The Role of Aishah in the History of Islam (volume 1)
The End For 'uthman
All are unanimous that 'Uthman's body was left on the ground for three days until 'Ali personally intervened in the matter of its burial.
When it was reported to 'Ali that the people are determined to kill 'Uthman, he said to his own sons, al-Hasan and al-Husayn: "Take up your swords and stand at 'Uthman's door and do not allow anyone to rush upon the caliph." They obeyed their father's order and rushed to 'Uthman's house. There was a strange tumult going on around the caliph's house and the people there insisted upon putting an end to 'Uthman's life. At this time a conflict started between the invaders and defenders, coloring their swords with each other's blood. al-Hasan's face was covered in blood in the clash, and the head of Qanbar, 'Ali's servant was badly injured.
When Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr saw this, he felt afraid that the Banu Hashim may be so enraged on seeing what had happened to 'Ali's sons that they would start a riot. So he summoned two of the attackers and said to them: "If the Banu Hashim notice this scene and especially if they see here the blood- covered face of al-Hasan, they may scatter the people from around 'Uthman with their swords and thus make all our plans ineffective Therefore it would be wiser if we enter 'Uthman's house by the wall and take his life quietly."
Then Muhammad and the other two climbed to the roof of an Ansar's house which was next to 'Uthman's house, and entered the caliph's house. The supporters of 'Uthman saw nothing of this, since in this siege they had all except 'Uthman's wife, gone up on the roofs of houses. When these three entered 'Uthman's house, Muhammad said to the other two: "I will enter ahead of you and when you see me holding him between my arms, rush in and kill him with your knives and daggers!"
Saying this he leapt into the room and seized 'Uthman's beard. When 'Uthman saw him, he said sharply: "If your father were here and saw your disrespect to me, he would reproach your deed!"
These words caused Muhammad's hands to tremble, but at this moment the other two accomplices leapt in and with many blows of their daggers killed 'Uthman.240 Ibn Abi al-Hadid writes241: "On the day that 'Uthman was killed, Talhah who had covered his face with a cloth to hide himself from public eyes, shot arrows at 'Uthman's house and when he saw that the presence of the defenders made it impossible to enter the house and seize 'Uthman, he took his friends to 240. Ansab al-ashraf of al-Baladhuri 5/69, at-Tabari 5/118.
- Ibn Abi al-Hadid 5/404.
the roof of an Ansar's house and climbed down to 'Uthman's house and killed him."
at-Tabari242 says this Ansari fellow was 'Amr ibn Hazm and quotes a witness of this event as follows: They went inside 'Amr ibn Hazm's house who was a neighbor of 'Uthman and had a brief clash with the defenders. I swear to God I have not forgotten the moment when Sawdan ibn Hamran came out and cried out: "Where is Talhah? We have killed 'Uthman!"
al-Baladhuri writes243: When 'Ali learnt of 'Uthman's assassination, he hurried to 'Uthman's house and said to his sons: How did this happen whereas you stood at the caliph's door? Then he gave one of them a slap on the face and the other a blow on the chest, and in great anger left the house. On his way he came across Talhah who seemed to be as active as before. When he saw 'Ali, he said: "O Abu al-Hasan! What has made you so red in the face and angry?" 'Ali answered: "May God's curse fall upon you! How can one engage in killing a companion of the Prophet?!" Talhah answered: "If he had driven away Marwan from him, he would not have been killed!"
'Ali turned away and went back to his house. The incident of the caliph's burial There is a unanimity of view that 'Uthman's body was left on the ground for three days until 'Ali himself intervened for his burial.244 at-Tabari writes: The companions of 'Uthman discussed with 'Ali the question of the caliph's burial and requested him to allow 'Uthman's family to bury his body. 'Ali did so and gave them permission. 'Uthman's body was escorted by a small number of his family members. They intended to have the body buried in Hash Kawkab, a Jewish cemetery. On seeing the coffin the crowd threw stones at it and rushed to overturn it. When 'Ali heard of this matter, he sent a number of people to prevent the crowd from their action and protect the corpse. They did so until they carried it to its destination and buried it in the above-mentioned cemetery. He was buried in darkness rather late in the evening, and no one was present there except Marwan al-Hakam, 'Uthman's fifth daughter and three of his servants, making five in all.
