The Twelver Shia sect is based on mass-Takfir of the companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), particularly the chief of the Muhajirun and Ansar (may Allah be pleased with them). Of course, this extreme and heretical belief stems from the Twelver belief that the Sahaba (companions) usurped the political authority (Khilafah) of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him). That belief in return is justified by half-baked and flimsy pieces of ‘evidence’ (either outright weak and fabricated narrations or decontextualised and misconstrued authentic narrations) that the Shia provide from ‘Sunni sources’ (cherry-picking of the Sunni hadith corpus).
Did ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib delay his bay’ah (pledge of allegiance)?
The oath of allegiance of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) which is proven is that which is mentioned in the Sahih of Bukhari and Muslim. As for the earlier oath of allegiance (which is mentioned in the hadith of Abu Said al-Khudri), there is some doubt as to whether it is proven, some scholars have certainly authenticated it, in fact most early historical sources mention that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and al-Zubayr were initially upset for not being consulted but nonetheless did pledge allegiance straight after Abu Bakr received the oath of allegiance from the people.
However, this article shall prove that event without considering the first pledge of of ‘Ali (which major scholars authenticated and reconciled with those that speak of a delay of six months), the Sunni position stands that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib did not just eventually paid allegiance but he did so out of full conviction and willingly and by acknowledging what the Ummah has and will forever acknowledge, namely the superiority of Abu Bakr and that he undoubtedly deserved the position of Khilafah which of course will falsify and disprove the entire Shia narrative as we shall see.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
‘It is known from mutawatir (authentically mass-transmitted) reports that no one refrained from swearing allegiance to him – namely Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) – except Sa‘d ibn ‘Ubadah. As for Ali and Banu Hashim, all of them swore allegiance to him, according to scholarly consensus, and none of them died without having sworn allegiance to him. However it was said that Ali delayed his oath of allegiance for six months; it was also said that in fact he swore allegiance to him on the second day. Whatever the case, they swore allegiance to him without being forced to do so. End quote.’
Minhaj al-Sunnah (8/232)
Ali ibn Abi Talib gave his oath of allegiance (bay’ah) to his brother Abu Bakr
The truth of the matter is that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) did indeed pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), not one for the sake of ‘Taqiyyah‘ and ‘unity’ (what unity if Islam is lead by a bunch of so-called hypocrites?) as the Twelver Shia claim, rather a truthful bay’ah (pledge of allegiance) that destroys the foundations of Imamism as authentic reports prove that ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him):
- Willingly Pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr.
- Never claimed to be an infallible Imam (much less so his sons and his descendants).
- Never claimed to be a divinely chosen Imam by Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ), much less his sons, and his descendants.
- Acknowledged Abu Bakr’s virtues, merits, and superiority over himself, praised him (Abu Bakr) in public (no Taqiyyah, he’s the lion of Allah) and resolved all disputes with him (a sweet truth that the Shia can’t digest).
We read in the Sahih by Bukhari (it is a very long narration, the first part is about Fadak, the Shia normally cite that part while omitting the rest of the reports that literally pulverises the entire foundations of their sect):
‘Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) entered upon Ali ibn Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) after he requested a meeting with him:
‘Ali ibn ibn Talib recited the Tashahhud, then he said: “O Abu Bakr, we acknowledge your virtue and what Allah has given you. We do not envy you for any favour that Allah has bestowed upon you, but you did it without consulting us and we thought that we had the right (to be consulted) because of our kinship with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). He kept speaking to Abu Bakr until Abu Bakr’s eyes filled with tears. When Abu Bakr spoke, he said: By the One in Whose hand is my soul, kinship with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) is dearer to me than kinship with my own people. As for this dispute that occurred between me and you concerning these properties, I have not deviated from the right path with regard to them, and I have not given up something that I saw the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) do with them, rather I have done it too.
‘Ali said to Abu Bakr: Your appointment for my oath of allegiance is this afternoon. When Abu Bakr had prayed Dhuhr, he ascended the pulpit and recited the Tashahhud, and he spoke of ‘Ali and his delay in swearing allegiance, and the excuse that he had given, then he prayed for his forgiveness. And Ali ibn ibn Talib recited the tashahhud and spoke highly of Abu Bakr, and said that what he had done was not due to jealousy of Abu Bakr, or a refusal to accept the favour that Allah had bestowed upon him, but we thought that we should have had a share in the matter, but it had been decided without consulting us, and we were upset with that. The Muslims were pleased with this and said: You have done the right thing. Then the Muslims became closer to ‘Ali, when he did the right thing.’
Narrated by Bukhari (3998) and Muslim (1759).
