The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
The Consultative Committee
When Umar was hopeless of life and sure of the decreed moment of death, he thought for a long time and reflected on one who would undertake the affairs of the government after him. He remembered the leading personalities of his party, who took part in paving the way to Abu Bakr and keeping away the Prophet’s Household (from authority). As a result, severe pain encompassed him, for all of them had died. He showed impatience and sorry in respect of them, saying: “If Abu Ubayda was alive, I would appoint him as a caliph, for he was entrusted by this community! If Salim, Abu Hudhayfa’s retainer, was alive, I would appoint him as a caliph, for he loved Allah, the Most High, very much!”
Umar was sorry for the death of ‘Abu Ubayda and Salim. If they had been alive, he would have appointed them as caliphs. Had they the precedence of jihad in Islam? Did Allah’s Apostle (a.s) preferred them to others, that they might deserve such an important office?
Umar looked for those worthy of the caliphate in the records of the dead, but he forgot Imam Ali (a.s) who was the same self of the Prophet (a.s), the Gate of the City of his Knowledge, Gate of the House of his Wisdom, the most knowledgeable of his community in giving legal decisions, father of his two grandsons, and his supporter at all battles and attitudes! He fully forgot him and did not remember him at all!
Anyhow, Umar thought that he had to appoint a consultative committee and to command it to elect an Imam from among its members. This committee was a dangerous plot made against Imam Ali (a.s)! Imam Kashif al-Ghita’, may Allah have mercy on him, has said: “The Consultative Committee, in its essence and reality, was a real plot and just formal. It was an excellent skill to impose Uthman as a caliph over the Muslims in spite of them. However, (it was carried out) with a skillful management that brought about to Muslims evil that none could repel!”
Umar summoned the members of the Consultative Committee. When they were present before him, he said to them: “Are you all crave after the succession after me?” They fell silent, so he repeated his statement. Al-Zubayr opposed him, saying: “What make us far from it (the caliphate)? You have undertaken it, while we are not inferior to you in (belonging to) Quraysh, precedence, and kinship!” Umar turned to them and said: “Shall I tell you about yourselves?”
“Say,” they replied, “if we ask you to pardon us, you will not pardon us.”
Umar began stating his opinion of them and telling them about their qualities one by one. He has said in respect of al-Zubayr: “As for you, O Zubayr, you are peevish, double-minded, believing when you are pleased, and disbelieving when you are angry. One day you are a human being, and one day you are a Satan. Perhaps, if it (the caliphate) reaches you, you will continue slapping the people for a mudd (measure) of barely… Have you considered if it reaches you? I wish I knew who would take care of the people on the day when you were a Satan, and who would take care of them when you became angry! Allah will not let you undertake the affairs of this community while you have such qualities!”
Umar knew al-Zubayr’s qualities such as his being a Satan one day and a human being on another day, afflicted with miserliness and stinginess, slapping for a mudd (measure) of barely. Therefore, why did he nominate him for the caliphate and make him as one of the members of the Consultative Committee?
Then he turned to Talha and said to him: “Shall I say or keep silent?” Talha rebuked him, saying: “You say nothing good!” Umar said: “Most surely I have come to know you that you have become angry with that which happened to you since your finger was wounded at the Battle of Uhud. Allah’s Apostle (a.s) died while he was displeased with you due to the statement you said when the verse al-hijab was revealed.”
If Allah’s Apostle (a.s) died and was displeased with Talha, then why did Umar nominated him for the Islamic caliphate, which was the deputyship of the Prophet? This statement also contradicts his last statement in respect of the members of the Consultative Committee: “Allah’s Apostle (a.s) died and was satisfied with them!” Al-Jahidh says: “If a sayer had said to Umar: ‘You said: ‘Most surely Allah’s Apostle (a.s) died and was satisfied with the six (persons),’ then why are you saying to Talha: ‘He (a.s) died and was displeased with you due to the word you had said? He would have thrown an arrow at him! However who dared to say a statement less than this to Umar. Just imagine how much more important this (statement) is!”
