: Dr. Hassan Najafi
Publisher: Ansariyan Publications – Qum
Category: Imam Ali
ISBN: 978-964-438-976-8


Author: Ali Labbaf
: Dr. Hassan Najafi
Publisher: Ansariyan Publications – Qum

ISBN: 978-964-438-976-8
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Publisher: Ansariyan Publications – Qum
ISBN: 978-964-438-976-8

What does Scrutiny of Statistics show?

A) Items of Abu Bakr’s Consultation with Imam Ali (a.s.)

The following are the results of statistical analysis of First Caliph’s consultations with Amirul Momineen (a.s.):

In all there were 14 instances when Abu Bakr referred to Ali. Its detailed order is: 9 items concern knowledge and religion, 4 items regarding justice, legislature, criminal sentences and jurisprudence. One item only on military side. In finance there is no item registered in history.

Point worth noting in this is that the mode of contacting the Imam: Four times Abu Bakr contacted directly without any formality. Three of them were for religious matters and learning and one for religious decrees.

Only in one instance, he consulted his companions and then finally sought Ali’s view and opinion. The question was a military matter. In other words in nine remaining instances Imam’s presence in the scene or in affairs is completely overlooked. And in fact the Caliph never referred to the Imam. Rather the Imam himself, in spite of this negligence in two instances after the Caliph’s consultation with the companions expressed his view. There are two incidents when Imam himself interfered, since he was present there. There are other three instances when the Imam received the news he took steps; and lastly in two other cases the questioner referred to the Imam.

So we leave judgment to the reader. In spite of these open matters they still say:

“And in this way, Abu Bakr, the First Caliph, has benefited from Imam Ali (a.s.) in difficult issues.”[103]

Or they say:

“During his Caliphate Abu Bakr consulted Imam Ali (a.s.) in most important matters.”[104]

In order to invalidate the latter claim it is sufficient to say that Abu Bakr in the last moments of his life appointed Umar as his successor.

“Abu Bakr being conscious of oppositions that will pose later, first summoned Abdur Rahman bin Auf and informed him about his decision and after his initial disapproval secured his permission. Then the next person he acquainted with his decision was Uthman bin Affan.

It is worth mention that when Abu Bakr spoke he advised both of them to keep the matter secret.

Anyway, why at all Abu Bakr mentioned his determination to these two? Why he did not take into account senior companions of Prophet. It is interesting to note that Abdur Rahman bin Auf was from Bani Zahra tribe while Uthman bin Affan was from Bani Umayyah. Both were old friends of Abu Bakr and had become Muslims through him. They were in the group of Abu Bakr and Umar. Later too they were seen in the six-person committee of Umar.

Anyway, in case Abu Bakr really intended consultation why he did not consult Ali (a.s.)? Who according to the Egyptian writer,[105] Dr. Noori Gaffer, commanded more respect and was more competent than others. And this was an obvious tyranny and trespassing on eligibility and right of Ali.”[106]

B) Items of consultation of Umar with Imam Ali (a.s.)

The following are the results of statistical analysis of Second Caliph’s consultations with Amirul Momineen (a.s.):

In all there were 85 instances when Umar consulted Imam Ali (a.s.). Among them 59 are religious problems such as jurisprudence, criminal sentences, judgments; 21 cases pertaining to religious knowledge; three instances of monetary affairs and two military problems.

It is interesting that out of these 85 cases only in 27 cases did Umar have direct contact with the Imam - 13 of them in field of religious verdicts and 13 in field of knowledge. One case was financial. On the other hand they claim that:

“Hazrat Umar was always consulting Hazrat Ali (a.s.) in his difficulties and problems.”[107]

A little attention and care will prove to us that Umar contacted Ali whenever he was convinced that no one else could help him to solve his problem. Because in 13 other instances also on legislative side Umar did not consult Ali first. He first sought companions’ opinion and then consulted Ali.

Similarly, he did the same in two other financial cases and a question of religious knowledge; after having had asked companions he finally approached Ali.

Statistics show that in 42 cases Imam Ali (a.s.) was never contacted for any consultation. Moreover, the presence of Imam Ali (a.s.) in the scene was ignored. Umar depended upon his own opinion and decision and thought himself needless of Ali’s opinion. As he was wrong in his opinion, Imam feared it would establish a wrong precedent. So he himself, without being invited, gave his opinion and corrected the wrong decision. The Imam did this in the interest of Islam as he saw himself responsible before God.