At her father's burial, 'Uthman's daughter wailed with lamentation, but at this moment the people threw stones at them and shouted: "Na'thal! Na'thal!" After Mu'awiyah became caliph, he ordered to pull down the wall of Hash Kawkab cemetery and thus this part was annexed to the al-Baqi' cemetery. He ordered also that the Muslims should bury their dead around 'Uthmans' 242. History of at-Tabari 5/122.
Ansab al-ashraf of al-Baladhuri 5/69-70.
History of at-Tabari 5/143, Ibn al-Athir 3/76, Ibn A'tham 159, ar-Riyad an-nadrah 2/131-132.
grave so as to join this grave to those of the Muslims.
Appendices A word with critics
Recently when I was engaged in revising this book and preparing it for publication, I heard that a writer called A.M. had written a critical note of the Arabic original of the book on 'A'ishah in No. 7 issue of the Journal of Book Guide for the Iranian year 1340 (1961).
I secured a copy of the said journal, and after reading page 696 of No. 273 of it, I realized that the writer's intention had not been to make a scientific and logical criticism of the book, but he has rather had a private motive in taking up this matter; for, he had selected certain passages of the book and had omitted the introduction and conclusion of each part, and in line with his hidden intentions he had purposefully used words and phrases to destroy the books' value as a research work and scientific study, and make such a reliable and worthy book look as lacking all validity and importance.
Some of the objections raised by Mr. A. M. were answered eloquently in the same journal by a clear-sighted scholar for whom I feel a great respect, and he has expressed his appreciation of this research work and defended it worthily. But this time the latter scholar has raised certain other criticisms about the contents of the book which criticisms cannot be disregarded and left unanswered, especially as these objections may also have occurred to other lovers of Islamic subjects and culture.
Now that this book of the Role of 'A'ishah in the History of Islam is being printed for the second time and offered to the public, and the readers are more or less familiar with the contents of the book, it would be worth while, after an introduction to quote the exact objections of the honorable scholar and those of Mr. A. M. and then answer them.
Falsehoods and fables in important Islamic sources
It should unfortunately be admitted that the history of early Islam is full of lies and calumnies. Many an imaginary and bloody battle has been recorded in them and attributed to the time of Abu Bakr or as victories won during the rule of Abu Bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthman none of which has ever taken place nor any blood ever spilt.
On the other hand many a real war has been mingled with fable and irrefutable historical facts have been turned into unbelievable stories and fantastic novels. The great scholar Mr. 'Askari has spent more than forty years of his life on the research and survey of the history of early Islam to discover these bitter truths and found out that these falsehoods and fables have found their way since the beginning of the second century of Hijrah into the valid and important historical sources of Islam through the clever and falsehood- fabricating hands of the genius of the east, namely Sayf ibn 'Umar at-Tamimi and his atheistic fellow-thinkers, and they continue to remain the same to the present era.
Mr. 'Askari has introduced in his worthy work of research such works as 'Abd Allah ibn Saba'245, Ahadith of Umm al-Mu'minin 'A'ishah,246 One hundred and fifty false companions247 and other works of his to prove the existence of so many lies and fabrications on the basis of definite historical facts, and to show that all those lies and fables have been presented first by at- Tabari as real events in his book and then other historians like Ibn al-Athir in his al-Kamil, Ibn Kathir in his al-Bidayah wa an-nihayah, Ibn Khaldun in his al-'Ibar, Mir Khand in his Rawdat as-safa, Ahmad Amin in his Fajr al-Islam, Farid Wajdi in his Da'irat al-ma'arif and a number of Orientalists in the Islamic Encyclopedia and other writers in their books have borrowed them from at- Tabari and recorded them.