According to another version narrated by Muslim in his Sahih:
‘Then ‘Ali stood up and spoke highly of Abu Bakr, and he mentioned his virtue and the fact that he had been one of the first to enter Islam. Then he went to Abu Bakr and swore allegiance to him, and the people came to ‘Ali and said: You have done the right thing, you have done well. And the people became close to Ali when he did the right thing.’
Points to ponder over:
- The historical ‘Ali did not accuse Abu Bakr of kufr (disbelief), nor nifaq (hypocrisy), nor being an usurper. Shi’ism does all of that.
- The historical ‘Ali did not mention a single word about his alleged divine Imamah or infallibility, much less of his sons and descendants (‘twelve infallible Imams’). Shi’ism attributes all of that to him.
- The historical ‘Ali acknowledges Abu Bakr’s virtues and the favours that Allah has bestowed on him. In Shi’ism Abu Bakr is vilified and ritually cursed.
- The historical ‘Ali made it absolutely clear that the only issue that made him (initially) upset was him not being consulted in the first Shura (at Saqifah Bani Sa’idah), nothing more and nothing else.
- This beautiful sahih narration has solved the dispute between Abu Bakr and ‘Ali over 1400 years ago, this is why Ahlus-Sunnah are not obsessed with these matters, they have nothing to hide. The narration proves that Abu Bakr and ‘Ali were brothers who after some disputes (Fadak and Khilafah) forgave each other, praised each other, and loved each other, like two brothers in Islam are supposed to do even if they had or even have some disagreements.
- This sahih narrations presents the historical Abu Bakr and ‘Ali; two men who had mutual love and respect for each other, in sharp contrast to their version in Shi’ism where both are enemies for life, full of grudge and hatred for each other.
One cannot argue that Sunni accounts are somehow biased and that the Sahabah are seen through rose-coloured glasses; almost angelic, a society where no disputes existed and everybody lived happily ever after. This is a a straw man argument that is often level against Ahlus-Sunnah by the Twelvers (yes, rich coming from them), the very same Twelver Shia Imamites who have romanticised and Persianised their Imams and have turned them into angelic (Zoroastrian-like) demigods.
The whitewashing of history is a Shia baseless Shia allegation that is based on folklore sayings and emotions rather than academic pieces of evidences. Indeed, Sunnis have recorded the mistakes and errors of Sahabah (that the Shia feast on like vultures) and everything else, as long as the reports meet the scientific requirements that the scholars of hadith (who analyse both, the chain of narrations and the matn/text) have laid down. As a matter of fact, the entire religion – starting from the Qur’an – is based on chains of narrations:
One of the chief of the Salaf, Abdullah ibn al-Mubaarak (181 AH), said:
الاسناد عندي من الدين, لو لا الاسناد لقال من شاء ما شاء
‘The chains of narrations (isnad) is from the religion; were it not for the isnad anyone could say anything they wanted.’
(Taken from the introduction of Imaam Muslim’s Saheeh, and also found in Imam Nawawi’s explanation of Saheeh Muslim 1/12)
Another Imam of the Salaf, Muhammad ibn Sirin, states:
‘The science of chain of authority and narration of hadith is the religion itself. You should check whom you are receiving your religion from.’ (Related by Muslim in al-Muqaddima to his as-Sahih, vol. 1, p. 14)
Waki’ ibn al-Jarrah said: ‘Ahlul-‘Ilm (the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah) record everything, whether it is (an evidence) against them or for them, whereas Ahlul-Ahwa` (the people of desires i.e. deviants and heretics) do not record except what is in favour for them.’ (Sunan al-Daraqutni, 26/1)
These principles have been repeatedly mentioned and upheld by the likes of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah and contemporary Sunni scholars like Shaykh al-Albani and Shaykh Muqbil (Salafi Yemeni Ex-Shia), who all reiterated that Ahlus-Sunnah – due to their integrity, reliability, and truthfulness – have narrated authentic accounts without addition and omission due to bias to their own sect i.e. they have narrated what the people of deviation and heresy (Ahlul-Bid’ah wa al-Dhalalah) will ultimately (mis)use against them; they have narrated mistakes and shortcomings of the Sahabah, the disputes amongst them etc. without hiding or dimissing any of these accounts (as some Shia claim in their ignorance).
This and much more proves that the Sunni account of Abu Bakr and ‘Ali is anything but a rosy and romanticised whitewashing of history.
‘Ali’s ibn Talib’s delay in pledging allegiance: a point that dismantles Imamism
The Twelvers, due to their ignorance, believe that the narrations that speak of ‘Ali having delayed his bay’ah to Abu Bakr, somehow delegitimises the latter’s caliphate i.e. authority. Little do they know that the exact opposite is truth.
Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
‘With regard to ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) delaying swearing of allegiance (to Abu Bakr); ‘Ali mentioned it in this hadith and Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) apologised to him (for not consulting ‘Ali in the first Shura).
