Why did he not Protest with the Prophet's Traditions?
- :Shahid Sadr
Adopted from the book : "Fadak in History" by : "Shahid Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr"
The confused image of the conditions would make the protest using the prophet's holy traditions at that time, in which the frantic thought and the fiery fancies had controlled the ruling party to the furthest point, face bad results,because no one can had heard the prophet's saying about the caliphate except his fellow citizens of Medinah; the Muhajireen and the Ansar.Those saying were the expensive deposit near that group, who had spread them to Allah the people of the Islamic world and to the neccesive generations and the following ages. If Imam Ali protest against the people of Medina by the words, which they had heard from the prophet concerning him (Ali) and he presented them as evidences proving his right of the imamate and the caliphate, it would be natural for the ruling party to consider the varacious of the umma,imam Ali as liar and to deny thoseprophetic traditions, which would remove from the caliphate of shura its legal aspect and its religious dress.
And the truth would not find a strong voice defending it in front of that deniel because many of Quraysh, at the head were the umayyads, who were ambitious to gain the glory of the authority and the ease of the rule whereas they thought that presenting the caliph according to the prophet's saying would confirm the belief of the devine imamate. If this theory was applied to the Islamic law,it would mean limiting the caliphate to the Hashimites, the hounored family of muhammad (s) whereas the others would lose the battle. We could find this kind of thinking in Omar's saying to ibn Abbas when justifying excluding Ali from the caliphate: "The people hated to see both of prophethood and the caliphate in your family." This showed that giving the caliphate to Ali from the beginning would mean, according to the public thiking, limiting the caliphate to the Hashimites. It could not be said that the opinion of people at that time towerds the the Alawite calipahte as it was the appplication of the orders of the heaven and not according to the votes of the electors. If Ali found a suppoter from the upper class of Quraysh encouraging him to stand against the rulers, he would never find any assisting him if he said that the prophet had recorded the caliphate for his family when he said:"I have left for you two weighty things; the Book of Allah and my family ..."1As for the Ansar,they preceded all the Muslims in slighting these prophetic traditionsThe greed to the rule led them to hold conference in the shed (Saqeefa) of Beni2 Sa'id to pay homage to one of them.3 So if Ali depended on the prophetic traditions,he would not find the Ansar as soldiers and witnesses for his case because if they witnessed of that they would record a shameful cotradiction against themselves on the same day and they,definitely, would not do that.
Paying homage by the tribe of Ouss to the Abu Bakr and the saying of some, who said: "We will not pay homage except to Ali "4had no contradiction like that of the Ansar because the meaning of holding the conference in the Saqeefa was to imply that the matter of the caliphate was the matter of election and not according to the prophet's tradition.Hence they had no way to retract on the same day.
As for the confussion of the Muhajireen, it had no embarrassment because the Ansar did not agree on an opinion in the Saqeefa but they were confrring and delibrating. therefore we found al-Hubab bin al-Munthir5 trying to stir them to adopt his opinion. It showed that they gathered to support a certain thought that only some of them believed in.
Imam Ali thought that the ruling party would deny and strive to deny the traditions if he declared them and would not find any one supporting him with his claim, because the people were between those whose political fancy led them to deny the traditions in order to close the way of retracing after hours of their conference,and those, who thought that the traditions would limit the caliphate to the Hashimites with no litigant. If the ruling party and its assistants denied the traditions and the rest were satisfied with silence at last,it would mean that the traditions would lose their real value and all the Islamic world , which was far from the prophet's city (Medina),would accept the denial because it was the utterance of the dominant power at that time.
Let us notice another side; if Ali got some people agreeing with him on his claim,witnessing to the holy traditions and opposing the denying of the ruling party,it would mean that they denied the caliphate of Abu Bakr and his would make them liable to a cruel attack by that would lead them to a war against the ruling party,which was so enthusiastic about the political entity and would never be silent.So the declaration of the traditions by Ali would lead him to a real encounter and we have seen previously that he was not ready to declare the revolt against the actual rule and to face the dominant authority in figting.