The book of one hundred and fifty false companions by the present writer is a clear evidence of how so many false companions have been made up for the Prophet and who have never been created by God, and yet surprisingly enough in their biographies their miraculous acts, poems and traditions have found their way into such credible books as al-Isti'ab, Usd al-ghabah, Tajrid, al- Isabah and Ibn 'Asakir's History.
Many a non-existing spot and places on the earth are recorded on the basis of the same fables in such reliable geographical books as Mu'jam al-buldan, Marasid al-itla' and other works describing their geography and conditions. Mr. 'Askari after long years of study and research in hundreds of reliable texts and sources, has found that all these lies and fables have found their way into reliable important Islamic historical sources only through Sayf ibn 'Umar at-Tamimi who has also been charged with atheism, God knows how many other fables and lies by other atheists and enemies of Islam are recorded in important and reliable sources of the school of caliphs which have not yet been recognized!
For more than 12 centuries these fables have existed in reliable books, and as Mr. 'Askari states, he has worriedly published a part of them in the lunar year 1375 of Hijrah in his first work entitled 'Abd Allah ibn Saba' al-madkhal, 245. 'Abd Allah ibn Saba' has been translated and printed in three volumes by the scholars Sayyid Ahmad Zanjani, Shaykh Muhammad Sadiq Najmi and Shaykh Hashim Hirisi.
Ahadith of Umm al-Mu'minin 'A'ishah is written under the title of "The Role of 'A'ishah in the History of Islam". The first volume of it has been translated by me, the second by Messrs. Najmi and Hirisi and the third by Mr. Jawidan.
The first volume of one hundred and fifty false companions is translated and published by me, and the other volumes are being translated.
waiting for a reaction to this work.248 This book of 'Abd Allah Saba' was first printed and published in an-Najaf, and for the second and third times reprinted in Egypt and Beirut. It has also frequently been printed in India, Turkey and Iran in Turkish, Persian and English languages, and it is received well by men of learning and scholars who have written criticisms and appreciation's of it in reliable journals, thereby encouraging Mr. 'Askari to endeavor and publish the second part of this series of topics which is one of the most significant parts of Islamic history.
Ahadith of Umm al-Mu'minin 'A'ishah
Scholars of narration and traditions are well aware that none of the intimates and companions of the Prophet have produced so many traditions about his life and characteristics as 'A'ishah has done.
The traditions of 'A'ishah comprises the first day of revelation of the Prophet to the last moment of his life, and then continues to include the period of her father's caliphate, the time of his old loyal friend 'Umar and his successors 'Uthman and 'Ali until the rule of Mu'awiyah. She quotes traditions showing the Prophet's predictions made related to the events after his life, and contains praises and appreciation's of Abu Bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthman in support of their position as caliphs and their party and followers. There are also available from 'A'ishah many traditions related to the interpretation of Quranic verses and explanation of Islamic ideas and injunctions.
The total number of traditions narrated from her is 2210 in number, while in the book of Musnad Ahmad alone nearly the same number of traditions has been quoted from her. This number begins with the first days of revelation to the Prophet, whereas we know that she entered the Prophet's house in Medina a year and a half after the emigration and fifteen years after his ordainment as Prophet, and that she has had only eight years and a few months of joint life with him.
All the writers and scholars who have been engaged in discussing the events of history of early Islam and especially the Prophet's life, both Orientalists and Muslims (except Shi'ah scholars) have been guided by these same traditions of 'A'ishah.
The traditions of this lady of early Islam have described all the Prophet's marriages, whether they have had an injunctional propaganda aspect, or have been effected for political reasons and high interests of Islam and Muslims or for emotional purposes, in such a way as if all of them have been effected by lust and sexual instincts!
These same traditions of 'A'ishah which have found their way into all the 248. Refer to the Introduction of the book 'Abd Allah ibn Saba' p. 33, translated by Mr. Fahri Zanjani.