Although by wrong interpretation of these steps of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) it is claimed that:

“Ali (a.s.) had a prominent presence during the Caliphate of Umar, and had a position of presidentship among the companions.”![108]

Despite such a position can it be possible that in 42 cases the Caliph did not think of referring to Amirul Momineen (a.s.)? This negligence of the Second Caliph calls your attention to another narration in this connection:

Did the Second Caliph always consult Ali? Did he always accept his view?

In historical sources it is recorded that Umar was asked about marriage and divorce and Umar answered. Regarding this Amirul Momineen (a.s.) has said:

“He wrote down while I was present there. But he did not ask me nor did he refer to me as though his knowledge had enriched him beyond me. I wanted to correct him. But I preferred to be silent because he will be vilified by God. But no one censured him. On the contrary, they appreciated him. They made it a tradition. Even if a mad man would have passed judgment it would have been better.[109][110]

Similarly, there are evidences that the Second Caliph was not always inclined to consult Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.):

“In the fifteenth year of Hijra, Umar wanted to go to Jerusalem. He consulted Ali. Ali told him not to go there, but Umar went. It is said that he appointed Ali in his place in Medina and went to Syria and Palestine.

Again, in the same year he consulted Ali what to do with the revenue of Iraq and other conquered countries. Amirul Momineen (a.s.) advised him to distribute them among warriors and campaigners of respective countries. Umar did not accept. He treasured the revenue. Later it was spent on salaries after the fashion of Iran of those days.”[111]

C) Instances of Uthman consulting Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.)

The following are the results of statistical analysis of Third Caliph’s consultations with Amirul Momineen (a.s.):

In all there are 8 instances when the Third Caliph sought Ali’s advice. All these are with regard to jurisprudence, religious decrees, dispensing punishments and judgments. In no instance is it recorded that the Caliph sought Imam’s advice directly with due attention to the presence of Imam (a.s.) in the society and the possibility of his getting benefit from his guidance and advices.

Regretfully we see that in only three cases the Caliph referred to the Imam directly. In other cases, Ali’s presence on the spot was the reason for his advice.

More interesting is the fact that in instance no. 5 Uthman addressed Imam (a.s.) in the following words:

“You oppose us very much.”[112]

Paying close attention to this statement will tell you about the truth behind claim of good relations between the Caliphs and Amirul Momineen (a.s.). Because:

“From Uthman’s statement to Imam (a.s.): ‘Indeed you oppose us very much’ it can be nicely concluded that Imam (a.s.) had opposed Uthman in various issues.

Indeed it is a well-known that the opposition of Imam (a.s.) was not due to personal enmity and selfish motives; but when he saw that the Caliph was going against a divine command or creating an innovation in religion he used to oppose him and this matter becomes clearer on scrutiny of other arguments between him and Uthman. For example regarding the lawfulness of meat hunted by others, Uthman consumed it while in Hajj and when the Imam recited the verse of Quran: ‘and the game of the land is forbidden to you so long as you are on pilgrimage’,[113] instead of confessing his mistake he became angry and said:

You have made this food bitter for me!”[114]

While the unity-seekers claim:

“Circumstances during the Caliphate of Uthman bin Affan were also like the tenures of the previous Caliphs and he in numerous instances consulted His Eminence in problems connected to faith and jurisprudence as mentioned in books of traditions, jurisprudence and History.”![115]

The authenticity of the above claim can be judged from the following historical document:

“Uthman consulted the Imam as regards the decision about Ibne Umar. His Eminence said that retaliation must be taken from him and he must be executed because his hands were smeared with innocent Muslim blood.

Although Uthman did not accept Imam’s opinion.”[116]

In the same way in this matter[117] :

“Uthman gave precedence to the statement of Amr bin Aas over that of Imam Ali (a.s.) and the Muhajireen and Ansaar.”[118]

Results of Statistical Analysis

Result A) Of the total of 107 cases only three concern finance and three cases are related to military matters. In these cases the Imam did not initiate his opinion unless he was requested.

Now the question arises that in duration of Caliphs which stretched to twenty-five years, statistics show that only on six occasions the Imam was asked to give his opinion. In other cases, Imam himself intruded because he saw that the Caliph’s claim was incorrect. When such is the reality, how can they claim that:

“His Eminence was present in all political and martial matters in the form of highest authority of consultation and the trustworthy and truthful one of the Caliphs.”![119]

Can all political and martial instances of twenty-five years be condensed into only six cases?