Then Umar turned to Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas and said to him: “You are the owner of one of these groups of horses with which you fight. You hunt (animals). You have bows and arrows. However, there is a great difference between you and the caliphate and affairs of the people!” According to Umar’s insight, Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas was a man of war, fighting, hunting, (shooting) arrows; therefore, he was not appropriate for the caliphate. Neither he nor his family were entitled to it, then why did Umar nominate him for it and regard him as one of the members of the Consultative Committee, who were qualified to undertake the government?
Then he turned to Abdurrahman bin Awf and said to him: “As for you Abdurrahman, if half of the faith of the Muslims was weighed with your faith, your faith would overbalance, but this authority is not appropriate for someone who has weakness like that of yours. There is a great difference between you and this authority!”
Most surely Abdurrahman was a man of belief and piety, according to Umar’s opinion. Part of his faith the Caliph gave him was that he turned away from choosing the Prophet’s pure family, and gave the leadership to the Umayyads, the opponents of Islam and the enemies of the Prophet (a.s). Then faith itself was not appropriate for nominating its owner for the caliphate unless one had perfect knowledge of the affairs of society, and abundant experience of what the community needed in all fields. As for Abdurrahman, according to Umar’s confession, was a weak man and was not entitled to the caliphate. So why did he nominate him for it and regard him as one of the prominent members of the Consultative Committee?
Then he turned to Imam Ali (a.s) and said to him: “You are the proper one, were it not for the joking you had! By Allah, if you became a caliph over them, you would drive them to the clear truth and white way!”
When did the Commander of the faithful (Imam Ali) have joking and fun? He knew nothing in his lifetime except diligence in words and actions. Suppose that he had such a quality, then it was among the manners of the prophets, and, in particular, of the manners of the Prophet Muhammad (a.s). It has been mentioned that he (a.s) joked with people to please them.
Is it an action of taking care of Islam, keeping the unity of the community, looking after its interests that Umar twisted the rope of the Consultative Committee and appointed the Commander of the faithful as one of its members? Did Umar not confess: “If Ali had seized the reins of government, he would drive the Muslims to the clear truth and the white way?” Did the daughter of the Prophet (a.s) not say in respect of Imam Ali: “By Allah, had they all yielded to his leadership, he would have taken them to the easy path, without harming anyone. He would have brought them to an overflowing fountain of goodness, advised them in secrecy and in public, neither filling his belly with their own sustenance, nor satisfying his thirst nor hunger out of their own toil?” The Prophet (a.s) says: “If they appoint Ali as ruler, then he is a guide and rightly-guided.”[^1]
Had Imam Ali (a.s) taken the reins of government, he would have secured for the Muslims the blessings of life they needed, found for them equal opportunities, protected the Islamic ideals from deterioration and decay. Therefore, was it an act of justice that the caliphate was turned away from him and obtained through the Consultative Committee in a manner that made the Umayyads seize the government?
Then Umar turned to Uthman and said to him: “Welcome! It is as if that I see that Quraysh invest you with this authority because of their love for you. (I see) that you empower the Umayyads and the children of Abu Ma’eet over the people, that you prefer them (to others) in respect of al-Fay’, and that a group of some wicked Arabs walk towards you and kill you on your bed! By Allah, if they did that, you would do that! And if you did that, they would do that!” Then he put his head on the forepart of his head and said: “If that happened, then call to mind my statement.”[^2] Umar had come to know that Uthman would empower the Umayyads and the children of Abu Ma’eet over the people and prefer them to others in respect of the Fay’ of the Muslims. Therefore, why did he nominate him for the caliphate, empower him over the Muslims, and subject the community to disasters and misfortunes?
After he had stated his speech, he turned to the people and said to them: “Most surely Allah’s Apostle (a.s) died and was pleased with these six Qurayshi people. I have decided that the caliphate should be obtained through the Consultative Committee, that they may elect one from among them.”
Then he said to the candidates: “Bring with you some Sheikhs of the Ansar, and they have nothing (to do) in respect of your affair. Bring with you al-
[^1] Al-Isti‘ab, vol. 3, p. 5. [^2] Ibn Abi al-Haddeed, Sharh Nahjj al-Balagha, vol. 1, p. 185-186.
