Ameer al-Mu’mineen `Umar bin al-Khattab (ra)
(Just and god-fearing ruler, or oppressive dictator?)
While writing my new article:
“Is `Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) an oppressive dictator?”
I dived into books of Hadith and found some interesting narrations about `Umar’s (ra) treatment of his subjects and advisers, I will post an interesting one here for the benefit, I want to see how the most ignorant of people (i.e Shia) explain this one:
عبد الرزاق ، عن معمر ، عن مطر الوراق ، وغيره ، عن الحسن قال : أرسل عمر بن الخطاب إلى امرأة مغيبة كان يدخل عليها ، فأنكر ذلك ، فأرسل إليها ، فقيل لها : أجيبي عمر ، فقالت : يا ويلها ما لها ، ولعمر قال : فبينا هي في الطريق فزعت فضربها الطلق فدخلت دارا ، فألقت ولدها ، فصاح الصبي صيحتين ، ثم مات ، فاستشار عمر أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فأشار عليه بعضهم ، أن ليس عليك شيء ، إنما أنت وال ومؤدب قال : وصمت علي فأقبل عليه ، فقال : ما تقول ؟ قال : إن كانوا قالوا : برأيهم فقد أخطأ رأيهم ، وإن كانوا قالوا : في هواك فلم ينصحوا لك ، أرى أن ديته عليك فإنك أنت أفزعتها ، وألقت ولدها في سببك قال : فأمر عليا أن يقسم عقله على قريش ، يعني يأخذ عقله من قريش لأنه خطأ
`Abdul-Razzaq, from Ma`mar, from Matar al-Warraq, and others, from al-Hasan, that he said: `Umar sent after a promiscuous woman who used to receive men, he did not accept this. So when they got to her place, they called on her: “Come answer to `Umar!” She said: “Woe to me! What have I done to `Umar!?” And while on her way, she was painful, and entered a house and dropped her child, so he cried twice then died.
`Umar consulted the companions of the Prophet (SAWS), and some of them said to him: “You are not deserving of punishment, your duty is only to discipline them as the ruler.” but `Ali was silent, so `Umar approached him and asked: “What is your opinion?” `Ali replied: “If this is their opinion then they erred, and if they said this to you knowing that you wanted to hear it, then they did not give you sound advice. I see that you must pay the blood money(Diyyah) for him, because you scared her and she dropped her child as a result.” so he ordered `Ali to distribute the money between Quraysh because he was wrong.
Source: Musannaf Abdul-Razzaq.
وفيما أجاز لي أبو عبد الله الحافظ روايته عنه ؛ أن أبا الوليد الفقيه أخبرهم قال : ثنا الماسرجسي أبو العباس ، ثنا شيبان ، ثنا سلام ، قال : سمعت الحسن يقول : إن عمر – رضي الله عنه – بلغه أن امرأة بغية يدخل عليها الرجال ، فبعث إليها رسولا ، فأتاها الرسول ، فقال : أجيبي أمير المؤمنين . ففزعت فزعة ، فوقعت الفزعة في رحمها ، فتحرك ولدها ، فخرجت ، فأخذها المخاض ، فألقت غلاما جنينا ، فأتي عمر بذلك ، فأرسل إلى المهاجرين فقص عليهم أمرها ، فقال : ما ترون ؟ فقالوا : ما نرى عليك شيئا يا أمير المؤمنين ، إنما أنت معلم ومؤدب ، وفي القوم علي ، وعلي ساكت ، قال : فما تقول أنت يا أبا الحسن ، قال : أقول إن كانوا قاربوك في الهوى فقد أثموا ، وإن كان هذا جهد رأيهم فقد أخطئوا ، وأرى عليك الدية يا أمير المؤمنين . قال : صدقت ، اذهب فاقسمها على قومك
From what al-Hafiz abu `Abdullah granted me the Ijazah to narrate, is that abu al-Walid al-Faqih told them, he said: al-Masirjisiy abu al-`Abbas told us, Shayban told us, Sallam told us, he said: I heard al-Hasan say: That it had reached `Umar that a promiscuous woman was receiving men, so he sent her a messenger, and the messenger said to her: “Come answer to Ameer al-Mu’mineen!” So she got scared and it affected her womb, and her child moved, and when she left she suddenly dropped her fetus.