History shows that in any rulership such instances are more.

With a little consideration: “It can be easily said that with the group of Abu Bakr and Umar coming to power, the period of political isolation of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) began and it continued for 25 years.”[120]

Result B) From 107 cases 71 concern legislation and judiciary and thirty are regarding faith and knowledge. This makes a total of 101 cases.

We request extremist unity-seekers to reconsider their following claims:

“Umar also did not do anything without consulting Ali.”![121]

“The Second Caliph used to say…we are commanded by Prophet to consult Ali.”![122]

“Mostly the Second Caliph preferred Ali’s opinion to that of others.”![123]

“Before him Abu Bakr and later Uthman also always consulted Ali.”![124]

“Throughout 25 years Ali acted as a guide and consultant in all affairs.”![125]

“Caliphs too had accepted him as a consultant in all matters.”![126]

In all these 101 cases, only 17 times they contacted Imam directly. In a period of 25 years this number shows how little they cared for him or his presence. They claim such because they want to cover this shortcoming. They themselves know facts are not as they claim. In this direct contact, 16 items were about knowledge and religion and 17 concerned religious knowledge. That is 33 out of 101; which is only one-third.

In other words there remain 68 items in which either there was no attention from the side of the Caliph to the presence of Imam (a.s.) - in 42 cases. And in 16 cases the Caliphs did not want to ask the Imam so first he asked others and only later the Imam.

In ten cases when the Caliph did not pay any attention to the presence of the Imam, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) as a person present in the society mentioned his opinion.

The reason is not obscure. It is that the Caliphs wanted to cut short possibilities of Imam’s credit among the people and to hinder his knowledge taking root in society.

It could be summed up in a single sentence thus:

“They avoided every type of action and even statement that could strengthen the trust of society in him.”[127]

Final Analysis about Caliphs’ Consultation with Amirul Momineen (a.s.)

“It was not that the Caliphs showed courtesy of inviting Ali to government meetings or take his advice as a minister or senior experienced dignitary. And that he accepted thus showing his cooperation with them. Rather the Caliphs did not even do the justice and well being of the Ummah by allowing them to benefit from the Imam’s advice. Their behavior with him was such that it isolated him from social and political arenas and he resorted to farming, cultivation and peasantry.

Whenever they sought his advice, they did so because they had no alternative. And if their praise and appreciation of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) has been found in history it is because it was not possible to deny the excellences of His Eminence.”[128]

Besides it was ignorance on their part about Islam[129] and its laws, rules and legislative questions. They as successors of Prophet had no ground to put forth excuse of their ignorance or not knowing matters. Likewise, they had no excuse to justify their occupation of the office inspite of having no knowledge of the very decrees, commands and holy verses and text. There are 42 cases when Imam Ali (a.s.) clearly proved their inability to handle the office. History has recorded these instances. Ali has saved them from committing blunders. Else they would have gone astray; and others too would have followed them. The wrong would have become common or a standard. They, in their station of leadership, if be so ignorant it reflects their unfitness to occupy Prophet’s place as his successors. Further there are occasions in history when the Second Caliph admitted his inability and Ali’s superiority.[130] Such views and opinions cannot be impregnated with a good will or good terms between two sides. Beyond this, Muawiyah too has acknowledged superiority of Ali. If such things are indication of good terms can we believe that Muawiyah too was on good terms with Ali?

As we said one of the reasons that impelled Ali to help Caliphs by his advice was to disclose to the Ummah their inability in handling affairs and leading the Ummah. This he did in the best way. But the Ummah had gone somnolent to the extent that it did not wake up. The obstinacy was so deep that the Ummah required a greater shock to move. There are historical evidences that show the extent of ignorance of the Second Caliph. In one of the divine decrees regarding inheritance, Umar changed the ruling altogether and replaced it by one created by his own ignorance. This ruling is called Ghowl and it still is in practice by his followers.[131]

Imam (a.s.) considered Umar’s verdict in this matter as innovation which showed his ignorance of divine laws; His Eminence (a.s.) in this matter not only opposed the Caliph he also censured the Islamic Ummah and said:

“Reason for such innovations is they surrendered leadership of Islamic society to people who were not worthy of it. If ruling power had been in the hands of those whom Allah had selected, the matter of Ghowl would not have existed today. And there would not have been any difference in divine law; because the knowledge of all this is with Ali.”[132]

In the same way, in crises, sentences like: “Had Ali not been there, Umar would have perished,” would remind that:

“Umar has said this about one against whom he aligned with Quraish and usurped his rights.”[133]

An important point that can be recalled from analysis of confessions of Caliphs is that claims like these have another aim also, and that is to justify and cover their usurpation of the rightful rulership of Imam (a.s.).

