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Obedience to the Prophet-The origin of disunity between Shi'a and Sunni

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    Obedience to the Prophet-The origin of disunity between Shi'a and Sunni

    Obedience to the Prophet (s) – the origin of disunity

    By Syed Hassan Bokhari

    We read in Surah al Hadeed “Oh you who believe fear Allah and believe in his Prophet”. The words “oh you who believe” illustrate that Allah is addressing the Muslims and in particular addressing the Companions of the Prophet during the time of the verse’s revelation. Allah’s command to the Companions to “believe in the Prophet” suggests that even during the Prophet’s (saaws) lifetime there existed those who believed in Allah but did not possess a correct belief in the Prophet (saaws), hence necessitating the revelation of such a verse. Thus, as Muslims we cannot truly believe until we believe in the Prophet (saaws). Consequently if we have doubts in what the Prophet says and commands, then naturally our belief in the Prophet is flawed.

    Amongst the Muslims a major difference of opinion is with regards to the exact nature of belief in the Prophet (saws). One school asserts that obedience to the Prophet is unconditional in all circumstances, whereas the other attests that obedience is only obligatory when the Prophet (saws) is speaking within his capacity as a Prophet (saws). This is a major difference and in effect goes to the very heart of disunity; yet a Muslim does not have true faith until he has correct belief in the Prophet (saws). For this reason is it is essential to clarify the truth of this matter.

    In fact, there exist no verses in the Qur’an which prove the second thesis that obedience to the Prophet (saaws) is conditional and limited only to certain circumstances. On the contrary, the Qur’an makes clear that obedience to Allah (swt) can only occur if one obeys the Prophet (saaws) unconditionally - since the Qur’an deliberately excludes mention of any particular conditions in which obedience is not obligatory. Rather, the Qur’an commands us to obey the Prophet only, and does not restrict our obedience to only a particular area. Allah (swt) is the absolute Judge, but sent Muhammad (saaws) to act on His behalf, so that humankind would seek guidance through the Last Messenger.

    Clear Unconditional Obedience

    Surah al Maidah verse 92 “Obey Allah and Obey his Prophet and worry, and be warned that the Prophet’s duty is only to deliver the message clearly”

    Surah Mujadilah verses 12-13 “Perform Salat (Prayer), give Zakat and Obey Allah and his Prophet”

    Both these noble verses clarify the matter unambiguously. Allah commands the Muslims in the Qur’an to obey Allah - unconditionally - and furthermore to obey the Prophet - once more, unconditionally.

    Duty only to convey the message clearly

    Surah Nur verse 54 “Obey Allah and his Prophet and if you dispute, then on him is what is imposed and on you is what is imposed on you; and if you obey him you are guided aright; and there is no duty on the Prophet save the clear delivery”.

    Once more, the Qur’an establishes firmly that the duty of the Muslim is simply to obey the Prophet - no limitations have been mentioned as to the extent of this obedience; hence the obedience must be unconditional and without limitation. This verse also makes it clear that if one obeys the Prophet in this way, only then will one be rightly guided, and that the Prophet’s duty is only to convey the message.

    Surah Aal-e-Imran verse 31 “Obey Allah and the Prophet but if they turn back, then verily Allah does not love the disbeliveers”

    Surah Anfal verse 20 “Obey Allah and his Prophet and don’t turn away when you hear him”

    Surah Anfal verse 46 “Obey Allah and his Prophet and do not quarrel”

    All these verses prove that obedience to the Prophet (saaws) is utterly unconditional and on par with obedience to Allah (swt); as far as the Qur’an is concerned there is no difference between the two. So much is the unconditional nature of this obedience stressed in the Qur’an, that Surah Aal-e-Imran clarifies that it is forbidden to turn back and ignore the Prophet’s command: “if they turn back, then verily Allah does not love the disbelievers.” Similarly, the Muslims are commanded never to turn away if they hear the Prophet speak - once more, this command is unconditional: “don’t turn away when you hear him.” Finally the third verse under discussion commands the Muslims not to quarrel, and in context, not to quarrel over the Prophet’s command: “Obey Allah and his Prophet and do not quarrel.” After Tawheed is belief in Prophethood; a Muslim will never be capable of obeying Allah (swt) until he obeys his Prophet (saaws). One who openly disobeys the Prophet [saaws], turns away from him despite hearing him, turns back from him, and quarrels before him over his command, is therefore committing haraam.

    Obedience to the Prophet (saaws) means obedience to Allah (swt)

    Surah Nisa verse 80 “Whoever obeys the Prophet has indeed obeyed Allah” Again and again, Allah is stressing that obedience to the Prophet in all matters is identical to obedience to Allah. Evidently, if the Prophet (saaws) had two aspects to his life one in which he could make mistakes with regard to which the Muslims would not be compelled to follow him, then Allah (swt) would have clearly clarified this matter in the Qur’an. However, instead, Allah states that obedience to the Prophet without any extra conditions is obedience to Allah. Allah would never have said the words in this verse if He had meant anything else.

    You can’t overrule anything that the Prophet (saws) said
    Surah Anam “No man or woman can change anything decided by Allah and his Prophet, and if anyone does he is gone astray”

    Thus, whatever decision the Prophet makes is from Allah and any attempt to change this by a Muslim shows that this person has gone astray from the Right Path.

    Incumbent to get all disputes decided by the Prophet (saaws)

    Surah Nisa verse 65 “No by Allah they haven’t believed until they make you a Judge in all their disputes”. The words used here ‘Thanaza” –dispute will have significance later.

    This goes even further than the previous verses by showing that a true believer must take the Prophet’s judgement as the final word in every dispute or quarrel among the Muslims. Once more, the Qur’an has commanded us to take the Prophet’s judgement as absolute and final in all disputes and disagreements; and those who do not do so have not believed. The same command of Allah is repeated in another verse:

    Surah Nisa verse 59 “Obey Allah and his Prophet and those in authority among you, and if you dispute on anything turn to Allah and his Prophet if you believe in Allah and the Last Day”

    Thus, those who believe in Allah and the Last Day will turn to Allah’s Prophet if they dispute on anything. In context with the previous verse it is clear that the Qur’an makes no distinction between the Prophet’s judgement and Allah’s commands. Consequently, those who refuse to turn to the Prophet in all matters of dispute are verily those who have not truly believed in Allah and the Last Day.

    Every decision of the Prophet (saws) is binding upon us

    Surah Hashr verse 7 “Whatever the Prophet gives you take it, whatever he prevents you from doing refrain from it”

    The Qur’an establishes finally the obligation of unconditional obedience to the Prophet: whatever the Prophet commands us and gives us, we must accept it and obey; whatever he commands us to abstain from, we must again obey.

