: 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

Discourse Five: Publicized Analyses about the relation of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) with Caliphs

A) Ali’s criticism of Caliphs

The sermon of Shiqshiqya and his other stands prove Caliphs’ deviations and perversions from the right path.

“Whenever Ali witnessed any wrong from Caliphs or any of their colleagues, he openly criticized them.”[160]

Here it must be asked how they can claim:

“History does not mention that His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) uttered a sentence or a word against the other Caliphs.”![161]

That which is worth noting in this debate are the social conditions so blindly and ignorantly prevailing on the people in those days that made totally impossible for any voice of criticism to rise against Caliphs. So to criticize was neither easy nor tolerable to the people. Such an environment gave a free hand to Caliphs without fearing any opposition.

As a result, the silence of Imam Ali (a.s.) was due to the conditions prevailing then. It should not be attributed to fear; or seeing eye-to-eye from the side of Imam Ali (a.s.).

Ibne Abil Hadeed writes in this regard:

“Ali had very painful matters at heart as regards the Caliphate. But the tyranny of Umar restrained him from expression to his feelings during the periods of Abu Bakr and Umar.”[462]

This was the reason for Ali’s silence, which was too hard and heavy to him. He saw the Caliphs going astray and deviated from the right path but the conditions forced him to keep quiet.

In any case:

“To oppose the government was not easy for Imam Ali (a.s.). In the early years, it was very hard to Ali. So he tried to take refuge in isolation to avoid face-to-face situation.

The fate of Saad bin Ubadah was a very painful example.

He did not give Bay’at to Abu Bakr. In the period of Abu Bakr or Umar news came that Jinns have killed him in Damascus.

Some sources[463] indicate that his murder was political.”[464]

In the same way:

“Opinion of Imam about Caliphate of the three Caliphs remained confined to himself. The stringent conditions deprived him of any freedom of expression. Caliphate of the first two (Abu Bakr and Umar) receded into the annals of history. As for the third (Uthman) again Ali did not find an opportunity to express his judgment.

The handicap was Imam’s soldiers in Kufa were those who had acknowledged the authority of Abu Bakr and Umar. So in their presence Imam could not speak freely. Only once he got the opportunity. He gave expression to his agonies suffered at the hands of those two. Then all of a sudden he stopped and shifted to some other subject.”[465]


“Although he had a multitude of political supporters during his own Caliphate mostly they had belief in competency of Abu Bakr and Umar. So it was difficult for him state the facts about them or do anything contrary to their attitude as it would have created difficulties for him.”[466]

In short it can be said that:

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) had to face insurmountable difficult conditions.

“Any change in political trend from the past two Caliphs was, for Ali, a change from a norm to which the people had become familiar and habituated for a quarter of a century. A multitude of people had come under Ali’s banner because they were critics of Uthman as to why he was not following in the footsteps of Abu Bakr and Umar. (It shows how hard it would have been for Ali himself.)”[467]

Therefore before dwelling on analysis of Imam Ali’s (a.s.) speeches, it would be interesting to see the trend of the people:

“People of those days…came after Ali to persuade him to become Caliph. But they expected him to follow the track of Umar.”[468]

“Some people clearly told the Imam (a.s.) that he must act on the practice of the past Caliphs.”[469]

“Ezzat-al-Din Abu Hamid Motazalli has gone a step forward and says: People’s getting accustomed to Umar was the main reason for their opposition to Ali bin Abi Talib. Ebb and flow of their opposition kept playing for long, Sometimes it caused Ali’s anger and anguish. He used to ask whether the tradition of the Prophet was better or that of Umar?!...[470]

Ali himself says that innovation in religion had taken a deep and strong root. If I were to disclose the real ruling or decree of faith in such regard, people would have left me and dispersed from around me.

Imam Ali (a.s.) further says: I told the people that in the month of Ramadan except for daily prayers they must not come for any other congregation prayer and announced that praying collectively in recommended prayers is innovation.

Some soldiers who had fought under my command shouted: O, Muslims! Look, the tradition of Umar is altered. Ali wants us to give up recommended prayers of Ramadan.

So with such mentality of the people, Ali says that he feared mutiny.[471][472]

Circumstances such as these also did not allow Ali to restore Fadak during his own rule.[473]

Anyway, from time to time at an opportunity whether short or long, Ali utilized to express his victimization and the tyranny done against him. Ibne al-Hadeed writes:

“Narrations that have reached us in continuity inform us about the situation of Ali. He has told something like this:

I have been oppressed since passing away of Prophet right till this day.”[474]

Historical documents show that the people were also exercising a severe force on Ali. When such an opinion prevails generally Imam Ali (a.s.) refers to them (Abu Bakr and Umar) with great circumspection. This widely disseminated opinion snatched from him the possibility of criticizing them openly.

