The probability of sin falls under divine wisdom
It is clear from the Noble Qurʼan, the ahadith and the sayings of the pious predecessors that the Sahabah earned the praise of Allah and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The revelation of Allah is abundant in describing their accomplishments and qualities and thus they are not in need of endorsement of their credibility from anyone. When they entered into the fold of Islam, their hearts were illuminated with the effulgence of revelation from Allah. By token of this, they had elevated to such a position of purity and integrity that they became a source of envy for the angels. If any rare misdeed was committed by them, which was almost non-existent, then too the Divine Wisdom of Allah played a role in this.
Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah (d. 150 A.H) says:
ما قاتل أحد عليًا إلا و علي أولى بالحق منه ، و لولا ما سار علي فيهم ما علم أحد كيف السيرة في المسلمين
Nobody engaged in battle against ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu except that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was closer to the truth in that regard. If ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not interact with them in such a manner then nobody would have known how to react in an instance when there is a clash between Muslims.
Moulana ‘Ashiq Ilahi Mirthi rahimahu Llah while discussing the life of Shah ‘Abd al-Rahim Raipuri rahimahu Llah in Tadhkirat al-Khalil writes:
As per his usual habit, one day after ‘Asr salah, he was sitting on a bedstead in the patio of the garden, surrounded on all sides by attendants and a large group of people, some of whom were seated on reed stools. At this instance, Rao Murad ‘Ali Khan brought up the subject of conflict between the Sahabah. People began expressing their opinions, someone said that so-and-so was wrong and so-and-so should not have acted in such a manner. When it reached this point, Hadrat (referring to Shah ‘Abd al-Rahim Raipuri rahimahu Llah) became enraged and broke his silence in a trembling tone, saying: “O Rao! Listen to my few words. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came to this world to inform the creation of all their necessities relating to their religion as well as to their worldly life that will arise until the Day of Resurrection. It is evident that he was granted a very short life span to pass on such a great message and to accomplish his role of informing the creation of every type of circumstance and eventuality that would arise. Through the outcome of these circumstances the world would learn how to conduct themselves in a particular situation.
In principle, no irrelevant incident occurred during the era of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. These occurrences were of two types. Firstly, there were those incidents which did not contradict the position of nubuwwah. Secondly, there were those that were in conflict with the prominent position of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself experienced the incidents which were from the first category, for example, marriage, having offspring, demise, burial, etc. Through all the incidents of happiness and sadness which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam experienced, the world learnt the lessons of how to behave in these situations. When a relative passes away, for example, which actions are appropriate and which are not. At the time of birth or marriage of someone or at any other joyous occasion, what is permissible and what contradicts the Sunnah.
There were also those incidents which would be in conflict with the prominent position of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. If they were to occur with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself (which they did not) then the position of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would be undermined. For example, if adultery, stealing, etc, takes place, how should a penalty be executed, or if a conflict breaks out or an argument based on self-interests was to occur, how should reconciliation take place. It would be inappropriate if these occurrences were to happen to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself, while at the same time there was a need for them to occur.
The Sahabah presented themselves as servants of this din for this very reason. It was as if they agreed for such occurrences to happen to them, which were in conflict with the prominent position of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This was in order for the outcomes of these incidents to be defined so that Islam could reach its completion. Therefore all such things happened to the Sahabah which would serve as a means of guidance to all those to come after them until the Day of Resurrection. Through these events, every ordinary person would come to know how to act in such a scenario.
Are there any such courageous and devoted souls willing to endure every disgrace as honour, and defects as strength, together with bearing the brunt of criticism, solely for the completion of the religion of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? It is as if though their actions spoke out:
“Everybody desires fame, honour and prominence, but ask a lover what is the sweetness of devotion and what is the enjoyment experienced in enduring disgrace along the path of the beloved.”
Such true lovers sacrificed their honour and self-respect for the sake of our guidance and reformation. Yet, after thirteen hundred years, we sit like commissioners over their tribunals to pass a judgement on them. We find fault with them and spoil our own destiny. What will we get out of this? If we cannot appreciate these gems of the Sunnah, then at the least we should keep our mouths silent from criticising them.
Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Fear Allah! Fear Allah, regarding my Sahabah! Do not make them the target of criticism after me!”
For a long while he continued his speech in this vain, as if though petals were being sprinkled from his mouth and the listeners were being captivated by its scent.
At this point I would like to refer to another related matter, a few years ago while compiling my treatise on a comparative study between Islam and Shi‘asm, in the course of perusing through various resources for and against Shi‘ah doctrines, I came across references being made to a book by Nasir al-din Nasar Gholrawi, entitled Nam wa Nasab. This occurred concurrently with my reading of another book entitled Sunni Mowqaf, which is a compilation of the discourses of Moulana ‘Ali Sher Haydari rahimahu Llah. I was curious to find out who was this person who has written a book against Shi‘asm entitled Nam wa Nasab.
After purchasing the book I realised that the contents of the book was not specifically against Shi‘asm, but rather a response to the Shi‘ah scholar- Najm al-Hasan Kararwi, who made certain allegations against the lineage of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani rahimahu Llah (d. 561 A.H). Only 119 pages in the eleventh chapter of the book was related to the subject, whilst the remainder (despite its volume) was unrelated to the discussion. The book comprises of a total of 946 pages excluding the pages with illustrations. While reading the book, I realised that the eighth chapter is specifically written against Shi‘asm and in it I read the following passage:
Regrettably the beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunnah are being influenced by that of the Shi‘ah and Khawarij. Some people of Ahl al-Sunnah have gone to such an extreme in opposing Shi‘ah beliefs that they have become vulgar and impolite just as the Khawarij. While some Ahl al-Sunnah have become so obsessive in opposing the Khawarij that they have become impolite like the Shi‘ah. This is because the Khawarij malign the Ahl al-Bayt while the Shi‘ah malign the Sahabah. It is for this reason that in this book the corrupt beliefs and false perceptions of both have been strongly refuted. The Ahl al-Sunnah should desist from the beliefs of both the Khawarij and that of the Shi‘ah, and adopt moderation in their love for the Ahl al-Bayt as well as for the Sahabah. Admiration for the one should not result in disregard for the other.
He mentioned further:
We calmly listen to an array of abusive statements by people. By Allah! We have not accorded our predecessors a more lower status than this, whose nobility is enshrined in the Noble Qurʼan and the Sunnah within the limits and boundaries prescribed by the principles of Islam. The ambiya of Allah are after all the ambiya, but still we should perceive ourselves to be the slaves of the Sahabah, which most of the pious auliya openly did in their discourses. We have never taken any Sahabi or pious saint to be infallible. It is a unanimous fact that only the ambiya are infallible, however the Ahl al-Bayt, the Sahabah and other pious persons of this Ummah are at times guarded against sin. The difference between infallibility and being guarded against sin is well-known to people of knowledge. I appeal to those Muslim brethren who have not adopted the beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunnah to choose the methodology of the Ahl al-Sunnah. A Sunni is not someone who merely adopts certain beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunnah but rather adheres to all its beliefs, and inclusive in the beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunnah is respecting the Ahl al-Bayt and honouring the Sahabah. Detesting the Ahl al-Bayt is tantamount to the beliefs of the Khawarij and hatred for the Sahabah is Shi‘asm. Admiration for the Ahl al-Bayt, respect for the Sahabah and reverence for the pious is part of Ahl al-Sunnah. Pondering over these statements, one will realise that the Khawarij have taken to the Sahabah but abandoned the Ahl al-Bayt. The Shi‘ah have accepted the Ahl al-Bayt and have rejected the Sahabah. The refuters of taqlid and the Wahabi have mostly taken to the Sahabah and significantly left out the Ahl al-Bayt. Together with this, they have consciously disregarded and denigrated the pious servants of Allah. Those who espouse the beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunnah, whether Chisti, Nizami, Qadri, Saharwardi or Naqshbandi, all have kissed the feet of these devout souls and have afforded them their due respect.
