Hadith part 9: Adhere to my sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly-guided successors after me ... (1)
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It was proven to you in the chapter about the history of Hadith that the prophet allowed and encouraged the writing and narration of his Sunnah. Many of the companions followed his instructions, including Abu Bakr himself who wrote 500 Hadiths. However, after Abu Bakr usurped the caliphate, he ordered the people not to narrate from the prophet and burned all the Hadith he wrote with his own hands. When Umar succeeded him, he asked the people to bring to him all their written Hadith so he can compile them into one document, but he ended up burning them. He further instructed all his provinces to destroy all the Hadith they had, and punished those who narrated from the prophet, except those he approved of. Uthman also banned the narration of Hadith, except for the narrations that Umar allowed during his reign. So the first three caliphs did exactly the opposite of what the prophet instructed. Instead of promoting the narration and writing of his Hadith to share and distribute this wealth of knowledge across the world and allow people to understand Islam, they did the opposite for reasons already discussed in the chapter of Hadith History.

Ahlul Bayt did not follow this destructive practice. On the contrary, they did as the prophet instructed. Afterall, This is expected since they are the second of the Thaqalayn, whom we are commanded to adhere and obey unconditionally just like we adhere to and obey the Quran.

Yet, you hear too often that the rightly guided caliphs mentioned in the following narration refer primarily to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, as well as Ali:

Adhere to my sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly-guided successors after me. Hold on to it and cling on to it stubbornly.
فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء المهديِّين الراشدين تمسكوا بها وعضُّوا عليها بالنَّواجذ

al-Tirmidhi reported this hadith in his Sunan:

al-Irbadd ibn Sariya narrated: "The Messenger of Allah gave us a sermon by which our hearts were filled with fear and tears came to our eyes. We said: 'O Messenger of Allah, it is as though this is a farewell sermon, so counsel us'. He said: 'I counsel you to fear Allah and to give absolute obedience even if a slave becomes your leader. Verily he who lives among you will see lots desagreement, Beware of newly invented matters, for they lead you astray. You must keep to my sunnah and to the sunnah of the rightly guided Caliphs - cling to them stubbornly.'"
al-Tirmidhi said that this Hadith is sound and authentic.
حدّثنا علي بن حجر، حدّثنا بقيّة بن الوليد، عن بحير بن سعيد، عن خالد بن معدان، عن عبدالرحمن بن عمرو السلمي، عن العرباض بن سارية، قال: وعظنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلّم يوماً بعد صلاة الغداة موعظة بليغة، ذرفت منها العيون، ووجلت منها القلوب. فقال رجل: إن هذه موعظة مودّعٍ، فماذا تعهد إلينا يا رسول الله ؟
قال: أوصيكم بتقوى الله، والسمع والطاعة وإن عبد حبشي، فإنه من يعش منكم يرى اختلافاً كثيراً، وإياكم ومحدثات الأمور فإنها ضلالة، فمن أدرك ذلك منكم فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء الراشدين المهديّين، عضّوا عليها بالنواجذ.
قال أبو عيسى: هذا حديث حسن صحيح.

وقد روى ثور بن يزيد، عن خالد بن معدان، عن عبدالرحمن بن عمرو السلمي، عن العرباض بن سارية، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلّم نحو هذا، حدثنا بذلك: الحسن بن علي الخلاّل وغير واحد، قالوا: حدثنا أبو عاصم، عن ثور بن يزيد، عن خالد بن معدان، عن عبدالرحمن بن عمرو السلمي، عن العرباض بن سارية، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلّم، نحوه.

وقد روي هذا الحديث عن حجر بن حجر، عن عرباض بن سارية، عن إلنبي صلّى الله عليه وسلّم، نحوه.

Abu Dawud reported this hadith in his Sunan:

al-Irbadd ibn Sariya narrated: "The Messenger of Allah gave us an eloquent sermon by which our hearts were filled with fear and tears came to our eyes. We said: 'O Messenger of Allah, it is as though this is a farewell sermon, so counsel us'. He said: 'I counsel you to fear Allah and to give absolute obedience even if a slave becomes your leader. Verily he who lives among you after me will see lots of desagreement, so you must keep to my sunnah and to the sunnah of the rightly guided Caliphs - cling to them stubbornly. Beware of newly invented matters, for every invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is a going astray, and every going astray is in Hell-fire.'"
al-Tirmidhi said that this Hadith is sound and authentic.
حدثنا أحمد بن حنبل، ثنا الوليد بن مسلم، ثنا ثور بن يزيد، قال: حدثني خالد بن معدان، قال: حدثني عبدالرحمن بن عمرو السلمي وحجر بن حجر، قالا:
أتينا العرباض بن سارية ـ وهو ممن نزل فيه: (ولا على الذين إذا ما أتوك لتحملهم قلت لا أجد ما أحملكم عليه) ـ فسلّمنا وقلنا: اتيناك زائرين وعائدين ومقتبسين. فقال العرباض:
صلى بنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه [واله] وسلم ذات يوم، ثم أقبل علينا فوعظنا موعظة بليغة ذرفت منها العيون، ووجلت منها القلوب. فقال قائل: يا رسول الله، كأنّ هذا موعظة مودع، فماذا تعهد إلينا ؟
فقال: أوصيكم بتقوى الله والسمع والطاعة وان عبدّ حبشي، فإنه من يعش منكم بعدي فسيرى اختلافاً كثيراً، فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء المهديين الراشدين، تمسّكوا بها وعضوا عليها بالنواجذ، وايّاكم ومحدثات الأمور، فإن كل محدثة بدعة، وكل بدعة ضلالة

ibn Majah reported this hadith in his Sunan as well, similar to that of Abu Dawud:

حدثنا عبدالله بن أحمد بن بشير بن ذكوان الدمشقي، ثنا الوليد بن مسلم، ثنا عبدالله بن العلاء ـ يعني ابن زبر ـ، حدثني يحيى بن أبي المطاع، قال: سمعت العرباض بن سارية يقول:
قام فينا رسول الله صلى الله عليه [واله] وسلّم ذات يوم، فوعظنا موعظة بليغة وجلت منها القلوب، وذرفت منها العيون. فقيل: يا رسول الله، وعظتنا موعظة مودّع فاعهد إلينا بعهد.
فقال: عليكم بتقوى الله، والسمع والطاعة وان عبداً حبشياً، وسترون من بعدي اختلافاً شديداً، فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء الراشدين المهديين، عضّوا عليها بالنواجذ، وايّاكم والأمور المحدثات، فإن كل بدعة ضلالة.