To be acquainted with the necessity that forced Ali to accept the past as it preceded him refer to the third volume of this series.

A little attention to historical documents indicates the elements that existed during Ali’s Caliphate which impeded him to criticize or censure his predecessors, particularly Umar.

The following document, for example, shows the stringent conditions that ruled over Ali. From this, we can grasp the tight and narrow possibilities that were at Ali’s disposal:

Muawiyah in his letter to Ali writes:

“I have heard the news of your remembering them (Caliphs preceding Ali) with mercy and kindness. This could be either of the two reasons - to which there is no third. This might be due to dissimulation because you are afraid that your soldiers with whom you fight against me would desert you. And the second reason is what you say is false and wrong.

Also I have come to know that you have told your Shias who have gone perverted and astray: I have named my three sons: Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman. So whenever you hear me send blessings on Imams of perversion you should know that I mean my sons.”[475]

B) Why Ali named his sons after Caliphs?

What Muawiyah says in his letter so openly and frankly shows that Ali was obliged to maintain some outward symptoms of affection towards the three Caliphs. This will also refute another conjecture that is claimed:

“Another sign of his affection for the three Caliphs is that He named his sons Abu Bakr bin Ali, Umar bin Ali and Uthman bin Ali.”![476]

“The leader of Friday prayers of Zahidan (Iran) who is a Sunni spoke to his audience that three brothers of Imam Husain were martyred in Kerbala, as they fought along with their brothers. This shows the ties of affection between the family of Ali and the Caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman).”![477]

Anyway, it should be noted that:

“Such arguments from early Islamic days and in the run of historical events have played a part and given a trend to the political status of the Prophet’s House. Further, these events just give a deluding face to the actual facts that existed behind the events. There is nothing tangible in it - except a public-deceiving device. In other words, to use the common term we should say that they are far from being real. Therefore they are nothing more than a guise to provide a show to public.

Those who have a little information about history, Islamic civilization, culture and something regarding Arabs they certainly know that names such as Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman were already current among the people prior and later to Islam. People were called by these names. They have no bearing on the personalities. Nor these names came into being because of the personalities.

In a social culture, no matter whichever society, inimical or intimate relations do not cause one to be named or not named after the names of either friends or enemies. Names have nothing to do with mutual relations. Names cannot be prohibited.

In the norm of today’s society, too expression of love or hatred cannot be based on a name. Because of name of one family there exists enmity, which ends in a murder of another.

If the name of the murderer happens to be Abdullah the family of victim could be angry or demand compensation etc. to assuage its hurt and grievance. But its hatred with the name Abdullah is not justifiable.

Far beyond this, there is no one who does not know the enmity and its extent between Muawiyah and Bani Umayyah with the Prophet’s House and its Shias.

But a brief look at History and biographical books will show that the Bani Hashim and Shias[478] continued to name their children Muawiyah and even Yazid for centuries. Here we present a few examples:[479]

Name of Muawiyah in use

- Muawiyah bin Abdullah bin Ja’far bin Abi Talib (from Bani Hashim)

- Muawiyah bin Harith and Muawiyah bin Sasaye from Shias and companions of Ali.

- Muawiyah bin Ammar, Muawiyah bin Wahab (among Shias and companions of Imam Baqir (a.s.);

- Muawiyah bin Saeed, Muawiyah bin Salma, Muawiyah bin Sawade, Muawiyah bin Sahl, Muawiyah bin Tareef, Muawiyah bin Abdullah, Muawiyah bin al-Ala, Muawiyah bin Kulaib, Muawiyah bin Maisarah. All of them were Shia and among companions of Imam Sadiq.

Muawiyah Ja’fari was a Shia and among companions of Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.).

- Muawiyah bin Hakam and Muawiyah bin Yahya were among companions of Imam Reza (a.s.) and…

Name of Yazid in use

- Yazid bin Muawiyah bin Abu Bakr bin Ja’far (his mother was Fatima Binte Husain bin Hasan bin Ail);[480]

- Yazid bin Ahnaf, Yazid bin Jibelleh, Yazid bin Tomeh, Yazid bin Qays, Yazid bin Nowaise, Yazid bin Hani. All these were Shias and companions of Ali (a.s.).

- Yazid bin Laheet, Yazid bin Haseen, Yazid bin Ziyad. All these three were Shias companions of Imam Husain. All these three were among the martyrs of Kerbala.

- Yazid bin Hatim was among companions of Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.).

- Yazid al-Kannasi, Yazid bin Khyam, Yazid bin Ziyad, Yazid bin Abdullah, Yazid bin Abdul Malik Jofi, Yazid bin Muhammad Nishapuri, Yazid bin Abdul Malik Nofekhi. All these were Shias and companions of Imam Baqir (a.s.).