In the approach of the Ahl al-Sunnah one will find respect for the pious and for the Aʼimmah, reverence for the Sahabah as well as admiration for the family of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Fatimah J. Fellow brothers in faith! Adopt the approach of the Ahl al-Sunnah. This approach has been transmitted to us, it is rational and is acceptable in the court of truth (Allah).
In the world of Islam, the Sahabah are granted the highest esteem and this extraordinary reverence for them is on account of the honour of being the close companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Honouring them is in reality honouring the leader of the worlds- Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Honourable readers! Reading the words of Nasir al-Din brings us great joy since it seems that he has stood clear from any extremities and has composed his thoughts regarding the Ahl al-Bayt and Sahabah in his book. This positive perception of him did not remain for long as his claims of refuting Shi‘asm and the beliefs of the Khawarij proved to be nothing more than empty. While at one instance he makes the following supplication:
O Allah! Grant us abundant love and admiration for both, the Ahl al-Bayt and the Sahabah. Whatever was the rank of any particular Sahabi in the eyes of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, grant us that level of admiration for that Sahabi. This is Islam. This is obedience. This is iman.
What he went on to write clearly contradicted this supplication.
Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself prevented the Sahabah from relating to him any complaint or grievance concerning another Sahabi. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
لا يـبلغني أحد من أصحابـي عن أحد شيئا فإني أحب أن أخرج إليكم سليم الصدر
None of you should complain to me regarding any companion of mine. I would like to come out to meet you with a clear heart (conscience).
This was the instruction given to the Sahabah. Furthermore, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam advised the ummah:
الله الله في أصحابـي الله الله في أصحابـي لا تتخذوهم غرضا من بعدي
Fear Allah! Fear Allah, regarding my Sahabah! Fear Allah! Fear Allah, regarding my Sahabah! Do not make them the target of criticism after me.[
As for the pious predecessors, Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah (d. 150 A.H), whom Allah had blessed with such traits which were an embodiment of the grandeur and dignity of Islam, had witnessed the final years of the era of the Sahabah. Not only did he have a deep insight into the lives of these esteemed souls, but he was also blessed with their company. It was through his efforts that Islamic Jurisprudence was first consolidated. He was the appropriate purport of the hadith which signified glad tidings for the person who would even go to the stars in search of knowledge.
Concerning the differences which arose among the Sahabah, Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah made a very profound, concise, sensible and wise statement. Imam Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Salihi al-Dimashqi al-Shafi‘i (d. 947 A.H) writes:
سئل أبو حنيفة عن علي و معاوية و قتلى صفين ، فقال أخاف أن أقدم على الله تعالى بشيء يسألني عنه ، و إذا أقامني يوم القيامة بين يديه لا يسألني عن شيء من أمورهم ، يسألني عما كلفـني ، فالإشتغال بذلك أولى
Somebody asked Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah concerning ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Mu‘awiyahradiya Llahu ‘anhu and those who were slain in the Battle of Siffin. Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llahanswered: “I fear to make such an utterance before Allah regarding which I will be questioned about. When Allah makes me stand before Him on the Day of Resurrection, He will not question me concerning these people (i.e. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu) and those who were slain in the Battle of Siffin. However, Allah will question me regarding those aspects which I am responsible for. It is more appropriate for me to be preoccupied in preparation for those things.
Muhammad ibn Nadra said regarding ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz rahimahu Llah:
قال (محمد بن النضر) ذكروا اختلاف أصحاب محمد صلى الله عليه و سلم عند عمر بن عبد العزيز فقال : أمر أخرج الله أيديكم منه ما تعلمون ألسنـتكم فيه؟
In the presence of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz rahimahu Llah, the differences which arose among the Sahabah were mentioned. He said: “It is a matter which Allah has shielded your hands from, so what do your tongues know about it?”
He is also reported to have said:
تلك دماء كف الله يدي عنها و انا أكره أن أغمس لساني فيها
This is such blood which Allah has protected my hands from, so I dislike that I should soil my tongue with it.
Imam Shafi‘i rahimahu Llah states:
تلك دماء طهر الله عنها أيديـنا فلنطهر عنها ألسنتـنا
Allah has kept our hands pure from such blood (which was spilt in the Battles of Siffin and Jamal), so we should also keep our tongues clean from it as well.