Hasan bin Ali and Abdullah bin Abbas, for they have kinship (to the Prophet). I hope that you will get blessing through their presence. And they have nothing (to do) in respect of your affair!”
What was the blessing that took place through the presence of Imam al-Hasan and Abdullah bin Abbas, while they had nothing to do in respect of the authority? He had prevented them from expressing their viewpoints (regarding the caliphate); likewise, he did the same toward the Sheikhs of the Ansar. Then he turned to Abu Talha al-Ansari[^1] and said to him: “O Abu Talha, most surly Allah has reinforced Islam through you; therefore, choose fifty men from the Ansar to force this group of people to quickly carry out the affair (of the Caliphate).”
Then he turned to al-Miqdad bin al-Aswad and commanded him in the same manner, saying: “If five people agree (on the affair of the caliphate) and one of them refuses, then cut off his head. If four men (from the six) agree and two of them refuse, the behead them. If three of them agree on a man and three of them are satisfied with another man, then be with those among whom is Abdurrahman bin Awf, and kill the rest if they turn away from that on which the people have agreed.”
Imam Ali (a.s) went out while he was grieved and sad because of Umar’s Consultative Committee. He met his uncle al-Abbas and said to him: “O Uncle, the caliphate has been turned away from us.” “Who has informed you of that?” “Umar has compared me to Uthman and said: be with the majority. Then he said: ‘Be with Abdurrahman.’ Sa’d does not oppose his cousin Abdurrahman, and Abdurrahman is Uthman’s son-in-law. They do not differ with each other. Therefore, either Abdurrahman invest Uthman with the caliphate or Uthman will invest him with it.”[^2]
Imam Ali (a.s) disclosed the plot that the late Caliph had made against him when he decided the consultation in this manner, that he might turn the caliphate away from him. This painful manner hurt Imam Ali’s heart, so he
[^1] Abu Talha al-Ansari is Zayd bin Sahl al-Najjar. He fought alongside the Prophet (a.s.) at the Battle of Badr. When the Prophet (a.s.) made his companions associate with each other as brothers, he made him and Abu ‘Ubayda al-Jarrah associate as brothers. Abu Talha was among the numbered bow men and among the famous brave people. He killed twenty people at the Battle of Hunayn. He married Umm Anas bin Malik. He died in Medina in the year 31 A. H. at the age of seventy. ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan prayed over him. Usd al-Ghaba, vol. 5, p. 334. [^2] Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 5, p. 35.
said: “When he (Umar) went to his way (died), he placed the affair (of the caliphate) among a group of people and claimed that I was among them. Good Heavens! What had I to do with the consultation? When did have I doubt about the first (Caliph) in order to be compared to these ones?”
Yes, by Allah, when did he have doubt about Abu Bakr so as to be compared to Talha, Uthman, and Abdurrahman bin Awf? Was among them anyone equal to Imam Ali in religion, knowledge, jihad, and precedence in Islam? Through his speech with Ibn Abbas, Imam Ali explained the reason why he responded to be among the members of the Consultative Committee. The summary of that is that Umar had acknowledged that Imam Ali was entitled to the caliphate. But he had said that the prophethood and the caliphate had not to come together in one house. So Imam Ali intended to show that Umar’s words contradicted his actions. For this firm reason he joined the members of the Consultative Committee.
A Viewpoint on the Consultative Committee
Umar’s Consultative Committee faces many criticisms. Those who have criticized it have mentioned that it was not based on some right ways, nor was it built on some firm foundations, nor did it anyway seek the interests of the community, nor did it aim at protecting society from chaos and disorders. Rather it aimed at turning the caliphate from Imam Ali (a.s) and depriving the community of enjoying his just government. Therefore, it was not a real Consultative Committee. Rather it was formal and accompanied by fanaticism and spites. We mention to the readers some of the criticisms:
Most surely the real consultation means that all the community has to take part in elections in an atmosphere where the general freedoms of all electors are available. As for Umar’s Consultative Committee, it was void of all these elements, for the people were prevented from electing. Umar granted the right of electing to six persons. It was natural that they had nothing except their personal viewpoints. They did not represent the community, nor did they express its will. Umar narrowed the circle and confined taking a decision to the opinions of the three persons among whom was Abdurrahman bin Awf. He regarded their votes as equal to the votes of the rest of the Muslims. Of course this is a kind of non-opposition used by some governments imposing their will on their peoples. This consultation clashed with the will of the Muslims, opposed their freedoms, and was imposed on them.