- Yazid bin Awar, Yazid al-Qamat, Yazid bin Esbaat, Yazid bin Ishaq, Yazid bin Khalid, Yazid bin Khaleel, Yazid bin Umar bin Talha, Yazid bin Farkhad, Yazid bin Haroon al-wasti. All of them were Shias and companion of Imam Sadiq.

- Yazid bin Hasan, Yazid bin Khalifa, Yazid bin Saleh. All of them were Shias and companions of Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.).

- Yazid bin Uthman, Yazid bin Umar. Both of them were Shias and companions of Imam Reza (a.s.).

It can be noted how this name was common among Shias.

On the basis this can we conclude that relations between Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan and Ali bin Abi Talib and Bani Hashim and Shias were very close and good? Who can even for a moment think that Yazid bin Muawiyah did not commit any wrong or did not kill Imam Husain and his family?

What is certain is that names do not reflect the kind of relations that exist between the bearers of those names.

In every society names come into fashion and later get out of date by losing attraction or text of its contents. Besides they depend on personal taste or cultural vicissitude. Even in Sunni societies names of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman are less in circulation because they are selected. For instance, I have myself searched among the writers of Nida-e-Islam but I did not find one bearing any of these three names. However in the early centuries of Islam, this was not the case. These names were familiar and customary.

However getting these names out of norm particularly from Shia circles must be due to general will and intention of the people during the past centuries.

Besides the wars that took place between Ottomans and Safavid rulers (of Iran) took a religious pretext to itself. This too could be the cause for the names receding into oblivion.

During the centuries - not too remote, Shias[481] created a far-reaching and widely embracing cultural movement, which ultimately covered all aspects and angles. This movement rather winnowed and sifted the names leaving only those of Infallible Imams. Shias began to use names of Imams. Therefore Shias completely eschewed the names, which remind them of enemies of Ahle Bayt (a.s.). Little by little this Shia practice took to itself a look of ‘enemy to the enemies’ and ‘friend to the friends’ of the Prophet’s House. In other words to hate the enemy and befriend the friend of Ahle Bayt of Prophet. In the earlier centuries, such an understanding in selecting the names did not exist.

According to the foregone details now in this present age after lapse of fourteen centuries, names cannot be the gauge of relations between two sides. Other grounds should be searched to find the reason of enmity or friendship.[482]

In that age too there was not any proof of good relation by means of the name. These names perhaps were common among Arabs in those days.

In other words:

According to their taste or choice they used to select a name for their newborns. There was nothing bad in these names. We do not find in any books of opponents even in recent times; that is since fifty years onward, that through the commonality of these they have argued that the Imams were at good terms with the Caliphs.[483]

In the same way it is narrated from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that he said regarding the naming of his son, Uthman: I have named him after my brother Uthman bin Ma’zoon.[484]

Another outlook about these namings

“Naming the children itself, is an issue of irrecusable importance. Such it has been since ancient times. The magnitude of this issue depends upon social status of the person. More serious the issue if greater the position of the person. There are many incidents in history. After having had named their children they have changed and chosen some other names because the first names were not approved by the Prophet or did not meet his taste. Or with regard to Imam Hasan, Imam Husain and Mohsin, they were named first with names which were changed later.

There are cases that show the tyrant rulers, Caliphs, from social and political aspects, dictated the names for the persons they liked. In those prevailing conditions, no one could oppose the chosen name.

With regard to son of Ali whose name was Umar, Sunni sources have explained:

“Hafiz Midhi,[485] Ibne Hajar Asqalani[486] and other writers have written:

When Saha Binte Rabiya wife of Imam Ali (a.s.) gave birth to a male child, Umar bin Khattab named the child after himself!!

In our opinion, this too should be the same ground as the issue of marriage with the daughter of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) under compulsion.”[487]

C) Are narrations attributed to Ali about his praise of Caliphs correct?

Answer to this question can be on two divisions:

Part A: Narrations in Sunni books

“In books of people opposed to Amirul Momineen (a.s.) it is attributed that: Ali (a.s.) has praised the two Caliphs in different words. Like:

“The best of the men after the Prophet is Abu Bakr and after him it is Umar.’”[488]

Rather Ibne Taimmiyah writes in his book Minhaj al-Sunnah: Ali often used to say: If a man comes to me and says I am superior to Abu Bakr and Umar I would carry God’s decree against him for lying and lash him.

We have spoken in the past regarding this subject referring to the words of Ibne Abdul Barr.[489] Now we wish to dwell on details.

First: Such matters attributed to Imam Ali (a.s.) are mostly and only mentioned in the books of Sunnis; such things are never found in Shia books. The logic of argument is lame here. They always trod over norms and trespass the standard formulas whenever Amirul Momineen (a.s.) comes into question.

Second: No books of repute among Sunni authorities have mentioned these things. If at all anything is mentioned, it is mentioned not as an established fact. They mention under a guise of: It is told of Ali or: Having had told of Ali…Such a tone of narration eschews responsibility. It does not establish the narrated matter as solid truth. Such type of narration either in history or by any authority in itself loses credibility. They are deprived of any strength that a document or a reality should have.