حدّثنا إسماعيل بن بشر بن منصور واسحاق بن إبراهيم السواق، قالا: ثنا عبدالرحمن بن مهديّ، عن معاوية بن صالح، عن ضمرة بن حبيب، عن عبد الرحمن بن عمرو السلمي، انه سمع العرباض بن سارية يقول:
وعظنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه [واله] وسلم موعظة ذرفت منها العيون، ووجلت منها القلوب. فقلنا: يا رسول الله، إن هذه لموعظة مودع، فماذا تعهد إلينا ؟
قال: قد تركتكم على البيضاء، ليلها كنهارها، لا يزيغ عنها بعدي إلا هالك، من يعش منكم فسيرى اختلافاً كثيراً، فعليكم بما عرفتم من سنتي وسنة الخلفاء الراشدين المهديين، عضوا عليها بالنواجذ، وعليكم بالطاعة وإن عبداً حبشياً، فإنما المؤمن كالجمل الأنف حينما قيد انقاد.

حدثنا يحيى بن حكيم، ثنا عبدالملك بن الصباح المسمعي، ثنا ثور بن يزيد، عن خالد بن معدان، عن عبدالرحمن بن عمرو، عن العرباض بن سارية، قال:
صلّى بنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه [واله] وسلم صلاة الصبح، ثم أقبل علينا بوجهه، فوعظنا موعظة بليغة. فذكر نحوه لا

Ahmad ibn Hanbal reported about 5 similar narrations from the following Isnads, leading up to the same al-I'irbadd ibn Sariya:

حدثنا عبدالله، حدثني أبي، ثنا عبدالرحمن بن مهدي، ثنا معاوية ـ يعني ابن صالح ـ، عن ضمرة بن حبيب، عن عبدالرحمن بن عمرو السلمي، أنه سمع العرباض بن سارية، قال:...

حدثنا عبدالله، حدثني أبي، ثنا الضحاك بن مخلد، عن ثور، عن خالد بن معدان، عن عبدالرحمن بن عمرو السلمي، عن عرباض بن سارية، قال:...

حدثنا عبدالله، حدثني أبي، ثنا الوليد بن مسلم، ثنا ثور بن يزيد، ثنا خالد ابن معدان، قال: ثنا عبدالرحمن بن عمرو السلمي وحجر بن حجر، قالا: أتينا العرباض بن سارية ـ وهو ممن نزل فيه: (ولا على الذين إذا ما أتوك لتحملهم قلت لا أجد ما أحملكم عليه) ـ فسلّمنا وقلنا: أتيناك زائرين وعائدين ومقتبسين. فقال عرباض:...

حدّثنا عبدالله، حدّثني أبي، ثنا حياة بن شريح، ثنا بقية، حدثني بحير بن سعيد، عن خالد بن معدان، عن ابن أبي بلال، عن عرباض بن سارية...

حدّثنا عبدالله، حدثني أبي، حدثنا إسماعيل، عن هشام الدستوائي، عن يحيى بن أبي كثير، عن محمد بن إبراهيم بن الحارث، عن خالد بن معدان، عن ابن أبي بلال، عن العرباض بن سارية...

al-Hakim reported the same narration from the same al-I'irbadd ibn Sariya and said the narration was authentic:

حدثنا أبو العباس محمد بن يعقوب، ثنا العباس بن محمد الدوري، ثنا أبو عاصم، ثنا ثور بن يزيد، ثنا خالد بن معدان، عن عبدالرحمن بن عمرو السلمي، عن العرباض بن سارية، قال:...
هذا حديث صحيح ليس له علّة
وقد احتجّ البخاري بعبد الرحمن بن عمرو وثور بن يزيد، وروى هذا الحديث في أول كتاب الاعتصام بالسنة. والّذي عندي أنهما ـ رحمهما الله ـ توهّما أنه ليس له راوٍ عن خالد بن معدان غير ثور بن يزيد، وقد رواه محمد بن إبراهيم بن الحارث المخرج حديثه في الصحيحين عن خالد بن معدان.

حدثنا أبو عبدالله الحسين بن الحسن بن أيوب، ثنا أبو حاتم محمد بن إدريس الحنظلي، ثنا عبدالله بن يوسف التنيسي، ثنا الليث، عن يزيد بن الهاد، عن محمد بن إبراهيم. عن خالد بن معدان، عن عبدالرحمن بن عمرو، عن العرباض بن سارية ـ من بني سليم، من أهل الصفة ـ قال: ...
هذا إسناد صحيح على شرطهما جميعاً، ولا أعرف له علّةً.
وقد تابع ضمرة بن حبيب خالد بن معدان على رواية هذا الحديث عن عبدالرحمن بن عمرو السلمي.

حدثنا أبو الحسن أحمد بن محمد العنبري، ثنا عثمان بن سعيد الدارمي. وأخبرنا أبو بكر محمد بن المؤمل، ثنا الفضل بن محمد، قالا: ثنا أبو صالح، عن معاوية بن صالح.
وأخبرنا أبو بكر أحمد بن جعفر القطيعي، ثنا عبدالله بن أحمد بن حنبل، حدّثني أبي، ثنا عبدالرحمن ـ يعني ابن مهدي ـ، عن معاوية بن صالح.
عن ضمرة بن حبيب، عن عبدالرحمن بن عمرو السلمي، أنه سمع العرباض ابن سارية قال:...