(reliable and important historical and jurisdictional sources of the followers of caliphs, have served as a bad guide for Orientalists, with the result that they and the enemies of Islam, and friendly-seeming enemies have wounded the founder of Islam with their words by relying on 'A'ishah's traditions and consider the Prophet and religion of Islam as lustful and commonplace! It is here that discussion and investigation become necessary for a committed scholar in order to clarify the truth, since this research reveals the facts and will promote religion and its advance.
Consequently this scholar has concentrated the second part of his important scientific research on a survey of 'A'ishah's traditions. But as this research was not possible except through a full understanding of the spirit and mentality of this lady and her likes and dislikes Mr. 'Askari has, as mentioned already, in the preface by reference to valid historical sources in the first section of this topic described the principal part of her life in which he speaks of her party and political activities, and when necessary he has subjected some of her traditions to a survey and criticism. This part of the book too, has been translated into Persian and printed in three volumes under the title of "The Role of 'A'ishah in the History of Islam". The second part which contains a comprehensive survey of her traditions will soon go to the press.
Now that the goal of writing this series of topics and evaluation of tradition and Islamic history by the great scholar Mr. 'Askari have become considerably clear, we turn to the original subject, namely answers to the objections. But as our respected scholar has left some of Mr. A. M.'s criticisms unanswered, we give priority to Mr. A. M. in receiving answers and as we have promised, we will first quote his criticisms and then will answer them.
Mr. A. M.'s criticisms and answers to them Mr. A. M. writes in the second part of his criticism which is related to the difference of age between 'A'ishah and the Prophet, as follows249: C. This difference of age had two results: firstly during her life it created such stories as that of "Ifk" which is reflected in the Qur'an and Safwan and Hassan ibn Thabit as its heroes, and secondly after the Prophet's death 'A'ishah was still passing through her youthful and active period and this produced heroic military acts on her part.
A. Firstly concerning the Ifk tradition and its related story, we should remember that the tradition is given by 'A'ishah herself and all its related narration's end with her person, not to any other source of sources.
On the other hand in the Ifk story there is a mention of personalities who were not alive at the probable time of the occurrence of such an event. Other cases exist, too, which make the question of Ifk doubtful in connection with
- The first part of his criticisms has been adequately answered by our learned scholar. 'A'ishah herself.
Moreover there are a number of narration's and reports which consider the Ifk verse to be a reference to Mariyah, the mother of the only son of the Prophet, and the matters becomes so complicated and painful that God testifies the purity and chastity of that innocent lady and thus it relieves the Muslims and shuts the mouths of babblers.250
As we said, the Ifk tradition in the way described by 'A'ishah is a tradition narrated from her and it is one of the cases discussed by the author in the second part of the book.
Secondly, concerning his statement about the military activities of 'A'ishah in her youth and the heroic acts of this lady of early Islam, the matter is quite the reverse for according to the verdict of history, after the Prophet's death, 'A'ishah spent her youthful years in the time of the rule of her father Abu Bakr and his old friend 'Umar, and left those years behind in full comfort and tranquility and away from all turmoil, enjoying extraordinary respect and honour, and until the age of forty she never stepped out of her house except two times and even then to make a pilgrimage.
When she entered the period of old age in her fifth decade of life, she began the tumultuous period of activity, heroic deeds and military joys. She accepted the position of commander in chief of the forces in the battle of al-Jamal against 'Ali, imposed on him by the people despite him own wish, and took part in the battle as an experienced army commander riding a milled camel in the battlefield!