Therefore claims of always consulting Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and that also in administrative and military affairs is in fact an exaggeration they voiced in reply to those who objected like Ibne Abbas.

Pay attention to the following historical document:

Umar, during his Caliphate, said to Ibne Abbas: “Ali was more suitable for rulership than me and Abu Bakr.”

Ibne Abbas at once asked: In spite of saying this why did you sideline him?

Umar answered him immediately: “We do not take decisions without his permission and consultation.”[134]

By this he avoided the censure for usurping Caliphate from Ali.

Such proceedings can be termed as political attitude. This went a great deal to satisfy companions of Prophet as they thought that they were in the scene and having a share in running affairs. This minimized their censure. This same attitude Abu Bakr adopted against Ansaar at Saqifah.

Umar wanted to utilize the presence of the Prophet’s companions but he was afraid to give them government posts and considered it unwise. So he limited it to extent of advice and consultation.

“On one hand the Caliph wanted to profit by family of Abbas in matters of governance but on the other he did not want them to be in power all the time. So he refrained from it. When the Governor of Humis[135] died Umar came to Abdullah Ibne Abbas and asked him if he would like to take governorship of Humis. But before everything he revealed his view to him…[136]

Ibne Abbas also replied to the Caliph: I don’t want to be your governor... Umar at last said to Abdullah Ibne Abbas: Then at least give me advice.”[137]

It seems Umar learned this from Ibne Abi Qahafa Abu Bakr in Saqifah Bani Saada; because as we said it was only through this that Abu Bakr was able to pacify the Ansaar:

“In the end Abu Bakr assured them that in case they accept rulership of Muhajireen they would be their counsels and nothing would be done without consulting them.”[138]

The same policy was used with Ali also so that they can tell others - even today - that:

“Imamate and scientific expertise of Ali (a.s.) was already known to Caliphs and they had acknowledged this.”[139]

On the other hand the Caliphs were always anxious to obtain legitimacy for their rule and their becoming Caliphs. In this respect, they were willing to lay hand on any opportunity useful to them. So they wanted to draw Imam’s attention to them. They at least wanted people to believe they were on good terms and good relations lasted between them and Imam. These oral confessions and praises came into being for this purpose. Through these tactics they wanted to deceive the people at the same also putting a lid on their own deficiencies.

Because whenever Amirul Momineen (a.s.) interfered and solved difficult problems or replied to complicated religious questions a question arose in the minds of the people that:

“Why should a man so learned not become the holder of an important post like Islamic Caliphate? Instead the responsibility had gone to one who is bereft of all this knowledge.”

In reply to this Umar appeared side-by-side one of the most learned man of his time among the people. So they say:

“According to narrations of both sects, the Second Caliph said: If Ali had not been there, Umar would have perished and he addressed His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) saying: You are my Master. Thus showing that good relations existed between him and Imam Ali (a.s.).”![140]

As if the Imam was their minister and consultant?!!

As if the presence of Imam furnished credibility to Caliphs and a justification of their weaknesses and defects.!!

It is thus claimed:

“The Caliphs in numerous matters asked the Imam for his opinion and consulted him and the Imam supervised the acts of the rulers and guided and advised them.”![141]

During his Caliphate time and again Umar sought Ali’s advice or without his asking Ali (a.s.) mentioned his opinion and Umar accepted it.”![142]

“Umar asked for co-operation of His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) in the most difficult situations and through the guidance of Imam solved his problems.”![143]

It was that the revolution of Islam was a religious and cultural revolution. More than armed confrontation it required scientific and cultural weapons. After the passing away of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) Ali (a.s.) took up these important functions.”![144]

“In this way the Imam acted like a minister and guide of the rulers and was like a reliable point of reference for the Muslims and believers in behavior and practice of Islam as the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was.”![145]

“Imam Ali (a.s.) in that same condition did not refrain from dispensing consultation to the Righteous Caliphs.”![146]

“Imam Ali (a.s.) after the passing away of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) during the period of all the three Caliphs with his divinely bestowed ministership and foresight was the pivot and axis of Islamic revolution and he bore the responsibility of cultural revolution. He maintained Muslim unity and guided the people and the Caliphs.”![147]

The notable point in the explanation and analysis of scientific, religious and jurisprudential activities of Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) is that the steps that the Imam took regarding his judgments on various topics, it became apparent how much the Caliphs would have distorted Islam had the Imam not been present.

