidence showing the great grudge and hatred faced by Abu al-Hasan (peace be upon him) after his cousin's and wife demise, that he was even abused and slandered by some Companions while walking with them, so he has disguised himself from people due to the abomination he witnessed from them.
Our intention of this chapter is not just citing events, and the justice done to 'Ali (A), but is in fact to disclose the bitter and painful truth, that is the bearer of the Prophetic Sunnah's standard and the gate of the Messenger's knowledge has become deserted, whereas the supporters of exerting the opinion (al-'ijtihad bi al-ra'y), who reject Prophetic Sunnah, are in power, being backed by most of the Companions.
Third: Secluding the Opposition Politically:
Despite the severe seige imposed on the oposition, beside usurping their financial rights and secluding them from the Islamic society, until people turned their faces away from Ali ibn Abi Talib, and mentioned before, the ruling party never sufficed with all theses measure, but it emberked on secluding him ( Ali) politically, alienating him from all state devices, not allowing him to occupy any government post, beside not assigning him any responsibility. While they have appointed those released from bondage tulaq and debauchees from Banu Umayyah, who fought against Islam throughout prophet's (S) life time, al-Imam Ali (A) was secluded and kept away from the political arena throughout twenty -five years, in which Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman ruled. And at the time when some governors from the Companions were accumulating funds and hoarding up gold and silver and account of Muslims Ali (A) was earning his living through labouring hard by watering the Jews date palm.
Thus the gate of knowledge, the pontiff of the Ummah and Sunnah - bearer remained home imprisoned, whose value was unknown but for some oppressed people, numbering no more than hand-fingers, who were following him, being guided by his guidance and faithfully commited to him.
Al-Imam Ali tried, during his caliphate, to restore people to the Qur'an and the prophetic Sunnah, but faced failure, because people sided with umar's ijtihad, and most of them cried out in the Mosque: oh (alas) Umar 's Sunnah wa sunnatu Umarah).
The conclution we get from all this is that, ' Ali and his followers held fast to the prophetic Sunnah, working for receiving it, and never abandoning it, whereas the rest of the Ummah followed the heresies of Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ai'sha calling them the good heresies "12
This being not just a claim, but a reality upon which all Muslims have concurred, stating it in their sihah (varacious refference), and was recognized by every researcher and equitable (munsif)
Al-Bukhari himself testifies that al-Imam Ali has been a memorized of the Qur'an, knowing all its rules, and was the first one to compile it. whereas neither Abu Bakr, nor Umar, nor Uthman were learning Qur'an by heart, or knowing its rulings.13The historians mention that they heard Umar's saying for seventy times): Had Ali not been there Umar would have perished", and also Abu Bakr's saying to (Ali): I could not live in a time whereat you are not present O Abu al-Hasan ... and concerning ' Uthman you can say what you like.
8. The best evidence for the is Umar's threatening to burn Fatima's house with whoever was therein, which is a widely known episode in history books.
9. The story of Fadak is known in history books, and Fatima's dispute with Abu Bakr till she passed away while being angry him is famous, and reported by al-Bukhari and Mulim.
10. Al-'Iqd al-farid, by Ibn 'Abd Rabbin, vol. iv, when mentioning a group refusing to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr.
11. Sahih al-Bukhari vol, v. p.82 ''bab Ghazwat Khaybar'',. Sahih Muslim, ''kitab al-jihad
12. Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. iip. 252 ''bab salat al-tarawih'' and also vol. vii, p. 98.
13. 'Umar's unawareness of the rule of kalalah is quite known in the Sunni books, beside his ignorance of the ruls of tayammum, that is known for all and reported by al-Bukhari in his Sahih, vol. i, p 90.
Adapted from the book: "The Shi'ah; The Real Followers of the Sunnah" by: "Dr. Muhamad al-Tijahi al-Samawi"
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