`Umar was informed of this he sent after the emigrants and told them her story, he asked: “What do you think?” they said: “We see no fault on you O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, your job is only to discipline and teach.” and `Ali was among the folks and he was silent. `Umar said: “O abu al-Hasan, what do you think?” `Ali replied: “I say: if they spoke only what you desired to hear, then they are sinful, and if they had thought and reached this opinion, then they are wrong. O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, I see that you must pay the blood money(Diyyah).” `Umar said: “You speak truth! Go and divide it among your folks.”
Source: Sunan al-Bayhaqi al-Kubra.
From this one narration, the one with intellect can conclude many things, such as:
1-`Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) took responsibility for his own mistakes.
2-`Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) did not care about his own image and prestige, he would admit his mistake in public.
3-`Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) took the decision which is against his own interest and well-being simply because he saw it was the truth.
4-`Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) consulted and was no dictator.
5-`Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) greatly respected the opinion of `Ali bin abi Talib (ra) and often consulted him and agreed with him.
6-`Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) would trust `Ali bin abi Talib (ra) with official tasks, such as receiving the money and dividing it equitably among the people.
7-`Ali bin abi Talib (ra) was not oppressed during the rule of `Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) nor was he prevented from stating his opinions.
8-`Ali bin abi Talib (ra) acknowledges the legitimacy of the Khilafah of `Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) by addressing him as “Ameer al-Mu’mineen”.
9-`Ali bin abi Talib (ra) was not afraid of speaking the truth during the Khilafah of `Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) in his presence.
This is the narration about the ten Sahabi promised heaven from the books:
1- `Abdul-Rahman ibn `Awf (ra) narrates:
حدثنا قتيبة حدثنا عبد العزيز بن محمد عن عبد الرحمن بن حميد عن أبيه عن عبد الرحمن بن عوف قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم :أبو بكر في الجنة وعمر في الجنة وعثمان في الجنة وعلي في الجنة وطلحة في الجنة والزبير في الجنة وعبد الرحمن بن عوف في الجنة وسعد في الجنة وسعيد في الجنة وأبو عبيدة بن الجراح في الجنة
[The prophet (SAWS) said: Abu Bakr is in heaven, and `Umar is in heaven, and `Uthman is in heaven, and `Ali is in heaven, and Talhah is in heaven, and al-Zubayr is in heaven, and `Abdul-Rahman ibn `Awf is in heaven, and Sa`d is in heaven, and Sa`eed is in heaven, and abu `Ubaydah bin al-Jarrah is in heaven.]
2- Sa`eed bin Zayd (ra) narrates:
حدثنا محمد بن بشر قال ثنا صدقة بن المثنى قال : سمعت جدي رباح بن الحارث يذكر أنه شهد المغيرة بن شعبة وكان بالكوفة في المسجد الأكبر ، وكانوا أجمع ما كانوا يمينا وشمالا حتى جاء رجل من أهل المدينة يدعى سعيد بن زيد بن نفيل ، فرحب به المغيرة وأجلسه عند رجليه على السرير ، فبينا هو على ذلك إذ دخل رجل من أهل الكوفة يدعى قيس بن علقمة ، فاستقبل المغيرة فسب فسب فقال له المدني : يا مغير بن شعب ، من يسب هذا الشاب ؟ قال : سب علي بن أبي طالب ، قال له مرتين : يا مغير بن شعب ، ألا أسمع أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يسبون عندك لا تنكر ولا تغير ، فإني أشهد على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بما سمعت أذناي وبما وعى قلبي فإني لن أروي عنه من بعده كذبا فيسألني عنه إذا لقيته أنه قال : أبو بكر في الجنة وعمر في الجنة وعثمان في الجنة وعلي في الجنة وطلحة في الجنة والزبير في الجنة وعبد الرحمن بن عوف في الجنة وسعد في الجنة ، وآخر تاسع لو أشاء أن أسميه لسميته ؛ قال : فخرج أهل المسجد يناشدونه بالله : يا صاحب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، من التاسع ؟ قال : ” نشدتموني بالله والله عظيم ، أنا تاسع المؤمنين ونبي الله صلى الله عليه وسلم العاشر ” ، ثم أتبعها والله لمشهد شهده الرجل منهم يوما واحدا في سبيل الله مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أفضل من عَمَلِ أحدكم ولو عمر عمر نوح .