C. Mr. A. M. writes: For example one of the scenes where young 'A'ishah protests angrily against the repeated marriage of the Prophet is as follows: The Prophet declared that any woman who wished so, could place herself at the disposal of the Prophet, and he could select anyone he liked and reject anyone he did not want, and in confirmation of this decision the verse descended allowing his freedom of choice. Then 'A'ishah became angry and said to the Prophet: "O Muhammad! God, too, seems to fulfill your wishes!" A. If you read the above account more carefully and compare it with the exact Arabic phrases the translation of which will be given below, you will see the difference:
According to al-Bukhari and Muslim, 'A'ishah said: I felt vexed with the women who offered themselves to the Prophet without expecting a dowry and said to him: "Would a free-born woman offer herself?" At this time the following verse descended: Keep away any of your wives you wish, and keep any of them you desire, and if you call back to yourself the one you have sent away, there is no offence on your part.
I said to him: "I see that God approves of your wish."
Here you can see that not only no declaration, which Mr. A. M. claims, is 250. Refer to page 156 of this book and the words of the scholar Ibn Abi al-Hadid and pages 97 to 103. made by the Prophet, but no such declaration is seen in the whole book or any book of traditions and biography, and no woman has ever been taken in marriage by the Prophet the way described by Mr. A. M. He considers the Prophet a pleasure-loving lover of women and in using words below the dignity of the Prophet attributes such a story to him.
Would the writings of Mr. A. M. not be an evidence of his idea and opinion of Islam and its prophet?
Mr. A. M. writes:
C. "While the Prophet was in bed with 'A'ishah he received the companions. Such a story is quoted in the first part of the book. 'A'ishah said: "I was in bed with the Prophet when Abu Bakr arrived and was allowed to enter. Then 'Umar came and was admitted in the same way, and only when 'Uthman arrived the Prophet covered himself."
A. I ask the reader to refer once more to the former chapter on the 'period of support and confirmation' about this story where one of 'A'ishah's traditions about 'Uthman has been considered, and see the great difference between the quoted tradition and Mr. A. M.'s statement. He has omitted the first and last part of the tradition as well as the criticisms of the exalted scholar on the basis of which he has refuted that tradition, and thus he has fabricated his own version of it in accordance with his motive, whereas such a treason is most indecent coming from an educated person.
C. Mr. A. M. writes: When 'Ali went to Basra for the battle of al-Jamal, Hafsah and minstrels of Medina made the following song:
A. We are compelled to quote here the translation of the exact words of the book of 'A'ishah's Traditions about the story which is written on page 137 of that book as follows:
'Abu Mikhnaf narrates: When 'Ali reached Dhu Qar251, 'A'ishah wrote to Hafsah, daughter of 'Umar as follows: I must say that 'Ali has arrived at Dhu Qar and is worried and perplexed on hearing about our great military forces and equipment there. For, if he retreats one step, he shies off like a horse, and if he advances one step, he collapses and is vanquished. When Hafsah received the letter, she ordered her slave- girls to arrange festivity and beat the tambourine and sing this song:
The at-Tulaqa'252 girls gathered in Hafsah's house to hear that song. The news reached Umm Kulthum, daughter of 'Ali. She covered herself with a robe and veil and went to Hafsah's place with an anonymous group and then in the heat of their merry-making started by Hafsah, Umm Kulthum removed her veil, and on seeing her Hafsah was greatly embarrassed and uttered: "We are from 251. Dhu Qar was a place on the way to Basra.
- at-Tulaqa' is the name of that group of the Quraysh who did not embrace the Prophet's faith until he captured Mecca and all of them were taken as his slaves according to the law of war. Later on the Prophet set them all free, and so they became his freed slaves, and most of them felt a rancor towards him. God and return to Him." Umm Kulthum said: "It is not something new for you and 'A'ishah to join hands against him. It was only yesterday that with each other's aid you rose against his brother, the Prophet, and God punished you as you deserved." Hafsah answered:
"That is enough, may God favour you!" Then she asked to bring 'A'ishah's letter, tore it up and begged God's forgiveness.253 Do you now see Mr. A. M.'s evil intention? God knows what he has in mind. He begins his criticism of the book by insulting the lofty position of the Imam, and as you read, he has omitted the first and last part of the subject and has offended the holy personality of the leader of the world's pious believers, whereas the honorable author had intended to show the inner feelings of these two ladies of early Islam, namely the daughters of the first two caliphs, Abu Bakr and 'Umar, towards Imam 'Ali and at the same time to refer to chapter at- Tahrim which is an admonishment of 'A'ishah and Hafsah who aided each other to hurt the Prophet.