For example during the period of the Second Caliph:

“The number of judgments from Ali (a.s.) that in this period remained in force are astonishing. All these were after the time when the Caliph had issued contrary orders and Ali (a.s.) had corrected them.”[148]

It was in this manner that all the attitudes of His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) were aimed at removing the dust of deviation and ruin from the face of teachings of real Islam and prevention of innovations and illegalities to enter jurisprudential issues and to finally propagate and explain sources of Islamic faith; it had nothing to do with friendly relations, co-operation and cultural support of the rulers who had usurped his Caliphate!

Yet they go on making claims like:

“Attitude of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) during 25 years of rule of the three Caliphs is that of co-operation and support, guidance and advice, restraining from deviations and removal of the doubts of the Caliphs and prohibition of anything that could destabilize their position. Is all this enmity?”![149]

“Among the other instances of co-operation! And unity-seeking of Ali (a.s.) in the matter of support! And unity of thought! And consultation and counseling the Caliphs was before it, whether in complicated political and military matters or in complex and difficult social and jurisprudential issues, even in personal affairs,”![150]

“During Umar’s reign also His Eminence remained as the most active and greatest force of social awakening in Islamic society leaving his footprints of helpfulness on the sands of time. He provided consultation and guidance to the Caliph of the time and Umar during his Caliphate referred to him many times or even without his request His Eminence gave his opinion[151] and he (Umar) agreed,”![152]

“From this angle can be remembered instances of co-operation between our lord, Ali and our lord, Umar and can be described as a relation of sincere friendship and amity beyond description!

They continued to work for achieving the aims of Caliphate together in a co-operative manner! And for its well being.”![153]

“Ali Murtuza was the best advisor and sincere well wisher of our lord Umar…”![154]

“His Eminence, Ali (a.s.)…always throughout the Caliphate of Abu Bakr was his sincere friend and intimate advisor.”![155]

Theological Reminder

Among the important points derived from the confession of the Caliphs (in proof of truthfulness of Shiite beliefs in discussion of Imamate) is refutation of claim of superiority of the Caliphs and as a result puts a question mark on the legality of Caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar.

We should know that Ahle Sunnat have different opinions as regard the qualifications of Caliph. Some like Fadl bin Ruzbahan do not consider superiority to be a requirement of Caliphate; but others like Ibne Taimmiyah accepts this condition and then goes out of his way to prove the superiority of the Caliphs and negates all the claims of Imamiyah on the absolute superiority of Amirul Momineen (a.s.).[156]

Differences between the Aims of Caliphs and Ali Regarding Consultations

In one bird’s eye view, we can separate the line of Caliphs with that of Ali:

“During periods of Caliphates of Abu Bakr and Umar, Imam Ali (a.s.) did not do anything against them. He did not interfere in political and social affairs as if they had reached an understanding that Ali and his family will be left alone untroubled and he in return would have no say in politics. Except when the Caliph should see it as his own good to take advice and help from him.”[157]

“In important matters whenever Umar could not take a decision by himself he sought Ali’s advice.”[158]

Because: “The main intellectual specialty of the Second Caliph is that being a ruler of the society he considered himself to be having extensive powers. He not only considered himself restricted to political and judicial affairs he also thought that he had the special right to make laws and frame rules of the Shariah. He during his Caliphate, relying on these powers went on to make changes in religion and introduced innovations. And he did not feel that he was bound by any limits except those of his comprehensive understanding of Quran and Shariah. In instances when he found himself helpless he resorted to consultation with Companions (including Ali).”[159]

“…it is not possible to find any Caliph than Umar and Uthman who considered that they had the discretion to make any changes in religion even to the extent of worship acts…

Such freedom of opinion in the matter of worship acts is only part of discretion that was exercised in other matters. The Caliph did not refrain from creating innovations. Expansion of Islamic territories brought them face to face with many new legal problems and therefore mostly they endeavored to solve them even through consultation with Companions. All these solutions were on the basis of Prophet’s teachings[160] and on the other hand consultation with Companions or thirdly from the side of inventive faculty of the Caliph himself.[161] This went on to increase the spread of creations of the regime.”[162]

