The Saqifa

The Saqifa0%

The Saqifa Author:
Translator: Dr. Hassan Najafi
Publisher: Ansariyan Publications – Qum
Category: Various Books

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The Saqifa

The Saqifa

Publisher: Ansariyan Publications – Qum


By: Mohammad Reza Al-Mudhafar

Translated by: Dr. Hassan Najafi

Publisher : Ansariyan Publications

***** IN THE NAME OF GOD *****


This version is published on behalf of

The composing errors are not corrected.




Influence of Belief upon Historian: 7

Confusion of History: 7

Three things might serve the reasons: 8

Planning of Writing: 8



1-whether the Prophet was knowing about the affair of the caliphate? 13

2- Did the Prophet contrive a solution to the difference? 13

3- Left to the choice of the Nation: 14

4- No text on the canon of choice: 18

5- Difference in my nation is a mercy: 19

6- Consensus on the canon of choice: 20

7- The Text on Abu Baker: 21

8- Text Pertaining to Ali Bin Abi Taleb: 25






3) ANSAAR -- Two Parties 43








10) THE RESULT: 59









I am very much grateful to Allah for this opportunity, for this task. Such book is the need of the day. We have been at failure to serve our English speaking readers by purveying them the vital information. I bank hope on Mr. Shari and his like ones to fill the chasm. The book has come forward with a good mission by him.

The book is in Arabic written by late al-Mudhaffer, a scholar and a man of renown in literary circles. He had several students in Najaf (Iraq). About his knowledge this has truly been said; what Mohammed Abdoh was to Egypt, Mudhaffer was to Najaf.

I have tried to make the translation as interesting as possible in the most possible simple English. In order to provide the reader with some information or background surrounding to certain Arabic terms or historical incidents I have given the footnotes where necessary which do not exist in the original text.

The name SAQIFA means a rooflet. The word can well be interpreted as (1) a shade, i.e. any covering that provides a shade, (2) a shelter and (3) a veranda. It is a triangular saloon or a hall without also of the palm tree to support the roof which also of the trunk patches, leaves, sticks obtained out of palm trees. Such shelters or verandas were for sometimes like town halls (of our days) and occasionally served as go downs where they kept their grains or grass. There were four of such shelters (i.e. SAQIFAS). The known one among them is that of Bani Sa’ada Bin Ka’ab Bin al-Khazraj --a man from ANSAAR (helpers).

Sa’ad Bin Ebada was their spokesman and chieftain of al-Khazraj tribe. This shade or shelter, that is SAQIFA, which is the theme of this book, has gone down in history as SAQIFAT BANI SA’ADA because of the secret meeting there immediately after the demise of the Prophet with the intention to install Sa’ad Bin Ebada as the caliph.

I presume, occasionally rather rarely, some metaphoric expressions might strike odd to the reader. For the sake of constancy and the binding of honesty with the text I had to let them creep into the translation. I have never gone ahead nor lagged behind; I have kept pace with this great scholar. And I am glad that my breath did not fail me too.

Dr. Hasan Najafi


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate To him be the Praise for bestowing the bounties.Salutation to His Prophet and his progeny and his noble companions.

Influence of Belief upon Historian:

Hardest of the incumbencies upon a historian is to remove the dust of bigotry of personal inclinations towards his religion or his nationality or his homeland or its kin from his sleeves. It is rather next to impossible to set aside from his pen his faith and his flair. The self inspires the mind to believe in the bents and the affections that are its and which often stand a mighty alps between the glimpse of his mind and the Truth unless he makes the attempt to get out of his own self, the inherited one which he has already grown upon, and emancipate his thought from the captivity so as to soar in the open air of Truth. If you see a bird, happy and fortunate enough to have had been freed from its cage; follow it if you too be free like it. You will find its wings loaded with dust of the cage and its legs still afflicted by the chain. So, its fluttering is feeble and it’s flying flaccid. It might fall down in an abyss -- never chosen.

Such is the case with one who tries to get rid of his personality of belief and its influence. But as for one who writes history to feed his belief or to gratify the self or his milieu; you better bid him thousand and one farewells! I beseech the Almighty to espouse me with success so that to be not that one.