    In summary, these verses establish beyond doubt the following obligations with regard to the Prophet [saaws]:

    Absolute obedience to the Prophet

    Obedience to Allah and the Prophet are one and the same

    Obedience is not limited and is unconditional

    Whatever the Prophet decides must be adhered to in all spheres

    Now with these verses in mind let us turn to the famous sermon delivered by the Prophet (saaws) during the Hajj at Mount Arafat: “I am leaving you two weighty things, if you follow them you will never go astray, they are the Qur’an and my Ahlul'bayt”.

    The words here “Lum ta’zilo bah’dee” is an absolute guarantee that if one follows these two things, one will never go astray. The sermon was announced to the Companions, thus proving that even they were liable of going astray if they turned away from these two sources, since the Prophet was informing the Companions - and all Muslims who hear the message - that if they leave these two sources, they will go astray. For those Muslims who insist that sometimes the Prophet (saaws) would be speaking outside the capacity of his position of a Prophet (saaws) we should ask what about these words, were they words said in the capacity of an ordinary man or in the capacity of the Prophet (saaws)? Recalling the verses of obedience discussed above, it is clear that this very concept is in contradiction to the unambiguous verses of the Qur’an. Furthermore, the Prophet’s own words here establish that he is clearly speaking in the capacity of a Prophet.

    This is clear from the words: “if you follow them you will never go astray”, which demonstrate that the Prophet was speaking with regards to matters of religious guidance, protecting the people from going astray, and therefore delivering the message of Islam and the method of traversing the Straight Path of Islam. Consequently it is anyhow clear that obedience to this Prophetic command is absolutely obligatory.

    Bearing all this in mind - particularly the verses of obedience - let us now turn to the tragic event which has divided Muslim thinking on the position of the Prophet (saaws) ever since it happened. This event is known as the “tragedy of Thursday” according to the description of Ibn Abbas, when the Prophet requested writing materials near the end of his life to give his last instructions to the Muslim Ummah, but was prevented from doing so by a group among the Companions.

    The Prophet (saws) wanted to compose a will

    We learn from the traditions that towards the end of his noble life, the Prophet’s (saaws) condition was deteriorating. The majority opinion holds that the Prophet (saaws) left no will before his death, and made no attempt to do so. However, according to the Qur’an it is absolutely obligatory on all Muslims to leave a will. Allah (swt) says in his Glorious Book:

    “It is prescribed for you when death approaches one of you, if he leaves behind any goods that he makes a bequest for Parents and (the nearest kinsmen) in goodness, this is a duty upon the pious” (The Qur’an 2:180).

    We may thus ask the question: Would the Prophet of Allah (saaws) of all Muslims - the one whose Sunnah we are obliged to follow - disregard an order stipulated in the Holy Qur’an?

    The Holy Prophet (saaws) requests that writing materials be brought to him

    This is what we read in Sahih al-Bukhari as narrated by Ibn 'Abbas:

    When the time of the death of the Prophet approached while there were some men in the house, and among them was 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab, the Prophet said: "Come near let me write for you a writing after which you will never go astray." 'Umar said: "The Prophet is seriously ill, and you have the Qur’an, so Allah's Book is sufficient for us." The people in the house differed and disputed. Some of them said, "Come near so that Allah's Apostle may write for you a writing after which you will not go astray," while the others said what 'Umar said. When they made much noise and quarreled greatly in front of the Prophet, he said to them, "Go away and leave me." Ibn 'Abbas used to say, "It was a great disaster that their quarrel and noise prevented Allah's Apostle from writing a statement for them.
    Sahih al Bukhari Arabic-English Volume 9 hadith number 468 and Volume 7 hadith 573

    The instruction is refused

    This is a highly significant event that occurred towards the end of the Prophet’s life. The Prophet (saws) wanted to write a document, which was so momentous that people would never go astray. Clearly, the Prophet’s explicit words “you will never go astray”, illustrate the critical nature of the Prophet’s command and prove that what the Prophet intended to write related to the matter of delivering the message and religious guidance of the people. It is only logical to accept that at this critical stage when the Prophet [saws] was near to the time when he would depart from this world, he took the opportunity to write his will as per the command of Allah in the Qur’an in which he could issue final instructions to the Muslim Ummah.

    However, one group led by Hadhrath Umar felt that this momentous order of the Prophet should be disregarded, while the other group stated that the Prophet’s (saws) order should be obeyed. We read a further account in Sahih al Bukhari as narrated by Sa’id Ibn Jubair, who heard Ibn 'Abbas say:

    “Thursday! And you know not what Thursday is?” After that Ibn 'Abbas wept till the stones on the ground were soaked with his tears. On that I asked Ibn 'Abbas, "What is (about) Thursday?" He said, "When the condition (i.e. health) of Allah's Apostle deteriorated, he said, 'Bring me a bone of scapula, so that I may write something for you after which you will never go astray.' The people differed in their opinions although it was improper to differ in front of a prophet, They said, 'What is wrong with him? Do you think he is talking no sense (delirious)? Ask him (to see if he is talking no sense). The Prophet replied, 'Leave me, for I am in a better state than what you are asking me.' Then the Prophet ordered them to do three things saying: 'Turn out all the pagans from the Arabian Peninsula, show respect to all foreign delegates by giving them gifts as I used to do.' The third order was something beneficial which either Ibn 'Abbas did not mention or he mentioned but I forgot!.
    ibid Volume 4 hadith number 393

    Does such behaviour constitute obedience?

    Allamah Shahrastani seeks to try to defend the event as follows:

    "As for the differences that arose among the Companions at the time of the Prophet's sickness and after his death, these are said to have been differences of personal judgement, ikhtilafat ijtihadhiya, and their aim was simply to maintain the rites of Shari'a and to establish religious practices".
    Al Mihal al Nahal, by Allamah Muhuummud b. Add’al Karim Shahrastani, page17 - 18 English translation

    To refute this, we should point out that ijtihad in Islaam can ONLY be exercised by a mujtahid when NO solution exits from the Qur'an and Sunnah. When the Qur'an states explicitly that obedience to the Prophet (s) is unconditional, what right did Hadhrath Umar have to act in this manner? Moreover how can the rites of Shari'a be upheld by disobeying the orders of the Law Giver? Does that make sense? The Qur'an states categorically it is incumbent to obey whatever the Prophet (s) says; it is tantamount to obeying Allah (swt).

