Chapter Two: Refuting the defence card of Abdullah Ibn Saba
The role of some of the prominent Sahaba in the agitation and murder of Uthman has always acted as a thorn in the throats of our opponents that they neither could swallow nor spit. It acts as a wound, which has reappeared whenever our opponents have sought to apply a cure to it. Hence as a means of cure, they had to ‘invent’ some medication and after extensive sessions, they came up with a medicine known as ‘Abdullah Ibn Saba’ but since the ingredients of this medicine contained a large portion of fiction and lies, therefore the wound became further exposed. In order to save their future generations from the objections against those companions who led a prominent role in the murder of Uthman, the ancestors of our opponents invented the character Abdullah Ibn Saba and also fabricated various stories associating him with a campaign of incitement that led to the murder of Uthman. Having invented this mystery killer, they took the opportunity attribute this killing to their opponents [the Shi’a] by suggesting that their founding forefathers were Sabaies, the followers of Abdullah Ibn Saba. Some of the main points of such stories include the fact that:
- Abdullah Ibn Saba was a Jew who appeared during the reign of Uthman.
- Ibn Saba misguided people by suggesting that Mawla Ali (as)was the successor of the Holy Prophet (pbuh&h) and the preceding Caliphs usurped His (as)legal right.
- Ibn Saba started his activities in Kufa and Syria during the reign of Uthman. Later, he went to Egypt and prepared an army of rebels there.
- A great number of prominent Sahaba, like Ammar Yasir and Abu Dhar Ghafari went astray and became his students and they assisted the Sabaies in their activities against Uthman.
- The Sabaies that came from Egypt engulfed Madina and utlimately killed Uthman.
- During the wars of Jamal and Siffeen, both parties were close to agreeing a peace treaty but the Sabaies attacked both sides during the darkness of the night that caused the beginning of the war etc.
In this chapter, we shall analyse the narrations and shall highlight the flaws that our opponents ancestors failed to consider whilst fabricating such stories. We shall also identify the personalities involved in this fabrication.
Sayf Ibn Umar – The fabricator of the story
If one analyses the chains of narrations of all these fairy tales, you will notice that one name Sayf Ibn Umar is at the centre of such stories, whilst there are some narrations in this regard that don’t even have any chains of narration. There are also some narrations about Abdullah Ibn Saba which are not transmitted through Sayf Ibn Umar, but these narrations do not mention the involvement of ‘Sabaies’ in the murder of Uthman rather they are only cite the existence of one such person and this is totally different from the fairy tale painted by Sayf Ibn Umar.
There is an ijma (unanimous opinion) amongst the Ahle-Sunnah that the narrator Sayf Ibn Umar was a cursed person who narrated all types of lies. They have written all types of negative remarks about him that include Zandiq, Kadhab (liar) and untrustworthy and his traditions have no value and they all are weak. For example Imam of Salafies Al-Albaani declared him a liar (Silsila Sahiha, v3 p184) so did Mahmood Abu Raya (Adhwa ala alsunnah, p139). Imam Ibn Abi Hatim (Al-Jarh wa al-Tadil, v4 p278), Imam al-Haythami (Majm’a al-Zawaed, v8, p98) and Shaykh Shu’aib al-Arnaout (Margin of Siar alam alnubala, v3 p27) declared him Matruk while Yahya Mukhtar al-Ghazawi said: ‘There is an agreement on him being Matruk’ (Foot note of Abdullah bin Uday’s book al-Kamil, v3 p435). Those who declared him weak are Imam Ibn Hajar (Taqrib al-Tahdib, v1 p408), Imam Yahya ibn Mueen (Tarikh Ibn Mueen, v1 p336), Imam Al-Nesai (Al-Du’afa, p187) and Al-Aqili (Al-Du’afa by Aqili, v2 p175) while he has been decalred as ‘Very weak’ by Al-Salehi al-Shami (Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad, v11 p143). Imam Ibn Haban said: ‘He narrates fabricated traditions’ (Al-Majrohin, v1 p345). Allamah Abu Naeem al-Asbahani said: ‘He is nothing’ (Al-Du’afa, by Abu Naeem, p91) and so did Imam Abu Daud (Sualat al-ajeri, v1 p214). Imam Ibn al-Jawzi said: ‘He is accused of fabricating hadith’ (Al-Mudu’at, by ibn al-Jawzi, v1 p222). Allamah Sibt Ibn al-Ejmi said: ‘He used to fabricate hadith’ (Al-Kashf al-Hathith, p131). Abdullah bin Uday said: ‘His narration is munkar’ (Mezan al-Etidal, v2 p255). Al-Hakim said: ‘Sayf is accused of being a heretic. His narrations are abandoned.’ (Tarikh al-islam, v11 p161). Hassan bin Farhan al-Maliki said: ‘Fabricator’ (Naho Enqad al-Tarikh, p34). Al-Dhahabi says about him: “Sayf Ibn Umar wrote two books, which have been unanimously rejected by scholars”. (Al-Mughani fil Dhufa, page 292).