Realize that al-Bukhari and Muslim did not report this hadith. Were they not aware of it? Or they were but they did not consider it authentic? The majority of the Sunnis consider this narration authentic. Moreover, as I pointed out above, the majority of the Muslims, namely the Sunnis, believe that the unnamed rightly-guided successors mentioned in this narration refer to the first four caliphs, that is Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, although the prophet did not name them. I find this quite an interesting interpolation.

Before analyzing this narration, let's summarize its keypoints:

  1. Point #1:
    It is described that this sermon appears to be a farwell sermon given by the prophet after one of the congregational prayers, to many of the companions. So many people were present and heard it.

  2. Point #2:
    The prophet advised them to fear Allah and to give absolute obedience even if a slave became their leader.

  3. Point #3:
    Those who live long enough after the prophet will witness lots of desagreement after the prophet.

  4. Point #4:
    To survive these desagreements and not stray, the prophet commanded the companions to adhere to his sunnah and to the sunnah of the rightly guided Caliphs.

  5. Point #5:
    The prophet warned them about newly invented matters, for every invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is a going astray, and every going astray is in Hell-fire.

Doctor Ezzat Ali A'atiya made the following comment about this narration in his book al-Bida'a:
...In the hadith of Irbad ibn Sariya, the prophet said: "Adhere to my sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs and cling to them stubornly..." Here the prophet commanded us to adhere to them because he knew that they will not make mistakes about their Ijtihad and he also knew that some of his Sunnah will not take place but during their era.
Having said this, the following saying: "Every Ijtihad and Measure from the rightly guided caliphs that differ from the Sunnah of the prophet is not to be followed" is a saying without knowledge. Otherwise, how would the prophet command us to follow someone who would differ from his Sunnah? How can there be any conflict between the one whom the prophet ordered us to follow and his Sunnah?
قرنَ الرسولُ صَلّى اللهُ عَليهِ وسَلَّمَ سُنَّة الخلفاءِ الراشدينَ بسُنَّته.. ففي حديث العرباضِ بن سارية قالَ: قالَ رسولُ اللّهِ صَلّى اللهُ عَليهِ وسَلَّمَ: عليكُم بسُنَّتي وسنةِ الخلفاءِ الراشدينَ عضّوا عليها بالنواجذ.. وإنَّما أمرَ صَلّى اللهُ عَليهِ وسَلَّمَ باتباعهم؛ لأنَّه علم أنَّهم لا يخطئون فيما يستخرجونه بالاجتهاد، ولأنَّه علم أنَّ بعضَ سُنَّته لا يثبت إلاّ في عصرهم.
وعلى ذلك فالقول: (بأنَّ كلَّ اجتهادٍ وقياسٍ من الخلفاء الراشدين يخالفُ السُنَّة الصحيحةَ لا ينبغي أنْ يُتمسك به) هو قول بغيرِ علم؛ إذ كيف يأمرُ صَلّى اللهُ عَليهِ وسَلَّمَ باتباع ما يخالف سنته؟ وكيفَ تحدثُ المخالفةُ بينَ ما أمرَ النبي صَلّى اللهُ عَليهِ وسَلَّمَ بإتباعه وبينَ سنته.

Yes, certainly the messenger of Allah will not command us to adhere to people who are likely to make mistakes and mislead his Ummah. Realizing that the command of the prophet is from Allah, by definition, these special people, the rightly guided successors of the prophet, will not and never differ from the Sunnah of the prophet. Their Sunnah is nothing but the Sunnah of the prophet. Their sayings are according to the Sunnah of the prophet and their interpretation of the Quran is that of the prophet. Therefore, the above statement makes full sense, except that it does not and cannot apply to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman. Be patient. The explanation is coming.

al-Sheikh Abdul Aziz Issa commented:

Whoever takes from what was followed at the time of the prophet, Abu Bakr, Umar is good, and whoever takes from what was followed at the time of Uthman is not bad either and there is no hardship on him.
فمن أخذَ بما كانَ متبعاً في عهد رسولِ اللهِ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسَلَّمَ وأبي بكرٍ وعمر فحسنٌ، ومَن أخذَ بما كانَ متبعاً في عهد عثمانَ فلا بأسَ به ولا حرجَ عليه في ذلك.

Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi commented:

The prophet said in an authentic hadith: "You must keep to my sunnah and to the sunnah of the rightly guided Caliphs - cling to them stubbornly. Beware of newly invented matters..." This Hadith suggests that the sunnah of the caliphs comes after the Sunnah of the prophet, because what they established as a way for all to follow falls in 2 categories: it is either supported by the Sharia'a and therefore it is not a Bida'a or it cannot be supported by the Sharia'a God Forbid, but this Hadith proves that their way is sunnah...
وفي الصحيح قولُه صَلّى اللهُ عَليهِ وسَلَّمَ: (فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء الراشدين المهديين تمسكوا بها وعضوا عليها بالنواجذ، وإياكم ومحدثات الأُمور) فأعطى الحديثُ ـ كما ترى ـ أنَّ ما سنَّه الخلفاءُ الراشدونَ لاحقٌ بسُنَّة رسولِ اللّهِ صَلّى اللهُ عَليهِ وسَلَّمَ، لأنَّ ما سنُّوه لا يعدو أحدَ أمرَين: إمّا أنْ يكونَ مقصوداً بدليلٍ شرعي، فذلك سُنَّة لا بدعة، وإمّا بغيرِ دليل ـ ومعاذَ اللّهِ من ذلك ـ ولكنَّ هذا الحديث دليلٌ على إثباته سُنَّة، إذ قد أثبته ذلك صاحبُ الشريعة صَلّى عَليِهِ اللهُ وسَلَّمَ.

I wanted to bring to you these three comments so you can understand how this narration is used by the majority of the Muslims. According to their analysis, it is clear that anyone who claims that these caliphs commited sins or Bida'a or made mistakes in their judgement is a liar because the prophet commanded us to follow them and cling to them stubbornly.