    Interestingly the Wahaby scholar Abu Muntasir ibn Mohar Ali in his discussion of bidah makes this interesting comment:

    There are many things in Islaam which we have been forbidden to do which if committed can wipe out many or all of our good deeds, and one of them is doing acts in disobedience to Allaah and His Messenger (s)...Which individual in the sanity of his mind will throw away what he has been acquiring by doing such deeds as cancels his good actions?...Allaah informs: O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and do not make your deeds baatil (null and void). (soorah Muhammad 47:33)"
    Understanding the evil of innovations: Bidah, by Abu Muntasir Mohar Ali page 9

    Whilst Ali's onslaught is on the practises of modern day Muslims, one should note that he concludes that indulging in an act of disobedience to the Prophet (s) is so serious that the wrongdoer risks losing all his good deeds. Is this same rule not just as applicable to those who were alive during the time the Prophet (s)? Clearly it must be more so, because whilst one can enter into debates over present day acts that constitute disobedience, acts of open disobedience in the Prophet (s) are just that disobedience. No matter how much advocates will state that the intention was good by refusing to comply with an order is an act of disobedience.

    There is a bizarre commentary in the footnote of above traditions in Sahih Muslim (1980 Edition, Arabic version). It says:

    “The above incident shows the high virtue of Umar, since he knew that people might not follow what the Prophet would write, and as a result, people would go to hell because of their disobedience of the order of Prophet. So Umar prevented Prophet from writing, in order to save people from going to hell!”.

    We must remind ourselves of a simple fact in assessing the validity of this interpretation. The Last Messenger of Allah was no doubt Muhammad (saaws), and no one else. Thus, the issue of religious guidance and its methodology is known most by the Prophet himself and no one else; no Companion reaches the status of the Last Prophet whose commands are obligatory to follow and who of all people has the best knowledge of how to guide the people.

    That is why we are dependent on the Prophet for guidance, and that is why Allah commands us to obey the Prophet in all matters, and to take whatever the Prophet gives us; for if we disobey the Prophet we disobey Allah, and deprive ourselves of guidance. For this reason, anyone who disobeys the Prophet’s explicit religious command has clearly violated the clear command of the Qur’an to obey the Prophet unconditionally and without question.

    In this light, the absurdity of the commentator’s interpretation is obvious: Hadhrath Umar, hearing the explicit command of the Prophet [saaws] to give him some material to write something related to matters of religious guidance, openly disobeyed the Prophet’s clear order and additionally told the other people in the room to also disobey the Prophet in this crucial matter. Those who followed Hadhrath Umar’s command were thus also disobeying the Prophet, and thereby disobeying Allah [swt].

    Yet according to the commentator, this act of complete disobedience by Hadhrath Umar, which was followed by many other Companions, was supposed to save them from damnation. Why? According to the commentator, because Hadhrath Umar thought that the people would disobey the Prophet’s instructions if they were written down, he intervened to stop the Prophet from writing down these crucial orders which would prevent the entire Ummah from going astray.

    The fact is, however, that Hadhrath Umar’s very act which was supposed to prevent the people from disobeying the Prophet’s written instructions, itself constituted a refusal to obey the Prophet’s verbal instructions despite Allah’s command to obey the Prophet (saaws) unconditionally, to take what he gives, and to obey him when one hears him. Consequently, Hadhrath Umar’s intervention was already an act of disobedience in which he encouraged everyone to similarly disobey the Prophet [saaws] despite Allah’s command.

    By thus disobeying the Prophet (saaws) was he not already exposing himself and everyone else to the risk of Allah’s anger?

    We must thus ask ourselves the question, for the sake of clarity, and remembering the fallibility of the Companions: Is this the type of obedience to the Prophet (saws) that the Qur’an outlines?

    The Prophet asks to write final instructions before his death, and evidently these instructions were to be his last will and testament, to prevent the Muslim Ummah from going astray. He commands in the capacity of the Seal of the Prophets and Allah’s Messenger: ‘Bring me a bone of scapula, so that I may write something for you after which you will never go astray.’

    What is our obligation as Muslims here at this crucial time in particular? No doubt, to hear and obey, for as the Qur’an says in Surah al Maidah verse 92 “Obey Allah and Obey his Prophet and worry, and be warned that the Prophet’s duty is only to deliver the message clearly”; Surah Anfal verse 20 “Obey Allah and his Prophet and don’t turn away when you hear him”; Surah Anfal verse 46 “Obey Allah and his Prophet and do not quarrel”.

    But what is the reaction of the Companions to the Prophet’s apparent attempt to write his will, and to guide the Ummah? Bukhari reports from Ibn Abbas: ‘The people differed in their opinions although it was improper to differ in front of a prophet, They said, 'What is wrong with him? Do you think he is talking no sense (delirious)? Ask him (to see if he is talking no sense).

    Indeed, not only did they disobey the Prophet and quarrel with each other in front of him in contradiction to the clear command of Allah to obey the Prophet and not to turn away from him, they even spoke down to the Seal of Prophets: “What is wrong with him?”

    Consider how the group completely disregarded the Prophet’s very simple and clear command. What exactly confused the Companions so much that it caused them to begin quarrelling with one another and speak in a derogatory manner about the Noble Messenger of Allah, when he only said to them: "Come near let me write for you a writing after which you will never go astray"?

    Is it not obvious that the Prophet was acting upon the command of Allah to write a will? And that is not all; this group of Companions went so far in disobeying the Prophet that they accused him of delirium: 'What is wrong with him? Do you think he is talking no sense (delirious)? Ask him (to see if he is talking no sense).

    This is the Prophet of Allah of whom the Qur’an states: Surah Anam “No man or woman can change anything decided by Allah and his Prophet, and if anyone does he is gone astray”; “No by Allah they haven’t believed until they make you a Judge in all their disputes” (4:45).

    The verses are quite explicit:
    (1) No one is permitted to change a decision made by the Prophet (S)
    (2) He (s) is the referral point in all disputes

    Interestingly in his commentary of the above verse (4:45) the Wahaby scholar Shah Ismail Shaheed states:

    “…when any dispute arises, regarding religious matters or worldly affairs or concerning rites, rituals and customs…each having his own claim of right and wrong-one should accept the judgement of the Holy Prophet (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) whether it is to one’s likeness or not. It is only then the claim of being a believer may be accepted as true. And one who does not consider the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) as the real Judge and arbiter and differs from his judgement and evades his rulings, he is bound to go astray and lose his faith. Such a person is a transgressor and an unbeliever. He calls himself to be a Muslim only in name; he is in no way liable to be included among the believers of the Messenger of Islam and his Ummah”
    Taqwiyat ul Iman by Shah Ismail Shaheed, English translation by Idara-e-Islamiat, Lahore page 103

    Why such insolence to such a simple and important request? What was so extraordinary about the Prophet’s (saws) command, which would merit such a response? The Noble Messenger of Allah (saws) only commanded his Companions to bring him writing materials, so that he could write down final instructions to clarify for them the way to remain on the Right Path - he did not ask for a mountain to be brought to him.

    And since this was the time when the Prophet’s death was nearing, it was no doubt a most appropriate point at which to write a will in accordance with the command of Allah in the Qur'an; thus there was absolutely nothing peculiar about the Prophet’s request, rather anyone would have expected the Prophet to write his last will and instructions for the Muslim Ummah at such a time.