Most surely this Consultative Committee included most of the opponents of Imam Ali (a.s) and those who harbored malice against him. It contained Talha al-Taymi, who was from the family of Abu Bakr, who competed with Imam Ali for the caliphate. There was great enmity and dispute between (the tribe of) Taym and Imam Ali. It included Abdurrahman bin Awf, who was Uthman’s son-in-law. Besides, he harbored hatred against Imam Ali (a.s). He was among those who carried firewood during paying homage to Abu Bakr to burn Imam Ali’s house. It included Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas, who harbored malice against the Imam for his uncles, the Umayyads. His mother was Hamna, daughter of Sufyan bin Umayya. Imam Ali destroyed their heroes for the sake of Islam. Accordingly, Sa’d was full of spites and enmity toward the Imam for the sake of his uncles.. When the Muslims pledged allegiance to the Imam, Sa’d was among those who did not pay homage to him. The Consultative Committee included Uthman, who was the Sheikh of the Umayyad family, who was famous for showing enmity toward the Household of the Prophet (a.s). Umar provoked all these forces against Imam Ali lest the caliphate should reach him. After Imam Ali had undertaken the authority, he talked about the hatred and malice of the members of the Consultative Committee against him, saying: “But I remained low when they were low and flew high when they flew high. One of them turned against me because of his hatred and the other inclined to the other way due to his son-in-law, this thing, and that thing.”
Umar intentionally moved all the spites and hatred of all Quraysh against Imam Ali, the brother of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) his testamentary trustee, and Gate of the City of his Knowledge. He responded to the spites of Quraysh that the Imam destroyed for the sake of Islam.
Umar intentionally sent far all the followers of Imam Ali. He did not give them any share in the Consultative Committee, nor did he nominate any of the Ansar, who lodged the Prophet (a.s) and supported him, for they had wish and inclination toward the Imam (a.s). He also did not give any share to Ammar bin Yasir, who was among those who founded Islam. Moreover he isolated Abu Dharr, al-Miqdad, and the like from among the Muslim eminent men, for they were Ali’s followers. He confined the Consultative Committee to the forces who deviated from Imam Ali and showed enmity toward him.
Among the strange affairs of the Consultative Committee whose programs he had designed is that he bore witness that Allah’s Apostle (a.s) died and was pleased with the members of the Consultative Committee. But he had ordered their heads to be cut off if they had delayed from electing one of them. Was that a reason for their deviating from the religion and reneging from Islam, that shedding their blood might be regarded as permissible?
Among the strange affairs of the Consultative Committee is that Umar preferred the group that included Abdurrahman if the members differed. He overlooked the group that included Imam Ali (a.s). He paid no attention to it. Rather, he forced it to yield to the opinion of Abdurrahman bin Awf, whom he preferred to Imam Ali (a.s) who had talents, genius, no equal in knowledge, piety, and fear of Allah. Therefore, how did he make him equal to others, while Allah, the Exalted, says: “Are those who know and those who do not know alike?” Ugh be on you, O time! Woe to you, O time! Is Imam Ali equal to the members of the Consultative Committee, and Abdurrahman given precedence over him? However, that took place due to the spites and fanaticism that occupied their souls and made them forget the criteria and prevent them from following the just way!