The main objective of this e-paper is to logically show that these rightly guided caliphs cannot be referring to the first three caliphs for many logical reasons.

  1. This section deals with the Isnad of this narration. The following are the transmitters found in all the versions of this narration, all leading up to one companion: Irbad ibn Sariya.

    Thawr ibn Yazeed (ثور بن يزيد)
    This man seems to have hated Ali, which makes him a hypocrite, according to the authentic Sunnah of the prophet, which says (more...):

    Whoever hates us, Ahlul Bayt will enter the Hell-Fire.
    لا يبغضنا أهل البيت أحد إلا أدخله الله النار

    In another narration, the prophet said about Ali (more...):

    Whoever loves Ali has loved me, and whoever hates Ali has hated me.
    لا يحب عليا منافق ولا يبغضه مؤمن

    And in another one:

    The hypocrite will not love Ali and te believer will not hate him.
    من أحب عليا أحبني ومن أبغض عليا فقد أبغضني

    Here is what ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (Tahdheeb al-Tahdheeb) said about this man:

    This man used to hate Ali and used to out-spoken about it by saying: "I do not love a man who killed my grand-father." His grand-father was killed in Siffin when he fought on the side of Mua'awiya against Ali.
    أنَّه كانَ يبغضُ أميرَ المؤمنينَ علياً عَليهِ السلامُ، ويصرِّحُ عن ذلك بالقول: (لا أُحبُّ رجلاً قتلَ جدي)؛ وذلكَ لأنَّ جدَّه قد قُتل في صفين إلى صف معاويةَ بن أبي سفيان في حربه مَعَ أمير المؤمنين علي (عَليهِ السلامُ).

    ibn Hajar also said about him in the same book:

    It is said that he was Qadari. His grand-father was killed in Siffin with Mua'awiya. When al-Thawr mentioned Ali, he would say: "I do not love a man who killed my grand-father."
    ويُقالَ إنَّه كان قدرياً، وكان جدُّه قُتل يوم صفين مَعَ معاوية، فكانَ ثورٌ إذا ذَكرَ علياً قالَ: لا أُحبُّ رجلاً قتل جدّي

    Of course and as I would expect, a narrator can be accepted as reliable by some and rejected by others. So if Thawr truly hated Ali, then he would be a hypocrite and therefore taking any narrations from a hypocrite is just not acceptable, although many scholars have done so, and I would say irresponsibly. Do you truly believe that it is alright to learn the Sunnah of the prophet from someone who hated Ali or in general Ahlul bayt, when Allah commanded us to love them unconditionally?? Would Allah or His messenger accept that you take or learn the Sunnah of the prophet from a hypocrite, whose abode is the Hell-Fire?? Is it acceptable to take the pure Sunnah of the prophet from the enemies of Islam?? If such thing is accepatable for you, then it is probably also acceptable to take the hadith from Christians, Jews and maybe Pagans who deny the prophethood of Muhammad!

    Walid ibn Muslim (الوليد بن مسلم)
    Abu Bakr al-Mazuri was talking to Ahmad ibn Ahmad about al-Walid and Ahmad said that he makes lots of mistakes (قالَ أبو بكر المزوري: قلتُ لأحمد بن حنبل في الوليد، قالَ: هو كثير الخطأ)
    Abu Bakr al-Ismae'eli said that he heard someone narrating from Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal from his father who was asked about al-Walid and he said he used to attribute narrations to the prophet while they were actually attributed to a companions (أبو بكر الإسماعيلي: سمعتُ مَن يحكي عن عبد اللّه بن أحمد بن حنبل، عن أحمد، وسُئلَ عن الوليد بن مسلم فقالَ: كانَ رفّاعاً).
    Hanbal ibn Ishaq said that he heard Yehya ibn Mue'en saying that Abu Mashar said: "al-Walid used to take narrations from ibn Ubay al-Safar who was a liar" (حنبل بن اسحق: سمعتُ يحيى بن معين يقولُ: قالَ أبو مسهر: كانَ الوليد يأخذ من ابن أبي السَّفر حديث الأوزاعي، وكان ابن أبي السَّفر كذّاباً، وهو يقولُ فيها: قالَ الأوزاعي).

    Many other scholars have considered Walid ibn Muslim a weak narrator..

    Yehya ibn Abi Katheer (يحيى بن أبي كثير)
    He is also considered a weak narrator by many scholars, such as al-Dhahabi, al-U'uqayli, Yahya ibn Qattan, ibn Habban and others.

    Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn al-Harith (محمد بن إبراهيم بن الحارث)
    He was considered a weak narrator by Ahmad ibn Hanbal.

    Mua'awiya ibn Saleh (معاوية بن صالح)
    He was considered a weak narrator by many scholars.

    Amr Bin Abi Salma (عمرو بن أبي سلمة التينسي)
    He was considered a weak narrator by many scholars such as Abu Hatem, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Saji, al-U'uqayli, Yahya ibn Mue'en.

    Baqiyat ibn Walid ibn Bujayr ibn Sa'ad (بقية بن الوليد بن بُجير بن سعد)
    He was considered a weak narrator by many scholars as well.

    Of course, whether a narrator is strong or weak is a subjective matter because one scholar can make a narrator weak while another will make him strong. The point of this section is to prove that the different chains of transmission of this narration are very questionable.

    Notice that the main narrator of this hadith is the companion al-I'irbadd ibn Sariya, and no one else narrated this hadith. This kind of Isnad is termed as Ahad, which means all transmission lines lead to one man only. The context of this narration shows that the prophet was talking to many of his companions, probably in the Mosque, and was probably towards to the end of his days. al-I'irbadd ibn Sariya narrated:

    The Messenger of Allah gave us an eloquent sermon by which our hearts were filled with fear and tears came to our eyes. We said: 'O Messenger of Allah, it is as though this is a farewell sermon, so counsel us'...