Moreover, this delay on ‘Ali’s part did not undermine the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr and it did not undermine ‘Ali himself.
With regard to swearing allegiance, the scholars are unanimously agreed that for an oath of allegiance to be valid, it is not essential that all the people, or even all the decision-makers (Ahlul-Hilli wa al-Aqd) and prominent people, should swear allegiance. Rather there should be a group of scholars, leaders and prominent figures who do so.
With regard to it not undermining ‘Ali or his character, that is because it was not essential for everyone to come to the leader, put his hand in his and swear allegiance to him; rather once the decision-makers and prominent figures have sworn allegiance to the leader, the individual is required to accept his leadership, not show dissent and not rebel against him.
That was the case with ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) during that period, before he swore allegiance, because he did not show dissent towards Abu Bakr or rebel against him. But he was held back from coming to him for the reason mentioned in the hadith. In order for swearing allegiance to be valid and proper, that did not depend on him being present, and neither he nor anyone else was required to attend for that purpose. As it was not required, he did not come.
Nothing has been narrated from him to suggest that he thought that the oath of allegiance was not valid, and he never expressed any objection (to Abu Bakr being appointed caliph). However he did have some misgivings in his mind, hence his coming was delayed until that matter had been dealt with.
The reason for his misgivings was that, because of his high status and the fact that he himself was a person of virtue in all aspects, and was closely related to the Prophet (ﷺ), and so on, he thought that no decision should be made without him being consulted and being present. But the excuse given by Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and the rest of the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them all) was quite clear: it was because they thought that hastening to swear allegiance was in the greater interest of the Muslims, and they were afraid that if they delayed it, that could lead to problems and disputes that would in turn lead to serious negative consequences. Therefore they delayed burying the Prophet (ﷺ) until they had sworn allegiance, because that was the most important matter, so as to ensure that no dispute would arise concerning his burial, shrouding, ghusl, funeral prayer and so on, without having anyone who could have the final say on such matters. Hence they thought that giving precedence to swearing allegiance was the most important issue at that time.’
Reference: Sharh Sahih Muslim (12/77-78)
Supporting evidence for this historical fact:
The Imaam, the Great Haafidh, the one who closely followed the narrations,Abu Bakr Ahmad bin ‘Amr bin Abi Asim al-Dahhaak ibn Makhlad al-Shaybani (206/822 – 287/900), famously known as Ibn Abi Asim was an Imam from among the Imams of the Salaf. He was born in present-day Iraq but later in his life left Basra for Isfahan (pre-Safavid-Shi’i i.e. Sunni Persia) where he was granted a position as a judge. He died in Isfahan in the year 900. According to Sunni Iranian historian Abu Nu’aym, Ibn Abi Asim was buried in Isfahan’s Doshabaz cemetery (the anti-Sunni Safavid authorities desecrated his and all Sunni scholars’ graves in modern-day Iran).
From among his works was ‘Kitab al-Sunnah’, a famous collection of hadith and athar on ‘aqidah and manhaj. In it he also provided a number of authentic reports with regards to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib’s position towards caliphate and those who preceded him in it:
عن علي رضي الله عنه أنه قال يوم الجمل إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و آله و سلم لم يعهد إلينا عهدا نأخذ به في إمارة و لكنه شيء رأيناه من قبل أنفسنا استخلف أبو بكر رحمة الله على أبي بكر فأقام و استقام ثم استخلف عمر رحمة الله على عمر فأقام و استقام حتى ضرب الدين بجرانه
‘Ali ibn Abi Talib said on the day of the camel: “Certainly, the Apostle of Allah did not promise us anything regarding this Imarah (leadership/political authority). It is a matter we decided ourselves. Abu Bakr was appointed as caliph, may the mercy of Allah be upon Abu Bakr. He established (Islam) and remained steadfast on it. Thereafter ‘Umar was appointed as caliph, may the mercy of Allah be upon ‘Umar. He likewise established (Islam) and remained resolute on the same until it became firmly grounded.”
Reference: Kitab as-Sunnah, p. 552 by Ibn Abi ‘Asim. The narration has a number of mutaba’at (“follow-ups”) and shawahid (“witnesses”) i.e. supportive reports with sound chains and can be also found in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad.