Ibrahim al-Nakha‘i rahimahu Llah (d. 95 A.H) states:
تلك دماء طهر الله أيدينا منها افـنلطخ ألسنتـنا
That is such blood with Allah has kept our hands clean from, are we going to now pollute our tongues with it?
Hasan al-Basri rahimahu Llah (d. 110 A.H) says:
قتال شهده أصحاب محمد صلى الله عليه و سلم و غبنا ، و علموا و جهلنا ، و اجتـمعوا فاتبعنا ، و اختلفوا فوقـفنا
These were battles that the Sahabah engaged in and we were not present. They were fully aware of all the circumstances relating to them and we are ignorant of that. We follow the Sahabah in whichever matter they were unanimous. We adopt silence concerning any matters about which they disputed.
It is for these reasons that our predecessors did not allow any unnecessary discussion regarding the disputes of the Sahabah. However, certain ‘enlightened’ minds have chosen to ignore the instruction of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the teachings of the pious predecessors, by bare footedly stepping into the complex and intricate realm of the differences which arose among the Sahabah.
The author of Nam wa Nasab, through his own conjecture, in the process of admiration and defending the Ahl al-Bayt has grossly denigrated and attacked the honour of Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Whereas Sayyiduna ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, whom the author passionately admires, has instructed:
لا تقولوا إلا خيرا
Do not utter anything but good (regarding Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his companions).
It seems that the author has to a large extent forgotten the principle that love demands obedience. It is therefore obligatory upon one who claims to love Sayyiduna ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to also obey him. A poet says:
لو كان حبك صادقا لاطعته إن المحب لمن يحب مطيع
If your love was true, then you would obey your beloved; since a lover is always obedient to the beloved.
The author of Nam wa Nasab has in no way fallen short with his tongue or pen in emphasising to follow the pious predecessors, honour the Sahabah and love the family of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. With regards to his practice, it does not make any sense why he did not heed his own advice. Why are the standards of give and take different?
The manner in which Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu is denigrated, under the guise of refuting the Nawasib, reveals the level of which one has become tainted in the hue of the Shi‘ah and their clamour. The only difference is that when the Shi‘ah object to Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu they only refer to him as “Mu‘awiyah”, while the critics, who conceal themselves under the label of the Ahl al-Sunnah, refer to him as “Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu”.
The greatest sorrow is that while the author of Nam wa Nasab has considered the accusations made upon the lineage of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani r to go against his religious allegiance and loyalty to his spiritual affiliation, he does not show the same regard for Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. After five years of continuous effort he prepared a refutation to those allegations in a dissertation of 946 pages. We have no objection to this in the least nor does it harm us — if he had not reviled a Sahabi of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. In fact every Muslim, including us, would have appreciated his effort and commended him. Conversely, in this book the author has dedicated an entire chapter in which he has criticised and maligned Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
In reality, Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu was a Sahabi while Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilanirahimahu Llah was a saint, and no matter how lofty the status of sainthood may be, it cannot equate to a fraction the status of being a Sahabi.
Shaykh Mujaddid Alf-e Thani rahimahu Llah (d. 1024 A.H) states:
و فضيلة الصحبة فوق جميع الفضائل و الكمالات و لهذا لم يبلغ اويس القرني الذي هو خير التابعين مرتبة ادنى من صحبه عليه الصلاة و السلام فلا تعدل بفضيلة الصحبة شيئا كائنا ما كان فان ايمانهم ببركة الصحبة و نزول الوحى يصير شهوديا
The excellence of the companionship of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam supersedes all other virtues and accomplishments. It is for this reason that Uways al-Qarni rahimahu Llah, who was the highest ranking Tabi‘i, cannot reach the status of the lowest ranking Sahabi. Do not equate anything whatsoever to the status of the companionship of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Their iman was on account of the blessings of their companionship with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. As a result of them witnessing the revelation descending they became eye-witnesses.
Ibn Hajar al-Makki (d. 944 A.H) mentions:
ان فضيلة صحبته صلى الله عليه و سلم و رؤيته لا يعدلها شيء
The companionship and sight of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam cannot be equated to anything.