    So clearly, for such an important sermon to take place, many of the companions must have been present. Why al-I'irbadd ibn Sariya is the only one narrating this hadith? Why did not the remaining companions narrate this hadith as well? Many companions narrated hadith al-Thaqalayn, hadith al-Ghadeer and many other events. Why not this one?? This fact throws doubts about the origin of this narration. Did it really come from the prophet?? Could it be the reason why al-Bukhari and Muslim did not report it?

    This narration is rational and could have been spoken by the messenger of Allah. But aside from its questionable chain of transmission, which leads to only one companion, there are other reasons why this narration is very doubtful.

  2. If the prophet truly told this tradition, then why did he not also inform us of the names of these rightly guided successors??? This would be the most logical thing to do since knowing who they were would have saved the Ummah any confrontations, given the many desagrements the companions will find themselves into. There is no reason for the prophet not to name these rightly guided successors. He certainly knew who they were. In fact, it would have saved the Ummah lots of pain.

    The prophet had warned the Ummah about many destructive events that would happen after his demise. He warned about how his Ummah will split into 73 sects; he warned about how the Ummah will follow the steps of the people before them, the Jews and the Christians; he warned about the civil wars (such as the battle of the Camel and the tragedy of Karbala'); he warned about the innovations that would find their way into religion; he warned about those who would destroy his Sunnah; he warned about how the companions will cut the throat of one another for the worldly things; he warned about how they would turn their back to religion. Did not all of these calamities justify the need to know who these guided caliphs were? Did not the prophet care about his Ummah? All the prophets that came before him made sure to name their successors before they died so that the people do not stray. How can you claim that the master of all prophets and the seal of prophethood did not do the same???

    Read the following Hadith

    Abdullah ibn Masu'ud narrated from the prophet that he said: "The people that will manage your affairs after me will push away the Sunnah and will practice the Bida'a instead, they will delay the prayers from its due time." So I asked him: "O messenger of Allah, if I know them, what do I do?" The prophet responded: "Are you asking what you should do? There is no obedience to the one who desobeys Allah"
    وعن عبد اللّهِ بنِ مسعود عن النبي صَلّى اللهُ عَليهِ وسَلَّمَ قالَ: سَيلي أُمورَكم بعدي رجالٌ يُطفئونَ السُنَّة، ويعملونَ بالبدعة، ويؤخرونَ الصلاةَ عن مواقيتها، فقلتُ: يا رسولَ اللّهِ إنْ أدركتُهم كيفَ أفعل؟ قالَ: تسألني يابنَ أُمِّ عبدٍ كيفَ تفعل؟ لا طاعةَ لمن عصى اللّه.

    Besides, were not the companions curious about asking the names of these successors? Did they not want to remain in the right path after the demise of the prophet? Did they not worry about their fate and the fate of the Ummah?? Were they not worried about any divisions? Were they not interested who these higly virtuous people were?? Did they not want to know who they should adhere to after the prophet is gone? Wouldn't you have asked?

    Since this narration does not name who these guided caliphs are, someone decided to name them for us few decades later. I guess the prophet did not know what he was talking about!!! Right???!!! So they said, let them be Abu Bakr and Umar, then Uthman and Ali. This reminds me of the Hadith of the 12 caliphs who are all from Quraish. In the Sunni version of this Hadith, there are no names either! So they (the despotic rulers or opiniated scholars) named them for us with strong differences!

    If you tell me that the prophet did not tell us their names because he had left the matter of the caliphate to the Ummah, then you have uttered a great lie. Not only there is no Hadith substantiating such absurd claim, but if you read the chapter of the Caliphate, you will realize that the prophet did indeed appoint a successor, as did his predecessors before their demise.

    If you tell me that the prophet did not know who they were, then you have also uttered a great lie. You claim that the prophet did not know who these rightly guided caliphs are, but the scholars did! How can this be possible?? Who told the prophet about these rightly guided caliphs? Should it not be Allah who reveals to the prophet their identities as well??

  3. As far as Sunnah is concerned, the prophetic Sunnah is all we need. The prophet delivered a complete revealed message, explained it thoroughly and explained the verses of the Quran. The Sunnah or way of the rightly guided caliphs must be in total conformity with the prophetic Sunnah, that is it should not be contradicting it in any way or at any point. There is a reason why they are rightly guided. It is because of this axiom the first three caliphs cannot be ones being referred to in the narration. The first three caliphs were not only illegitimate, but their ways violated the Sunnah of the prophet.

  4. This narration implies that the ways of the rightly guided caliphs (assuming they are Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali) must not conflict with one another and must not conflict with the Sunnah of the prophet, otherwise, they will not be rightly guided. By definition, the prophet will not command us to follow people who desagree among themselves and who deviate from his Sunnah.

    The problem is that the four caliphs have differed from one another in their ways and the first three have strongly differed from the established Sunnah of the prophet, which by definition must not be changed by any one.

    Part 3 talks about this section in more details.

  5. In light of what I have said in the introduction of this e-paper, does the claim that Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman are the first three rightly guided caliphs make any sense? How can we follow the Sunnah of the prophet and that of the caliphs when the first three caliphs partially destroyed and banned the Sunnah of the prophet??? Were they not supposed to obey the Sunnah of the prophet in the first place by encouraging and promoting the narration and writing of his Hadith, rather than obliterate it and punish those who did not comply with their destructive policies?? Would the prophet, who encouraged the narration and writing of his Sunnah command us to follow people who would destroy his Sunnah and deviate from it, rather then adhere to it??? If we follow the prophet, then we must promote his Hadith, but he we follow Abu Bakr and Umar, then we have to destroy his Hadith. Do you see the lack of logic here??

  6. Abu Bakr and Umar disobeyed the prophet in many instances: Many of the companions, including the first three caliphs refused to leave Medina in military expedition of Usama ibn Zayd ibn Harith, as ordered by the prophet (read more...). Their actions made the prophet very angry and in some narrations, the prophet came out and cursed everyone who did not join the army. How could Allah command the believers to adhere to such people, people who made His prophet angry???