It is interesting that although the Ulema of Ahle Sunnah rejected this narrator and his two books that contained all sorts of stories regarding the role of Sabiees (or Shias) in the agitation and murder of Uthman, the Ulema of Ahle Sunnah have taken some stories from it and have included it in their books with then intention that they may act as a veil over the roles of certain prominent Sahabah that acted in the murder of Uthman.
The murder of the Sahaba Malik bin Nuwayrah followed by the raping of his wife by Khalid bin Walid
Those who have some interest in Islamic history would be aware of the shocking incident that took place during the reign of Abu Bakr, wherein Khalid bin Walid murdered a companion Malik bin Nuwayrah and then that very night, raped Malik’s wife. One of the chains of narrations that mention this incident includes Sayf Ibn Umar and when this incident is quoted, the Nawasib abruptly scream and begin to unfold the weaknesses of Sayf Ibn Umar as a narrator. Curiously when it comes to the topic of Sabaies or Shias, the very narrator becomes the darling of deceitful Nawasib. But we should point out the the atrocities committed by the thug namely Khalid bin Walid can still be proven from narrations free of Sayf!
The traditions free of Sayf Ibn Umar
As we stated earlier, there are approximately 14 narrations wherein the name of Abdullah Ibn Saba appears, yet these traditions are narrated independent of Sayf Ibn Umar al-Kadhab. But our readers need to understand that these traditions are entirely different from the fairy tales reported by Sayf Ibn Umar as they do not mention any role of Sabaies or of Shias in the assassination of Uthman, rather they only tell us that there existed a person with the name of Abdullah Ibn Saba who appeared during the reign of Ali bin Abi Talib (as) i.e. years after the murder of Uthman, he claimed that Ali bin Abi Talib (as) was god (naudobillah) and because of this Mawla Ali (as) burnt him alive.
Among the Ahle-Sunnah historians, there was only one, namely Ibn Asakir who collected some reports about Ibn Saba whilst their chains of narrations do not include Sayf Ibn Umar. It isimportant to note that this historian belongs to 6th century whilst Abdullah Ibn Saba appeared in the earlier part of the 1st century. We appeal to just people to consider the fact that if there was indeed a man as prominent as Abdullah Ibn Saba who:
- commanded the loyalty of thousands of followers,
- has prominent Sahaba amongst his followers
- lead a mass movement against the caliph of the time Uthman that subsequently resulted in his assassination
- later on killed of thousands of Muslims during wars of Jamal and Siffeen
Would there be only one historian and that too of 6th century to have written the details about him? From the 1st century until the 5th century, there existed thousands of Sunni Muhadditheen such as Bukhari and Muslim, Fuqaha such as Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik, Ulama and historians. Why is it that thet none of them wrote a SINGLE word about Abdullah Ibn Saba? Why were Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafiyee and Ahmad bin Hanbal and hundreds of more like them were unaware of the existence of thousands of Sabaies, their dissension in Syria, Kufa and Egypt and their role in the murder of Uthman? Why didn’t they written even a SINGLE word about them? Ths Sunni / Shia schism had developed into distinct schools very quickly. The Sunni state was seeking its utmost to propogate the Sunni madhab amongst the masses, and encouraged hatred towards the Shi’a. By this time the doctrine of the three rightly guided khalifas had been engrained ito Sunni deaology and was a part of faith, so that those that rejected them were deemed rafidah (rejectors). What better opportunity would there have been than to propogate amongst the masses the belief that the Shi’a madhab was founded by a Jew called Ibn Saba whose lies and Fitnah they embraced, that lead to them killing the third rightly guided khalifa. Would the Sunni state have allowed such an opportunity go by, if this was indeed true? If we know anything about politics we know how dirty it is, with politicians inciting smear campaigns against their political rivals, on whatever flimy evidence they can find. Could there be any better smear campaign than one that attributed the orgins of a major Sect that rejected the doctrine of man made Caliphate, to a Fitnah mongering Jew? If such evidence existed, even in its weakest manner the State would have ensured that its Imams and historians cascaded such teachings to the masses. The very fact that they did not proves that this fairytale was not prominent in any shape or form during the fitsy five centuries of Sunni state rule.
