Chapter Eight: Virtues of Uthman in Shi’a books
In the end, let me mention some of the virtues of ‘Uthman from Shi’a books. Abu Al-Fath Al-Arb’Ali – a major Shi’a scholar – mentions in his book Kashf Al-Ghummah the story of the marriage of ‘Ali to Fatima and how ‘Uthman helped ‘Ali in his marriage. ‘Ali said, “Then the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him told me, ‘Abu Al-Hasan! Go now and sell your armor and come back with its value so I may prepare what is good for you and Fatima.’ So I went and sold my armor to ‘Uthman bin Affan for 400 Darhams. When the money was in my hand and the armor was in his hands, ‘Uthman said to me, ‘Abu Al-Hasan! Don’t you need the armor more than I do and don’t you need the money more than I do?’ I answered with a yes. So he said, ‘Then take back the armor. It is a gift from me to you.’ So I took back the armor and the money and went to the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him. I handed the armor and the money over to the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him and I told him what happened between ‘Uthman and me. The Prophet then asked Allah goodness for ‘Uthman.” [Kashf Al-Ghummah, by Al-Arb’Ali, vol. 1, p. 368 under the subtitle of “A Chapter in his marriage to Fatima alayha Al-salam”]
First and foremost we should inform our readers that Arbali is not counted as a major Shi’a scholar at the same rank as one considers Shaykh Yaqub Kuleni, Shaykh Seduq and Shaykh Tusi who authored the four principle Hadeeth books of the Shia school. Arbali authored Kashf al-Ghumma and this is perhaps the only book that he authored – on the Ahl’ul bayt (as), wherein he collated Sunni traditions to evidence the righteousness of the Ahl’ul bayt (as) and their virtues as he himself attested:
واعتمدت في الغالب النقل من كتب الجمهور
Now looking at the reference cited – the cunning author has not revealed to his readers the source mentioned by Arbali for this particular tradition which is Manaqib al-Khawarzmi, a Sunni book. Therefore, the tradition has no value for Shias. Still for the sake of argument we would like to ask, what exactly is Abu Sulaiman seeking to prove by citing this narration? Does the hadith guarantee that Uthman is in Paradise, that all his sins have been forgiven? All it states is that Rasulullah asked Allah goodness for ‘Uthman. The du’a was in the context of his deed it does not guarantee his entry into Heaven! Allah (swt) not only granted goodness to Iblis he elevated him to Paradise. Clearly this reward was for his deeds ‘at that given time’. Did Allah’s blessings on him guarantee him Paradise whatever he did in the future? Clearly not, his actions ‘after’ in effect negated his good deeds and he incurred the wrath of Allah (swt). This is where we differ with Ahle Sunnah – if Rasulullah (s) praises a person that does NOT guarantee his entry into Heaven, success is dependent on the END result. We shall cite an example:
A pupil enters year nine at school, he is very bright. His initial results prove that he has adhered to his teachers’ teaching methodology and he is top of the class. His teacher praises him in quarterly school reports, praising him and hoping he gains entry into a good college. By year 10, the pupil begins to mix with disruptive students his grades fall by the time of his final exams his results are poor. The teachers’ initial hopes have not been sustained because of a change in the pupils attitude his exam results are poor he has failed to gain entry into a good college. The hope was success BUT this was not achieved due to the END result the change in attitude / affected success and subsequent entry into a good college.
Another story narrated by Al-Arb’Ali, “Then some people from Iraq entered upon him (Al-Imam Zayn Al-Abideen ‘Ali bin Al-Hussain) and said some bad things about Abu Bakr, Umar, and ‘Uthman. When they were done, ‘Ali bin Al-Hussain told them, ‘Tell me, Are you the (Muhajirs, those who were expelled from their homes and their property, while seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure, and aiding Allah and His Messenger: such are indeed the sincere ones)? They answered, ‘No!’ Then ‘Ali bin Al-Hussain said, ‘So, are you (those who, before them, had homes (in Medina) and had adopted the Faith, show their affection to such as came to them for refuge, and entertain no desire in their hearts for things given to the (latter), but give them preference over themselves, even though poverty was their (own lot))?’ They answered, ‘No!’ ‘Ali bin Al-Hussain said, ‘Therefore, you disassociated yourselves from being one of these two groups and I bear witness that you are not the ones (who came after them say: “Our Lord! Forgive us, and our brethren who came before us into the Faith, and leave not, in our hearts, rancor (or sense of injury) against those who have believed. Our Lord! Thou art indeed Full of Kindness, Most Merciful.”) Get out of here, may Allah curse you!” [Ibid, vol. 2, p. 291, under the subtitle of “Virtues of Al-Imam Zayn Al-Abideen”] And after all these evidences from Sunni and Shi’a books, does Al-Tijani dare to claim that Allah had guided him to slander the Companions?