On the other hand:

“It will seen clearly that co-operation and guidance of His Eminence in removing numerous doubts of the Caliph was to protect Muslim society from the danger of decline and that the foundations of Islam may not be destroyed…if His Eminence (a.s.) had not interfered and co-operated, especially in religious and political issues it would have led to deviation of Islam from its true path and created great problems which the Imam could not bear to see.”[163]

Therefore that which the Imam (a.s.) had in his aim was protection of Islam from deviation and destruction and on this way he did not give any importance to the regime or Caliphate. Even then they wish to distort the facts claiming that:

“Did not the co-operation of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) to the three Caliphs continue for 25 years till the last moments of the life of the Third Caliph? Can all these co-operations, support and help in social and political matters throughout this period be without sincerity?”![164]

“Indeed we must not forget that he [His Eminence, Ali (a.s.)] even in the field of action and interfering in some matters was only to the extent of consultation; so that the machinery of Caliphate may not benefit by his co-operation and support to strengthen itself and gain a sort of legitimacy. Because he knew that the Islamic Ummah would see contradiction between acceptance and political value of the Caliphs and his (Ali’s) own religious legality. And all the efforts of Caliphate was also to gain legitimacy for themselves by pretending to take advice and co-operation of the Imam. And thus they may get some political and public acceptance. But they were not able to do so. And in the end Ali (a.s.) made clear to the people that the Caliphs were not having any legitimacy; and he did so to defend an important pillar of faith.[165] This was a great defeat for Caliphate. Till the very end they could not succeed in reconciling the two.”[166]

“Whenever Ali (a.s.) saw that some mistakes of the Caliphs were going to play havoc with the future of Muslims he used to at once interfere and do what was possible. He even risked his life and property to prevent such eventualities. He never refrained to step forward whenever he sensed danger.”[167] Therefore, “It is not seen in any source that the Caliph asked for his view and he desisted from giving it. Because it is not possible for one who spent his whole life in spread of Islam to see any harm coming to Muslims and that which was happening in the society. And we see that whenever the Caliph asked for his consultation he did not refuse it even though he saw that his rights are usurped.”[168]

Discourse Three: Criticism and Scrutiny of Analyses : Publicized regarding Ali’s cooperation with Caliphs’ Government

Conjectures spread in this regard

Some analyses relate to political attitudes and practical conduct of Imam Ali (a.s.) with regard to Caliphs. Besides they also base their claims on his associates’ acceptance of post in military or civil service.

The efforts of unity-seekers to establish for readers that Imam was on good terms with Caliphs have distorted facts. Many historical evidences are overlooked. The reader concludes wrongly for himself that the Imam and his friends entertained agreeable relations with Caliphs. They cooperatively ran governmental affairs. Such close relations do not allow any crevice between the two wings of Islam.

They put forward this argument:

“If he cooperated with Caliphs for 25 years…if he was mild and polite with Caliphs’ government...You also do the same in this regard… and follow the behavior of your Imam regarding the Caliphs.”[169]

“His Eminence (a.s.) did not leave the side of Abu Bakr for even a moment.”[170]

“When His Eminence paid allegiance to Abu Bakr, he honored all assignment given to him to the best of his capacity and this trend had a good impact on his relations with Caliphs.”[171]

“And as for co-operation and support of Imam Ali (a.s.) and his associates with Umar, it was not restricted to advice and counsel, they also practically helped in this regard and even accepted governmental posts and also participated in battles without any hesitation.”![172]

“During the period of the Second Caliph, Hazrat Ali (a.s.) always solved religious problems and difficult jurisprudential matters in which the Caliphate asked his counsel. In encounters and military issues…at no time did he (Ali) allow his personal feelings and negative thoughts to deter him from all this.”![173]

What do Historical Documents and Sources Indicate?

To answer such deviation in analysis of historical events we first dwell upon some historical proofs that clearly disprove the deviated analysis:

Imam Ali (a.s.) absolutely and always refrained from accepting a government post in Caliphs’ rule; more than this, Caliphs also were well aware of such attitude of the Imam towards them.