It is worthy to note that the reports that were collected by this 6th century historian Ibn Asakir also do not prove the propaganda of our opponents, suggesting that the Sabaies/Shias killed Uthman and they cannot establish the building of whole fairy tale on the foundation of these reports. In order to read all these traditions recorded by Ibn Asakir that are free from Sayf Ibn Umar, one can read his book Tarikh Madinatul Damishq, Volume 29, pages 3-10. Please also note that Ibn Asakir has also quoted heavily the fairy tales from Sayf Ibn Umar. Ibn Hajar Asqalani has quoted these traditions by Ibn Asakir in his book Lisan-ul-Mizan, vol. 3, page 239, along with his comments. Apart from these, a report free of Sayf Ibn Umar though can be found in Tarikh Ibn Abi Kathayma on the authority of Ali bin Abi Talib (as) but just like others, this report also do not support the stories concocted by Sayf Ibn Umar regarding Ibn Saba’s alleged role during the era of Uthman.
That is the precise reason why the modern day Salafi scholar Hassan bin Farhan Al-Maliki has reached the following conclusion in his book Naho Enqad al-Tarikh, page 58:
سيف بن عمر لكونه المصدر الوحيد الذي روى أخبار عبدالله بن سبأ
“Sayf bin Umar is the only source that narrates the tales about Abdullah bin Saba”
On page p261 we read:
وقد آتي في مقالات لاحقة على إلقاء الضوء على حقيقة دور عبدالله بن سبأ في الفتنة بتوسع وبيان كيف ضحك سيف بن عمر على المسلمين بأسطورته
In upcoming articles, I will shed light on Abdullah bin Saba‘s rule during fitna and will prove how Sayf bin Umar fooled the Muslims with his legendary character.
On page 78 we read:
ومن تتبع روايات سيف بن عمر وجد فيها تناقضات عجيبة لا داع لأستطرادها لكنني سأذكر أمثلة سريعة
Whoever traces the narrations of Sayf bin Omar, will find phenomenal contradictions therein, whilst there is no need to mention them, I will cite (some) quick examples.
Hassan bin Farhan then went on to mention the examples such as Sayf bin Umar narrating that the followers of Abdullah bin Saba made wicked slander between Amr bin Aas and Ibn Abi al-Sareh therefore Uthman deposed Amr bin Aas in year 27 A.H. whereas Sayf bin Umar himself narrated that Abdullah bin Saba didn’t enter Egypt before year 35 A.H. In another narration he tells that Abdullah bin Saba converted to Islam in year 33 A.H. whilst at another place he states that Ibn Saba misguided Abu Dhar in year 30 A.H.! The narrations of Sayf bin Umar contradicts themselves.
Abdullah Ibn Saba mentioned in Shia text
From the 1st century till 4th century among all the Shia Muhaditheen, Historians and Ulema, there was only one scholar Muhammad bin Umar Al-Kashi who reported some traditions that mentioned the name of Abdullah Ibn Saba in chains of narrations free of Sayf Ibn Umar. Five of these traditions can be read in his book Rijal al-Kashi, Volume 1 pages 323- 324 while one tradition exists in Volume 2. Sadly for the Nawasib, these scant traditions fail to evidence the propaganda of our opponents that suggest that the Sabaies or Shias conspired against Uthman and subsequently killed him. Just like the traditions recorded by Ibn Asakir , the traditions recorded by al-Kashi only identify the appearance of a person called Abdullah Ibn Saba during the reign of Ali bin Abi Talib (as) i.e. long after the killing of Uthman, who attributed divinity to Ali bin Abi Talib (as)(naudobillah) and because of this Mawla Ali (as)burnt him alive. These narrations do not consur with the stories fabricated by Sayf Ibn Umar that pinpoint the Sabaies or Shias as the aggressors against Uthman that killed him.