The Nasibi author adhering to the deceitful traits inherited from his ancestors again did not mention the actual source on which Arbali relied on and yet, the Nasibi author had the audacity to write: “Another story narrated by Al-Arb’Ali”. Had the Nasibi author an ounce of shame, he would have mentioned that Arbali has quoted this tradition from work of an esteemed Sunni scholar Shaykh Kamaluddin Ibn Talha al-Shafiyee namely Matalib al-Seul. This report can be located in Tafsir al-Qurtubi under his commentary of verse 59:10. A Sunni narrated source automatically means that we can reject and the fact that it has no Isnad that we can examine also makes it weak in the eyes of Ahle Sunnah also.
But as usual, we would still like to comment on it just for the argument sake. We would argue that it is essential to understand the context in which the Imam (as) was speaking. This was a period when the Imams were being persecuted; the males of the Imam’s household had been wiped by the sixth Imam of Ahle Sunnah Yazeed ibn Mu’awiyah [see our article on Imam Husayn (as)].
Ahl’ul bayt (as) were being viewed with suspicion by the Nasibi Government of the time and yet they were fully aware of the respect the Imam (as) had amongst the ordinary folk. It was therefore essential to seek an excuse by which the Imam (as) could be imprisoned / or worse executed. By this era the State machinery had in effect propagated the concept of the justice of the Sahaba.
Any views that went against this would have no doubt been viewed as views that contravened State Religion – and this would have been grounds to have people apprehended and punished. No doubt the Imams views of the first three khalifas were very critical, but it also needs to be pointed out that like all regimes the State had also sent spies to listen in on the Imam’s speeches and ascertain his views so that grounds for arrest could be made against him.
The Imam (as) was of course fully aware of this. With this background in mind, let us examine this narration, we are told that “some people from Iraq entered upon him”. The narration fails to identify the names of these individuals. Who were they? Were they Sunni / Shi’a / Nasibi / Undercover State Officials seeking to learn of the Imams views?
In the absence of this fact there is no way that Abu Sulaiman can conclude that he was talking to Shi’a from Kufa they were “some people” had they been Shi’a the tradition would have mentioned this. The Imam of course was fully aware of the evil machinations that the State machinery had against him, and the sudden appearance of people from Kufa who immediately wanted to know his views on the three khalifa’s automatically points to the fact that these were State Officials seeking to collate evidence with which they could harm him.
Faced with this situation the Imam (as) adopted taqiyya, to counter their efforts, had he (as) made his actual views known to these individuals he would have been arrested and worse killed. If Nasibi are going to claim that taqiyya is haraam, we should point out that according to Ahle Sunnah aqeedah it is legitimate when one needs to protect oneself from harm. Imam of Ahle Sunnah Fakhruddin Razi recorded:
“Taqiyyah is permissible till the day of Qayamah and this statement is better because it is Wajib to protect our life from any harm”
Tafseer Kabeer, Volume 4 page 170
Similarly it is Hanafi aqeedah that under duress it is permissible to curse Rasulullah (s) (“Usul Al Shashi”, Chapter “Al Dheema” page 114). If Ahle Sunnah deem cursing Rasulullah (s) as permissible if it means protecting one’s life, then by the same token it was perfectly legitimate for Imam Zaynul Abdideen (as) to praise the three khalifa’s as it was a means of protecting his life. We are sure that Ansar.org are aware of our Imam’s actual views of these three individuals, as contained within our primary texts – these Sahih narration’s in effect further prove that Imam Zaynul Abideen must have adopted taqiyya in this circumstance (if this incident is indeed authentic).
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