I presume, it is not an exaggeration if I say that the preceding historians mostly -- I say MOSTLY so as to be circumspective in my saying -- were from the second category. But, even the historians of our time also have fallen in the same line. Pellucidly apparent become their desire through their pens and obvious is the congruity of the paces of history with the spirit they possess in spite of their demonstration of freedom of opinion or justice to the facts and truth. So, they choose among the traditions that which does not contaminate their opinion; what is incoherent with their inclinations, they do not believe. So, what a liar and how vile is he to them whose narration does not concur with their belief and likewise how trustworthy and true he who tells nothing but what cements their way.

Confusion of History:

Islamic history is hit by a calamity; infuscate it by ambiguity and doubt for those who are the just seekers. The writers and the intriguers embellished it with falsehood in the early centuries of Hijra, particularly the first one. As they turned their faces from the facts, so they turned it upside down.

The contradiction and the confusion existing in many historical occurrences in addition to the religious commandments besides the variance in the proprieties of them take away conviction from every tradition. There is no proof more befitting to that. I do not presume any reader of history could be there who might have not confronted this unpleasant fact. All of that, wholly and totally, is wrong or negligence in narration? No, it can not be such either.

Well, let us take lesson from an event of a mammoth magnitude, which should be of a normal consensus -- like the day of the Prophet’s death. You know as to how the difference occurred in fixing the day of the month, but in fixing the month itself. This is a thing witnessed by all the Muslims and shook them with all its vehemence. There is no possibility about his battles and his circumstances. Whoever narrated his sayings and his traditions concerning the affairs, which the Muslims have differed in, the clash occurred thereat or the reproach resulted thereon and one charged the other with atheism.

Three things might serve the reasons:

1) A craving to support the inclinations and the belief; hence, the temptation towards lie. Perhaps this cheated him that the opinion believed is true and allowed him to write as long as the subject being a fact or its like in his belief.

2) A craving towards superiority and a show: For a narrator in the early ages there was a great position among laity. It was a matter of pride and preference to narrate and a distinction for him who had a conversation what the others lacked in. Hence, he seduced the feeble minds and the worshippers of dignity. So, they crafted the HADITH (tradition) by every means -- even by composing and by a fraud.

3) The dissipation of every dear and cheap made by Ommyads and their junta to the narrators of tradition to write in support of their chair, chancellery and cravings-particularly what diminishes the dignity of the Prophet’s household members and enhances upon the status of their enemies and adversaries. Hence, prevailed in those days the pandemonium in profusion and widened the transgression till it stabbed Islam in an open attack; to this day of ours not yet cured.

Planning of Writing:

Therefore, I became much doubtful and circumspective of all that the historians have narrated. Perplexed I stand at every tradition that concerns the religious differences.

So, how about me; and I have permeated into the search of the first incident in Islam-occurred in it the difference after the Prophet’s death and divided at it the Muslims into two groups. That incident SAQIFA!

How about me! I have stood between the self in me, demanding me the satisfaction in its belief, and between the history with such definition surrounded by doubts and suspicions.On the incident have written both the parties. A party shines while the other sinks.

But I want to get rid of my belief and rebel against my own person. So, I stand free on a promontory of equity and reflection rubbing the dust of bigotry from my eyes to see that one fact -- the only one in every thing. Do I see myself capable of a cure? This is what I suspect in myself. The binding upon me is to not trust the self. So, what the way is then? What should I do in curing the other end: an obscure history?

It is a slip to the foot; and so forth and so on! Let me retrace my steps back. But the desire and the determination in the self grew sound since the protensity not in propinquity, to discover for myself or for others -- in the event of possibility -- that obfuscated puzzle. And who is able to defend that?

But I find in my search consolation and enjoyment gratifying enough for me to touch some of the facts through comprehension and leave them for the people as a recorded output; this is a further enjoyment in store for me.

As I endeavored -- if the endeavor keeps me alive to sincerity -- to circumscribe the secrets of the incident, its philosophy and its consequences; I desired it not to be a history, dreary and dry, its tales brefet of animation. So, this is what pushes me to pace in the search and encourages me to present it to the people. Had there been any other difficulty, I would have confronted; since its heavy load I endear.