    Yet amazingly this group of Companions led by Hadhrath Umar violated their obligation to obey the Prophet’s religious command. Moreover, they even began to quarrel and dispute with one another in the midst of the Holy Prophet (saws), speaking over his voice, an act which leads to all one’s good deeds being revoked, because Allah (swt) say in his Glorious Book:

    Oh you who believe, don’t raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, don’t speak loud unto him, as you speak among yourselves otherwise all your good deeds will be null and void” (Surah Hujuraat Verse 2)

    The Holy Prophet (saws) was accused of speaking deliriously

    The Prophet was clearly not asking something out of the ordinary - just a pen and paper. Yet we read that some of the companions intervened and said the Prophet was talking no sense! The phrase ‘no sense’ is in itself extremely insulting, particularly since it was directed to someone as great as the Prophet (saws) the greatest man of all time. Unfortunately, the English translators have in fact tried to tone down the actual language used by the Companions. The words they used in response to the Prophet’s order were ‘this man is speaking yahjur’; the word actually means ‘deliriously’. In other words, the Companions actually accused the Messenger of Allah [saws] of being in a state of delirium.

    In the English translation of Tabari, the translator his remained faithful to the Arabic text. He narrates from Ibn Abbas:
    “The Messenger of God said bring me a tablet (lawh) and an inkpot (dawat), so that I can write for you a document, after which you will not go astray”. Some people said that the Messenger of God was talking deliriously”.
    The History of Tabari, Volume 9 translated by Ismail. K. Poonawala p 175

    What is very interesting is that when Hadhrath Umar is not mentioned by name, Bukhari records only the Companions in general as saying that the Prophet is talking no sense. Yet in another tradition regarding the same incident, Bukhari records that the person who spoke out in openly dismissing the Prophet’s command was actually a particular individual, Hadhrath Umar, whose dismissal was then followed by a group of the Companions. Bukhari was seeking to cover-up the facts; he did not wish the word yahjur to be attributed to any specific companion.

    If one, however, analyses the various narration’s in al-Bukhari there is evidence to suggest that Hadhrath Umar was at the head of the party which felt that the Prophet should not write a will. A number of Sunni scholars have in fact analysed all these narration’s, consequently acknowledging how they show that the first person to allege that the Holy Prophet (saws) was speaking no sense was Hadhrath Umar.
    1. Minhaj as Sunna, by Ibn Taymiyya, Vol 3 p 135
    2. Ashi’at al Lamaat, by Shah Abdul Haqq Dehlavi Vol 4 pp 609-610
    3. Sirratul Alameen, by al Ghazzali

    Was the Holy Prophet (saws) delirious as was alleged?

    If we consult the Longman Pitman Office Dictionary A-Z office Guide delirious/delirium is defined in the following way:

    “Confusion, frenzy, disordered speech, hallucinations etc occurring as a (temporary) mental disturbance”.

    The Oxford Illustrated Dictionary (second edition) defines delirious as being:

    “Affected with delirium, temporarily or apparently mad”.

    Is there any evidence that the Prophet (saaws) was inhibiting such symptoms? There is no evidence to support such a contention. On the contrary, that the Prophet [saaws] issued his command in relation to the issue of religious guidance proves unequivocally that he was speaking in his capacity as a Prophet of Allah - accordingly disobedience to this order was disobedience to Allah and the order was based on Divine Wisdom.

    Yet faced with a situation where the conduct of some of the Companions is called into question, the preferred approach has been to question the Prophet (saaws)’s sanity! S. Moinul Haq is a case in point. In his translation of Tabaqat by Ibn Sa’d after several narration’s, of the calamity of Thursday we find these comments in the footnotes:

    “This Hadith has given rise to controversy, particularly with reference to Umar’s action and stopping the people from bringing anything for the writing of a document or mandate by the Prophet, may Allah bless him, immediately before his death. The Shia hold the view that the Prophet may Allah bless him, wanted to dictate a will in favor of the succession of Ali while most of the other scholars think that Umar was right because the Prophet, may Allah bless him, was having delirious fits on account of his severe illness, it appears that there was considerable strength in view taken by Umar, who rightly pointed out that the Din (message of Allah) had been completed and this was confirmed by the Qur’anic revelation”.
    Kitab Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, Volume 2, page 305 English translation by S. Moinul Haque, Kitab Bhavan Publishers, New Delhi

    We find it extremely difficult to even entertain the thought that the Prophet (saaws) was having fits of delirium. Even if we agree with this for the sake of argument, then the logical implication is that any action/word of the Prophet (saaws) could have been construed as delirium and disobeyed.

    However, this explanation does not accord with the actual facts. For example, if the Prophet was delirious and thus his commands were nonsensical, why is it that when the Prophet (saaws) ordered the companions to leave the room when they disobeyed his request for writing materials, the Companions chose very strangely not to question the wisdom of the Prophet’s [saaws] next request, and obediently complied with it?

    It is indeed extremely odd that a group among the Companions led by Hadhrath Umar accused the Prophet of delirium and speaking no sense when he requested writing materials to record his last will and instructions; but immediately after when the same Prophet angrily orders them to leave the room, they treat the order as a sensible command issued by someone who is not delirious at all! Thus, instead of remaining in the room and claiming that the Prophet is delirious, they obediently leave.

    After all, if they sincerely believed that the Prophet (saaws) was not in his senses, they would have similarly refused this command and pointed out that they shall not leave the Prophet since he is delirious and talking nonsense; but the fact is they were quite happy to follow the second order of the same person who was supposed to be out of his senses! Do our readers not find this somewhat odd?

    When people are seriously ill with a fever for example, they will often speak unclearly, because they have become overcome with pain - but one does not have to be a Medical Doctor to conclude that there is a difference between words said in fever and words said normally.

    If for example you have a loved one who is seriously ill, he has a fever, but he asks for a glass of water, you will immediately understand that he is not speaking deliriously and that he wants water; accordingly you should comply with his order. If on the other hand he asks for a car to be brought to him, you will immediately know that the order is something out of the ordinary and is being made by someone who is speaking incoherently due to the fact the fever has affected his mind, and you will not comply with his request. Now coming back to this tragic event we ask:

    ‘Was the order to provide the Prophet with writing materials to write his last will and instructions for the Muslim Ummah so incomprehensibly extraordinary and delivered with such incoherence, that a group of Companions were justified in refusing that order and accusing the Prophet (saws) of talking no sense, nay, of being delirious?’

    Can the objective mind honestly defend the actions of the Companions on this occasion? If they were so convinced that the Prophet (saaws) was delirious then why did they not allow the Prophet (saaws) to at least write the document? Having done so and looked at its contents could they not then have assessed whether/or not the contents were those of a rational man?

    Furthermore, is it not strange that the other group of people in the room insisted that they should all comply with the Prophet’s command, thus illustrating that in fact the Last Messenger was speaking quite coherently, and that he was indeed in his senses?