Third: Existence of words and plenitude of narrations besides the multitude of narrators about superiority of Ali and about the best qualities in his person, in addition to the constant sayings of Prophet regarding the worth and highly dignified status of Ali repudiate praise for Caliphs. There remains no room to any praise for any Caliphs. It is invented to bedim the widespread glitter of Prophet’s praise of Ali: There was no need for Ali to praise Caliphs.

Fourth: There are evidences in excess that prove attributions such as these as false and absolutely lie. We suffice with one:

Ibne Abdul Barr in his book Al-Istiab Fil Marefat-al-Ashaab writes on the authority of reputed personalities such as Salman, Miqdad, Abu Zar, Habbab, Jabir bin Abdullah al-Ansaari, Abu Saeed Khudri and Zaid bin Arqam:

Ali bin Abi Talib is the first one to embrace Islam. After that he writes: They all gave Ali priority over others.[490]

Here it is necessary to point out that those who had such a belief in Ali or they viewed Ali at such a station, were in all twenty persons. They were themselves companions and enjoyed a good reputation in society.

The author of Al-Istiab has avoided many others and only refers to these twenty persons that he deems fit. The question who was the first to become Muslim has a great bearing on worth or reputation in Sunni books. Its answer is Ali. Therefore this very element singly brings much credit and worth to Ali. Sunni sources have narrated that Abu Bakr embraced Islam after fifty persons[491] had become Muslims. Therefore they created such baseless stories to stain Ali’s reputation because of the realities of his personality, which cannot be denied. More strange is that they have created stories to say that it was Abu Bakr who embraced Islam first though they have no evidence to prove it. There are several such false stories but don’t have to argue their worth. The theme of our argument is the saying of a highly reputed scholar among adversaries of Shia. He is Ibne Abdul Barr Qurtubi. He says in his book that many among the Prophet’s companions have acknowledged Ali’s superiority over Abu Bakr. We all know this but Ali during all the periods, including when he was in power did not punish any for this matter.

Here we see Ibne Hajar Asqalani helpless and seeking to rescue himself. On the other hand they attributed Ali having told that he would punish those who say Ali was better than Abu Bakr and Umar. If it was true why Ali did not punish anyone? Ibne Abdul Barr adds: And they preferred him upon others. So contradiction is quite obvious in his saying.

We have evidences that say similar things attributing it to the past scholars and some to recent ones - each trying to establish his claim.”[492]

In the end it is noted that Caliphs themselves have admitted superiority of Ali in learning and knowledge. In many cases, Ali went to their help. He solved their problems and clarified many issues. This aspect of knowledge is very important for a Caliph. This itself is enough to refute what Ibne Taimmiyah has claimed.

Part B: Narrations mentioned in Nahjul Balagha and Al-Gharaat

They say:

“As Umar loved Ali and showed his deep affection to him, Ali also reciprocated. Ali helped him as much as he could. When Umar was martyred, Ali used to remember him saying: May God bestow good on him as he straightened the crooked.”![493]

“On many occasions Ali has praised them. Among such utterance is his statement about the Second Caliph in Nahjul Balagha…”![494]

Dr. Muhammad Asadi Garmarudi says in reply:

“It is said that in Sermon 228 of Nahjul Balagha[495] the Second Caliph is referred with admiration and appreciation.

In this respect we should know that:

First: Does this sermon contradict matters of other sources, even Shiqshiqya sermon and letters of His Eminence in criticism and objections against the Caliphs or not?

Second: If we pay attention to moderation, preference and accuracy in principle not in hearsay, with this attitude if we glance at the lecture in question, can we still say it is in praise of the Caliph? Mr. Hujjati Kermani claims that there is a reasoning weakness.

Third: Whether by principle this lecture is attributed to Ali. Is it not doubtful to researchers?

In Tarikh Tabari - a reputed book among Sunnis - it is mentioned:

When Umar died, daughter of Abi Khathima wept and said: Ah! Umar! Straightened the crooked; and cured the sick.

Mughaira Ibne Shoba said: When Umar was buried, I came to Ali. He had just taken the bath. His head and beard were still wet. He was wrapped in a wide towel. He was sure that Caliphate would reach to him. He said: May God send His mercies on him. Daughter of Abi Khathima spoke the truth. He gained the good and is saved from the evil of the world. By God! She did not say these words. But she was told to say these words …[496]

The foregone text in lecture No.228 (219 Faizul Islam) runs:

May God bestow on him the good. He made straight the sinuous and cured the ill. He attained good of the world and is rescued from its evil.

There is a similarity in both.

Now, Tabari narrates the incident of the year 23 A.H. The text too is said by Ali in the same year. Its reason is also obvious. Ali says the words do not belong to the daughter of Abi Khathima but were dictated to her.[497] Ali might have repeated those words out of astonishment.