Muhammad bin Umar Al-Kashi was a scholar of the 4th century and none of these traditions are deemed authentic by the Shia Ulema. In order to see the commentary of such traditions recorded by him, once can read the books of Allamah Tasturi and Allamah Askari. Later, came some Shia scholars such as Sheikh Tusi, Ahmad Ibn Tawous and Allamah Heli mentioned some texts about Ibn Saba. For example, Shaykh Tusi in his book Al-Amali, page 230 recorded a tradition but again this only states that Ibn Saba attributed divinity to Ali bin Abi Talib (as) and hence in his other book Rijal al-Tusi, page 76, he refers to Abdullah Ibn Saba as a Kaafir and an extremist (Ghali). Allamah Ibn Tawous in his book Al-Tahrir al-Tawousi, page 346 and Allamah al-Heli in his book Khulasat al-Aqwal page 372 did not record any tradition but just mentioned Abdullah Ibn Saba’s name and declared him an extremist (Ghali).
Distinguishing between the stories narrated by Sayf Ibn Umar and the reports free of Sayf
Even for the sake of discussion we consider the traditions recorded by Ibn Asakir and Al-Kashi (that don’t exceed to fourteen) they do not prove what the Nawasib would want us to believe and have clear dissimilarities such as:
- In all fourteen traditions free of Sayf Ibn Umar, Abdullah Ibn Saba played no role during the Caliphate of Uthman, rather he appeared long after the killing of Uthman, during the reign of Ali bin Abi Talib (as) that conflicts with the stories of Sayf Ibn Umar according to which Abdullah Ibn Saba appeared during the reign of Uthman, conspired against him, built up a huge army of agitators that stormed Madina and killed him.
- According to the fairy tale of Sayf bin Umar, Abdullah Ibn Saba claimed that Ali ibn Abi Talib (as)was a “successor” of the Holy Prophet (pbuh&h) where as the traditions free of Sayf Ibn Umar tell us that Ibn Saba didn’t campaign for the “successorship” of Ali bin Abiu Talib (as) rather he claimed that Ali bin Abi Talib (as) was “god”(naudobillah).
- The traditions free from Sayf Ibn Umar tell us that Ali bin Abi Talib (as) burnt Abdullah Ibn Saba alive along with other Sabaies whilst Sayf Ibn Umar didn’t mention any such thing.
- According to the fourteen traditions free from Sayf bin Umar, there was no role of Sabaies or Shias in the wars of Jamal and Siffeen, whilst according to Sayf Ibn Umar Kadhab, both the parties were about to enter into a peace treaty but suddenly the Sabaies / Shias attacked both sides in the darkness that resulted in the beginning of the war.
- According to the fourteen traditions free from Sayf bin Umar, pious companions such as Ammar Yasir [r] and Abu Dhar Ghafari (ra) were not misguided by Ibn Saba, they didn’t become his followers and they didn’t assist the Sabaies in the murder of Uthman. It is only Sayf Ibn Umar and hence the Nawasib of today who make such accusations against these great Sahaba.