    They both raised their voices in the prophet and have been repremanded by Allah of their actions (read more...).

    Umar and his followers prevented the prophet from writing his will, a document that will save the Muslims from going astray. Instead, Umar accused the prophet of talking nonsense. This heinous incident was called the calamity of thursday and deeply angered the prophet who then expelled the disobedient companions, that is Umar and his followers! Please read more about this incident.

    Are such people worth being followed?? Will Allah make such people the successors of His messenger given the world of differences between the messenger of Allah and the first three illegitimate rulers. Did any of these people shine above all the companions at any point during the life of the prophet? What have they accomplished during the lifetime of the prophet so that they deserve such status, the status of being the leaders of the believers? In addition to all of their terrible misdeeds, they fled the battlefield, such as Uhud and Hunayn. So you can see that there is nothing in history that support such status.

  7. Ahlul Bayt (Ali, Fatima, al-Hassan and al-Hussein) are superior to all companions in all areas, including knowledge, wisdom, piety, understanding, bravery, honesty and purity. Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman are no match to them. How can they then be the leaders of Ahlul Bayt??
    Behold! My Ahlul-Bayt are like the Ark of Noah. Whoever embarked in it was SAVED, and whoever turned away from it was PERISHED.

    The Prophet said about Ahlul-Bayt: "Do not be ahead of them for you will perish, do not turn away from them for you will perish, and do not try to teach them since they know more than you do!"

    Ali is with the Qur'an and the Qur'an is with 'Ali, the two shall not separate until the meet me at the Fountain of Kauthar.

    O Allah! turn the haqq with Ali wherever he ('Ali) turns.

    I am the city of knowledge, and Ali is its gate.

    Ali (as) asked him: 'What shall I inherit from you?' He (pbuh) answered: `Whatever Prophets before me left for those who inherited them: the Book of their Lord, and the Sunnah of their Prophet.

    Umm Salama who said: The Messenger of Allah said: "Ali is with Quran, and Quran is with Ali. They shall not separate from each other till they both return to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."

    No true Muslim can deny the superiority of Ahlul Bayt in knowledge and wisdom. Therefore, how can the prophet ask us to follow people who are inferior in knowledge to them??? Abu Bakr and Umar themselves could not measure up to Ali in knowledge:

    Sa'id al-Musayyib reported: Abu Bakr said: "May Allah never put me in a situation where I can not have access to Abul Hasan (i.e., Ali) to solve a problem."
    Reference:
         Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p647, Tradition #1100
         al-Isti'ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v3, p39
         Manaqib, by al-Khawarizmi, p48
         al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa'd, v2, p338
         al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, v2, p194
         Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p171

    Umar admitted the same thing:

    Sa'id al-Musayyib reported: "Umar Ibn al-Khattab used to beg God to preserve him from a perplexing case which the father of al-Hasan was not present to decide." Furthermore Umar said: "If there was not Ali, Umar would have perished."
    Reference:
         Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p647, Tradition #1100
         al-Isti'ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v3, p39
         Manaqib, by al-Khawarizmi, p48
         al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa'd, v2, p338
         al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, v2, p194
         Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p171

    Imam al-Manawi, in his sharh al-Jamiu'ul Sagheer:

    عليٌّ مع القرآن والقرآن مع عليٍّ لن يتفرقا حتى يردا) في القيامة (عليَّ الحوض) وهذا كان أعلم الناس بتفسيره [ص 357] قال المولى خسرو الرمي عندما قال القاضي إنه جمع في تفسيره ما بلغه عن عظماء الصحابة أراد بعظمائهم علياً وابن عباس والعبادلة وأبيَّ وزيد. قال: وصدرهم علي حتى قال ابن عباس: ما أخذت من تفسيره فعن عليّ ويتلوه ابن عباس اهـ. ملخصاً وقيل له: مالك أكثر الصحابة علماً قال: كنت إذا سألته أنبأني وإذا سكت ابتدأني وكان عمر يتعوذ من كل معضلة ليس لها أبو الحسن ولم يكن أحد من الصحب يقول: سألوني إلا هو وعرض رجل لعمر وهو يطوف فقال: خذ حقي من عليّ فإنه لطم عيني فوقف عمر حتى مرّ عليّ فقال: ألطمت عين هذا قال: نعم رأيته يتأمل حرم المؤمنين فقال: أحسنت يا أبا الحسن وأخرج أحمد أن عمر أمر برجم امرأة فمر بها عليّ فانتزعها فأخبر عمر فقال: ما فعله إلا لشيء فأرسل إليه فسأله فقال: أما سمعت رسول اللّه صلى اللّه تعالى عليه وعلى آله وسلم يقول: رفع القلم عن ثلاث الحديث قال: نعم قال: فهذه مبتلاة بني فلان فلعله أتاها وهو بها فقال عمر: لولا عليّ هلك عمر واتفق له مع أبي بكر نحوه فأخرج الدارقطني عن أبي سعيد أن عمر كان يسأل علياً عن شيء فأجابه فقال عمر: أعوذ باللّه أن أعيش في قوم ليس فيهم أبو الحسن وفي رواية لا أبقاني اللّه بعدك يا عليّ. (طس ك) في فضائل الصحابة (عن أم سلمة) قال الحاكم: صحيح وأقره الذهبي وقال الهيثمي: فيه عند الطبراني صالح بن أبي الأسود ضعيف وأخرج البزار عن أبي ذر قال: قال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه و على آله وسلم لعلي: يا علي من فارقني فارق اللّه ومن فارقك فارقني قال قال الهيثمي: رجاله ثقات

    I hope my point is made!