[Sadaqah bin al-Muthanna said: i heard my grandfather Rabah bin al-Harith mention that he saw al-Mugheerah bin Shu`bah while he was in Kufa ‘s big mosque, and they were all left and right until a man came from the people of Madinah called Sa`eed bin Zayd bin Nufayl, so al-Mugheerah welcomed him and sat him near his feet on the bed, meanwhile a man from the kufans called Qays bin `Alqamah enters and was met by al-Mugheerah so he started cursing so and so, then al-Madani(Sa`eed) asked: “O Mugheerah ibn Shu`bah, who is this young man cursing?” he said: “He cursed `Ali ibn abi Talib” then he told him twice: “O Mugheerah ibn Shu`bah, do I hear the companions of the Prophet (SAWS) being cursed at your place while you do not refuse and react? With my ears and heart I bear witness that the messenger of Allah (SAWS) said: Abu Bakr is in heaven, and `Umar is in heaven, and `Uthman is in heaven, and `Ali is in heaven, and Talhah is in heaven, and al-Zubayr is in heaven, and `Abdul-Rahman ibn `Awf is in heaven, and Sa`d is in heaven and another ninth that if I wish to name I would name.” So the people of the mosque went out asking him by Allah to name the ninth: “O companion of Rassul-Allah (SAWS) who is he?” he said: “You asked me by the almighty Lord, I am the ninth of the believers and the Prophet (SAWS) is the tenth.” then he said: “By Allah, a single battle that any of these men faced alongside the prophet (SAWS) in the cause of Allah is better than all your good deeds all your lives even if you were given the age of Nuh (as).”]
3- abu Dharr (ra) narrates:
عن أبي ذر قال دخل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم منزل عائشة فقال “يا عائشة ألا أبشرك قالت بلى يا رسول الله قال أبوك في الجنة ورفيقه إبراهيم وعمر في الجنة ورفيقه نوح وعثمان في الجنة ورفيقه أنا وعلي في الجنة ورفيقه يحيى بن زكريا وطلحة في الجنة ورفيقه داود والزبير في الجنة ورفيقه إسماعيل وسعد بن أبي وقاص في الجنة ورفيقه سليمان بن داود عليه السلام وسعيد بن زيد في الجنة موسى بن عمران وعبد الرحمن بن عوف في الجنة ورفيقه عيسى بن مريم وأبو عبيدة بن الجراح في الجنة ورفيقه إدريس عليه السلام ثم قال يا عائشة أنا سيد المرسلين وأبوك أفضل الصديقين وأنت أم المؤمنين”
[The Prophet (SAWS) entered the house of `Aisha and said: “O `Aisha do I give you glad tidings?” she said: “Yes O messenger of Allah” he said: ” Your father is in heaven and his companion is Ibrahim, `Umar is in heaven and his companion is Nuh, `Uthman is in heaven and his companion is myself, `Ali is in heaven and his companion is Yahya bin Zakariya, Talha is in heaven and his companion is Dawud, Zubayr is in heaven and his companion is Isma`eel, Sa`d bin abi Waqqas is in heaven and his companion is Suleiman bin Dawud, Sa`eed bin Zayd is in heaven and his companion is Musa bin `Imran, `Abdul-Rahman bin `Awf is in heaven and his companion `Isa bin Mariam, and abu `Ubaydah bin al-Jarrah is in heaven and his companion is Idris.” then he said: “O `Aisha, I am the master of the messengers and your father is the best of the siddiqeen and you are the mother of believers.”]
This last one is rare, it is found in:
1- Seerat al-Malla’ also known as Wasilat al-Muta`abideen.
2- al-Riyad al-Nadirah fi Manaqib al-`Asharah.