The aforementioned narration is supported by the following sahih narration that leaves no doubt that neither ‘Ali (رضي الله عنه) nor his entire clan (Bani Hashim) ever understood a single of the dozen so-called pieces of evidence (such as Hadith al-Ghadir, al-Manzilah, etc.) cited by the Shia as a proof for ‘Ali’s divine leadership. This alone proves that the Shia have a skewed understanding of all those evidence they cite in their futile attempts to prove their rotten religion:
حَدَّثَنَا إِسْحَاقُ، أَخْبَرَنَا بِشْرُ بْنُ شُعَيْبٍ، حَدَّثَنِي أَبِي، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ كَعْبٍ، أَنَّ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ عَبَّاسٍ، أَخْبَرَهُ أَنَّ عَلِيًّا ـ يَعْنِي ابْنَ أَبِي طَالِبٍ ـ خَرَجَ مِنْ عِنْدِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَحَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ صَالِحٍ حَدَّثَنَا عَنْبَسَةُ حَدَّثَنَا يُونُسُ عَنِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ كَعْبِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ أَنَّ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ عَبَّاسٍ أَخْبَرَهُ أَنَّ عَلِيَّ بْنَ أَبِي طَالِبٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ خَرَجَ مِنْ عِنْدِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي وَجَعِهِ الَّذِي تُوُفِّيَ فِيهِ فَقَالَ النَّاسُ يَا أَبَا حَسَنٍ كَيْفَ أَصْبَحَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ أَصْبَحَ بِحَمْدِ اللَّهِ بَارِئًا فَأَخَذَ بِيَدِهِ الْعَبَّاسُ فَقَالَ أَلاَ تَرَاهُ أَنْتَ وَاللَّهِ بَعْدَ الثَّلاَثِ عَبْدُ الْعَصَا وَاللَّهِ إِنِّي لأُرَى رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم سَيُتَوَفَّى فِي وَجَعِهِ، وَإِنِّي لأَعْرِفُ فِي وُجُوهِ بَنِي عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبِ الْمَوْتَ، فَاذْهَبْ بِنَا إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَنَسْأَلَهُ فِيمَنْ يَكُونُ الأَمْرُ فَإِنْ كَانَ فِينَا عَلِمْنَا ذَلِكَ، وَإِنْ كَانَ فِي غَيْرِنَا أَمَرْنَاهُ فَأَوْصَى بِنَا. قَالَ عَلِيٌّ وَاللَّهِ لَئِنْ سَأَلْنَاهَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَيَمْنَعُنَا لاَ يُعْطِينَاهَا النَّاسُ أَبَدًا، وَإِنِّي لاَ أَسْأَلُهَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَبَدًا.‘Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas: ‘Ali bin Abu Talib came out of the house of the Prophet during his fatal ailment. The people asked (‘Ali), “O Abu Hasan! How is the health of Allah’s Apostle this morning?” ‘Ali said, “This morning he is better, with the grace of Allah.” al-‘Abbas held Ali by the hand and said, “Don’t you see him (about to die)? By Allah, within three days you will be the slave of the stick (i.e., under the command of another ruler). By Allah, I think that Allah’s Apostle will die from his present ailment, for I know the signs of death on the faces of the offspring of ‘Abdul Muttalib. So let us go to Allah’s Apostle to ask him who will take over the Caliphate. If the authority is given to us, we will know it, and if it is given to somebody else we will request him to recommend us to him.” ‘Ali said, “By Allah! If we ask Allah’s Apostle for the rulership and he refuses, then the people will never give it to us. Besides, I will never ask Allah’s Apostle for it.” (Bukhari :: Book 8 :: Volume 74 :: Hadith 282)
A holistic analysis of various authentic reliable Sunni narrations (without cherry-picking as usually done by Shi’ites) proves that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib did indeed pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr; ‘Ali did so out of conviction, willingly, and after settling all disputes with his friend and brother Abu Bakr whose merits and virtues he openly acknowledged. Undoubtedly, if ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib were alive today, he would denounce his false claimants, the Rafidah, the Ghulat (extremists), who masquaradee as his ‘lovers and followers’.
With regard to the infamous claim of the Shia, that the oath of allegiance given by ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) was sworn under compulsion, this is a false and fabricated claim that stems from obvious stubbornness and wilful blindness to the facts narrated with sound isnads.
As a matter of fact, the mere proposition that the lion of Allah, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, was forced to pledge allegiance is nothing but an insult to this great man, it does not only contradict sound narrations, it also defies logic, for the very ‘Ali who mobilised his armies and killed thousands of Khawarij (his fierce opponents who wanted him dead) at Nahrawan, would have never been complicit in a pseudo-caliphate, a caliphate based on disbelief, disobedience, hypocricy, and the rejection and usurpation of the mother of all foundations of the religion i.e. his divine Imamah/sole (as per Shia Imamism). The historical ‘Ali was a friend and advisor to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar out of love and conviction, and not due to ‘Taqiyyah‘ and ‘unity‘ reasons or that he had not enough men to fight them. As a matter of fact, once he became caliph and had a large army under control he kept praising Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and the rest of the Sahabah, for his false claimants, the Shia, the Ghulat (extremists) had already started to exaggerate with his status and attribute lies to him, lies such as him being a divinely appointed Imam who despises his predecessors.