After thinking and trying for a long stound of time I was guided to a thing ultimately. Consequently I hope to be at distance from the influence of affections and toying with the minds; but to propinquate with the truth and the fact. And it was my resort to the books, which mostly I differ with on religious aspect. But I made them a source for me in my research. There wouldoccur a reaction, this is my presumption, from both the sides: my belief and these sources; and there from would come out what could be called an average in opinion. This could be the Truth to which I am guided by such a way as this -- if there be a yield to me.

I took it upon me to record in this book the epitome of my studies and my interrogations on historical aspects after having had plunged deep in several sources -- the ancient ones referred to before. If I mention a tradition or a tale -- the historical one -- the sources would abound if to be named. So, I shall avoid mentioning the source to avoid the bustle for the reader fearing his spleen without any good. But where there are only one or two sources for some traditions, I shall be obliged to mention the name in the course of commentary so as to enlighten the minds of the readers who have no idea.

All my endeavor is to present to my readers a succinct picture of thoughts that I am guided to, which I hope to be pure from the influence of affections and propensities. It is the Truth; all Truth; or close to Truth. Indeed, success is from God and from Him the direction.

The Author


In the year eleventh of Hijra the vicissitude played its first performance; turned a page among the pages of the glorious history of Islam that were worded by the Divine light -- all of them faith, truth, ‘JIHAD’, sacrifice, pride, power, honor, glory, justice, mercy, brotherhood and humanity.

Such a page glaring with good and superiority was turned aside by the vicissitude as soon as that hallowed light was extinguished from the earth. And the page with a blurred script received the Muslims from its BOOK.

Says God:

“If he died or were slain, will you then turn back on your heels?” (Chap. 3-Verse 139)

Indeed, who believes Quran a Divine Revelation, and he who brought it does not speak incited by lust, would carry no doubt that in that great historical event or that celestial thunderbolt in the death of the Savior of humanity there was a boundary separating the two periods-each completely differing from the other; that one, drawing the person and the precious near to God; and this one, turning against Him backward.

Then, we now face a thing already happened; The Prophet has died!

Perhaps the Muslims turned back on their heels.All of them? Now I know not. -- But..., curse on this but, anyway --the event was evident of this upset.

I beg your attention, my reader! Please think openly and find out for me an even of import took place immediately after the Prophet’s death and overtook all the Muslims its drizzle. Do you find other than the event of SAQIFA? Do you know that the Shia purport this very event in their interpretation of the holy Quranic verse?

If we delve into SAQIFA, we are searching into the greatest happening that befell in Islam, the first one after the Prophet’s passing away; and this verse has a bearing thereon. Therefore, I told in the introduction that a group came out of that while others sank down. The centipede of the event gave raise to beliefs and propensities in phases several and various tiresome for a seeker of Truth.

Before I enter into the dispute of SAQIFA I do not see wrong if I claim that the interpretation of this Quranic verse covers the events of “RADDA”1 during the caliphate of Abu Baker. But, I can not coast certainty for this assumption because the verse clearly indicates the change that happens after the Prophet’s death immediately besides the plural form in which it addresses to all Muslims. AHL AL-RADDA (the people of rejection) was very few. They did not constitute even a minority. In whatever a way we suppose; yet, they were still in most maximum the least minimum.

Above all, we find them -- the cardinal ones whom we call the people of rejection’ -- those who had claimed prophet hood and those who were their followers. Muailama and his followers, Taliha and his associates; all of them were in the days of the Prophet. Their affair flourished after the Prophet’s death. The only exemption goes to Sajah al-Tamima. She did not enjoy any importance and later she united with Musailama. As for Al-Aswad al-Anasi, he was killed in the Prophet’s days. His sympathizers adopted his way later on. As for Alqama Bin Alaye, he became a pagan in the very days of the Prophet. Om Rafal Bint Malik and her associates too had a similar fate.

This being the case, it does not sound wise to say: “These were the people who reverted back after the Prophet’s death.” It is far from justice to conclude in that way. No one will agree who is blessed with a salubrious thought and a free opinion.