Regarding his cooperation with the First Caliph, it can be said:

Documentary Proof A) When some persons like Aswad Ansi, Musailama and Sajjah claimed prophethood and Abu Bakr prepared an army to fight them, he consulted Amr bin Aas regarding the command of forces and asked for his opinion about the choice of Ali. Amr bin Aas told him:

Ali would not cooperate with you;[174] so Abu Bakr gave up the idea.[175]

Documentary Proof B) In the same way the Caliph tried to appoint His Eminence (a.s.) for quelling disturbances of Kinda tribe, but Umar considered it impractical.[176]

The only instance when it could be claimed that Abu Bakr assigned command to Ali (a.s.) was the responsibility of guarding the original road to Medina in a time when he (Abu Bakr) himself had caused the army of apostates to attack the city and they had reached near Medina.

Here the point worth nothing thing is that this case is also narrated only in Sunni sources and there are many doubts in its authenticity[177] an example of which is as follows:

“Ibne Athir, in the portion of his history dealing with the campaign of First Caliph against false prophets, mentions: Abu Bakr assigned Ali, Zubair, Abdullah bin Masood and Talha to guard the hilly roads around Medina.

His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) did not accept it because the issue of Caliphate was more important to him than this trifle matter of a person claiming prophethood and in numerous instances he disputed the issue of Caliphate with Abu Bakr…is it right that he should take the command of such a frivolous matter?

Does the narration of Ibne Athir not show how he and his co-religionists try to pose Ali as an agent of First Caliph and even at the price of mentioning the name of His Eminence in few instances!”[178]

Or consider the following:

“Beliefs of Shia and Sunni are not at parity on the issue of cooperation of Imam (a.s.).”[179] “It is necessary to mention that supposing this case is true, fighting the false claimants of prophethood (which is an important matter) is not something that needs permission of an usurper Caliph; on the contrary, the Ummah and usurper of Caliphate all are under mandate to seek permission of an Infallible Imam and be at his disposal to fight the false claimants. Besides, this issue is also binding on the Infallible Imam himself.”[180]

Therefore contrary to the claim publicized about the permanent company of Imam (a.s.) with Abu Bakr it should be announced that:

“Relations between Abu Bakr and Imam were very cold and not worthy of mention.”[181]

About Imam’s Co-operation with the Second Caliph it can be said:

“The Second Caliph also was not pleased with the obstinacy and haughtiness of Imam Ali (a.s.) and many times he appointed in-betweens who can motivate the Imam (a.s.) to assist the regime; but Amirul Momineen (a.s.) only looked to the interests of Islam. At the time of need, he forwarded his expert opinion. Commonly he ignored the requests of Caliphs for all-round cooperation.[182]

Documentary Proof A) Of course it was not that the Imam always fulfilled their requests. The Caliph asked Ali to accompany him in the journey to Syria, but Ali refused. Umar complained to Ibne Abbas:

I asked your cousin to accompany me to Syria but he refused…

Documentary Proof B) Likewise in the battle of Qadasia, Muslims sought Umar’s help.

The Caliph asked Imam (a.s.) to take the command and go to the battlefront, but the Imam (a.s.) did not accept.”[183]

Therefore the Caliph sent Saad bin Abi Waqqas.[184]

It is clear that in both cases the Imam rejected the request, still they falsely claim:

“In this way Ali (a.s.) was always by the side of Umar.”![185]

“When Umar asked Ali to take the command of Muslim forces to conquer Iran, Imam did so.”![186]

Attention and contemplation on this matter related to always ‘Absence of acceptance of co-operation and bearing responsibility’ makes every researcher and investigator think His Eminence has not always denied co-operation with the caliphal regime; thus his non-acceptance of co-operation and responsibility in chosen instances must be for some special reason; such that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) had some standard on the basis of which he either chose to help or refuse.

Therefore in the first stage it will be seen that the Imam never refused his help. But in the second stage it will be seen that the Imam also in some cases hit out at the chest of the rulers and refused to co-operate in some matters.


The attitude of the Imam in accepting occasional cooperation with government and fortuitous refusal to cooperate leads a reader to conclude that Imam had a particular outlook to the matters. It further leads to interpret the type and kind of relations he had with Caliphs.

Understanding Imam’s attitude will lead us to understand motives of both sides - why the posts were offered and why the Imam denied.

In fact after this point is proved that Imam only refused co-operation with the regime under some conditions and accepted responsibility only under some conditions the following two questions arise:

Firstly, what was the aim of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) in co-operating with the Caliphs or refusing it?

Secondly, what was the policy Caliphs pursued towards the Imam when some posts were proposed to him in their government?

We shall dwell on these questions in the course of this book.