Among the criticisms facing the Consultative Committee is that it created a kind of competition among its members, and they thought that they were equals to each other. Before that, they had not such an opinion. Sa’d was a follower of Abdurrahman, Abdurrahman was a follower of Uthman, al-Zubayr was among the followers of Imam Ali, and it was he who said during the time of Umar: “By Allah, If Umar died, I would pay homage to Ali.” However, Abdurrahman blew into him the spirit of ambition, and he separated himself from Imam Ali (a.s) and mutinied against him at the Battle of the Camel. The Consultative Committee created ambitions and inclinations, and they hoped for the caliphate and sought it though they were not worthy of it. Accordingly, the country was full of discords and differences; the word of the Muslims became disordered, and their unity cracked. Mu’awiya bin Abi Sufyan mentioned this painful situation during his talk with Ibn al-Husayn, whom Ziyad sent to meet him. He said to him:
-I have heard that you have mind and reason; therefore, tell me about all things about which I question you? -Ask me as you like. -Tell me: What scattered the affair of the Muslims and their leading personalities, and made them differ with each other? -The people who killed Uthman. -You have done nothing. -Ali, who walked towards you and fought against you. -You have done nothing. -Talha, al-Zubayr, and A’isha, who walked towards Ali and fought against him. -You have done nothing. -I have nothing other than that, O Commander of the Faithful!
-I will tell you that nothing scattered the Muslims and divided their inclinations except the Consultative Committee that Umar confined to six people. That is because Allah sent Muhammad with guidance and the religion of truth, that He might cause it to prevail over all religions, though the polytheists may be averse. He (Prophet Muhammad) did according to what Allah commanded him. Then Allah took him unto Him. He (Umar) advanced Abu Bakr to perform the prayer, and they were satisfied with him in respect of the affairs of their religion, for Allah’s Apostle (a.s) was satisfied with him for the affairs of their religion. So he (Abu Bakr) did according to the Sunna of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) and he followed his behavior until Allah seized him unto Him. He appointed Umar as a caliph, and he followed the like of his behavior. Then Umar confined the Consultative Committee to six persons, and each of them hoped the caliphate for himself, his people hoped it for him, and his soul was eager for that. If Umar had appointed someone over them, as Abu Bakr had done, there would have been no difference over that.[^1]
These are the defects of the Consultative Committee that opened the door to chaos and dispute among the Muslims, and made al-Tulaqa’ [^2] and their sons compete with each other for the Islamic caliphate. They went up on the pulpits of the Muslims, possessed alone al-Fay’, and punished the good and righteous Muslims. To Allah we belong and to Him is our return!
Umar met his Lord and went to his final resting-place.[^3] The police surrounded the members of the Consultative Committee. They forced them to carry out Umar’s will and to elect for the Muslims a ruler from among them. The candidates held a meeting in the public treasury, and it was said that they held the meeting in the house of Masrur bin Muhrima. Imam al-Hasan and Abdullah bin Abbas supervised the election. Amr bin al-‘Aas and al-Mughira
[^1] Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih, al-Iqd al-Fareed, vol. 3, pp. 73-74. [^2] al-Tulaqa’ are those who converted to Islam at the time of the conquest of Mecca. [^3] Umar died on Wednesday with four days remaining (in the month) of Dhi al-Hijja, in the year 23 A. H. His caliphate lasted for ten years, six months, and four days. He was sixty-three years old. This has been mentioned by al-Mas‘udi in his book Murujj al-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 198. Before Islam, Umar was very poor and miserable. Umar bin al-‘Aas has said: “By Allah, I have seen Umar and his father. Each of them was wearing a Qattwani cloak that did exceed the hollow of the knee; and there was a bundle of firewood on his head.” This has been mentioned by Ibn Abi al-Haddeed in his book Sharh Nahjj al-Balagha.
bin Shu‘ba approached the place of the election. They sat by the door. Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas came to know of their purpose. He rebuked and said to them: “Do you want to say that you have attended the Consultative Committee and been from among its members?”