On the other hand the principle of accuracy obliges one to be attentive of Mughaira bin Shoba. He is not trustworthy. Narrations from him are bereft of credibility. Therefore how can this narration be worthy to accept its authenticity? When the narrator is Mughaira how can we accept it as saying of Ali?

Besides, in the lecture of Ali where is that part that compels us to believe that he means the Second Caliph?

Ibne Abil Hadeed Motazalli in Vol. 12 of Sharh Nahjul Balagha while explaining the sermon 228 refers to this subject too. Hajj Mirza Habeebullah Hashimi Khoei the famous commentator of Nahjul Balagha says in Vol. 14 Pg. 371 onward of Minhaj al-Baraya fee Sharh Nahjul Balagha that after such a criticism against Caliphs how could he have said so? We can ignore all these things.

The Late Ustad Mutahhari in his essay Sairi Dar Nahjul Balagha says:

“Ibne Abil Hadeed believes the story that there are sentences in Nahjul Balagha in praise of Umar.

But there are some contemporaries who have narrated in different form. It runs thus: Ali came out of his house and saw Mughaira. In a tone of interrogation, he asked Mughaira whether was it true what the daughter of Abi Khathima said in praise of Umar?

Therefore as such this cannot be confirmed that it was Ali’s saying or Ali’s acceptance of the words of the speaker that Sayyid Razi included in the text of Nahjul Balagha by mistake.[498]

Of course through careful attention, study of the text of Tabari’s saying Abi Khathima’s daughter and text of the sermon 228 we can distinguish the subject matter.”[499]

Thus it seems Imam Ali (a.s.) has repeated the words of the girl by way of surprise. There is another point to be paid attention to:

In the closing sentences, Ali says:

“The astrayed cannot be guided and the guided one cannot retain certainty nor could he rest assured.”

The Researcher Shushtari’s outlook

Perhaps in the end it would still be hard to believe the mistake committed by Sayyid Razi. Because it is said:

“Shias accept Nahjul Balagha and whatever is in its text. The relation between Ali and Caliphs as indicated in the text is acceptable to a Shia because it is the most creditable book among Shias. If any narration any book happens to be in contrast with Nahjul Balagha they (Shia) prefer Nahjul Balagha.”![500]

But it must be said:

“The past commentators because of extraordinary reputation of Nahjul Balagha were fond of Sayyid Razi and took it for granted to be perfect and without any error since it was the work rendered by Sayyid Razi.

Therefore no one dared to criticize or venture thereat. All considered it the saying of Ali.

But the researcher Shushtari has shown in his other works such as Qamoos ar-Rijaal and Al-Akhbaar ad-Dakheela that he is a skilled commentator; a traditionist and a narrator. Likewise, he is daring to the extent of getting appreciation in literary circles and has gained worldwide reputation. In the town of Shushtar in a corner, he retired from propaganda and was mindful of his own work. He has thoroughly scrutinized the work of Sayyid Razi in compiling Nahjul Balagha. As he appreciates his labor so he criticizes too. He does not see the compiler who is Sayyid Razi but he sees into the quality of his work. In his view, knowledge is more important than the person who holds it.

Now we dwell on some of his criticisms:


Statements under the title of ‘Book 62’ are only a letter of Imam Ali (a.s.) to Malik Ashtar in Egypt. It is the text of the speech delivered after the martyrdom of Muhammad bin Abu Bakr. Martyrdom of Malik Ashtar was before Muhammad bin Abu Bakr. The letter was read in Kufa. Imam Ali (a.s.) had written it and wanted it to be read out to the people.[501]


The sentence ‘do not kill the Khawarij after me’, itself says that it is not of Ali. We do not find any proof by Sayyid Razi. Had Imam issued such an order his followers would have not killed them. On the other hand we see followers of Ali, at their head Sa’sa bin Sauhan, then Ma’qel bin Qays and Adi bin Hatim and Shareek bin Awar and Shia of Kufa and Basrah all of them exerted their efforts to kill them.[501]


Sermon 168: The statement ‘…O brothers! I do not ignore that you know. But how can I be powerful when the people draw their greatness upon us to possess us and we don’t.’ This is not of Ali. It is composed by Muawiyah in imitation to Ali.[503]


Letter 58: Shushtari does not consider it to be of Ali. This letter is also invented. Sayyid Ali Razi has included it unknowingly. Anyway, it is attributed to Ali wrongly.[504]


Sermon 228: According to research, which Shushtari has carried, it is impossible to be of Imam.[505] Ibne Abil-Hadid and his followers are wrong who consider it to be of Imam.


