About Saqifah

In the following tradition in Sahih al-Bukhari:

A)- Umar said that:

One should not deceive oneself by saying that the pledge of allegiance given to Abu Bakr was given suddenly and it was successful.

B)- Umar said that Ali and Zubair and whoever was with them, and Ansar disagreed with them :

And no doubt after the death of the Prophet we were informed that the Ansar disagreed with us and gathered in the shed of Bani Sa'da. 'Ali and Zubair and whoever was with them, opposed us, while the emigrants gathered with Abu Bakr.

C)- Umar gave his hand to Abu bakr without counselling with muslims. He gave his hand FIRST, and then others gave their hands too.

Then there was a hue and cry among the gathering and their voices rose so that I was afraid there might be great disagreement, so I said, 'O Abu Bakr! Hold your hand out.' He held his hand out and I pledged allegiance to him, and THEN all the emigrants gave the Pledge of allegiance and so did the Ansar afterwards.

D)- There was news that Umar and his followers had killed Sa'd bin Ubada. (I am not saying that he did. What I am saying that this was a common news on those days. That is all.)

One of the Ansar said, 'You have killed Sa'd bin Ubada.' I replied, 'Allah has killed Sa'd bin Ubada.

E)- While Umar gave his hand to Abu bakr without consulting others, he ordered that such person should be killed:

So if any person gives the Pledge of allegiance to somebody (to become a Caliph) WITHOUT consulting the other Muslims, then the one he has selected should NOT be granted allegiance, lest both of them should be killed."

F)- While he did not wish to accept others' decision, he, himself, applied his own decision to others:

there was no greater problem [compared to death of the prophet] than the allegiance pledged to Abu Bakr because we were afraid that if we left the people, they might give the Pledge of allegiance after us to one of their men, in which case we would have given them our consent for something against our real wish, or would have opposed them and caused great trouble.

Here is the tradition:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 8.817

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

I used to teach (the Qur'an to) some people of the Muhajirln (emigrants), among whom there was 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Auf. While I was in his house at Mina, and he was with 'Umar bin al-Khattab during 'Umar's last Hajj, Abdur-Rahman came to me and said, "Would that you had seen the man who came today to the Chief of the Believers ('Umar), saying, 'O Chief of the Believers!

What do you think about so-and-so who says, 'If 'Umar should die, I will give the pledge of allegiance to such-and-such person, as by Allah, the pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr was nothing but a prompt sudden action which got established afterwards.' 'Umar became angry and then said, 'Allah willing, I will stand before the people tonight and warn them against those people who want to deprive the others of their rights (the question of rulership)."

... In the meantime, 'Umar sat on the pulpit and when the callmakers for the prayer had finished their call, 'Umar stood up, and having glorified and praised Allah as He deserved, he said,...

... (O people!) I have been informed that a speaker amongst you says, 'By Allah, if 'Umar should die, I will give the pledge of allegiance to such-and-such person.' One should not deceive oneself by saying that the pledge of allegiance given to Abu Bakr was given suddenly and it was successful. No doubt, it was like that, but Allah saved (the people) from its evil, and there is none among you who has the qualities of Abu Bakr.

Remember that whoever gives the pledge of allegiance to anybody among you without consulting the other Muslims, neither that person, nor the person to whom the pledge of allegiance was given, are to be supported, lest they both should be killed.

And no doubt after the death of the Prophet we were informed that the Ansar disagreed with us and gathered in the shed of Bani Sa'da. 'Ali and Zubair and whoever was with them, opposed us, while the emigrants gathered with Abu Bakr.

I said to Abu Bakr, 'Let's go to these Ansari brothers of ours.' So we set out seeking them, and when we approached them, two pious men of theirs met us and informed us of the final decision of the Ansar, and said, 'O group of Muhajirin (emigrants) !

Where are you going?' We replied, 'We are going to these Ansari brothers of ours.' They said to us, 'You shouldn't go near them. Carry out whatever we have already decided.' I said, 'By Allah, we will go to them.' And so we proceeded until we reached them at the shed of Bani Sa'da.

Behold! There was a man sitting amongst them and wrapped in something. I asked, 'Who is that man?' They said, 'He is Sa'd bin 'Ubada.' I asked, 'What is wrong with him?' They said, 'He is sick.'