The points mentioned by Mr. A. M. in the journal of Book Guide for introducing the book are with one exceptions answered elaborately by our exalted scholar and were quoted to show that:
1-Mr. A. M. as a would-be trustworthy writer has never shown any sincerity and trustworthiness in quoting the contents of the book. By omitting the significant parts of a book which is written scientifically and which is based on more than forty years of research by the author he has lowered it to the rank of a simple and unscientific book and has introduced it as such to the world of learning, and has thus shown his evil intention. Indeed no more than this can be expected from the writer of the book of "Twenty-three Years" in order to refute Islam and his prophet.
2-What Mr. A. M. has written in the name of introducing the book is in fact an account of his own attitude and thought about the history of early Islam and its chaste and honest prophet. For the works of the great scholar Mr. 'Askari which are written on the evaluation of tradition and history, beginning with 'Abd Allah ibn Saba' al-madkhal, have been printed and published for a quarter of a century and placed at the disposal of experts and scholars of the east and west, and have been subjected to survey and discussion by such great literary and religious and scientific circles of the world as al-Azhar of Egypt, to be followed by a series of profound investigations, as well as wonder and praise of his works. But as this welcome and these reactions shown by the great scholars of the world to Mr. 'Askari's book have assumed a scientific and technical aspect, and have been produced in all sincerity and absence of fanaticism and private motives, they have not reached Mr. A. M.'s ears who has imagined that he can easily undermine the worth of scientific and technical researches.
- Umm Kulthum refers explicitly to the Quranic and Hafsah. Refer to the related chapter of this book.
A word with the writer
We said at the beginning that a fine scholar who is greatly respected by us and from whose books and lectures I have greatly benefited, has answered some parts of Mr. A. M.'s criticisms in a long article printed in No. 9 of the journal of Book Guide. He himself has also made some criticisms about the book that, irrespective of his exalted position as a scholar and man of learning and as I hope to give priority to truth, therefore, after quoting his exact objections and criticisms, we will deal with and answer them.
He writes on page 895 of the said journal as follows:
C. I cannot yet predict the success or failure of Mr. 'Askari in his objective, to see whether the effect of the book is to make 'A'ishah's Traditions lose their validity for those who consider them reliable, or whether they make the fanatics for or against 'A'ishah more fanatical in their prejudice.
A. The rain falls and produces tulips in the garden and motes in the swamp. All are unanimous about the fineness of rain, but its effect varies on different lands. This matter is not confined only to the book of the great scholar. Every psychological and religious book has such a fate. Do you believe that the book of Abu Hurayrah by the great Sayyid Sharaf ad-Din al-'Amili who has cruelly attacked Abu Hurayrah and his traditions and whose book you yourself have praised, is an exception to this rule, remembering the position of Abu Hurayrah in the Sunni community and among the followers of the school of caliphs? Whereas many books have been written refuting him and ash-Shaykh Mahmud Abu Rayh, while no such rebuttal has been written on any works of Mr. 'Askari.
When a definite scientific fact is discovered, do you think it permissible to hide the truth merely for a regard for the public and their fanaticism? You yourself know well that this prejudice is worth studying, not only in the ordinary and illiterate class of people, but also in the learned and scholarly class. If one were to abstain from telling the truth because of a regard for the prejudice of either of the two groups who were supporters or opposers, and scientific matters were to be concealed, would the level of knowledge and vision rise to this amazing extent?
We know that in the present world and in the open space which is created for stating truth, the door of excuse is shut to both scholars and human society, and the number of narrow-minded people and religious sectarians has considerably been reduced.