The members discussed the one who was the most entitled to the authority, most appropriate for it, the greatest of them in ability and power to manage the affairs of the government. As for Imam Ali (a.s) he warned them against the discords that would have happened in the country if they had responded to their tendencies and had not preferred the truth. He (a.s) said: “None before me hastened to the summons of truth and retaining of kinship, and the profit of generosity. Therefore, listen to my words and fully understand my speech. After this day you will see that the swords will be drawn and covenants will be broken for this authority, to the extent that some of you will be Imams of the men of misguidance and followers of the men of ignorance.”[^1]
They did not understand the Imam’s speech, nor did they reflect on it; rather they hurried to their ambitions and their inclinations. Shortly after that, the time showed them the Imam’s truthful prediction. That was when they drew the swords and broke their covenants, that they might reach the scepter of government and authority. Some of them became Imams of the men of misguidance and followers of the men of ignorance.
Anyway, the discussion about the affair of the caliphate was plentiful. The meeting was over, and nothing resulted from it. The people were impatiently waiting for the decisive result of their meeting, but they found nothing. The meeting was held again, but nothing resulted from it. The period of time fixed by Umar was about to be over. So, Abu Talha al-Ansari came to the members and said to them: “By Him in whose hand is Umar’s soul, I will add nothing to the three days when you have been commanded (to elect one from among you).”
The third day came and the meeting was held. Talha gave his right to Uthman. He did that because he had come to know that Uthman deviated from Imam Ali (a.s). He intended to strengthen his side and undermine that of the Imam. Al-Zubayr hurried and gave his right to the Imam, for he came to know that his side became weak. Sa’d hurried and gave his right to Abdurrahman bin Awf, for he was his cousin. As for Abdurrahman to whom Umar entrusted the affairs of the Consultative Committee and whose opinion he regarded as a decisive criterion, he felt weakness in himself and incapability of managing [^1] Muhammad Abda, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 2, p. 31.
the affairs of the government, so he decided to nominate someone other than him. He inclined to Uthman. So he consulted Quraysh, and they made him refrain from (electing) Imam Ali (a.s), made him love Uthman, and urged him to choose and elect him. The terrible hour came, and the course of history changed. That was when Abdurrahman said to his nephew: “O Masrur, go and summon Ali and Uthman!” “With whom shall I begin?” asked Masrur. “With whomever you wish,” said Abdurrahman.
Masrur hurried and brought Imam Ali and Uthman. The Muhajireen and the Ansar attended. The masses overcrowded in the mosque, that they might take the decisive decision. Abdurrahman rose and said: “Advise me in respect of these two persons.” He indicated with his hand to Hashim’s descendant (Imam Ali) and the Sheikh of the Umayyads (Uthman Bin Affan).
Ammar bin Yasir said to him: “If you want the people not to disagree, then pay homage to Ali!” He advised him to follow the right opinion that would protect the community from the disagreement and save it from the dispute and dissension. Al-Miqdad hurried and confirmed Ammar’s viewpoint, saying: “Ammar is right. If you pledge allegiance to Ali, we will listen and obey!” Abdullah bin Abi Sarh-among the eminent men from among the Umayyads who warred against the Prophet (a.s) and opposed him- rose and addressed Abdurrahman bin Awf, saying: “If you want Quraysh not to disagree, then pay homage to Uthman bin Affan!”
Abdullah bin Rabee‘a al-Makhzumi rushed and said: “He is right! If you pledge allegiance to Uthman, we will listen and obey!” Ammar bin Yasir opposed Abdullah bin Abi Sarh and said to him: “When are you loyal to Islam?”
Ammar was truthful. When did Abdullah bin Abi Sarh respect Islam? When was he loyal to the Muslims? When did he guide them to the right path? He was the greatest of all the people in showing enmity toward Allah’s Apostle (a.s). When the Prophet (a.s) conquered Mecca, he ordered Abdullah bin Abi Sarh to be killed even if he was hanging on to the curtains of the Kaaba.[^1] Why did such a rogue intervene in the affairs of the Muslims? However, we belong to Allah and to Him is our return! [^1] Al-Isti‘ab, vol. 2, p. 375.
The Hashimites and the Umayyads talked, and a warm argument took place between the two families. Ammar bin Yasir, a loyal Muslim, said: “O people, most surely Allah has honored you through His Prophet and strengthened you through His religion; therefore, till when do you turn the authority away from the Household of your Prophet?”