Shah ‘Abd al-Quddus Ghanghohi rahimahu Llah (d. 944 A.H) says:
It is part of our belief that a person who is not a Sahabi, even though he may achieve a lofty rank in sainthood and is endowed with great powers and bounties, will still not reach the status of the Sahabah. The excellence of the companionship of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is an all-inclusive virtue, whilst sainthood is a partial virtue. A partial virtue can never be equal to an all-inclusive virtue.
Allamah Khalid Mahmud states:
It is the belief of the Ahl al-Sunnah that being a Sahabi is an honour in its own right that is not based upon any academic excellence or achievement. Be it the knowledge, piety or achievement of the likes of Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik, Junayd al-Baghdadi or Bayazid al-Bustami s, it cannot equate to the status of the companionship of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Yet some will consider extolling the innocence of a saint as a means of salvation while deriding a Sahabi of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is deemed acceptable. Is this called honouring the Sahabah?
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani rahimahu Llah (d. 561 A.H) states regarding Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
If I were to sit in the pathway of Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the dust from the hoof of the horse of Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu were to fall upon me, I would consider this as a means of my salvation.
Similarly, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani rahimahu Llah states the following regarding the differences which arose between the Sahabah:
و اما قتاله رضي الله عنه لطلحة و الزبير و عائشة و معاوية رضي الله عنهم فقد نص الإمام أحمد رحمه الله على الإمساك عن ذلك و جميع ما شجر بينهم من منازعة و منافرة و خصومة ، كما قال عز و جل : وَنَزَعْنَا مَا فِي صُدُورِهِم مِّنْ غِلٍّ إِخْوَانًا عَلَى سُرُرٍ مُّتَقَابِلِينَ
With reference to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu engaging in battle against Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Zubayrradiya Llahu ‘anhu, ‘Aʼishah J and Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu; Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal rahimahu Llah has stated: “It is better to remain silent regarding all the conflicts, arguments and altercations which occurred between the Sahabah. On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will free them from all these differences which occurred between them, as Allah states: “And We shall remove from their breasts any deep feeling of bitterness (that they may have). (They will be like) brothers facing each other on thrones.”
Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu is that Sahabi concerning whom Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilanirahimahu Llah expressed such sentiments that he considered the dust from the horse of Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu to suffice for his good fortune and salvation. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilanirahimahu Llah even prevented the discussion regarding the differences among the Sahabah.
Presently, some foolish people malign Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu even after noting the advice of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani rahimahu Llah concerning him. This is despite them claiming to have intense love for Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani rahimahu Llah. They are not perturbed at branding Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu an innovator. How then can they hope that their writings would please Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani rahimahu Llah?
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani rahimahu Llah would recite the following couplet at the end of his supplication:
و من يترك الآثار قد ضل سعيه و هل يترك الآثار من كان مسلما
Whosoever detracts from the footsteps of the pious predecessors, his efforts are wasted. Is it possible for a Muslim to stray from the footsteps of the pious predecessors?
The author of Nam wa Nasab has not presented any newfound research in this chapter, rather he has pilfered the earlier criticisms from the books of other likeminded role models of his such as Maududi and the Shi‘ah. The senior scholars of Islam have long ago concluded the responses to these criticisms.
The Sahabah are described in hadith as the “stars of guidance and righteousness” and the Ahl al-Bayt as the “ark of salvation and success”. In light of what Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has said, the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘ah consider admiration for the Sahabah and for the Ahl al-Bayt to be indispensable of each other.
The Ahl al-Sunnah are convinced that whoever distances himself from the ark of the Ahl al-Bayt will be drowned in the sea of misguidance. Similarly, whoever embarks on the ark of the Ahl al-Bayt but is deprived of the light of guidance from the stars of the Sahabah, he too will drown in the ocean of misguidance. There is darkness in the ocean and the glow of the stars serve as a means of guidance for the traveller.
