The Muslim majority go all out to defend the companions – particularly the Shaikhain (Abu Bakr and Umar) and the wives from taints of treachery, hypocrisy and deceit.

Their primary argument in defense of the Shaikhain and wives is the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) consent in admitting them in his gatherings and his house. Had the Shaikhain and wives been unworthy and treacherous, why did the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) allow them to get close to him and the Muslims?

Reply

There are multiple aspects to this rather basic defense of the Shaikhain and wives. Mere companionship is hardly any reason to respect someone and appoint him as a ‘caliph’ or to follow a wife in battle against the brother and ‘self of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)’ and his real caliph.

Nonetheless since companionship is the first and last line of defense for the Muslim majority as regards the wives and Shaikhain, we will answer why the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) allowed such individuals in his presence.

1. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was commanded to go by the apparent
2. Why different rule for Abu Talib (a.s.)?
3. Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was troubled by wives and companions but was shy of dismissing them
4. Allah permits Iblis to mingle with His Angels
5. Allah and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) mock the hypocrites by ‘accepting’ them
6. Even past prophets tolerated treacherous companions and wives e.g. Samiri and Safra bint Shoaib
7. Prophet Esa (a.s.) is betrayed by his select companion Yahuda
8. The faith of the Meccans post Conquest of Mecca – Muawiyah, Abdullah Ibn Saad Ibn Abi Sarh
9. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was tested through the oppressors
10. Treachery of wives and fickle nature of companions in the Holy Quran
11. Prophet (s.a.w.a.) dismisses Umar among others from his presence
12. How can Muslims forget Marwan?

Back to Top1. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was commanded to go by the apparent

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was commanded by Allah to accept the ‘Islam’ of the Muslims in its apparent form with mere recitation of the dual testimony of Tauheed and Prophethood. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was not ordered to delve on the sincerity of faith or lack thereof or to evaluate the Muslims through the prism of the unseen (Ilme Ghaib).

Merely by reciting the dual testimony many hypocrites including hardcore enemies like Umayyah Ibn Khalaf were able to accompany the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and mingle with the Muslims. This is acknowledged by all Muslims.

Allah points this out in the Holy Quran:

وَمِمَّنْ حَوْلَكُم مِّنَ الأَعْرَابِ مُنَافِقُونَ وَمِنْ أَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ مَرَدُواْ عَلَى النِّفَاقِ لاَ تَعْلَمُهُمْ نَحْنُ نَعْلَمُهُمْ سَنُعَذِّبُهُم مَّرَّتَيْنِ ثُمَّ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَى عَذَابٍ عَظِيم

‘And from among those who are round about you of the dwellers of the desert there are hypocrites, and from among the people of Medina (also); they are stubborn in hypocrisy; you do not know them; We know them; We will chastise them twice then shall they be turned back to a grievous chastisement.’

  • Surah Taubah (9): 101

According to this and many other verses, just because the Shaikhain and wives were around the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) it does not automatically make them Muslims.

Back to Top2. Why different rule for Abu Talib (a.s.)?

While the common Muslims are keen to show companionship as proof of faith of the Shaikhain and wives, we must ask them why they do not use the same yardstick for the faith of Abu Talib (a.s.).

After all, who has invested more time and energy in the company of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) than Abu Talib (a.s.)?

But yet Abu Talib (a.s.) is a disbeliever but Shaikhain and wives are Muslims!

Back to Top3. Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was troubled by wives and companions but was shy of dismissing them

The Holy Quran has highlighted on more than one occasion how the behavior of companions and wives troubled him, but the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) tolerated them.

‘…surely this gives the Prophet trouble, but he is shy of (dismissing) you…’

  • Surah Ahzab (33): 53

This tolerant behavior was the hallmark of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) excellent ethics.

‘Thus it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently…’

  • Surah Ale Imran (3): 159

Back to Top4. Allah permits Iblis to mingle with His Angels

Allah has also dealt with His Servants based on the apparent and not necessarily with the Knowledge of the Unseen.

Allah was aware of Iblis’s rebellious nature but permitted him to join the ranks of angels based on years of worship and devotion. When Iblis refrained from prostrating to Prophet Adam (a.s.) his rebellious nature stood exposed and Allah evicted him immediately from His Assemblies.

Likewise, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) also permitted the Shaikhain and the wives to mingle with the Muslims despite their rebellious nature.

Back to Top5. Allah and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) mock the hypocrites by ‘accepting’ them

Allah declares regarding the hypocrites:

For instance, Prophet Moosa (a.s.) permitted Samiri to attend his gatherings based on his apparent faith. The same Samiri single-handedly deviated the Bani Israel in the absence of Prophet Moosa (a.s.).

اللَّهُ يَسْتَهْزِئُ بِهِمْ وَ يَمُدُّهُمْ فِي طُغْيانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُون

…Allah shall pay them back their mockery, and He leaves them alone in their inordinacy, blindly wandering on (Surah Baqarah (2): 15)

Under this verse, Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) informs: In this world, Allah’s manner of mocking them is that they are being dealt with as per Islamic rules because of their outward show of Islam with (false) hearing and obeying and agreeing. Therefore the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.a.) hints at this show of Islam, until sincere believers understand what the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) means with this hinting and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) orders to curse them (the hypocrites who make a show of belief).