Scholars who reported the existence of Ibn Saba without any chain of narration
Sayf Ibn Umar wrote two books around 160 years after Hijrah (migration). Soon, his fairy tales gained popularlity amongst the people to the point that people started believing in them as fact. Despite this, uptil the 6th century, not a single Sunni historian was able to record this story on the basis of eye witness testimony. Later, Imam Ibn Jarir Tabari included Sayf Ibn Umar’s fables in his famed book of history. After that, these fairy tales got immense popularity amongst the masses and people started believing it blindly, since it successfully assisted the State religion in a two-fold manner:
- It absolved, Aisha, Talha, Zubair and Muawiyah from the murder of Uthman
- It served as a useful propaganda tool against the Shias
This is precisely why many Ahle-Sunnah Ulama such as Ali Ibn Ismael Ashari (d. 330), Abdul Kareem Sheristani (d. 548), Ibn Tahir Al-Baghdadi (d. 429) gave a place to these fairy tales in their respective books without mentioning the actual source of narration. All of these scholars whilst narrating such stories began with the words “People say that …” . If there was indeed any truth in these narrations, then they should have mentioned the actual source from where they had heard the respective incidents.
Moreover, after studying the books of these scholars, one can easily understand that in order to make their books interesting to the people, strange types of fiction were narrated. For example Abdul Kareem Shehristani reported about creatures that:
- were half man, with half a face, one eye, one hand and one foot.
- would talk with Muslims and compete with them in poetry.
- ran as fast as horses and people used to go for hunting them. And Abbasid Caliph Mutawakil ordered scientists to conduct research on.
Similarly, there were two Shia scholars namely Hasan Ibn Musa al-Nawbakhti (d. 310) in his book “al-Firaq” and Sa’ad Ibn Abdullah al-Ash’ari al-Qummi (d. 301) in his book “al-Maqalat wal-Firaq” that also narrated similar kinds of reports without mentioning any chain of narration. Both of these scholars also came long after Sayf Ibn Umar Kadhab and by that time, his fairy tales had gined popularity and acceptance amongst the masses particularly amongst Ahle-Sunnah, they therefore cited such reports in their respective books on the basis of popularity, without any source. And both of these scholars started this tale with words like: “People say that …..” that propves that by that, the fairy tale had already hd come to be accepted as an accepted fact amongst the Ahle-Sunnah. With this in mind it is worthy to note the comments of al-Najashi in ‘Rijal al-Najashi’ page 177 about Sa’ad Ibn Abdullah al-Ash’ari al-Qummi:
”He heard a lot of hadiths from the A’ama (Sunnis), he traveled to obtain hadith, he met their (Sunni) scholars al-Hassan bin Arfa, Muhammad bin Abdulmalik al-Daqiqi, Abu Hatim al-Razi and Abbas al-Turqufi”
According to our opponents, the role of Abdullah Ibn Saba was so massive that there should have been thousands of eye witnesses for all those incidents involving him. So what’s the reason they found not even a single eye witness for this story? What is the likelihood of this? In Sirat-un Nabi Volume 1 page 42, by Sunni scholar Allamah Shibli Numani we read:
“…the following categories of reports are to be discredited without an enquiry into the characters of their narrators…
(10) Any tradition concerning an incident so noteworthy that, if it had actually taken place, it ought to have been related by many, and yet there is but a single narrator to it”.
Sirat-un Nabi, Volume 1 page 42
With this in mind what value should be given to reports that should have been narrated by thousands of eye witnesses, but in reality doesn’t have even one eye witness?
The influence of Nasibi propaganda on Jews
When we analyse those events that took place involving the father of the Nawasib namely Muawiyah, everyone with a rational mind would recognize that that deceit and cunning is part and parcel of Nasibism. The propaganda they have co-ordinated regarding Abdullah Ibn Saba has been so intense that they have even superceded the Jews, former champions in deceit. Nasabis have for the past 1250 years propagated the fairy tale of Abdullah Ibn Saba as narrated by Sayf Ibn Umar, so much so that even that the Jews have accepted the Nawasib as their mentors in propgating this false claim. There is Jewish Encyclopedia on the internet, which contain the very story of Abdullah Ibn Saba fabricated by Sayf Ibn Umar and the foolish authors amongst Nawasib such as Ibn al-Hashimi rejoiced over the presence of Abdullah Ibn Saba’s name in Jewish encyclopedia and sought to make his readers believe that ‘even Jews accept the presence of a Jewish character Abdullah Ibn Saba’ . To enable this endeavor, the stupid author used the the tag line “Abdullah ibn Saba, Founder of Shi’ism”. The reason we call such Nasibi authors stupid and foolish is that in their hatred for the Shi’a of Ahlulbayt (as), they didn’t even bother to check the original source on which the Jews relied, which is al-Milal, the book written by a famed Sunni scholar Abdul Kareem Shatrastani who himself relied on the fabrication of Sayf Ibn Umar.