After we sat for a while, the Ansar's speaker said, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,' and praising Allah as He deserved, he added, 'To proceed, we are Allah's Ansar (helpers) and the majority of the Muslim army, while you, the emigrants, are a small group and some people among you came with the intention of preventing us from practicing this matter (of caliphate) and depriving us of it.'

When the speaker had finished, I intended to speak as I had prepared a speech which I liked and which I wanted to deliver in the presence of Abu Bakr, and I used to avoid provoking him. So, when I wanted to speak, Abu Bakr said, 'Wait a while.' I disliked to make him angry.

So Abu Bakr himself gave a speech, and he was wiser and more patient than I. By Allah, he never missed a sentence that I liked in my own prepared speech, but he said the like of it or better than it spontaneously. After a pause he said, 'O Ansar! You deserve all (the qualities that you have attributed to yourselves, but this question (of Caliphate) is only for the Quraish as they are the best of the Arabs as regards descent and home,

and I am pleased to suggest that you choose either of these two men, so take the oath of allegiance to either of them as you wish. And then Abu Bakr held my hand and Abu Ubada bin Abdullah's hand who was sitting amongst us. I hated nothing of what he had said except that proposal,

for by Allah, I would rather have my neck chopped off as expiator for a sin than become the ruler of a nation, one of whose members is Abu Bakr, unless at the time of my death my own-self suggests something I don't feel at present.'

And then one of the Ansar said, 'I am the pillar on which the camel with a skin disease (eczema) rubs itself to satisfy the itching (i.e., I am a noble), and I am as a high class palm tree! O Quraish. There should be one ruler from us and one from you.'

Then there was a hue and cry among the gathering and their voices rose so that I was afraid there might be great disagreement, so I said, 'O Abu Bakr! Hold your hand out.' He held his hand out and I pledged allegiance to him, and then all the emigrants gave the Pledge of allegiance and so did the Ansar afterwards. And so we became victorious over Sa'd bin Ubada (whom al-Ansar wanted to make a ruler).

One of the Ansar said, 'You have killed Sa'd bin Ubada.' I replied, 'Allah has killed Sa'd bin Ubada.' Umar added, "By Allah, apart from the great tragedy that had happened to us (i.e. the death of the Prophet), there was no greater problem than the allegiance pledged to Abu Bakr because we were afraid that if we left the people,

they might give the Pledge of allegiance after us to one of their men, in which case we would have given them our consent for something against our real wish, or would have opposed them and caused great trouble.

So if any person gives the Pledge of allegiance to somebody (to become a Caliph) without consulting the other Muslims, then the one he has selected should not be granted allegiance, lest both of them should be killed."

More on Companions

I shall discuss some issues about the companions in this article. For a followup to this discussion, please see "Then I Was Guided" by Dr. Muhammad al-Tijani al- Samawi; Published in 1989 by the Fajr Establishment in London, Great Britain. The Author has four books out now, may Allah (SWT) reward him generously for risking his life in the Arab World to speak the TRUTH about the Shi'i/Sunni problem, and why he became a Shia.

The four books are:

  1. Thooma Ihtadiyat -- Then I Was Guided (1989)
  2. Ma'ah al-Sadiqin -- With the Truthful Ones (1989)
  3. Fas'aloo Ahl al-Zikr -- Ask Those Who Possess the Message (1992)
  4. al-Shia Hum Ahl al-Sunnah -- The Shia Are The (True) Followers of the Sunnah (Sunnah--here meaning the custom/way of the Prophet (PBUH&HF)) (I am NOT sure if this book has been published and released to the public yet -- It was still in the writing process when I first heard of it).

Please note that the author, Dr. Muhammad al-Tijani al-Samawi, spent years of research before writing these books and becoming, himself, a Shia. He is also now a recognized and certified Shi'i Religious Scholar, with authority to give Fatwas (Religious Opinions), which is no easy task in the Shi'i schools of jurisprudence, philosophy, and the sciences.

He received his Doctorate degree from the Sorbone University, the French University that is ranked among the best universities in the world. His thesis was a discussion of al-Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib's (AS) most famous book "Nahjul Balagha" (The Way of Eloquence).

This book is recognized by both the Sunnis and the Shia as a model Par Excellence in classical Arabic Eloquence, next only to the Quran itself in beauty and grandeur.