    Let us remind ourselves that this was, in fact, a most appropriate time for the Prophet [saaws] - who was nearing the end of his noble life - to request writing materials to issue last instructions in the form of a will. May we remind the reader of the following injunction of the Qur’an:

    “It is prescribed for you when death approaches one of you, if he leaves behind any goods that he makes a bequest for Parents and (the nearest kinsmen) in goodness, this is a duty upon the pious” (The Qur’an 2:180).

    Would the Last Messenger of Allah himself [saaws] ignore or violate a clear injunction of the Qur’an? Why was a group among the Companions so intent on preventing the Prophet from writing his will? Why were they so eager to stop him from putting down in writing last instructions to the Muslim Ummah to finally clarify for them a matter that would prevent them from going astray? Is it not amazing that such an important request of the Prophet was refused him?

    The disobedience angered the Holy Prophet (saaws)

    We read in both accounts recorded in al Bukhari that the companions began to quarrel (thanaza), despite the clear command of Allah in the Qur’an: Surah Anfal verse 46 “Obey Allah and his Prophet and do not quarrel (thanaza)”.

    The Holy Prophet (saws) was so angered by what he had been accused of by them that he told the Companions to leave his presence “Leave me, for I am in a better state than what you are asking me”. Was this the appropriate way to behave with the Prophet (saaws)? Not only refusing his order but casting aspersions on his state of mind?

    In the English version of Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, Haque translates from Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari, that when the Prophet (saws) asked for writing material and Hadhrath Umar intervened “The Prophet, may Allah bless him, abandoned the idea”.
    ibid, Volume 2, page 303

    This would suggest to the casual reader that the Prophet (saws) took heed of Hadhrath Umar’s advice and hence was not displeased in any way. Unfortunately, the reality is that Haque has sought to mistranslate the actual text in order to create that false impression. What Ibn Sa’d actually narrates is upon the intervention, “fa rafadhan Nabee”; which literally means, “he left the Prophet”.
    Kitab al Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, Volume 2 page 243

    The Prophet (saaws)’s anger did not just stop there. Hadhrath Umar whilst recollecting his lead role during the event states:

    “We were with the Prophet, may Allah bless him, and there was a screen between the women and between us. The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, said: Wash me with seven waterskins and bring something to write upon and an inkpot, I shall write a document for you and you will never be misguided till eternity. The women said bring to the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him what he wants. Umar said; I said to them: Keep quiet. You are his companions when he is ill and you shed tears, and when he is healthy you hold him by his neck. Thereupon the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him said: They are better than you”
    Kitab al Tabaqat al Kabir, by Ibn Sad Vol 2 English translation by S. Moinul Haq p 305

    Interestingly, the women in the house found the Prophet’s command to be perfectly coherent and recognized that the Noble Messenger was speaking clearly and with a perfectly sound state of mind.

    However, in this instance Hadhrath Umar by his own confession disobeyed the Prophet’s (saaws) orders and insulted the women in the house due to their wish to obey the Prophet’s command. Hadhrath Umar’s disobedience and insults against the women further caused the Prophet (saaws) to rebuke him, since all the women did was to insist that the Prophet’s order be carried out as the Book of Allah commands; “They are better than you”, said the Prophet, illustrating that it was Hadhrath Umar who was in the wrong whereas the women had taken the correct path.

    Is the Qur’an sufficient for us?

    The stance of Hadhrath Umar that evidently the Prophet of Allah [saaws] himself rebutted as false in the above authentic tradition narrated by Hadhrath Umar himself has nevertheless attracted considerable admiration from some quarters of Sunni thought. Allamah Iqbal whilst discussing the future of Muslim advancement states it is possible:

    “provided the world of Islam approaches it in the spirit of Omar the first critical and independent mind in Islam who, at the last moments of the Prophet, had the moral courage to utter these remarkable words: ‘The Book of God is sufficient for us’.
    The Reconstruction of Religious thought in Islam, by Allamah Muhammad Iqbal, p 143, Sang-e-Meel Paperbacks, Lahore, 1996 edition

    The modernist Egyptian historian Husnain Haykal in his highly recognized work “The Life of Muhummud” writes:

    “While under a strong attack of fever and surrounded by visitors, he asked that pen and ink and paper be brought. He said he would dictate something for his follower’s benefit, assuring them that if they adhered to it, they would never go astray. Some of the people present thought that since the Prophet-May God’s peace and blessing be upon him-was severely ill and since the Muslims already had the Qur’an, no further writing was necessary. It is related that thought belonged to Umar...Ibn Abbas felt concerned that the people would lose something important if they did not hasten to bring the writing materials, whereas Umar held firmly to his judgement which he based upon God’s own estimate of His Holy Book: ‘In this scripture we have left out nothing’.”
    The life of Muhummud, by Husnain Haykal, 2nd edition translated by Ismail Faruqi, p 501

    Indeed the scripture of Allah covers all issues, but it is the Prophet of Allah who explains to us the details of the universal principles laid out in the Qur’an. For this reason, by its very nature the Qur’an alone without the Prophet’s Sunnah is not sufficient to derive Islamic Law for all spheres of life. That is why Allah states in the Qur’an: Surah Nisa verse 65 “No by Allah they haven’t believed until they make you a Judge in all their disputes.” And that is why every decision of the Prophet [saaws] is binding upon us: Surah Hashr verse 7 “Whatever the Prophet gives you take it, whatever he prevents you from doing refrain from it.”

    If we analyze the Book of Allah, we see that Allah (swt) does not describe everything in detail. On the contrary the Qur’an establishes universal principles and general rules for all things, but as to the exact implication and methodology for how we are supposed to implement and practice those universal rules, this was left for Hadhrath Muhammad (saws) to clarify both verbally and through his own practical example, i.e. his Sunnah.

    That is why the Book of Allah alone is not sufficient for the Muslims to comprehend Islam and derive Islamic Law. Hadhrath Muhammad (saws) was sent to not only relay Allah (swt)’s Word, but to explain Allah’s Book and its deep meanings to the people.

    Surah XVI verse 44: “We have revealed to you the Remembrance so that you may explain to humankind that which has been revealed for them.”

    Accordingly, the Qur’an alone can never be enough, but must be accompanied by the Prophet’s commands and exemplification. After all, the Prophet (saws) was sent to a people who were living in the dark ages, most of whom were illiterate. And as the above verse shows they and the Muslims in general needed the Prophet [saws] to clarify the verses of the Qur’an - that is why Muhammad’s (saws) mission was to relay and explain those actions through his Sunnah which provided a practical commentary on the Qur’anic verses.