You have written:
C. What Mr. 'Askari may surely be criticized for, is his negligence about a basic question. He has forgotten that owing to Christian propaganda and the fanning up of this fire by a particular group, a special sensitivity has been created today in the minds of the young concerning the Prophet's plurality of marriage, a sensitivity which exists also about the wars of early Islam.
A. Our dear scholar knows that the enemies of Islam, especially Christian missionaries as Orientalists have for hundreds of years obtained most of our precious books at the highest prices, and having long been engaged in the discussion and criticism of them. Long before us they have even printed our books especially those of the Sunnis and congregation, together with their scientific research and technical indices in Europe, and have even made an index of the Quranic vocabulary. One of their scholars has prepared an index of fourteen sets of the most reliable books of traditions and biographies of the outstanding personalities of Islamic history, explaining each tradition or topic on the basis of more than fifty books. They have even made an index of the vocabulary of tradition which is far more voluminous than the previous index. The researchers of Brockelmann in history and literature is a source of reference in the world. They have experts for every corner of the Islamic realm and for every century of Islam. Thus the malicious have no need of our writing. They have access to whatever they want, and whenever they decide, they can engage in writing either self-interestedly or impartially.
In view of all this, if we investigate and be convinced that the source of all those misrepresentations about the Prophet's marriages and even about some jurisprudentially verdicts and interpretation of some Quranic verses, and chapters is derived from these same traditions attribute to 'A'ishah, and discover that such traditions are untrue, should we remain silent and leave a weapon in the hands of the enemies of Islam?
Dear Sir! To what goal do you invite the people of our time by your book and your pleasant lectures? Is your goal anything but Islam and acceptance of its truths? If you recognize right would you disregard it for the sake of wrong and remain silent? Or on the contrary would you disregard matters of time, place, conditions of the day, transitory wishes and tastes of a particular group of people, and would according to your duty reveal what is right and true, and thus pay your debt?
Concerning your reference to the wars of early Islam, fortunately Mr. 'Askari has openly and elaborately revealed the true visage of historical facts as a result of his valuable scientific researches in his book of one hundred and fifty false companions, the first volume of which has been translated and printed by myself. He has, in his second volume of 'Abd Allah ibn Saba', proved at length the invalidity of the idea that Islam was advanced with the sword.
Therefore, the investigation of such matters and declaration of truth do not only create no danger for the Muslims and Islam, but they will also promote its greatness and advance. If any danger might exist it is in the mind and spirit of some of us who with our poverty of knowledge retreat before the wrong criticisms of individuals who are fascinated by the propaganda of the same Orientalists, and thus show our weakness.
It is not our duty to interpret Islam and its truth according to the wishes of these people or conceal it, and drag Islam behind their ideas. On the contrary it is our duty to declare what is right and attract them towards Islam, and place the truth on their table and let them discuss and investigate it freely. C. You have written: The author has not foreseen that these same seemingly baseless matters will one day be printed in a dignified journal by a critic under the title of "Historical points" in the name of fresh discoveries about the life of the Prophet of Islam.
A. Our dear scholar knows that the misuse of a matter by an individual or individuals does not prevent a person from writing a book, especially such valid books. You have surely read in the same journal, page 697 No. 277 the reference to the subject of cleanliness, as stated by the writer who introduces the book. If you have not, this is what he writes:
"The book of cleanliness (or ceremonious purification of the body) by Muhammad Taqi Majlisi, Part One, Tehran, 'Ilmi Brothers, year 1340 is in 1032 pages. This voluminous book of one thousand pages is a description of ceremonious cleanliness from a well-known book of jurisprudence, and it is the first volume of it. Is cleanliness such a difficult and problematic matter that its discussion does not end even in one thousand pages?!"
You see the result of malevolence! Thus the late Majlisi is criticized why he has written such an elaborate book that compels a critic to write about it in a dignified journal!