  8. Did any of the caliphs use this narration to support their caliphate, especially when Abu Bakr was challenged by Ahlul Bayt about what he concocted at al-Saqifa?? Did Abu Bakr or Umar use this narration to support their case in al-Saqifa against the Ansars?? Did they even claim to be those rightly guided caliphs?? Did they ever refer to this narration to prove something?? Did they ever claim to be infallible so that we follow them just we follow the Quran and the prophetic Sunnah?? Did they ever claim that the prophet narrated this Hadith?? In fact, there is not proof that this narration was ever used by anyone during the reign of the first 4 caliphs! Imam Ali used to regularly remind the people of his matchless God-given virtues to prove that he was far better than and superior to any companion, and hence justify his right to the caliphate over those who claimed it. But never did Abu Bakr or Umar do the same thing to prove their merit of the caliphate. Why not??? So, does this not mean that they were not the rightly guided caliphs mentioned in the narration?

  9. During the consultation between the six companions who were supposed to elect the successor of Umar, Abdul Rahman ibn A'awf asked Ali to promise to follow the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of the prophet and the ways of Abu Bakr and Umar, if he were to become the caliph. But Ali only accepted to adhere to the Quran and the Sunnah of the prophet, and refused to follow the ways of the first 2 caliphs. The fact that Ali refused to follow the path of Umar and Abu Bakr not only shows that these two were not the true successors of the prophet, but they did not follow the path of the prophet!! So how can Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali be the rightly guided caliphs if Ali refused to follow the ways of the first two?? Will the prophet command us to follow people who desagree among each others??

    Part 2 deals with this in more details.

  10. Abu Bakr and Umar denied Fatima's inheritance and attacked the house of Fatima. Their actions left Fatima angry at both until she died, six months later. How can you follow Abu Bakr and Umar (or claim that this was the intention of the prophet) and cling to them stubbornly when these same two have hurt and violated the rights of Ahlul Bayt, the most beloved people to Allah and His prophet??? Did not the prophet say:
    The Prophet (PBUH) looked toward Ali, Hasan, Husain, and Fatimah (AS), and then said: "I am in war with those who will fight you, and in peace with those who are peaceful to you."
    نظر النبي -صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم- إلى علي، وفاطمة، والحسن، والحسين، فقال: (أنا حرب لمن حاربكم، وسلم لمن سالمكم).

    Did not the prophet say that the wrath of Allah will be brought upon whoever hurts Ahul Bayt, or whoever hurts Ahlul Bayt hurts Allah or whoever hurts Ahlul Bayt will be enter the Fire or Paradise will be forbidden to whoever wronged and hurt Ahlul Bayt?

    اشتد غضب الله على من آذاني في عترتي.

    من آذاني في أهلي فقد آذى الله

    لا يبغضنا أهل البيت أحد إلا أدخله الله النار

    حرمت الجنة على من ظلم أهل بيتي وآذاني في عترتي

    The prophet also said:

    أحب أهلي إلي فاطمة. التخريج (برموز السيوطي): (ت ك) عن أسامة. التخريج (مفصلا): الترمذي والحاكم في المستدرك عن أسامة. تصحيح السيوطي: صحيح‏

    فاطمة أحب إلي منك، وأنت أعز إلي منها، قاله لعلي. التخريج (برموز السيوطي): (طس) عن أبي هريرة. التخريج (مفصلا): الطبراني في الأوسط عن أبي هريرة. تصحيح السيوطي: صحيح‏

    إنما فاطمة بضعة مني، فمن أغضبها فقد أغضبني. (ش - عن محمد بن علي مرسلا). عن المسور - أخرجه البخاري كتاب مناقب أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم باب مناقب فاطمة

    In Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim, you also find the following:

    ...for my daughter is part of me. He who disturbs her in fact disturbs me and he who offends her offends me.

    Fatima is a part of my body, and I hate what she hates to see, and what hurts her, hurts me.

    Fatima is a part of me. He in fact tortures me who tortures her.

    Fatima is a part of me, and he who makes her angry, makes me angry.

    إنما فاطمة بضعة مني، يؤذيني ما آذاها، وينصبني ما أنصبها

    Did not the prophet say:

    إن الله عز وجل ليغضب لغضب فاطمة ويرضى لرضاها

    We all know what the virtues of Ahlul Bayt: we have been commanded to love them, to bless them, to follow their footspteps. Having said that, how can we stubbornly adhere to Abu Bakr and Umar when they mistreated Ahlul Bayt??? Where is rationality and logic here??? Are these the people that the prophet and Allah really wanted us to follow?? I hope you can clearly see now that Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman are not the rightly guided caliphs.

  11. Do you remember the form of authentic hadith of al-Thaqalayn which used the term Khalifatayn? Let me remind you:
    Zayd ibn Thabit narrated that the prophet said: "I am leaving for you the two caliphs (Khalifatayn): the Book of Allah and the progeny of my Ahlul Bayt. These two will never separate from each other till they come to me by the Fountain."
    حدّثنا الأسود بن عامر، حدّثناشريك، عن الركين، عن القاسم بن حسّان عن زيد بن ثابت قال: قال رسول الله(صلى الله عليه وآله): ((إنِّي تَارِكٌ فِيكُم خَلِيفَتَيْنِ، كِتَابُ اللهِ حَبْلٌ مَمْدُودٌ مَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ والأَرْضِ أَوْ مَا بين السَّمَاءِ إِلَى الأَرْضِ، وَعِتْرَتِي أَهْلُ بَيْتِي، وَإنَّهُمَا لَنْ يَتَفَرَّقا حَتَّى يَرِدَا عَلَيّ الحَوْضَ))

    This clear and explicit narration not only shows that the prophet did appoint his successors but it also shows who his true successors are: The Quran and the progeny of his Ahlul Bayt. Where does Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman fit in this appointment?? Moreover, did not the prophet call these two successors the two weighty things (al-thaqalyan) at Ghadeer Khum and commanded all those present to adhere to both in order not to stray? Did not the prophet state that these two shall never separate from one another until they meet him at the Fountain? Did not the prophet warn his Ummah to watch out how they will treat them after he is gone? Did not the prophet promise to ask his followers about how they treated these two weighty things? Did not the prophet raise the hand of Ali in front of all those present to proclaim the mastership of Ali over all the believers in the same way he (the prophet) is the master of all the believers? Did not all the companions, including Abu Bakr and Umar come to congratulate Ali for this great position??? So who are the true rightly guided caliphs after the prophet? Those whom the prophet commanded us the following unconditionally in hadith al-Thaqalayn or those who stole the caliphate??