    Thus, according to the Qur’an itself (e.g. “We have revealed to you the Remembrance so that you may explain to humankind that which has been revealed for them.”), the Qur’an can NEVER be enough. If we read the Qur’an it is evident that Allah (swt) chooses not to elaborate on crucial parts of the Deen, but leaves the Prophet [saw] to clarify the universal principles revealed in the Book. For example the Qur’an makes no reference on how to calculate Zakaat, It does not explain the Hajj rites, - even the first Pillar and cornerstone of Islam, Salaat (Prayer), is not explained in the Qur’an. Allah (swt) does not explain how you are to perform Salaat, how to pray, what to say when you are standing, or when you bend, or when you prostrate; do you sit down first or do you stand?

    Thus, we can see clearly that Allah (swt) in His infinite Wisdom had intentionally ensured that the Qur’an is not sufficient in itself for people to derive Islamic Law, so that people would turn to the Prophet to explain the application of the universal principles contained in the Qur’an. Furthermore, after the death of the Prophet (saws) until the Day of Judgement, the people will have to turn to the Prophet’s (saws) Ahlul’bayt for guidance as to the clarification of the meaning of the Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet [saws]: “I am leaving you two weighty things, if you follow them you will never go astray, they are the Qur’an and my Ahlul'bayt”.

    As we shall see later the approach adopted by Hadhrath Umar towards the Prophet [saws] at this time (i.e. ‘The Qur'an is sufficient for us’) was not applied in the events immediately after by himself or other Companions. Strangely enough, Hadhrath Umar himself conspicuously, made no reference to the Qur’an at Saqifa of Bani Sa’ada, nor did he advise Hadhrath Abu Bakr to decide matters concerning the Prophet’s (saaws) estate by referring to the Qur’an.

    During his own reign, Hadhrath Umar appeared to be - in contradiction to the stance he displayed previously - fully aware that the Qur’an is NOT sufficient for us. In fact, the same Hadhrath Umar - who had previously claimed that “The Qur’an is sufficient for us” as a justification to disobey the Prophet, ignore the Messenger’s role as the clarifier of the message, prevented him from writing his last instructions and will, thereby disobeying Allah’s command to take whatever the Prophet gives - used to advise his own representatives during the time of his Caliphate to follow sources other than the Qur’an for guidance, and explicitly acknowledged that the Qur’an is NOT sufficient to clarify details! The Sunni Jamaat, Hakikat Kitabevi, record that during his Caliphate:

    “Umar ibn al Khattab (RA) appointed Shuraih as a Qadi and told him ‘Look at what is revealed explicitly in the Book. Do not ask others for such matters! If you cannot find {an answer to what you are asked} in it, resort to the Sunna of Muhummud (AS)! If you cannot find in it either, perform ijtihad and give your answer according to how you understand”.
    Advice for the Muslim, by Waqf Ikhlas, p 109 (Waqf Ikhlas Publications, seventh edition, Istanbul, Turkey)

    Is it not unusual that the same Hadhrath Umar who stated that the Qur’an is sufficient for us, is here telling Shuraih that actually the Qur’an is not always sufficient? Is it not extremely peculiar that the same Hadhrath Umar - who is here informing Shuraih that he should look to the Sunnah of the Prophet to clarify issues not detailed in the Book of Allah, or if not the Sunnah, that he should perform ijtihad without any form of guidance whatsoever - believed that an order of the same Prophet (saws) on his death bed whose Sunnah we are obliged to follow, should be disobeyed because the Qur’an alone is sufficient?

    Elucidation of the Truth

    Why the dispute? Why the disobedience? Why the insolence? The order is of significance: "Come near let me write for you a writing after which you will never go astray." The Prophet (saaws) at Arafat said similar words as we have mentioned “I am leaving among you two things if you follow them you will never go astray”.

    These two sources - the Qur’an and the Ahlul Bayt -complimented one another, and would be the eternal source of guidance. Whilst some people may assert that no one can pre-empt what the Prophet (saaws) wanted to write, there is nevertheless a clear link between what the Prophet (saaws) was saying on his death bed and what he had said at Mount Arafat. At Arafat the Prophet spoke of two things adherence to which would prevent the people from going astray for all eternity.

    Similarly on his deathbed the Prophet (saaws) likewise wanted to write a document in the form of clear and final instructions which would ensure that the Ummah would never go astray after him, and which would suffice as written proof of the Prophet’s last will. If the matter is not clear, then why did Hadhrath Umar insist that no writing materials should be given and that “The Qur’an is sufficient for us”? Was Hadhrath Umar not present at Mount Arafat when the Prophet (saaws) had made it clear that there are two sources of eternal guidance? Indeed, we know that he was.

    Curiously the great Maliki scholar Qadi ‘Iyad Ibn Musa al Yashbi (d.544 Hijri) in his acclaimed work ‘Ash Shifa’ manages to unintentionally acknowledge Hadhrath Umar’s knowledge of this tradition. Whilst defending Hadhrath Umar’s stance in disobeying the Prophet and thereby disobeying Allah by refusing the writing materials, this scholar writes:

    “Umar knew that the Sharia was confirmed and the Deen established and Allah has said, “Today I have completed your Deen for you” (5:3) and the Prophet had said, “I am leaving you the Book of Allah and my family”. Umar said, ‘The Book of Allah is enough for us’, to refute those who were arguing with him and not to refute the Prophet’s commands”.
    Ash Shifa by Qadi ‘Iyad Ibn Musa al Yashubi, English translation by Aisha Abdurrahman Bewley (Madinah Press, First edition 1991)

    If as al Yashbi states Hadhrath Umar was fully aware that the Holy Prophet (saaws) had said “I am leaving you the Book of Allah and my family” then why was he now insisting on following only the ONE source of guidance (the Qur’an) and not the other (The Ahl’ulbayt)?

    The Prophet (saaws) had made it unambiguously clear that the Qur’an is not sufficient for us, that the Qur’an and the Ahlul'bayt were connected, and that the Ahlul Bayt complimented the Qur’an as the other source of guidance. However, Hadhrath Umar who had heard these words and thus knew full well that the Qur’an in itself was not enough, asserted that the Qur’an was the sole source of guidance, thus excluding the Ahlul Bayt and thereby contravening the Prophet’s own clear statement.

    Does this refusal comply with Qur’anic injunctions to obey the Prophet (saaws)? Does this attempt to negate the Prophet’s [saws] previous command by denying that there is a source of guidance complimenting the Qur’an, constitute obedience to Allah?

    The development of amnesia as to the third order

    Sa’id Ibn Jubair narrates that after the incident “...Prophet ordered them to do three things saying: 'Turn out all the pagans from the Arabian Peninsula, show respect to all foreign delegates by giving them gifts as I used to do.' The third order was something beneficial which either Ibn 'Abbas did not mention or he mentioned but I forgot!”
    Sahih al Bukhari, Arabic-English Volume 4 tradition number 393

    Is it not curious to see that the narrators, who used to memorize thousands of traditions of the Prophet (saaws), even those about the minutest details of his life, simply and totally forget his final orders? Three orders were apparently given, but amazingly only two were remembered.