  • Tafseer of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) p 123 under Surah Baqarah (2): 15
  • Tafseer al-Safi v 1 p 97 under Surah Baqarah (2): 15
  • Tafseer al-Burhan v 1 p 144 under Surah Baqarah (2): 15

Clearly the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) only made a show of accepting the hypocrite companions and wives, all this to hint at their hypocrisy for the benefit of the sincere believers. In fact Allah and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) were only mocking them by accepting them.

Back to Top6. Even past prophets tolerated treacherous companions and wives e.g. Samiri and Safra bint Shoaib

It was the Sunnah (practice) of prophets to treat the companions based on the apparent and accordingly permit them in their assemblies.

For instance, Prophet Moosa (a.s.) permitted Samiri to attend his gatherings based on his apparent faith. The same Samiri single-handedly deviated the Bani Israel in the absence of Prophet Moosa (a.s.).

Also, he (a.s.) remained married to Safra bint Shoaib who went on to wage a battle with his chosen successor – Prophet Yusha Ibn Noon (a.s.).

And we find that there is much in common between Bani Israel and the Muslims going by traditions like this one:

Salman (r.a.) said: And I have heard the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) say: My community will choose the tradition of Bani Israel in exactly the same manner that one foot falls on the other foot, one span equal to another span, one hand like the other, one distance like the other distance, until they enter a hole then these people will also enter that hole. Surely, Torah and the Quran were written by one Angel, on one skin, and with one pen, and all examples with tradition became equal.

  • Kitab-o-Sulaim b. Qays al-Hilaali (r.a.) vol 2 pg 599

This is exactly what transpired in the Muslim nation when deviation reared its head after the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise, mainly due to the handiwork of a few ‘Muslim’ men and women.

Back to Top7. Prophet Esa (a.s.) is betrayed by his select companion Yahuda

Even Prophet Esa (a.s.) allowed in his meetings suspect companions. One of these companions – Yahuda (Judas) – got so close to Prophet Esa (a.s.) that he eventually betrayed him (a.s.).

Therefore it is not surprising that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) permitted the Shaikhain in his meetings, even at the risk of betrayal.

Back to Top8. The faith of the Meccans post Conquest of Mecca – Muawiyah, Abdullah Ibn Saad Ibn Abi Sarh

The Muslim majority acknowledge that post Conquest of Mecca in 8th Hijrah, the Meccan infidels accepted Islam under duress and in this way entered the Islamic fold with all their past crimes forgiven. This includes infidels like Muawiyah, Abu Sufyan, Abdullah Ibn Saad Ibn Abi Sarh (Usman’s foster brother).

The Islam of Abu Sufyan’s progeny and others who embraced faith after the conquest of Mecca is questionable according to all Muslims. In fact, those who accepted Islam after the Meccan conquest are scornfully referred to as ‘Tulaqa’ – liberated ones.

The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in his mercy enlisted them for some official tasks to inculcate a feeling of belongingness and fidelity to Islam. But they abused this position and someone like Abdullah Ibn Saad Ibn Abi Sarh who tampered with the Quranic text was ordered by divine command to be killed even if found clutching the curtain of the Kaaba.

  • Al-Istiaab v 2 p 378, Al-Isabah under alphabet العين))

Likewise we see Muawiyah going to war with the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) true caliph – Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and eventually usurping caliphate, which rested with the Bani Umayyah for many decades.

We say – Didn’t the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) know like all other Muslims that the faith of the Meccan infidels like Abdullah Ibn Saad, Muawiyah and Abu Sufyan was always suspect? But still in his mercy and in keeping with the divine command to respect the apparent, he (s.a.w.a.) permitted them to attend his gatherings.

This was also how the Shaikhain and the wives made their way in the Prophet’s presence.

Back to Top9. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was tested through the oppressors

The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) knew the killers of his Ahle Bait (a.s.), observed them regularly, but allowed them in his midst out of mercy and compassion as also a divine test that he (s.a.w.a.) agreed to subject himself and his Ahle Bait (a.s.) to.

The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was already informed by Allah about what his brother and caliph – Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and his sons would be made to undergo at the hands of the very ‘Muslims’ who were moving about freely. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) submitted to the divine decree that the nation would not unite in love for Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and would oppress him and his sons.

That’s why he allowed the worst enemies of Islam and his Ahle Bait (a.s.) to get close to him as he was unwilling to shirk from the divine test even when the opportunity presented itself.

Therefore it should not surprise anyone how the Shaikhain and the wives were permitted by the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to move about freely. For the same reason, he (s.a.w.a.) even overlooked his uncle Abbas knowing fully well that one day his children (Bani Abbas) would torment the Ahle Bait (a.s.).