Ammar said but the saying of Islam that his heart had understood. Allah strengthened Quraysh and the rest of the Arabs with His religion and made them happy through His Prophet, who was the source of their strength, honor, and glory. It was not an act of fairness and justice that they turned the authority away from his household and family. They sometimes entrusted Taym with it and sometimes ‘Adi. Now, they spared no effort to entrust it to another tribe. A man from (the tribe of) Makhzum interrupted him, saying: “You have overlooked your condition, O son of Sumayya! What is the relationship between you and the authority over Quraysh?”
The man’s soul was full of the beliefs of the pre-Islamic era. So he criticized Ibn Sumayya. He thought that he overlooked his condition and exceeded his bounds due to the fact that he intervened in the affairs of Quraysh. Which right did Quraysh have in this affair? That is because they resisted the Prophet (a.s), battled against him, and opposed his message. The authority belonged to the Muslims. Ibn Sumayya, whom Allah made strong through his religion, and the rest of the weak who supported the Prophet (a.s) and protected his message had the right to take part in the authority. The opinion and the government belonged to them, and not to the tyrants of Quraysh.
Anyway, when many disputes took place between the aware Muslim forces and the devious forces, Sa’d turned to Abdurrahman and said to him: “O Abdurrahman, finish your affair before the people face discords!”
As a result, Abdurrahman hurried to Imam Ali and asked him: “Shall I pay homage to you provided that you should govern according to Allah’s Book, the Sunna of His Prophet, and the deeds of Abu Bakr and Umar?”
Imam Ali looked at him and answered with the speech of faith and of the free: “Rather, according to Allah’s Book, the Sunna of His Apostle, and my personal viewpoints.”
Abdurrahman expected nothing from Imam Ali other than that, for the sources of legislation in Islam are Allah’s Book and the Sunna of His Prophet. According to them the government is managed, and the problems of subjects are solved. The actions of Abu Bakr and Umar were not among the sources of legislation. Through his policy, Abu Bakr followed a special way on which Umar did not agree with him. Umar thought that Abu Bakr was far away from the sources of legislation. Abu Bakr had a special viewpoint in respect of Khalid bin al-Waleed, who killed Malik bin Nuwayra and fornicated his wife.[^1] However Abu Bakr thought that Khalid interpreted and made a mistake, so he had not been punished with the prescribed punishment. As for Umar, he thought that there was no escape from punishing him and that there was no room for Abu Bakr’s excuse. Through his fiscal policy, Abu Bakr followed a way more just t han that of Umar, who followed a way led to caste and preferring some Muslims to others in giving. Umar made unlawful the two mutt’as[^2], while he admitted that they were lawful during the time of Allah’s Apostle (a.s). He had a religious verdict contrary to Islam in respect of the grandmother’s
[^1] Malik bin Nuwayra bin Hamza al-Tamimi, al-Yarbu‘i was given the kunya of Abu Hanzala and the nickname of al-Jaful. He was a noble poet and knight. His people numbered him as among the knights of Banu Yarbu‘ during the pre-Islamic period. He was among the followers of the kings. The Prophet (a.s.) appointed him as a governor over the endowments of his people because of his trustworthiness and cleverness. When Malik heard of the death of the Prophet (a.s.) he refrained from giving alms and divided it among his people. Perhaps he did that according to the Sunna that stipulated distributing alms among the poor of the region. If something of it remained, it had to be carried to the public treasury. In this respect, Malik says:
I said: “Take your properties.” I was not afraid of nor did I reflect on that which would come from the following day.
If an undertaker undertook the feared religion, we would obey and say that the religion was that of Muhammad.