Sermon 8: According to Shaykh Mufeed, Sayyid Razi attributes this to Imam Hasan.[506]


Sermon 92: ‘Leave me alone and request other than me. If you leave me I will be one like you…’ is not from Imam Ali (a.s.). This too is invented and inserted into the contents[507] .[508]


Sermon 169: ‘God has sent a Prophet…’ too is a creation of others. It does not belong to Ali, or its contents are distorted.[509]


In Sermon 27: There is difference in one sentence.[510]


Saying 289: ‘To me in the past was a brother in way of God.’ This saying is of Imam Hasan and not of Ali.


Saying 22: ‘He who is detained by his work…’ Sayyid Razi attributed this sentence to the Prophet in another book of his[511] but now he is attributing it to Ali.[512]


Saying 296: Is among the saying fabricated and presented by Saif.[513]

We suffice here only with these twelve items. There are several other items also that we refer as follows according to Bahjus Sibagha:

Vol. 4 / Pg. 67, 401, 519

Vol. 6 / 369, 371, 401, 443

Vol. 7 / 334, 598

Vol. 8 / 82

Vol. 9 / 59, 360, 362, 423

Vol. 10 / 339, 562, 577

Vol. 11 / 526

Vol. 12 / 59-60, 94-95, 217, 541, 574

Vol. 13 / 23, 355, 361

Vol. 14 / 330, 552, 595

These are the examples we came across while turning the pages of Bahjul Sibagha. Each one of it might seem trifle and trivial, but it attains magnitude while explaining, commenting, translating and researching Nahjul Balagha.

It goes without saying that Shushtari appreciates the work of Sayyid Razi.

He has dwelled more on preface in which he has made a research in the work of Sayyid Razi. This is not repeated in his other works.[514]

In the same way the claim that Ali has praised Umar is reflected in this text:

“Ibrahim bin Muhammad Thaqafi in his book Al-Gharaat, Pg. 307 has mentioned that Ali said about Umar: “We heard and we obeyed. He was our advisor. He took over the charge. His conduct was satisfactory…”![515]

We can investigate and analyze this in the following points:

Point One:

The matter taken from the text of Al-Gharaat is a portion from letter of Ali to his followers. This is mentioned in the book also beneath the heading.

It should be reminded here that the letter exists in other sources too.[516] Likewise, in Al-Mustarshid fil Imamah[517] by Muhammad bin Jurair Tabari Imami Kabeer (died around year 310 A.H.) Reference to the text makes clear the matter.

Point Two:

What Ali has mentioned in the letter is in connection to his previous sayings about Abu Bakr. This should be read after studying the conditions prevalent in society in those times.

On the same page of Al-Gharaat, following sentences of Ali are mentioned regarding Abu Bakr:

“…He obeyed God…”[518] Then he repeats about Umar “…We obeyed him.”

Imam Ali’s (a.s.) obedience is to God not to Caliphs. He obeyed where obedience to God was necessary.

Point Three:

Whatever Ali has said about Caliphs, depends on the same circumstances and conditions, which we dwelt in the chapter concerned.

There is an obvious contradiction in Al-Mustarshid page 415 in the text. This confirms an idea that whatever said or done was with an aim to protect Islam and hold the people at it. Else, there was a strong likelihood of people’s reverting to ignorance, i.e. the pre-Islamic days - to idol-worship. The words impart such a sense.

Point Four:

The text: a desired conduct and a blessed soul had a great influence on the people of that time which has a bearing on Caliphate. Imam Ali (a.s.), in fact, has sketched a general picture of people’s outlook concerning the Caliphs.

A little attention to the norm and nature of Ali’s statement clearly confirms the said conjecture. In reverting to Al-Gharaat, which is newly printed with a commentary and correction of Mir Jalaluddin Husaini known as Traditionist Armavi.

On the same page of the book in Footnote No. 5 he mentioned Allamah Majlisi’s words that the Imam’s words are in keeping with the delicate situation.

Similarly in Footnote no. 6 of the same page he points out the location of some words, which are ahead and some behind. Imam was then speaking about the general condition of the society.

This also applies to the letter of Ali for Egyptians.[519]

Late Mirza Habeebullah Hashimi Khoei in his commentary on Nahjul Balagha says:

“It seems so with the people and possibly it could be by persuasion of adversaries”[520]

Of the indications that attest Khoei’s viewpoint is the difference between text of Al-Gharaat[521] and Al-Darajaat Ar-Rafia.[522] Although late Sayyid Ali Khan Madani has copied the letter from Al-Gharaat, the text is short of some words of praise, which exist, in the present text of Al-Gharaat. This in itself is a proof that the text is altered and added thereon some words.[523]

Another thing that confirms the views of Allamah Majlisi and Allamah Khoei is that the Imam had reflected people’s outlook. Therefore his words mirror people’s view about the two Caliphs. The letter is addressed to the people of Madayn. In the end, he adds:

“Then some among Muslims rose and accepted two persons and were pleased to be guided by them and the conduct of the two pleased them.[524][525]

Final Point:

The attitude of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) in the six-person Shura committee to appoint a Caliph is quite clear[526] as Imam rejects the proposal of Abdur Rahman bin Auf to follow the tracks of two preceding Caliphs. This proves the falsehood of their claims. When he is not willing to follow the policies of the first two Caliphs how can he praise them?