As for Malik Bin Nowaira; he compromised Sajah as Ka’ab al-Qarzi had done with the Prophet -- to maintain peace and renounce war. But the compromise had no bearing on ‘RADDA’. It was in the interests of Muslims that there should be no assault by Sajah on those lands remote from the Muslims’ centre. This was a desired thing much aspired for.

If at all that compromise was a fault; it was repented by him and his people as did Wakee and Sama’a who too had compromised with Sajah. And the Muslims who were fighting accepted their repentance.

Abu Baker atoned for the murder of Malik by paying blood money when Khalid murdered him and slept with the wife of the murdered in the same night of the murder. Then, the reversion, the gist of the verse, how could be interpreted?

Malik, if at all could be counted among ‘The people of rejection’ (AHL AL-

RADDA), can not be considered at fault. But, it is upon them to defend the deed and extenuate the act of his murderer because the murderer was that day the hero of Muslims and their leader. Let Malik be a pagan deserved the murder; it is not our concern to blame Malik what he deserved and what he was deprived of as long as the prestige of Khalid is protected and he guarded from censure!

Omar Bin Khattab wanted to punish Khalid for murdering Malik and debauchery with the wife of the murdered. But Abu Baker refrained from doing so. The excuse he put forward was this: “Khalid endeavored but erred.” The error of the endeavorers should be respected? This is from the early pages of a long record of Abu Baker. He openly violated the law of Islam.

Mutam’mam, brother of Malik, upbraided Abu Baker in these lines: “You called him to God;Then killed him for what?

Had he called you by any odd?Have never used a cheating rod.”

Abu Baker only lied in reply: “I did not call him nor did I kill him.”

The history extenuates Malik. But some of the writers of this time insist upon his pagan hood because of their insistence to defend Khalid.

Well, who are the ‘People of Rejection’ other than those?Those who refused the ‘ZAKAT!’

Who are they?Their names? Names of their tribes? I wish one had pointed them to me. I delved in history. The history gathers, groups, gleans, and sifts; but no name comes out other than the already mentioned ones.

There is a well-known saying of Abu Baker: “If I am restricted by tying my knees; yet, I shall fight them for it.”2 He uttered these words to a delegation of Taliha (who had claimed the prophet hood) to announce their compromise which was that they eschew the ZAKAT but perform the prayers. Accordingly it could be supposed that there might have had been other several unknown groups too who did not undergo the yoke of ZAKAT while they did perform the prayers. It is just disobedience; and not pagan hood or disowning God. Had it been so they would have not prayed either? When they prayed; they have worshipped God. So how can they be termed as pagans? There is no proof to indicate their disowning the ZAKAT as obligation. As such they can not be said to have rejected the essentialities of religion and, therefore, can not be classified as pagans. The thing that is known about them (if ever theyexisted other than those who had claimed prophet hood) was their unwillingness to pay the ZAKAT.

But all this can not obtenebrate the claim that they rejected to yield to the authority of Abu Baker which had sprung without consultation of the Muslims, a popular base, as said by Omar Bin Khattab himself.3 His authority and his leadership were not acknowledged.So, why to pay the ZAKAT and to whom? Perhaps they demanded the caliphate should go to him whom the Prophet had desired. But, the history ignored their demand.

These possibilities neither lose their credibility nor could they be obliterated by history. The Shias have stored in them their claim. What is the proof for us to believe them? As the history has neglected their names and their tribes let us better ignore the very existence of them.

However, if a writer could establish the reversion at the first happening in Islam, the position of the subsequent happenings does not concern him. The first incident is sufficient enough to him to cater the analysis.

First of all I see myself as desperate as my reader to see what the Prophet did to solve die difference when he would be no more; whether a will Suggesting his successor, or a ground to be resorted to, or the matter left to itself and along with they too. This dispute has a strong hold on the subject of our discussion depending on the analysis of many incidents. So, in these four premises shall run our pen?

One: The Prophet’s stand towards the caliphate

Two: The Prophet’s intention to avoid the difference

Three: Yielding to SAQIFA

Four: Ali’s stand