    Let's also recall the hadith about the twelve caliphs:

    There will be twelve Muslim rulers (who will rule all the Islamic world)." He then said a sentence which I did not hear. My father said, "All of them (those rulers) will be from Quraish

    So these rightly-guided caliphs are 12 and they are from the progeny of Ahlul Bayt because they are the only ones the prophet commanded us to unconditionally follow in order not to stray off. The first of them is Ali and the last of Imam Mahdi.

    So on one hand, you have Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman who are known for their innovations, mistreatments of Ahlul Bayt, their disrespect of the prophet in his lifetime and their inferiority to Ahlul Bayt. On the other hand, you have Ahlul Bayt endowed with unmatched virtues, who are the most beloved to Allah and the prophet, who never altered or violated the Sunnah of the prophet and were the inheritors of his knowledge and the guardians of the interpretation of the Quran and the Sunnah of the prophet. Who would you choose to follow in order not to stray off???

    Please read Part 4 talks about this section in more details.

So clearly, claiming that the rightly-guided successors include Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman is irrational, for the reasons given above.

Moreover, Ali was considered outside of this group for a long time. In fact, he used to be insulted on the pulpits of every Mosque in every province that was under the power of the Umayyads! How can he be considered the 4th rightly-guided caliph when he was insulted for over 80 years!!! Then he was added. How can Ali be the fourth rightly guided caliph when he differed from the first three!!!! Did he not desagree to follow the ways of Abu Bakr and Umar?? What does this mean?? How can we follow all four when they desagreed among themselves??? Do you see the contradictions in their lies?? They have lied throughout history and Allah drowned them in their own lies! Can you not see their scam??

Let me know give you an example of how the sunnah of Abu Bakr and Umar overode the Sunnah of the prophet. The following narration is from Musnad ibn Hanbal:

Ibn Abbas narrated "Rasulullah (s) gave us the order to practise Tamatu'u, it existed, Urwah ibn Zubayr said, 'Abu Bakr and Umar stopped this', Ibn Abbas responded saying 'I'm telling you what Rasulullah (s) deemed halaal and you're telling me what Abu Bakr and 'Umar did, I see that you shall be destroyed".
روى ابن جبير عن ابن عباس قال: تمتع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم، فقال عروة بن الزبير: نهى أبو بكر وعمر عن المتعة
فقال ابن عباس: ما يقول عرية؟ قال: يقول نهى أبو بكر وعمر عن المتعة "
فقال ابن عباس: أراهم سيهلكون إني أحدثكم عن رسول الله ويقول: نهى أبو بكر وعمر

ibn Abbas says that the prophet allowed the muta'a (temporary marriage) but Urwa overrides his statement by saying that Abu Bakr and Umar forbade it! Do you see how the supporters of the first two caliphs followed their ways and forgot the Sunnah of the prophet??

al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi reported in his al-Faqeeh wal Mutaffaqeh:

Ibn Abbas said: "I am narrating to you the Hadith of the prophet and you reply to me with Abu Bakr and Umar?" Urwa ibn Zubayr responded: "By Allah, they both know better than you about the Sunnah of the prophet and they follow it more than you do!"
قال ابن عباس: إني أحدثكم عن النبي وتجيئوني بأبي بكر وعمر.
فقال عروة: هما والله كانا أعلم بسنة رسول الله وأشيع لها منك

al-Khateeb commented on this narration:

Probably Abu Bakr and Umar knew better than ibn Abbas but it is not allow for someone to leave the comfirmed Sunnah of the prophet
قلت قد كان أبو بكر وعمر على ما وصفهما عروة إلا أنه لا ينبغي أن يقلد أحد في ترك ما ثبتت به سنة الرسول

Ahmad ibn Hanbal reported the following narration:

Abdullah ibn Umar used to believe that Tamatu'u (Umarah + Hajj together) was never abrogated and the people used to tell him: "How do you differ from your father when he forbade??" Abdullah would responde: "Wow to you!...Allah allowed it and the prophet performed it. Who deserves to be followed?? The prophetic Sunnah of the sunnah of Umar?"
وقد روى أحمد بسند صحيح عن سالم قال: كان عبد الله بن عمر يفتي بالذي أنزل الله - عز وجل - من الرخصة بالتمتع، وسن رسول الله - صلى الله عليه وسلم - فيه، فيقول ناس لابن عمر: كيف تخالف أباك وقد نهى عن ذلك ؟ !.

فيقول لهم عبد الله: ويلكم ! ألا تتقون الله ؟ ! إن كان عمر قد نهى عن ذلك فيبتغي فيه الخير يلتمس به تمام العمرة، فلم تحرمون ذلك، وقد أحله الله، وعمل به رسول الله - صلى الله عليه وسلم -، أفرسول الله - صلى الله عليه وسلم - أحق أن تتبعوا سنته أم سنة عمر

al-Shafi'i said once:

Whoever leaves the Hadith of the prophet for another one has strayed.
لقد ضل من ترك قول رسول الله لقول من بعده

So do you see how the followers of Abu Bakr and Umar followed their ways and left behind the Sunnah of the prophet?? Did not Allah in the Quran to take what the prophet gives and keep away what the prophet forbade??

Quran 59:7
...and whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back,...
...وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا ...

So clearly, Abu Bakr and Umar cannot be the legitimate successors of the prophet because they changed his Sunnah and made the people follow their own sunnah rather than the divine Sunnah of the prophet.

For more on this, please read the following paper.

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