The denial of Ali to the proposal of Abdur Rahman in itself establishes the illegitimacy of Caliphate of the two.

D) Had Ali accepted the legitimacy of Caliphs’ Government?

A wrong interpretation of Letter No. 6 of Ali (a.s.) in Nahjul Balagha addressed to Muawiyah has led to creation of a conjecture in propagating the legitimacy of Caliphate of Saqifah besides separating Imamate from Caliphate. Thus they allege:

“If people had selected a person of authority in consultation with Imam[527] he would have administered better under Imam’s guidance.[528] There would neither have been civil wars nor any differences resulting in separation of the Ummah. After the Prophet’s passing away Ali was, during the three Caliphs’ rule, a pivot of Islam and its revolution…”[529]

Ustad Ja’far Subhani in reply to this conjecture writes:

“Imam Ali (a.s.) was the only Caliph elected by one and all. Muhajireen and Ansaar (Helper) both sides equally agreed on this. In the history of Caliphate, such unanimity was unprecedented. Such a thing never happened again.

In the meantime, Muawiyah had founded his empire in Syria. He had a hidden enmity that was deeply rooted. He was very much upset and worried with Ahle Bayt (a.s.) of the Prophet. When he learned that Muhajireen and Ansaar had chosen Ali to be the Caliph he refused to acknowledge Ali’s authority and instead accused him of Uthman’s murder and his support to murderers of Uthman.

Imam Ali (a.s.), to silence Muawiyah and close all doors of excuse wrote to him: The same persons who had paid allegiance to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman have acknowledged my authority and me. Since the Ansaar’s and Muhajireen’s opinion was acceptable to you, they have paid allegiance to me now.

This is the text of Imam’s letter:

‘Verily, those who took the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman have sworn allegiance to me. Now those who were present at the election have no right to go back against their oaths of allegiance and those who were not present on the occasion have no right to oppose me. And so far as Shura was concerned it was supposed to be limited to Muhajirs and Ansars and it was also supposed that whomsoever they selected, became caliph as per approval and pleasure of Allah.’[530]

The motive of Ali was to exhaust argument on Muawiyah. Imam wanted to wipe out all grounds of mischief from and before Muawiyah.

Muawiyah was Umar’s governor in Syria. Then he maintained his post in the same office in Uthman’s Caliphate. He maintained them in the public as Caliphs of the Prophet of God and himself as their representative.

Imam Ali (a.s.) reminded him because Ansaar and Muhajireen had chosen the past Caliphs. So in his own case also happened the same without any deficiency. Therefore there was no ground to honor their opinion in one case and reject it in another.

Ali adopted the way of argument as Quran also enjoins that. He proceeded with the argument thus:

Those who had given Bay’at to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman have given Bay’at to me. So why then did you not pay allegiance to my Caliphate? The reality of argument is not other than this. The opposite side should be convinced on its own terms. What it thinks sacred should be brought against it.

Anyway, the letter does not mean that Ali preferred the method of Islamic government on the basis of consultation. Or he preferred the appointment of Caliph by way of elections. The inner belief of Ali was that the Caliph must be elected by absolute majority or public unanimity. But the issue of Imamate is not of election but by divine appointment.

This cannot be Ali’s view. Had it been so he should have not started his letter from the past three Caliphs in this way:

Muhajireen and Ansaar have paid allegiance to me. Whomever they paid allegiance to will be the leader of Muslims.

Imam Ali (a.s.) in his subsequent sentences says: And they gathered around a man and named him Imam. In it is God’s pleasure. This is a protest against the belief of opposite side. The word ‘Allah’ does not exist in the original texts of Nahjul Balagha. This discrepancy creates doubt.

In fact, Imam’s opinion seems to be this: Whenever Muslims agree for a man to be their leader, it attains satisfaction and acceptance. Therefore such a thing has taken place in my case too. Why you remain stubborn?

The first to argue this statement of Imam Ali (a.s.) from a Sunni angle is Ibne Abil Hadeed. He has ignored the letter and other speeches of the Imam to establish it as a fixed opinion of Imam.[631]

Whenever Shia scholars have considered this speech and its interpretation they too have raised our point.”[532]

The text of the Imam’s letter to Muawiyah copied from Waqatus Siffeen

“Another attestation to prove that the letter was a protest is existence of sentences, which Sayyid Razi has deleted. But those sentences exist in other books. The method of Sayyid Razi is that he has deleted text or any part, which he deems not serious or sensitive. He mostly pays attention to the elegance of sentences. In other words, the literary aspect enchants him more.