    1. Expelling pagans from Arabian Peninsula
    2. Respecting foreign delegates

    As for the third order, Said Ibn Jubair states “...The third order was something beneficial which either Ibn 'Abbas did not mention or he mentioned but I forgot!”.

    Even ordinary persons like ourselves can remember the last words of our loved ones; such emotional moments always remain with us for our entire lives. Unusually, in this instance a prominent Companion used to memorizing hadith seems to have suffered from complete memory loss as to what that final order of the greatest of all human beings was! There are only two possibilities that the objective mind can consider: that the missing third order was either due to amnesia, or due to political suppression.

    What was the third order?

    One can see that the orders Said Ibn Jubair did claim to remember were quite unrelated to any command of the Prophet [saws] that would ensure that Muslims will never go astray after the Prophet [saws]. The orders mentioned by Ibn Jubair in fact were practical issues unrelated to the matter of never going astray after the Prophet [saws]. This particular issue of never going astray would be much more important than those mentioned by Ibn Jubair.

    It would be an order that would guarantee the salvation of Muslims, and thus it could be no less important than the issue of leadership. In the 1980 Arabic edition of Sahih Muslim, the commentator writing on this event states that the Prophet possibly wanted to assign a Caliph on that Thursday, admitting that the Prophet’s will might have been related to the matter of his successor, thus giving rise to such dispute.

    In his commentary of al Bukhari, Ibn Hajr al Asqalani, commenting on the Prophet’s words, “I will write a document” states that “the Prophet’s (SAWS) intention was to nominate a successor after him”.
    Fath al Bari, by Ibn Hajr al Asqalani, Vol 8 p 101

    Given that the third order was one that would prevent the people from straying, in accordance with the Prophet’s (saws) words we must conclude that:

    (1) this order would act as a form of guidance and ensure that the companions were guided to the Right Path.

    (2) this order was one which from the behavior of Hadhrath Umar and his supporters, was a command that many of the Companions were not willing to follow.

    From assessing hadith, there is one narration that provides us with a clear indication of what that missing third order actually was. The Wahabie scholar Shah Ismail Shaheed, in his book “Munsub-e-Imamate” records the following Prophetic tradition:

    “If you make Ali your Khalifa, although I do not think you will, you will find him to be a Guide (Hadi), one who is Guided (Mahdi), and one who will take you to the Right Path (Sirratul Mustaqim)”.
    Munsub-e-Imamate, by Shah Ismail Shaheed, p 46

    This must have been the third order which would prevent the Companions from going astray - the appointment of Ali as Caliph after the Prophet, since he “will take you to the Right Path”, thus blocking the people from straying.

    The Prophet (saaws) had thus already expressed his desire that Ali (as) succeed him, but at the same time he also acknowledged that the Companions would not comply with his wish. Clearly, something must have happened in the presence of the Prophet (saws) for him to assert “If you make Ali your Khalifa, although I do not think you will”; and it did happen, during the Calamity of Thursday when Hadhrath Umar and his supporters prevented the writing of a document which would have put Ali (as) at the head of the community.

    Had the companions taken heed of the Prophet’s (saaws) words and made Ali (as) the Khalifa, they would have never gone astray. On the contrary, Hadhrath Ali (as) would have led them to the Right Path (Sirratul Mustaqim) according to the Prophet’s [saws] clear statement.

    What was the motive behind the disobedience?

    We thus have evidence to believe that the aim of Hadhrath Umar was to prevent a document which could be checked by others, specifying in the Prophet’s own writing that Ali (as) was to be the successor of the Prophet (saaws).

    Ibn Khaldun manages to indirectly arrive at the same conclusion. Whilst rejecting the notion that the Prophet (saaws) designated Hadhrath Ali (as), he bases his evidence on this very incident:

    “The Shiah claim that Muhammad appointed Ali his heir. This is not correct. No leading transmitter of traditions has reported such a thing. It is stated in (the sound tradition of) the Sahih that Muhammad asked for ink and paper in order in order to write his will, and that Umar prevented it. This clearly shows that (the appointment of ‘Ali as successor) did not take place”.
    The Muqaddimah – An Introduction to History, by Ibn Khaldun, English translation by Franz Rosenthal, Volume 1 page 435 (Princeton University Press)

    In fact the Prophet’s intention to appoint Ali as his successor in this will was even admitted by Hadhrath Umar. During his own reign Hadhrath Umar acknowledged that this was indeed the case. Ibn Abi al Hadid quotes a discussion between Hadhrath Umar and Hadhrath Abdullah Ibne Abbas. He records the incident from the classical Sunni historian Ibn Abi Tahir Baghdadi, in his authoritative book of history Tarikh Baghdadi.

    Umar: “I must complain to you about your cousin Ali, I asked him to join me but he refused. I often find him angry with me, why is this?

    Abbas: “He believes that the Prophet reserved the Khilafath for him”

    Umar: “Oh Ibn Abbas it is true that the Prophet intended and wished that Ali should attain the Caliphate. But the wish of the Prophet can carry no weight, as God did not will it to be so. The Prophet wished that Ali should be the Caliph, but God wished otherwise. The will of God prevailed, thus the Prophet’s desire could not be fulfilled. See, the Prophet wished that his Uncle should embrace Islam, but God willed otherwise, therefore he did not become a Muslim. The Prophet wished to write a will giving the Caliphate to Ali, but I prevented him from doing so in the interests of Islam. The Prophet also came to know what was in my heart, and refrained from writing the will. The will of God prevailed”.
    Sharh Nahj ul Balagha, by Ibn Abi Al Hadid, Vol 12. page 20-21, edited by Muhammad Abdul Fadl-Ibrahim (Cairo) 1959-64 edition

    It is worth noting the fallacious nature of Hadhrath Umar’s justification here: “The Prophet wished that Ali should be the Caliph, but God wished otherwise.” This statement is in direct contradiction to the verses of obedience that have already been extensively discussed, which show that obedience to the Prophet’s [saws] command is obedience to Allah; hence if the Prophet [saws] commands something, then that command is also Allah’s command - but it is up to the Muslims whether or not they obey or disobey; if they obey they remain on the Straight Path and if they disobey they go astray.

    Surah Nisa verse 80 “Whoever obeys the Prophet has indeed obeyed Allah”

    Surah Anam “No man or woman can change anything decided by Allah and his Prophet, and if anyone does he is gone astray”

    Similarly strange is Hadhrath Umar’s claim that he prevented the Prophet [saws] from writing a will “in the interests of Islam.” How can such a thing be in the interests of Islam, when it is obligatory for a Muslim to write a will, and thereby haraam for a person to prevent a Muslim from writing his last will?