In his commentary of Mishkat entitled- Mirqat, Mulla ‘Ali Qari rahimahu Llah (d. 1040 A.H) has quoted this statement of Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi rahimahu Llah (d. 606 A.H), which is the mark of distinction of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘ah:
نحن معاشر اهل السنة بحمد الله تعالى ركبنا سفينة محبة اهل البيت و اهتدينا بنجم هدى اصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم فنـرجوا النجاة من اهوال القيامة و دركات الجحيم و الهداية الى ما يوجب درجات الجنان و النعيم المقيم
All praise is due to Allah, we the Ahl al-Sunnah have boarded the ark of love for the Ahl al-Bayt and we are guided by the stars of guidance which are the Sahabah. Thus, we are hopeful of attaining salvation from the terrors of the Day of Resurrection and from the trenches of the fire. We are hopeful of attaining that guidance which will make us deserving of the stages of Jannah and everlasting favours.
Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahu Llah (d. 728 A.H) writes:
و أما اهل السنة فيـتولون جميع المؤمنين ، و يتكلمون بعلم و عدل ، ليسوا من اهل الجهل و لا من اهل الاهواء و يتبرؤن من طريقة الروافض و النواصب جميعا و يتولون السابقين و الأولين كلهم و يعرفون قدر الصحابة و فضلهم و مناقبهم و يرعون حقوق اهل البيت شرعها الله لهم
The Ahl al-Sunnah befriend all the believers and they speak on the strength of knowledge and justice. They are not from among the ignorant, nor are they from among those who follow their whims. They are exonerated from the paths of both, the Rawafid and the Nawasib. They have a high regard for all the predecessors and acknowledge the lofty position, honour and virtue of the Sahabah. Together with all of this, they consider it necessary to fulfil the rights of the Ahl al-Bayt, as has been established from the Shari‘ah.
The spiritual mentor of this humble servant- Moulana Yusuf Ludhiyanwi rahimahu Llah (d. 1421 A.H) said:
I consider it an important component of iman to have admiration and respect for all the Ahl al-Bayt and Sahabah. I regard the slightest disrespect shown to any of them as a sign of depravation of iman, even if it be it in the semblance of inferring. This is my conviction and I would like to be presented in the court of Allah with this conviction.
It is worth writing the statements of Imam al-Razi rahimahu Llah, Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahu Llah and Moulana Yusuf Ludhiyanwi rahimahu Llah in gold. In this day and age when maligning the pious predecessors has become common place, these statements will serve as a guide for forthcoming generations. May Allah grant us death in such a state while we still hold fast to these beliefs and actions.
I would like to mention another aspect which requires thought. Namely, whenever such allegations are refuted with various references, the following assertion is made:
These are all fictitious fables and poisonous spurts that have been plagiarized from the books of the Khawarij that no rational person will accept.
Why was the same principle not kept in mind when objections against a companion of Rasulullah radiya Llahu ‘anhu were raised? Why do such critics never say:
These are all fabricated tales and poisonous spurts that have been plagiarized from the books of the Shi‘ah that no rational person will accept.
Why are double-standards adopted between the Sahabah and the Ahl al-Bayt? A poet says:
He sits in stringent seclusion behinds screens; but he is not properly concealed nor does he make an appearance.
It is extremely crucial to rely upon reputable sources, specifically with regards to Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyahrahimahu Llah. There are two reasons for this:
- A great deal of propaganda against Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu had taken root in his era already. Once someone asked Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah V: “Why is it that you have aged so quickly?”, and he responded:
كيف لا و لا ازال ارى رجلا من العرب قائماعلى رأسي يلقح لي كلاما ما يلزمني جوابه ، فإن اصبت لم احمد و إن أخطأت سارت بها البرود
Why should it not be so when there is still an Arab man constantly standing upon my head who fabricates such things for which I am compelled to answer? If I do anything correctly nobody acknowledges it, and if I err then the news travels everywhere?
- The Abbasid khilafah began after the Umayyad khilafah in the year 132 A.H (749 CE). Its founder was Abu al-‘Abbas al-Saffah. He and his successors overthrew the Umayyad khilafah, and made the Banu Umayyah a particular target for their enmity. They even went to the extent of excavating the graves of several leaders of the Banu Umayyah and selectively assassinated many children of the Umayyad rulers and their supporters. The well-known Abbasid khalifah- Ma‘mun al-Rashid made a declaration:
برئت الذمة ممن ذكر معاوية بخير
We cannot be held responsible for anyone who speaks favourably of Mu‘awiyah.