Protesting by using the prophetic traditions would have no clear effect against the ruling policy.In fact it would make the rulers by cautiuos and try their strict means to remove those prophetic traditions from the Islamic mentality because they knew that it would be too dangerous for them and that it would give a great incentive to the oppositionists to revolt at any time. I think if Omar had noticed the dangers of the traditions, after Imam Ali pleaded with them in the time of his own reign6 and they spread among his Shia, as the Umayyads noticed,he would have done away with them and he could have done what the Umayyads could not do to put out their light. Imam Ali precieved that if he used the traditions as his plea at that time, he would SUPject them to many dangers from the ruling party,so he petied those holy traditions in order not to be crushed under the feet of the dominaant policy.He kept to silence unwillingly but he took advantage of their inadvertances.
Omar himself declared that Ali was the guardian of every believer man and every believer woman according to the prophet's saying.7
Then was not it reasonable that Imam Ali feared for the honor of his beloved brothre,the prophet,to be desparaged where it was more precious for Ali than everything at all if he declared the prophetic situation when the prophet (s)asked for an inkpot to write a decree for people,with which they would never deviate at all, then Omar said: "The prophet is raving ... or he is overcome by pain?"8 Later on Omar confessed to ibn Abbas that the prophet wanted to appoint Ali for the caliphate and he (Omar) prevented him from that for fear of sedition to occur.9 Whether the prophet wanted to write down Ali's right of the caliphate or not, it is important for us to ponder on Omar's situation against the prophet's order. Since Omar was ready to accuse the prophet face to face of what the holy Quran had purified him from,10 then what would prevent him from accusing another one after the prophet's death? However we softened Omar's situation it would not refer but to claiming that the prophet's decree about the caliphate was not from Allah but he wanted to appoint Ali just for sympathy.
In fact his opposition to the traditions confirming Ali's right of the caliphate would worse than his opposition to the prophet claiming that it would cause disturbance if the prophet (s) had left a written text confirming the imamate of Ali.
If the Prophet had given up declaring the caliphate of Ali at the last hours of his life because of a saying said by Oma,it was also possible that Imam Ali would give up using the traditions in his protest for fear of a saying that might be said by Omar.
The result of this research was that the silence of Imam Ali in not declaring the traditions as evidence of his right was imposed on him because: He did not find among the men of that time any,in whose witnessing he could trust.
Using the prophetic tradtitions as evidence would draw the rulers' attention to their effect and they would use any means to do away with them.
Protesting by means of the traditions would mean the full readiness for the volt, which imam Ali did not want. When Omar accused the prophet (s) at his last hours, it became clear for imam Ali to what exetent the rulers strove to keep their positions and their readiness to support and defend them. So Imam Ali feared that some thing might happen if he declared the traditions of his imamate.
1- Muslim's Sahih, vol.4, p.1874, Ahmad's Musnad,vol.4p.281
2- It means tribe or family of.
3- At-Tabari's Tareekh, vol.1.2, p.242
4- Ibid .vol.2 p.233
5- At-Tabari's Tareekh,vol.1.2p. 243.
6- Imam Ali asked some of the companions to witness if they had heard the prophet's tradithion of al-Ghadeer. Refer to al-Bidaya wen-Nihaya by ibn katheer, vol.7, p.360. Ali asked some people about the tradition of al-Ghadeer in which the prophet declared that Ali would be the caliph after the prophet's death,and thirty of them witnessed that they had heard it from the prophet (s).Refer to as-Sawa'iqul Muhriqa, p.122.
7- Thakha'irul Oqba, p.67. The tradition showed that Omar intended sometimes to change the way that the party followed in the begining towards the Hashimites but he was overcome by the political nature of the first riegn at last.
8- Sahih of al-Bukhari,vol.1 p.37.
9- Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol.3 p.97.
10- The holy Quran says: (Nor does be speak out of desire. its naught but revelation thats revealed ) .53:3-4.
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