In his ongoing series about the early history of Islam after the Prophet (pbuh) passed away, Abu Dharr looks into the life of Uthman, the third Khalifah. He urges readers to rise above our pre-conceived notions when examining the lives of early personalities in Islam.
If Muslims study the early period of Islamic history after the Prophet (pbuh) left this earthly abode carefully, they will discover that there was no polarization between Umar ibn al-Khattab and Imam Ali. True, they had their independent opinions on issues but there was no ill-will whatsoever.
If the early Muslims had an opportunity to put in place a proper institutional framework, the tragedy that erupted during Uthman’s khilafah may have been avoided.
The third Khalifah, Uthman’s deviation from the policy established by the Prophet and his two successors (Abu Bakr and ‘Umar) by apportioning a share of the Islamic state treasury to his relatives caused deep unease among most Muslims, leading to deep fissures in society.
When the Prophet (pbuh) left this earthly abode, the vast majority of Muslims were newcomers to Islam, hence not fully immersed in the values of Islam. Even the Prophet’s committed followers (the Muhajiroon and Ansar), at time made decisions concerning issues of justice and equality that may have fallen short of the Qur’anic and Prophetic standard. We should not, however, impute ulterior motives to them.
The persons around the Prophet (pbuh) were the founding fathers of Islamic self-determination. While not all of the same ranking, they were the first among the first (al-Sabiqeen). This was the generation of the Muhajiroon and the Ansar. They suffered persecution and torture but remained steadfast in their loyalty to the Prophet (pbuh).
The Islamic system of governance as exemplified by the Prophet (pbuh) and his two successors should not be confused with the western concept of “democracy”. Islam’s system was and is unique. It needs to be understood well to avoid the pitfalls that emerge from faulting thinking
The battle of Badr was an extremely important event in early Islamic history. It was a battle for the very survival of the nascent Muslim community. Because of their strong commitment, the Muslims were able to defeat an enemy force three times larger.
Let it be known that the Khilafah ruling method is based upon the concept of bay‘at. This means that the citizenry in an Islamic socio-governmental order is involved in deciding who their “chief executive” shall be. One way of understanding the Khilafah is to say that it was a “social contract” between the executive decision maker(s) and the resident citizens on the basis of Shura.
Allah (swt) told His beloved Prophet (pbuh) to make decisions through mutual consultation with his followers. Despite being guided from on high, there were occasions when the Prophet (pbuh) sought the opinion of his companions and accepted it even when it was contrary to the opinion he held. This has important implications for Muslim life.
In his continuing series reflecting on the divergence of opinion in early Islamic history, Abu Dharr takes up the issue of the Shi‘i and Sunni understanding of the word ‘ismat (from which the word ma‘sum) is derived.
Comparing the policies of Umar and Uthman shows how the problems arose in early Islamic history and the deleterious consequences that followed
In his regular column, Abu Dharr narrates how Abu Bakr and Umar adhered, to the best of their abilities, to the Qur’an and the Prophetic example in conduct of state policy. Usman, however, fell short when his family—the Bani Umayyah—wormed their way into the political system and subverted it from within.
The Prophet’s successors—Abu Bakr and Umar—followed strictly the high standard set by Allah’s chosen Messenger in discharging their duties. In his regular column, Abu Dharr sheds light on this.
The Prophet (pbuh) set an example of a selfless decision-maker and a noble leader. This unselfish character in the highest office of the ummah was illustrated by both Abu Bakr and ‘Umar before ‘Uthman with the proviso that they themselves admitted; i.e. they are imperfect and vulnerable as are all human beings.
Relations between Imam Ali and the Khulafa were always cordial. The Ahlul Bayt also maintained a good attitude towards them, contrary to some sectarians. While sectarianism exists on both sides, there are prominent Shi‘i scholars who have shown respect for the khulafa and urged their followers to do likewise.
In his continuing series on the early history of the emergence of Islamic leadership after the Prophet (pbuh), Abu Dharr highlights the circumstances that led to such decisions. He also exposes the deep-seated prejudices of Muslims wedded to their sectarian outlook.
In his regular column, Abu Dharr invites readers to rise above their sectarian prejudices and see the cordial interaction between Abu Bakr, Umar and Imam Ali (may Allah be pleased with them all) soon after our beloved Prophet (pbuh) left this world. Our prejudices are preventing us from creating genuine unity among Muslims.
The meeting convened by the Ansar at Saqifah immediately after the Prophet (pbuh) joined Heavenly company was not based on malice. The meeting led to the appointment of Abu Bakr as Khalifah of the Muslims to avert chaos. Unfortunately, sectarians (both Sunnis and Shi‘is) have turned this into a contentious issue. It shouldn’t be.
Tackling the sensitive issue of succession of Muslim leadership after the Prophet (pbuh) joined heavenly company, Abu Dharr guides readers through the ground realities at the time and peels away the layers of prejudices that have shrouded those events in early Islamic history.