The letter in question is mentioned by Nasr bin Muzahim Minqari (d. 412) that is 147 years before the birth of Sayyid Razi[533] in his famous book, Waqatus Siffeen page 48. We refer to some of its deleted parts:

1 - Ali starts the letter like this:

“They paid allegiance to me in Medina. You are in Syria. I have completed and exhausted my argument on you. The absent has no right to object to the decision of the present ones.”

2 - In the end of the letter is this text:

“Talha and Zubair paid allegiance to me but afterwards they both reneged and broke their oath. By so doing, they returned to their initial status and I waged a holy war against them. This did not hurt my Caliphate. Anyway, the truth appeared and rested at its place. God’s command succeeded while they were not pleased. So you too enter where Muslims have entered.”

3 - Note the following sentence also:

“And you much said about murderers of Uthman. As Muslims have entered, you too do the same. I guide you and them to the Book of God. But the thing you want is a trick by which a milk feeding baby is deceived.”

What did Muawiyah want from the Imam?

Muawiyah wanted that Imam should surrender the murderers of Uthman. According to Sulaym bin Qays in his book Asl[534] Muawiyah wanted the Imam to take revenge from Uthman’s murderers and then he will pay allegiance to Ali with his followers. On the other hand Ali was seeing a plot and a trick in Muawiyah’s proposal.

The letter from its beginning to the end clearly seems to be a letter of protest against a stubborn party. Imam knew that his adversary is not a man of truth. He was a tricky person. Therefore Imam must base his letter on reason and logic not on what he himself believes. This letter does not reflect the real belief of Imam.”[535]

However keeping aside Shia belief and attachment to Imamate and Wilayat of Ali, we dwell on the letter itself as it is claimed:

“Liberty of people in choosing Imam and leader of God’s command is acceptable. This makes compulsory on all to obey.” ![536]

“Consultation is the right of Muhajireen and Ansaar. God is pleased with this if they collectively give their opinion to one as their Imam.” ![537]

“In the foregone statement, consultation and consensus with a majority of opinion of competent men who were Muhajireen and Ansaar in those days give legitimacy to their choice.”![538]

“In this letter, Imam agrees to the legality of Muhajireen and Ansaar.”![539]


According to what is said above there remains no doubt that Imam Ali (a.s.) referred to the acknowledgment of Muhajireen and Ansaar to silence his staunch enemy and a strong opponent, Muawiyah and to oblige him to surrender to the Alawi government. We refer to another letter of Ali to Muawiyah to enable the readers to understand the case deeply and thoroughly. Allamah Majlisi in volume 33 of Biharul Anwar has opened an independent chapter under the title: ‘His letter to Muawiyah, his protestations and addresses to him and his companions.’ He mentions beneath it under No. 421. In the battle of Siffeen, Muawiyah called for Abu Darda and Abu Huraira. He sent them to Ali with a letter which the Imam read and replied. Some of his statements in reply are as follows:

“The first thing necessary for Muslims is to choose one to be their Imam to administer their affairs. They have to obey him and follow him. In case if it be their right to choose an Imam.

However in this case - to choose an Imam - be a divine right and the right of His Prophet, then the choice of the people is enough. God has ordered them to follow the Imam.

After the assassination of Uthman, Muhajireen and Ansaar after consultations that lasted three days paid allegiance to me. These same had earlier paid allegiance to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman; and had confirmed their leadership. The people of Badr and those of the advance rows have paid allegiance to me - among Muhajireen and Ansaar. Earlier they had paid allegiance to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman without public consensus. However in my case, they paid allegiance to me with a public consensus.

If God has deposited to the people the right of choosing an Imam for themselves, then they have paid allegiance to guidance. Their Imam is for them an obligation to obey and support. So it is they who have chosen me. They have done so at a consensus and chosen me as their Imam.

If this were only the divine right to appoint an Imam then God has chosen me to be the Imam of the Ummah. He has appointed me as their Caliph. He had enjoined them in His Book to obey me. Traditions of the Prophet also ordered them to obey and support me. This is the strongest proof for my Caliphate. It clearly reflects my right upon the people.”[540]

This message of Ali confirms Shia outlook about Imamate being a divine office and its appointment directly by God Himself. In this respect, people have no part to play. If people take this matter in their hands, it creates several questions and loses its glitter of originality and falls short of legitimacy that embraces dispute in each and every age as seen in history. Divine Authority needs no human consultation or plot. Muawiyah was confused and confounded and stood in a quandary. He had no way but to surrender to reality and resign to truth.

He had no answer to Ali’s argument that it is the people who have chosen him if God be disputable to Muawiyah. Again on the ground of Quran and traditions, Ali was the Caliph; so each of the two is irrefutable.[541] What excuse remains for Muawiyah except obduracy?