The proof to that statement is that the Sunnis themselves have taken it upon themselves to explain the meanings of the text and to teach it in various Islamic universities. Among those Sunnis who wrote the commentary for this book is Ibn Abil Hadid. A mor recent commentary by the Sunnis is of Muhammad Abduh from al-Azhar University. The commentary of these scholars on the book of "Nahjul Balagha" can be found in many Mosques and libraries.

Shedding the blood of Innocents

al-Bukhari narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said the following to his companions in his last speech:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadiths: 5.688 and 7.458

Narrated Abu Bakra:

The Prophet said: "... Surely, you will meet your Lord, and He will ask you about your deeds. Beware! Do not become infidels after me by cutting the throats of one another. It is incumbent on those who are present to convey this message (of mine) to those who are absent. May be that some of those to whom it will be conveyed will understand it better than those who have actually heard it."

On the other hand, the documented history confirms that some companions (some of whom were also promised paradise according to some fabricated traditions) shed the blood of thousands of Muslims in various civil wars.

Good examples of them are Talha and Zubair who were the first companions who waged war against Ali (AS) after people paid oath to him as their legitimate Caliph. They could not see him in power, and found him a great obstacle for their robberies.

Thus shed the blood of 10 thousand Muslims in the battle of "Camel", in order to overthrow Ali from power. (see any Sunni history books for details). Their plot was finally failed and both Talha and Zubair were killed. Muawiyah and Amr Ibn al-Auss are another examples, who waged the war of Siffin against Ali (AS) killing other thousands of Muslims. Allah states:

"And Whoever kills a believer deliberately, his reward is Hell forever, and the Wrath of Allah is upon him, He cursed him and prepared a great punishment for him." (Quran 4:93)

As such, is there any reason we should respect ALL of the companions and follow ALL of them, even those among them whom Allah cursed by the above verse of Quran? Why should we love one whom Allah curses, and why should we follow one whom Allah has promised Hell forever?

Collecting Gold and Silver

al-Bukhari narrates the Prophet (PBUH&HF) said the following after the Battle of Uhud:

Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 8.434

Narrated 'Uqba bin 'Amir:

The Prophet went out and offered the funeral prayer for the martyrs of the (battle of) Uhud and then ascended the pulpit and said, "I am your predecessor and I am a witness against you. By Allah, I am now looking at my Tank-lake (Al-Kauthar) and I have been given the keys of the treasures of the earth (or the keys of the earth). By Allah! I am not afraid that you become polytheist after me, but I am afraid that you will start competing (for the luxuries of this world).

The tradition clearly indicates that after his (PBUH&HF) death, some of the companions will abandon the religion, and compete against one another for the wealth of this temporary existence. And they indeed competed until the swords were drawn and the wars were waged, thereby fulfilling the prophecy.

Some of the famous companions were eager to collect gold and silver. Great Sunni Historians like Mas'udi and Tabari and others stated that the wealth of Zubair on its own came out to 50,000 Dinars and 1000 horses with 1000 slaves and many holdings in Basrah, Kufah, Egypt, and many other places. This massive wealth was accumulated while many Muslims starved to death. (See Muruj al-Dahab by al-Masudi, v2, p341)

The agricultural products from Iraq alone brought for Talha 1000 Dinars EVERY DAY!, and perhaps more than that. (Muruj al-Dahab by al-Masudi, the same page)

Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf had 100 horses, 1000 camels, and 10,000 sheep. After his death, the quarter of his wealth which was divided among his wives came out to 84,000 Dinars. (Muruj al-Dahab by al-Masudi, the same page)

Uthman Ibn Affan left on the day of his death 150,000 Dinars, apart from an enormous wealth of land, cattle and villages. (Muruj al-Dahab by al-Masudi, the same page)

Zayd Ibn Thabit left an amount of gold and silver that HAD TO BE BROKEN BY HAMMERS! apart from money and agricultural holdings which came to 100,000 Dinars. (Muruj al-Dahab by al-Masudi, the same page)

These were just few examples to show that some of the companions were more interested in the present life. Comparing the poverty of people at that time, one get suspicious to how they got so much money from nothing while the rest of people were in poverty.

This gives a good idea of why they waged war against Ali (AS) to overthrow him from power. They found him a big obstacle for their misconducts of treasury and territories.

The question now is this: If these so-called pious companions were so busy collecting money and competing among one another in worldly gain, while many Muslims died from poverty, where then was that so-called piety and sense of sacrifice that the Sunnis attribute to them (the companions)? This is a sign for those who reflect!