ABDALLAH IBN SABA
Jewish EncyclopediaBy : Hartwig HirschfeldA Jew of Yemen, Arabia, of the seventh century, who settled in Medina and embraced Islam. Having adversely criticized Calif Othman’s administration, he was banished from the town. Thence he went to Egypt, where he founded an antiothmanian sect, to promote the interests of Ali. On account of his learning he obtained great influence there, and formulated the doctrine that, just as every prophet had an assistant who afterward succeeded him, Mohammed’s vizier was Ali, who had therefore been kept out of the califate by deceit. Othman had no legal claim whatever to the califate; and the general dissatisfaction with his government greatly contributed to the spread of Abdallah’s teachings. Tradition relates that when Ali had assumed power, Abdallah ascribed divine honors to him by addressing him with the words, “Thou art Thou!” Thereupon Ali banished him to Madain. After Ali’s assassination Abdallah is said to have taught that Ali was not dead but alive, and had never been killed; that a part of the Deity was hidden in him; and that after a certain time he would return to fill the earth with justice. Till then the divine character of Ali was to remain hidden in the imams, who temporarily filled his place. It is easy to see that the whole idea rests on that of the Messiah in combination with the legend of Elijah the prophet. The attribution of divine honors to Ali was probably but a later development, and was fostered by the circumstance that in the Koran Allah is often styled “Al-Ali” (The Most High).Bibliography: Shatrastani al-Milal, pp. 132 et seq. (in Haarbrücken’s translation, i. 200-201);
Weil, Gesch. der Chalifen, i. 173-174, 209, 259
We would like to congratulate the Nawasib for successfully using false propaganda that even left the Jews lagging behind.
Ansar.org use of the ‘Abdullah Ibn Saba’ excuse to absolve Sahabah
However, the people who rebelled against Uthman are of two kinds:a. The followers of Abdullah bin Saba’a the Jew. Ibn Saba’a tried to misguide Muslims. He travelled to Hijaz, Basrah, Kufah, until he was expelled from Al-Sham. Then he got into Egypt. He lived there and established the doctrine of Raja’ah. He claimed that the successor to the Prophet peace be upon him was ‘Ali. Lots of people in Egypt were misguided because of him. Then Ibn Saba’a sent his missionaries to different parts of the Islamic world. He also wrote secret letters to some people to collaborate on killing Uthman , and they are the second kind.
Reply One: Uthman and his wife identified the agitators and killers
Ibn Saba is the favorite bogey man figure for the Nawasib. In any crime, the testimony of a victim is very important. In a murder case prosecutors shall seek to rely upon any comments of the deceased person wherein he has identified those harassing him. Uthman himself claimed that he was murdered by believers i.e. Momineen (Tabaqat al-Kubra), as did Nayla, the wife of Uthman identified who these Momineen were, by stating that they were Madinan residents, comprising of Ansar, Muhajireen, Talha and Zubayr (Al-Iqd al-Fareed). Moreover, the testimony of neighbors and others is crucial in a murder case. In Uthman’s murder case, people had testified that Amr bin Aas, Aisha, Talha, Zubayr and people from both Muhajreen and Ansar murdered him. Neither Uthman nor Naila blamed Ibn Saba for inciting hatred that led to his overthrow. Their testimonies seem to be mysteriously devoid of Ibn Saba. Such a lack of witness testimony is comprehensive proof that the involvement of Ibn Saba is a lie that has been produced as a means of diverting the attention of the masses away from the true killers of Uthman. We shall inshallah cite detailed evidence regarding the roles of all of these prominent companions in the agitation and murder of Uthman in the next chapter.