    Moreover, who is it that would truly comprehend what is in the interests of Islam and what would prevent people from going astray? The Prophet of Allah [saw] of whom Allah says: Surah VI, verse 50 “Say (O Muhammad!) ‘… I follow not but what is revealed unto me’”, or Hadhrath Umar who is merely a follower of the Messenger?

    Finally, is it not strange that Hadhrath Umar argues that the Prophet deliberately refrained from writing his instructions, although in previous traditions we have seen how Ibn Abbas explicitly affirmed that the Prophet was actually prevented from writing his last instructions against his will due to Hadhrath Umar’s intervention? Whose Sunnah are we obliged to follow and obey according to the Qur’an, the Prophet’s [saws] or Hadhrath Umar’s? Does not the Qur’an say: Surah Nisa verse 80 “Whoever obeys the Prophet has indeed obeyed Allah”?

    Does this not mean that any disobedience of the Prophet is disobedience of Allah? And is not disobedience of Allah going astray from the Straight Path of Islam? How then can a violation of the Prophet’s [saws] own command constitute something in the interests of Islam!? Would not the Prophet [saw] know better than anyone what is best for the Muslim Ummah and what will keep us on the Straight Path?

    Surah Nisa verse 65 “No by Allah they haven’t believed until they make you a Judge in all their disputes”

    The origin of disunity began here

    Allamah Sharastani in his famous books on divisions in Islam states that the origin of dispute amongst the companions owes its origin to this very tragic episode. He writes:

    “the first dispute that took place during the Prophet’s sickness, according to what the Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad b. Isma’il al-Bukhari relates on the authority of Abdullah b. Abbas, is as follows. When the last sickness of the Prophet became acute, he said, ‘Bring me an inkpot and writing material; I shall write something for you so that you will not be led astray after my departure’. Umar said, ‘the Prophet has been overcome by pain, God’s Book is sufficient for us’. A noisy argument arose among those gathered; whereupon the Prophet said ‘Go away there should no quarrelling in my presence’. Ibn Abbas says, ‘What a tragedy which prevented us from having some writing of the Prophet!”.
    Al Mihal al Nahal, by Allamah Muhuummud b. Add’al Karim Shahrastani, page 18 - English translation by A.K.Kazi and J.G.Flynn (publishers Kegan Paul International, First Edition 1984)

    The emergence of two groups began here

    The narration’s indicate that two divisions occurred amongst the Companions subsequent to the order: One party felt that the Prophet’s wishes should be complied with; the other party, the leader of which was Hadhrath Umar, said that the Prophet’s [saw] request should be ignored.

    We learn from the tradition that Hadhrath Umar and his associates prevented the document from being written.

    From these two groups stemmed two schools of thought

    From these two camps two distinct schools of thought emerged with differing views on obedience to the Prophet (saaws).

    As Shi’a we believe that it is incumbent to obey all orders of the Prophet (saaws) and for that we rely on the verses already quoted. We therefore are critical of any individual who refuses to comply with the Prophet’s (saaws) order.

    The Sunni Muslims believe that it not incumbent to follow every order made by the Prophet (saaws) and in order to prove this they advance the attitude of Hadhrath Umar during this episode.

    This is clear from the comments of the Hanafi scholar Allamah Shibli Numani:

    “People have often erred in respect of the nature of Prophethood, and difference of opinion continued even among the Muslims. The majority of people think that every word and deed of a Prophet is determined by God. Those who were a little bolder made an exception in the matter of some social usages. But the fact is that whatever injunction a prophet gives by virtue of his being a prophet are without doubt from God, while other words and deeds have reference only to time and place and possess no permanent religious or legal value. The way Omar cleared up the question had not been done by anybody else”.
    Al Faruq, by Allamah Shibli Numani, Vol 2 page 234

    As already explained, even accepting the argument given - although it is in manifest contradiction to the statements concerning obedience to the Prophet [saws] in the Book of Allah - it is clear that in this incident the Prophet did indeed speak in his capacity as a Prophet [saws] on the matter of permanent religious guidance as signified by the phrase “so that you will never go astray after me”.

    Assuming nevertheless for the sake of argument that the above position is correct, then naturally the only way to ascertain whether or not the Prophet is speaking in his capacity as a Prophet [saws] or not, is how the Prophet [saws] himself clarifies his statement. For how else would we be able to know whether or not the Prophet [saws] is speaking in the capacity of a Prophet? Clearly the Prophet [saws] himself must clarify this matter in this statement, otherwise we would be unable to judge.

    Hence, if the Prophet’s [saws] command clearly indicates that it is related to matters of religious guidance, then clearly he is speaking in his capacity as a Prophet [saws]. This matter thus evidently WAS related to the matter of religious guidance, as is unambiguously manifest by the Prophet’s [saws] pointing out that the instructions to be written would prevent the Muslim Ummah from ever going astray after him if the instructions were obeyed.

    Numani, however, seeks to justify his incoherent position by citing other examples of when Hadhrath Umar held opinions that differed to that of the Prophet’s (saaws) divinely guided commands:

    “Omar’s opinion also differed entirely from that of the Holy Prophet as to the treatment of the prisoners taken at Badr. On the occasion of the truce of Hudaibiya he remonstrated and said why such an unequal treaty should be concluded. It is obvious from these instances that Omar considered these matters to be distinct from the Holy Prophet’s position as prophet. Had he considered these matters, on the contrary, to pertain to the prophetic office and yet interfered with them, we should look upon him as being out of the pale of Islam, let alone considering him a great hero of Islam”.
    ibid p 267

    It is down to our readers to use their rational and conscience to decide which approach is the correct one, and whether it truly conforms with the clear verses of the Qur’an on obedience to the Prophet, which show that one who opposes the Prophet’s decision goes astray, and that only by obeying the Prophet [saws] unconditionally can one be guided aright:

    Surah Nur verse 54 “Obey Allah and his Prophet and if you dispute, then on him is what is imposed and on you is what is imposed on you; and if you obey him you are guided aright; and there is no duty on the Prophet save the clear delivery”

    This matter can not just be ignored for Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an “Oh you who believe, Fear Allah and believe in the Prophet”. Muslims are being addressed here, so if you do not have the correct belief in the Prophet (saaws) then you have a deficiency in your Iman.

    u got it man


      Typical cut n paste from a website which matches your beliefs.

      one thing...have you read the whole article yourself bro?


        And you had to CREATE another thread, why couldn't you discuss this issue in the thread created by bro a1shah.

        You think people will read your 100kB of cut n paste?? stop that crap, just put your ideas and your beleifs not something concluded by other scholars. if you really have to, then just summarize. Otherwise I can also start to cut'n paste tons of MB wasting the space of this forum.

        Just think bro, and show what you think and beleive and write it in your plain English.

        We oughta be Changez like, don't we?