In general, This narration is authentic.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
The 12 Imams didn’t narrate this important incident
We don’t find the hadith of pen and paper in the authentic Shia narrations. There is not a single Sahih Shia narration regarding this incident. One is just amazed at the omission of this important incident from the Shia books. While the Shias try to accuse Umar (ra) for this incident, they forget that the real accusation is actually upon the Shia Imams who didn’t narrate this important narration. The only thing which relieves them of this accusation is that they didn’t consider this incident to be of any importance. While the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) are the number one target in the Shia book in the narrations of the 12 Imams, the absence of this narration proves that even their Imams didn’t find anything wrong with this incident. If this incident indeed happened and the Shia Imams didn’t narrate it, it raises serious concerns on the knowledge of the Shia Imams.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) lived for 4 days after this incident
This incident happened on Thursday. The Prophet (peace be upon him) died on Monday. Even if we consider the Monday to be the very next one, there were four days during which the Prophet (peace be upon him) could make his will written. Ali and the Bani Hashim were present with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and they could read and write. We don’t find any narration that the Prophet (peace be upon him) made his will recorded during these days. It can be due to two reasons. Either he didn’t consider it obligatory, for the Prophet (peace be upon him) was duty bound to preach what is revealed to him, or it was something he had already told the people and he wanted to stress it again by making it written. The fact is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) didn’t make his will recorded, and this goes in the favour of Umar (ra) and against the Shias, who want to presume that it was regarding the imamate of Ali, which couldn’t have been the case, since the Prophet (peace be upon him) was duty bound to preach what is revealed to him.
The companions were asking a question, and not making a statement
In the narrations, we read that the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were asking question regarding the state of the Prophet (peace be upon him), nowhere did they make a statement regarding his condition.
It was the duty of Ali to bring pen and paper, not the other companions
The other companions were guests, so it was not their duty to bring pen and paper, rather it was the duty of Ali and Aqeel and the other household members to bring pen and paper. It is strange that a guest is supposed to bring pen and paper in the house of his host.
Ibn Abbas never accused Umar (ra) in any one narration
In all the narrations, we see that Ibn Abbas said
فتنازعوا ولا ينبغي عند نبي تنازع
The people differed in their opinions although it was improper to differ in front of a Prophet.
It proves that even he didn’t consider the words of Umar (ra) to be blameworthy. He complained only about the quarrel, and the quarrel was done by both sides, whether they wanted the will to be written, or those who didn’t want the will to be written in view of the condition of the Prophet (peace be upon him). If Ibn Abbas had seen the Shia view on this narration, he himself would have been amazed to see such a strange conclusion on the basis of his narration. The Shias can’t provide a single narration in which Ibn Abbas criticized Umar (ra).
If the pen and paper event was for the documentation of Imamate of Ali, then Ghadeer incident loses all its value
As Farid brother mentioned to me, the pen and paper event couldn’t be for the documentation of Imamate of Ali. Because Shias claim that the Ghadeer incident was regarding the announcement of Imamate of Ali. Hence if the Imamate of Ali was announced in front of a large gathering of the companions, it doesn’t make sense that the Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted to write it down at the hands of Ali in the small gathering in his house. If the people got misguided even after the Ghadeer incident, they were not going to be protected from misguidance because of the Pen and paper incident. So the Pen and Paper incident can neither be regarding the imamate of Ali, nor it can be regarding anything new.
What the Prophet (peace be upon him) meant from ‘So that you will not go astray’
There are two things that result from this statement. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was mentioning this regarding the whole Ummah, or he was mentioning it regarding each and every one in the Ummah. The second is not possible, since he already prophecized that 72 sects will be deviated. So it means that he was mentioning this regarding the whole Ummah. And the Whole Ummah didn’t go astray like the previous nations. The Prophet (peace be upon him) didn’t write the will again because he realized that the whole Ummah wouldn’t go astray. This might be due to his agreement with what Umar said that Quran is sufficient (and in its presence, the whole Ummah will not go astray) or it might be due to any other reason due to which the Prophet (peace be upon him) didn’t write it again.
Ali must have been in agreement with the view of Umar
This must have been the case, and if it was otherwise, why would Ali quarrel? If he wanted the will to be written, who could stop him from bringing the pen and paper as he was the member of the household, and it was his duty to bring pen and paper. He couldn’t be waiting till the result of the conflict. This doesn’t make sense, if we believe that he wanted the will to be written. He couldn’t be overpowered by the guests as well, since the bani hashim were present in the house, and he was not alone. So if he wanted the will to be written, he would have brought the pen and paper and write the will of the Prophet (peace be upon him).