Reply Two: The tradition Ansar.org relied on
Whilst the Nasibi author sought to blame Abdullah Ibn Saba and his followers for Uthman’s murder, to date no research has proved the role of Abdullah Ibn Saba in the agitation against Uthman and in his murder. If the Nasibi will point out the existence of the name of Abdullah Ibn Saba from Sunni / Shi’a sources, the onus is on Abu Sulaiman to produce a full authentic chain setting out that Abdullah Ibn Saba existed during the reign of Uthman and his activities against Uthman that led to his killing. Worthy of note is that Abu Sulaiman simply makes a comment without even citing a reference, why? Simple for he knows that the moment he mentions the Ibn Saba of Sunni texts who led such as mass rebellion against Uthman then the chain of narrators will be proven as fraudulent or non-existent. Right in the beginning of this chapter, we submitted a detailed discussion on such false reports.
We therefore challenge to each and every Nasibi on the globe and particularly Abu Sulaiman, to verify his claim. Show us with a complete chain of narration from the texts of Ahle Sunnah the evil machinations of Ibn Saba who in his own words:
- Traveled to Hijaz, Basrah, Kufah, until he was expelled from Al-Sham.
- Arrived in Egypt preaching the doctrine of Raja’ah.
- Claimed that the successor to the Prophet peace be upon him was Ali. Lots of people in Egypt were misguided because of him.
- Sent his missionaries to different parts of the Islamic world. He also wrote secret letters to some people to collaborate on killing Uthman, and they are the second kind.
The fact is that the sole individual that quoted the role of Abdullah Ibn Saba against Uthman in the manner that Abu Sulaiman had cited was Sayf Ibn Umar as recorded by Imam Ibn Jarir Tabari in his book on history. Historians having Nasibi tendencies such as Ibn Katheer of course grasped on to this and quoted these same references blindly. Unfortunately for Abu Sulaiman the basis of this argument falls apart when we examine the chain of narrators that Imam Ibn Jarir Tabari had used. Let us delve into the report:
“It was was transmitted to me in writing by al-Sari-Shuhayb-Sayf-Atiyah-Yazid al-Faqasi: Abdallah b. Saba, was a Jew from San’a, and his mother was a black woman. He converted to Islam in the time of Uthman , then roamed about the lands of the Muslims attempting to lead them into error. He began in the Hijaz and then [worked] successively in Basrah, Kufah, and Syria. He was unable to work his will upon a single one of the Syrians; they drove him out and he came to Egypt. He settled among the Egyptians, saying to them among other things, “How strange it is that some people claim that Jesus will return [to the earth], while denying that Muhammad will return, Now Almighty God has said, ‘He who has ordained the Qur’an for thee shall surely restore thee to a place of return’. Now Muhammad is more worthy than Jesus to return…
This gained the approval [of his listeners] and so he fabricated for them [the notion of] the Return [raj’ah] and they discussed it amongst themselves. Later on (Ibn Saba) said to them, Verily there have been a thousand Prophets (nabi); every Prophet has an executor (wasi) and ‘‘Ali was the executor of Muhammad”. He continued, “Muhammad is the seal of prophets and ‘Ali is the seal of executors”. Then after that he said, “Who commits a greater wrong than a man who has not carried out the testament of the Messenger of God, who has attacked the executor of the Messenger of God, and who has usurped power over the Community?” Then he told them “Verily Uthman has taken it without right, while this one [that is ‘‘Ali] is the executor of the Messenger of God. Therefore champion this cause and set it going. Begin by censuring your governors. Proclaiming publicly the commanding of good and the forbidding of evil and you will win over the people. Summon them to this cause.
Then he dispersed his agents and wrote to those whom he had corrupted in the garrison towns. They returned his correspondence and secretly preached their notions [to others].
Taken from History of Tabari [English translation] Volume 15 page 145-147
By now we are sure that our objective readers shall conclude that the any chain with the name Sayf should be rejected. We still feel that it would be good to serve a final blow to the Nawasib, by analyzing the names of narrators in the chain other than Sayf Ibn Umar. The presence Al-Sari and Shuyab in the chain also makes this tradition unacceptable. The first narrator As-Sari bin Ismaeel has been declared as Matruk by Imam Ibn Hajar Asqalani (Taqirb al-Tahdib, v1 p341), Imam Al-Dahabi (Al-Kashif, v1 p427) and Imam Al-Nisai said (Al-Du’afa, p188) while he has been declared weak by Imam Shawkani (Nail al-Awtar, v2 p273), Shaykh Shu’aib al-Arnaout (Margin of Siar alam alnubala, v4 p133) while Imam of Salafies Nasiruddin Al-Bani declared him ‘extremely weak’(Silsila Daeefa, v3 p115).
