Monday, October 20, 2008

Veracity of Tabari's Islamic History - 3

syed-mohsin naquvi wrote:


Even if you deny everything, how can you deny that Muwaiyyah fought actively in battle field against Imam Ali? He ordered the son of HAzrat Abu BAkr named Muhammad bin Abi BAkr and HAzrat Aisha would curse MUawiyyah for the murder of her brother. I am really surprised when you say that most historians are Shia.

Syed-Mohsin Naquvi

Dear and Respected Naquvi Sahab,

More references for your kind perusal,


Muhammad Bin Abu Bakar:

The most reliable report on this is that of al-Zuhri, from Ibn al-Musayyab, mursal, in al-Dhahabi's Tarikh al-Islam that Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr led the group that burst in, then `Uthman mentioned his father to him and he drew back in shame. He later said: "I repented at that moment." But the others pounced on `Uthman and killed him - Allah be well-pleased with him. Na'ila the wife of `Uthman confirmed this to `Ali , adding: "Nevertheless, he brought in those who killed him!" Rayta or Khansa' the Mawlat of Usama ibn Zayd was in the house and confirms this also. This can be found in Ibn Sa`d's Tabaqat, al-Tabari's Tarikh, al-Maliqi's Maqtal al-Shahid `Uthman, Ibn Kathir's al-Bidaya wal-Nihaya, and others.

The problem with al-Tabari's History is that it is not a critical history but an indiscriminate compilation that includes the chains for the experts to sift truth from nonsense. Certain professionals rely exclusively on the nonsense to puzzle the people of truth. It would be a great boon if a hadith expert compiled the names of all the forgers found in al-Tabari's chains in the Tarikh. One such forger is Sayf ibn `Umar, the author of Futuh al-Sham, who narrates the report that Ibn Abi Bakr supposedly stabbed `Uthman. A much more reliable history is al-Dhahabi's Tarikh al-Islam, in print in 52 volumes. This is a superb edition and monumental work by Dr. `Umar `Abd al-Salam Tadmuri. (Also: the Siras of al-Mizzi and Ibn Kathir; more recently, those of Dr. Muhammad Abu Shuhba and Dr. Muhammad Sadiq `Arjun.)

As for al-Balaadhiri i.e. Ahmad ibn Yahya ibn Jabir (d. 279) - upon whom rely certain people - he was a court genealogist and poet, not a hadith expert even if al-Dhahabi mentions him in Tadhkirat al-Huffaz because of his erudition. His masterpiece is Ansaab al-Ashraaf, which he did not complete. One might say he is the archetype of the Abbasid historian full of anti-Umayyad stories. He became insane in later life because of excessive consumption of memory-strengthening anacardium nuts (balaadhir). Imam al-Shafi`i and Ibn al-Jawzi also used them, the former died "early" at 54 of chronic hemorroids and the latter lost his beard, rahimahum Allah. It is strange how much some people rely on al-Balaadhuri for what suits their lusts then they reject him when he tells them that `Umar married Umm Kulthum the daughter of `Ali and Fatima, and she gave him a son and a daughter.

Imam al-Nawawi in Tahdhib al-Asma' wal-Lughat said that Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr was 3.5 months old when the Prophet passed from this world. I.e. he was under 3 when Abu Bakr passed away. He was raised by `Ali since the latter married his mother - Asma' bint `Umays - after she was widowed of Abu Bakr. `Uthman said he was prone to anger. After the murder in 35, `Ali used him in various official functions, the last of them in the governorate of Egypt in 37, which shows he was satisfied he was responsible for the murder, together with fear of ordering the killing of a Sahabi [see below]. He fought with `Ali at the Camel and Siffin. After the Camel, `Ali deputized him to escort `A'isha back to Madina. Had Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr been responsible for the murder of `Uthman, `A'isha would never have forgiven him nor wept heavily over him when he was killed in Egypt in 38 - rahimahullah. Those who revile his memory today obviously side with his killers against `A'isha and `Ali!

[Courtesy: G. F. Haddad]


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