This poetry indicates his faith and his firm clinging to his religion. Khalid bin al-Waleed crept towards him while he was not commanded to fight against him. That was during the night. After performing the evening prayer, he took his army and hurried to take their weapons and to take them as prisoners of war. Among them was Malik’s wife Layla, daughter of al-Minhal. She was the most beautiful of all the Arab women. So Khalid was charmed by her. There was a heated argument between Khalid and Malik. Khalid said to Malik: “I am going to kill you!” Malik said to him: “Has your leader (Abu Bakr) commanded you to do that?” Malik replied: “By Allah, I am going to kill you!” Khalid said. Abdullah bin Umar and Abu Qattada al-Ansari were standing beside Khalid. They blamed him for that, but he refused and said: “May Allah not forgive me if I do not kill him!” Then he commanded Dhirar bin al-Azwar to behead him. Malik turned to his wife and said to Khalid: “This is the one who has killed me!” Khalid said to him: “Rather, Allah has killed you due to your apostatizing from Islam.” Malik refused that, saying: “Most surely I am (depending) on Islam!” Dhirar rose and killed him. Then Khalid took Malik’s wife and fornicated her at that night. However Abu Bakr ordered him not to be punished with the prescribed punishment. He claimed that Khalid interpreted and made a mistake! For more details about this painful event, see al-Nass wa al-Ijtihad by Imam Sharaf al-Deen.
[^2] Mutt‘at al-Haj and temporary marriage.
inheritance and the like. Therefore, which method had Ali bin Abi Talib to follow, while he was the pioneer of the great social justice on earth? If he had sought the government and authority, he would have accepted the conditions of Abdurrahman bin Awf, and then he would have followed his personal viewpoints in respect of government and arrested his opponents. However, he (a.s) refused to do that, and his strong faith prevented from accepting anything he thought unlawful.
When Abdurrahman bin Awf was hopeless of Imam Ali, he turned to Uthman bin Affan and stipulated that. Uthman agreed to carry out the conditions, and Abdurrahman paid homage to him and said to him: “O Allah, I have entrusted Uthman with the caliphate!” Accordingly, clamor and noise of the people became loud, for the head of the Umayyads won the government, and the affairs of the caliphate reached him. As for Imam Ali (a.s), he said to Abdurrahman bin Awf: “By Allah, you have done it (for nothing) except that you have hoped from him what your leader (Umar) had hoped from his companion (Abu Bakr). May Allah spread among you the perfume of Minsham!”[^1] Then he turned to the Qurashi people and addressed them, saying: “This is not the first day when you cooperate with each other against us, but patience is good and Allah is He Whose help is sought for against what you describe!”
Abdurrahman bin Awf hurried to threaten Imam Ali, saying: “O Ali, do not make a way against you!” While the Imam was leaving the mosque, he said: “The book will reach its fixed term!” Ammar bin Yasir addressed Abdurrahman bin Awf, saying: “O Abdurrahman, by Allah, you have left him (Ali), while he is among those who judge with the truth, and thereby did they do justice!”
Al-Miqdad went out while his legs were overburdened and said: “By Allah, I have seen nothing like that which has come to the members of this house after their Prophet! I wonder at Quraysh! They have deserted the man. I do not say nor do I come to know that there is anyone more just, knowledgeable, pious than he is!”
[^1] Minsham is a name of a woman. She was a druggist in Mecca. When Khuza’a and Juhrum (two tribes) intended to fight against each other, they perfumed themselves with her perfume. When they did that, many dead were among them. So it was said: “More wicked than Minsham’s perfume!” This has been mentioned in Sihah al-Jawahiri, vol. 5, p. 2041. Allah granted Imam Ali’s supplication. That was when there were strong estrangement and disputes. ‘Abd al-Rahman bin Awf willed that Uthman had not to pray over him!
Abdurrahman bin Awf interrupted his speech, saying to him: “Fear Allah, O Miqdad! I fear that you will make a discord!”[^1]
As for Imam al-Hasan, he supervised the election. He was terrified when he saw the people yielded to their personal purposes and ambitions. He came to know that the Qurayshi Muhajireen harbored malice and hatred against his father, that the religion was mere a lick on their tongues, and that they took care of it as long as they made use of it. Those views made him displeased and grumbling. They made him know that the people followed their own interests and ambitions, and that they had no relationship with the public interests. Here we will say good-bye to Imam al-Hasan and meet him at the time of the Third Caliph!
[^1] Ibn Abi al-Haddeed, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 1, p. 194.