Another narrator Shu’aib bin Ibrahim al-Kufi is unknown as recorded by Al-Dahabi (Mizan al-Etidal, v2, p275) and Ibn Uday (Al-Kamil, v4, p4).
An appeal to logic
Rather than jump onto the ‘Shia attacking band wagon’ we would urge the Nawasib to use some logic. If Ibn Saba was indeed that powerful, why didn’t Uthman made efforts to curb his power? Why didn’t Uthman try to get Ibn Saba arrested? The texts of Ahle Sunnah are clear that In Saba misled pious companions such as Abu Dharr (ra) who became his advocate. Uthman took a very tough line against Abu Dharr (ra) by sending him into exile, where he (ra) died – so why not apprehend the ringleader and banish him in a similar fashion? Does it make sense that Uthman had allowed Ibn Saba to roam freely through the Islamic State where he took the opportunity to stoke up dissension against the Khalifa? One should not forget that according to the traditions Nawasib rely on, Ibn Saba’s presence was in Syria, under the watchful eye of Uthman’s Nasibi cousin Muawiya. Is it believable that these nefarious activities were happening under the nose of Mu’awiya and he was just allowing it to continue? If Mu’awiya had the determination to arrest and deport Abu Dharr (ra), why did he leave Ibn Saba alone? When the State adopts measures against agitators, they don’t just dedicate resource towards apprehending the followers, the priority is bringing the ring leaders to justice. Once a ring leader is taken out of action, the movement he lead disintegrates. Why did Muawiya then focus on apprehending Abu Dharr and not his alleged Master Ibn Saba? The fact is those activities relatied to inciting opposition to Uthman, were uncannignly similar to campaign initiated by the Sahaba. Uthman was not killed by Ibn Saba, nor did he hatch any conspiracies. Try and deny it they might, but the fact is the Sahaba killed Uthman with the lead perpetrators being none other than Aisha, Talha, Zubayr and Amr bin Aas.
We have already cited Uthman’s wife eyewitness testimony where she had implicated the Sahaba of Madina for inciting the murder of Uthman. If Ibn Saba and his supporters were the murderers of Uthman, then how is it that Nayla failed to mention his name in the events that led to the death of her husband? To suggest that the Sabaies or Shias were involved in this act is nothing but lies spread by the followers of Mu’awiya. The three key characters, who were involved in the murder of Uthman are not “family of Ibn Saba”, rather they are the relatives of Abu Bakr, Aisha being his daughter, and the other two being his sons-in-law and Alhamdolillah none of them were Shias. Despite their actions these same individuals proceeded to incite dissension and go to war against Imam Ali (as) demanding vengeance for blood that they had themselves shed!
What sort of justice is Abu Sulaiman portraying? A legal system that allows the actual killers to go free preferring to apportion guilt to the door of a fictitious bogey man? To suggest a lone Jew was able to mislead the people including the prominent Sahaba such as Abu Dharr (ra) to such an extent that they were hypnotized into believing his cause and were able to create a revolution so powerful that no one could stop it, not even the Islamic army is ridiculous. Was Ibn Saba a super power that was able to single handedly defy a Khalifa – who had the victories of Iran and Iraq under his belt, so much so that Ibn Saba could mount opposition and have Uthman killed in broad daylight with no one saying a word against him? It is the duty of any Government to maintain a strict vigil on all / any deviant elements in society, but Uthman did not perform this duty, he simply allowed Ibn Saba, the Jew, to run havoc in his reign. What happened to Ibn Saba following the murder of Uthman? Was he swallowed by earth or he did he ascend in to the clouds? He was not killed in the battles of Jamal war or Siffeen. Even during the reign of Mu’awiya, he wasn’t killed. Ibn-Saba’s role in mass agitation against Uthman and his murder is fictional, which was cooked up to hide the real culprits of Uthman’s murder. It is a tactical ploy to hide the fact that the true killers of Uthman were the Sahaba.
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