C. Our dear scholar has written: The author has quoted some of these matters and he has left his analysis and criticism for the second volume of the book. Thus he has paved the way for doubt in the form of cash and has left its removal on credit.
A. We hope that our explanations will serve to answer his criticism, We have already stated in the introduction to this chapter that Mr. 'Askari has postponed the discussion and survey of 'A'ishah's traditions to the second volume of this book. He has devoted Volume One to a description of the mentality, spirit, morals and significant acts of 'A'ishah during the time of the Prophet, the two elder caliphs and his two sons-in-law, and he has cited as example a tradition of hers whenever necessary, and has discussed it, showing its weak points and implied objections and proving its falsity and baselessness. Therefore the removal of doubt has not been effected on credit.
C. The dear scholar writes: A decisive expression of opinion in such matters depends on a high council of well-informed and discerning experts which can guide our religious propaganda and publications towards high Islamic interests, or it can at least check such chaos and confusion. But unfortunately we lack such a council, though we hope that this idea will soon be put into practice. A. It would have been proper if our dear scholar had not made a hasty prejudgment and before deciding to make this strong protest he had contacted well-versed persons and centers of learning to find out the views of world scholars, especially those of Egyptian universities such as Dr. Hamid Hafni Dawud professor of the language chair and ash-Shaykh Mahmud Abu Rayh about Mr. 'Askari's book.
We ask our learned master to refer to the words of those two great Egyptian scholars, a part of which is quoted in the introduction of this book and to the statement of Abu Rayh which has been given in the introduction of Volume Two, and then find out what discussions have taken place between leading Sunni and congregation scholars about this and other words of Mr. 'Askari, and what praises are bestowed on him. Then he can compare his judgment in the research center of Iran with the conclusion of the leaders of the school of caliphs and Sunni and congregation followers in the Sunni center of Egypt concerning the scientific researches of Mr. 'Askari and then sit in judgment and say in all fairness what a great difference exists between the two.
C. Our dear scholar writes: I do not claim that I can clarify this part of the Prophet's life in this brief article. It is Mr. 'Askari's duty in view of his negligence in this book, to write a comprehensive treatise on this subject for his Persian-speaking compatriots?
A. At this stage the supposition comes to the mind that our learned scholar may have left our reading that part of the book which has been improperly and unfairly criticized by Mr. A. M.
We ask what negligence has been committed by Mr. 'Askari for which he must offer atonement? You should have first read his introduction to see that his intention has not been to write a history book or describe the life of the Prophet and his wives especially that of 'A'ishah. Therefore there has been no negligence to require expiation.
It seems that we are compelled once more to state that the author has reached the conclusion after spending long years of his life in the survey and study of various literary, jurisprudentially, traditional and historical texts of early Islam, that the quotation and forging of annals and false happenings in historical text, as well as untrue narration of traditions by their narrators, have diverted the history of Islam from its true course and have exhibited the visage of Islam to the world quite the reverse of what it has really been. It is for this reason that Orientalists and enemies of Islam by relying on these forgeries and fables of Sayf ibn 'Umar at-Tamimi have confronted Islam and have scoffed at the Prophet and at the holy religion of Islam.
Now I quote a point of yours about Mr. A. M. you have written on page 896 of the journal:
C. To my mind however much one wishes to attribute it to propriety, yet one sees signs of malevolence in this article. (Then you add the reason for it and say:) For, firstly the critic himself is aware that the selected parts are all distorted and subject to criticism and the author of the book himself has protected against their validity. Nevertheless like a person who has produced an evidence of a crime against someone, he has selected some pungent sections in connection with the Prophet and given them the name of "Historical points".
A. In view of the scholar's diagnosis concerning the existence of malevolence in the article of Mr. A. M. in introducing the book, now the question arises: "Does there remain any more room for criticism and objection towards the book of 'A'ishah's traditions?"
Tehran, Deymah, 1355 Iranian year (1976) 'Ata Muhammad Sardar-Niya