The Shi‘ah historian- Mas‘udi, has written about this aspect in his book- Muruj al-Dhahab:
و في سنته اثنـتى عشرة و مائتين نادى منادى المأمون : برئت الذمة من احد من الناس ذكر معاوية بخير او قدمه (على احد) من اصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم
In the year 212 A.H, the spokesperson of Maʼmun announced: “The government is not responsible for any person who mentions Mu‘awiyah with praise or considers him superior in rank to any other Sahabi.
This was a period in Islamic history wherein the classical sciences of Islamic learning were being consolidated and documented. One can imagine how challenging the task must have been for the historians to accurately document the attributes and characteristics of Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu for Islam and the Muslims in this atmosphere. However, there were a few exceptions. The famous Moulana Shah Mu‘in al-Din Nadwi writes:
The Abbasid khilafah was formed while they were still arch enemies of the Banu Umayyah. The objections raised against the Banu Umayyah in the era of Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu continued to gain momentum throughout the reign of the Abbasids. Rather, the uproar became even louder and by then the Abbasid khilafah had expanded from the East to the West. The accusations against Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhuhad thus spread from one end to the other end of the Muslim Empire. This era was marked by the onset of the compilation of Islamic History and many fabricated narrations, which were in circulation on the tongues of people for a long time, made their way into historical records. Since it was the onset of the documenting of history, it was challenging to put in place processes of verification whereby authentic narrations could be distinguished from fabricated. Through the process of verification many narrations were later excluded which had absolutely no basis and were evidently absurd. Nevertheless, numerous other incorrect incidents still became part of history.
The author of Al-‘Awasim min al-Qawasim– Muhibb al-Din Al-Khatib rahimahu Llah (d. 1390 A.H), who is a well-known researcher states:
ان التاريخ الاسلامي لم يبدأ تدوينه الاّ بعد زوال بني أمية و قيام دول لا يسر رجالها التحدث بمفاخر ذلك الماضى و محاسن اهله فتولى تدوين تاريخ
الاسلام ثلاث طوائف : طائفة كانت تنشد العيش و الجدة من التقرب الى مبغض بني امية بما تكتبه و تؤلفه
The documentation of Islamic history began in the period after the fall of the Umayyad khilafah and upon the onset of that dynasty whose leaders were not satisfied with the accomplishments of the past and the integrity of their custodians. The compilation of Islamic history was done by three categories of people. Firstly, there were those whose obsession was animosity and hostility towards the Banu Umayyah, together with finding fault at their achievements in order to win favour with their enemies; namely the Abbasid rulers.
It is worth noting the observation of Moulana ‘Abd al-Shakur Lakhnawi rahimahu Llah (d. 1383 A.H), whereby he concisely and aptly categorised the critics of Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu into three groups:
The people who harbour ill-feelings against Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu are of three kinds: The first are the Rawafid whose rancour is not surprising. They harbour malice for such noble personages who cannot be compared to anyone in the Ummah. The second group are the ignorant mystics who consider it the epitome of admiration for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to speak ill about Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. These people consider themselves as Sunni but in reality they contradict the Ahl al-Sunnah in this as well as many other matters, be it principled or specific. This often renders them to be part of the Shi‘ah sect. The third group are some of the Zahiri supporters of today. At times they do peruse through narrations which may criticise Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. However, due to their literal approach to text, their minds do not delve into the appropriate interpretations of it. The most harmful are the second group who are the ignorant mystics.
After this preliminary discussion, we now focus on providing refutations to the self-conjectured accusations raised against Sayyiduna Mu‘awiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
و الأمر بيد الله تعالى و هو الموفق
The matter is in the hands of Allah and He grants the ability (to do good).
Lastly, before we begin our discussion, I would like to say:
Do not hasten in proving your integrity; look into your lap, look into your fastened coat.
Khimar Bara Banki has said:
If you criticise others; first place a mirror in front of yourself.