Back to Top10. Treachery of wives and fickle nature of companions in the Holy Quran

Why do these Muslims act so surprised when they are informed of the true nature of the companions and wives?

Haven’t they reflected on the Holy Quran or are there locks on their hearts?

The wives are repeatedly ticked off as some of these verses indicate:

وَإِذْ أَسَرَّ النَّبِيُّ إِلَى بَعْضِ أَزْوَاجِهِ حَدِيثًا فَلَمَّا نَبَّأَتْ بِهِ وَأَظْهَرَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ

‘And when the prophet secretly communicated a piece of information to one of his wives — but when she informed (others) of it, and Allah made him to know it…’

  • Surah Tahreem (66): 3

يَا نِسَاء النَّبِيِّ مَن يَأْتِ مِنكُنَّ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ يُضَاعَفْ لَهَا الْعَذَابُ ضِعْفَيْنِ وَكَانَ ذَلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرًا

O wives of the prophet! Whoever of you commits an open indecency, the punishment shall be increased to her doubly; and this is easy to Allah.

  • Surah Ahzaab (33): 30

And there are plenty more verses condemning the wives – many in Surah Ahzab itself.

As regards the companions and their fickle nature, how many verses must we reproduce?

  • Running away from the battles of Ohad and Hunain
  • Abandoning the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in the middle of the Friday sermon for trade and sport
  • Distressing the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) by threatening to marry his widows
  • Raising the voice in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) presence

These are but a few instances. There are plenty more in just the Holy Quran and when we delve in the Sunnah, then the list runs into volumes.

Back to Top11. Prophet (s.a.w.a.) dismisses Umar among others from his presence

During his final sickness, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) demanded pen and paper for the purpose of documenting his will. This led to some companions opposing the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) clear instruction with Umar leading the dissidents. In fact Umar went so far as to call the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) delirious in sickness (Allah forbid).

  • Sahih Bukhari Chapter on Knowledge vol 1 pg 22
  • Musnad-e-Ahmad b. Hanbal, Research of Ahmad Muhammad Shakir, trad 2,996
  • Tabaqaat of Ibn Saad vol 2 pg 244 – Beirut Edition

The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) shooed Umar and his gang away in disgust:

قَالَ: قُوْمُوْا عَنِّیْ و لاَ یَنْبَغِیْ عِنْدِی التَّنَازَعُ

Go away from me, it is not appropriate to argue in my presence.

  • Sahih Bukhari Chapter on Knowledge vol 1 pg 22
  • Taarikh Abil Fida vol 1 pg 15

Plainly the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was not pleased with the behavior of certain companions. And while his merciful nature tolerated much, he did occasionally dismiss them from his gatherings in a bid to show how Allah and he felt about certain companions and wives.

So the Muslims must reconsider the question – why did the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) allow the Shaikhain and wives in his gatherings – because clearly while he (s.a.w.a.) allowed them, he (s.a.w.a.) also dismissed them.

This does not reflect well on the Shaikhain and wives at all. It’s a bit like while the Shaikhain participated in battles they were also quick to flee. This is no virtue, in fact it’s a disgrace!

Back to Top12. How can Muslims forget Marwan?

While the Muslims go on about companionship and how this is evidence that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was pleased with them, we would like to draw their attention to Marwan Ibn Hakam and his father Hakam Ibn Aas. They were both banished from Medina for their insolence.

It is plain as sunlight that Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) were displeased with both of them. The Shaikhain even with their penchant for disregarding the Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) were particularly aware of Marwan’s crime and sustained his exile.

However, Usman Ibn Affan, rolled out the red carpet for Marwan and others like Abdullah Ibn Saad Ibn Abi Sarh in clear violation of Allah‘s and the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) command.

Not only did he recall them, he appointed Marwan and Abdullah Ibn Saad Ibn Sarh, among others to prominent positions in government.

Our question to the Muslims enamored with the companionship of Shaikhain and wives is –

Do they consider Abdullah Ibn Saad Ibn Abi Sarh, Marwan, his father Hakam and the children of Marwan (Bani Marwan) and the one who recalled them – Usman Ibn Affan – worthy of companionship?

Even if the Shaikhain and wives are considered ‘respectable’ because of presence in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) gatherings and even this is disputable as we have shown, what is the virtue of those evicted by the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) from his gatherings and in fact from the city?

Clearly the Muslims of the time were acutely aware of the villainous nature of the Bani Umayyah (to which both Usman and Marwan belonged), which is why they did what they did when they finally ran out of patience with the two of them.

But yet Usman, Marwan and Abdullah Ibn Saad Ibn Abi Sarh continue to command unduly high respect within the Muslim majority. The Bani Marwan in fact went on to rule the Muslims for generations – an unthinkable proposition at the time of being banished by the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

This only means one thing – Presence in the gatherings of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is not the real reason why Muslims respect the Shaikhain, wives and miscellaneous companions.

It is therefore surprising why we see such a big deal being made of companionship. The Muslims must coin another argument and come out with why they really believe these individuals command any form of respect in Islam.