The Last Days of ‘Umar Ibn Khattab (Radhiyallahu Anhu)’s Life and His Assassination

Compiled from Various Sources

The  Caliph  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  a  fine  example  of  a  just,  believing  caliph,  a  pious,  pure,  strong  and  honest  mujahid,  a  strong  fortress  for the  ummah  and  its  ‘aqeedah. He  spent  his  entire  caliphate serving  his  religion  and  his  ‘aqeedah  and  his  ummah,  which  he  had  been  appointed  to  lead.  He  was  the  supreme  commander  of  the  army,  and the  faqeeh  and  mujtahid  to  whom  everyone  referred.  He  was  a  just  judge  and  a  compassionate  father  who  was  merciful  to  his  flock, young  and  old,  weak  and  strong,  poor  and  rich.  He  was  a  sincere  believer  in  Allah  and  His  Messenger,  a  brilliant  politician  and  a  wise  and  decisive  administrator.  Under  his  leadership  the  structure  of  the  ummah  was  strengthened,  and  during  his  reign  the  pillars  of  the  Islamic  conquests  were  established  and  the  greatest  victories  were  achieved  over  the  Persians  at  al-Qadisiyah,  al-Mada’in,  Jaloola’  and  Nahawand.  Syria  and  Egypt  were  conquered  and  freed  from  the  domination  of  Byzantium.  Islam  entered  most  of  the  lands  surrounding  the  Arabian  Peninsula.  His  caliphate  was  a  strong  barrier  against   tribulation  and  civil  war.  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) himself  was  like  a  closed door,  and  those  who  sought  to  stir  up  tribulation  could  find  no  way  to  reach  the  Muslims  during  his  lifetime. [Al-Khulafa’ ar-Rashideen by al-Khalidi, p.77]

Discussion  between  ‘Umar  and Hudhayfah  (radhiyallahu anhum) concerning  Tribulations
Hudhayfah  ibn  al-Yaman  (radhiyallahu  anhu)  said:  “We  were  with  Ibn  al- Khattab  (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  he  said,  ‘Who  among  you  remembers  what  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  said  about  fitnah  (tribulation)?  I  said,  ‘I  remember  it  as  he  said  it.’  He  said,  ‘Tell  us,  what  a  great  man  your  father  was!’  I  said,  ‘I  heard  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  say,  “The  tribulation  of  a  man  is  with  regard  to  his  family,  his  wealth,  his  own  self,  his  son  and  his  neighbour,  and  it  may  be  expiated  by  means  of  fasting,  praying  and  giving  charity,  and  by  enjoining  what  is  good  and  forbidding  what  is  evil.’),  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) said,  ‘That  is  not  what  I  mean.  What  I  mean  is  the  tribulations  which  will  come like  the  waves  of  the  sea.’  I  said,  ‘What  does  that  have  to  do  with  you,  O  Ameer  al- Mu’mineen?  Between  you  and  them  is  a  closed  door.’  He  (‘Umar)  asked,  ‘Will  that  door  be  broken  or  opened?’  I  said,  ‘It  will  be  broken.’  He  said,  ‘Then  it  will  never  be  closed  until  the  Hour  begins.'”  Abu Wa’il,  the  one  who  narrated  it  from  Hudhayfah (radhiyallahu anhu) ,  said:  “Did  ‘Umar  know  who  was  meant  by  the  door?”  Hudhayfah  said,  “Yes.  He  knew  it  for  certain.”  Then  Abu  Wa’il  said,  “Let  us  ask  Hudhayfah  who  is  meant  by  the  door.”  We  said  to  Masrooq,  “Go  and  ask  Hudhayfah  who  is  the  door.”  Masrooq  asked  Hudhayfah,  “Who  is  the  door?” Hudhayfah  (radhiyallahu anhu) said,  “It  is  ‘Umar.”

Hudhayfah  (radhiyallahu anhu) informed  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  that  he  was  the  strong  door  which  was  preventing  tribulation  or  civil  war  from  engulfing  the  Muslims,  but  this  door  would  be  broken,  which  meant  that  after  that  it  would  never  be  closed  again  until  the  Hour  began.  This  is  what  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) understood,  namely  that  tribulations  would  continue  to  be  widespread  and  common  among  the  Muslims  and  they  would  never  be  able  to  eliminate  them  or  put  a  stop  to  them.  Hudhayfah  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  not  stating  that  of  his  own  accord  or  expecting  it  to  happen,  for  he  had  no  knowledge  of  the  unseen,  rather  he  heard  it  from the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  and  understood  it  and  memorized  it  as  he  had  heard  it.  Hence  he  commented  on  what  he  told  ‘Umar  by  saying:  “I  have  told  you  a  hadith  and  I  am  not  mistaken  i.e.,  it  is  a  saheeh  and  true  hadith,  not  a  mistake  or  a  fabrication – because  I  heard  it  from  the Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).” 

Moreover,  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  aware  of  the  facts that  Hudhayfah  (radhiyallahu anhi) told  him,  for  he  knew  that  his  caliphate  was  a  strong  door  that  was  preventing  tribulation  from  engulfing  the  Muslims,  and  that  tribulation  would  never  overwhelm  the  Muslims  during  his  caliphate  and  his  lifetime. 

‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  had  learned  from  the  Messenger of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  that  he  would  be  killed,  and  that  he  would  meet  Allah  as  a  martyr.  Anas ibn  Malik (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  ‘The  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  climbed  Mount  Uhud,  accompanied  by  Abu  Bakr,  ‘Umar  and  ‘Uthman,  and  the  mountain  shook  with  them.  The  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) –  stuck  it  with  his  foot  and  said,  ‘Stand  firm,  O  Uhud,  for there  is  no  one  on  you  but  a  Prophet,  a  Siddeeq  and  two  martyrs.” [Bukhari,  Kitab  Fada’il  Ashab  an-Nabi,  hadith  no. 3675]

The  Du’a  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  During  his  last  Hajj,  23  A.H.
It  was  narrated  from  Sa’eed  ibn  al-Musayyib  that  when  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) departed  from  Mina,  he  stopped  in  al-Abtah,  made  a  pile  of  sand,  threw  his  cloak  over  it  and  lay  down  on  it,  then  he  raised  his  hands towards  heaven  and  said:  “O Allah,  I  have  grown  old  and  weak,  and  the  people  under  my  care  have  been  scattered.  Take  me  (in  death)  before  I  commit  any  act  of  neglect  or  heedlessness.”  Then  he  went  to Madinah.  [Tareekh  al-Madeenah,  3/872.  Its  isnad  is  Saheeh  up  to  Sa’eed  ibn  al-Musayyib]

‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) ‘s  Prayer  for  Martyrdom
It  was  narrated  from  Zayd  ibn  Aslam  that  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  “O  Allah,  bless  me  with  martyrdom  for  Your  sake,  and  cause  me  to  die  in  the  land  of  Your  Prophet.”  According  to  another  report:  “O  Allah,  let  me  be  killed  for  Your  sake  and  die in  the  land  of  Your  Prophet.”  It was  asked:  “How  could  that  happen?”  He  said,  “Allah  may  cause  it  to  happen.” [At-Tabaqat  by  Ibn  Sa’d,  3/331;  its  isnad  is  Hasan]. 

Shaykh  Yusuf  ibn  al-Hasan  ibn  ‘Abdul-Hadi  (rahimahullah) commented  on  ‘Umar’s (radhiyallahu anhu)  prayer  for  martyrdom  by  saying:  “Wishing  for  martyrdom  is  mustahabb,  and  it  is  different  from  wishing  for death.  If  it  is  asked,  what  is  the  difference  between  them?  The  answer  is  that  wishing  for  death  is  seeking  to  hasten  death  before  its  time  has come,  but  the  longer  a  man  lives  the  more  good  he  does.  Wishing  for  martyrdom  is  asking  for  death  at  its  proper  time,  as  a  martyr;  it  is  not asking  for  death  to  be  brought  forward  from  its  appointed  time,  rather  it  is  seeking  a  virtuous  death.” [Mahd  as-Sawab  fee  Fada’il Ameer  al-Mu’mineen  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab,  3/791].

The  Dream  of  ‘Awf  ibn  Malik  al-Ashja’i 
‘Awf  ibn  Malik  al-Ashja’i  said: 
“During  the  caliphate  of  Abu Bakr  (radhiyallahu anhu),  I  saw  a  rope  hanging  down  from  heaven,  and  the  people  were  stretching  up  to  reach  it.  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  three  cubits  taller  than  the  others,  and  I  asked,  ‘Why  is  that?’  He  said,  ‘Because  he  is  one  of  the  vicegerents  of  Allah  on  earth,  and  he  does  not  fear  the  blame  of  any  blamer,  and  he  will  be  killed  as  a  martyr.’  The  next  morning,  I  went  to  Abu  Bakr  and  told  him  about  that,  and  he  said,  ‘O  slave,  go  to  Abu  Hafs  and  call  him  to  me.’  When  he  came,  he  said,  ‘O  ‘Awf,  tell  him  what  you  saw.’  When  I  told  him  that  he  was  one  of  the  vicegerents  of  Allah,  ‘Umar  said,  ‘Does  a  sleeper  see  all  of  this?’  He  said,  ‘Tell  him about  it.’  When  ‘Umar  was  appointed  caliph,  he  came  to  al-Jibiyah  and  whilst  he  was  delivering  a  speech,  he  called  me  and  told  me  to  sit  down.  When  he  had  finished  his  speech,  he  said,  ‘Tell  me about  your  dream.’  I  asked,  ‘Didn’t  you  forbid  me  to  speak  of  it?’  He said,  ‘I  didn’t  mean  it,  O  man.’  According  to  another  report,  he  said,  ‘Were  you  not  telling  lies?’  He  said,  ‘No,  but  I  felt  shy  before  Abu  Bakr.

When  I told  him  he  said,  ‘As  for  becoming  caliph,  that  has  happened,  as  you  can  see.  With  regard  to  not  fearing  the blame  of  any  blamer,  I  do  not  fear  anyone  but  Allah,  and  I  hope  that  that  is  true.  But  as  for  being  killed  as  a  martyr,  how  can  that  happen  when  I am  in  the  Arabian  Peninsula?'” [Mahd as-Sawab, 3/869]

The  dream  of  Abu  Moosa  al-Ash’ari concerning  the  death  of  ‘Umar
Abu  Moosa  al-Ash’ari  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  “I  saw  myself  as  if  I  had  taken  many  horses,  then  they  started  to  disappear,  one  after  another,  until  only  one  was  left.  I  took  it  and  went  to  Jabal   Zalaq,  where  I  saw  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  with  Abu  Bakr  beside  him,  and  he  was gesturing  to  ‘Umar  to  come.”  I  (the  narrator)  said,  “Why  don’t  you  write  news  of  that  to  ‘Umar?”  He  said,  “I  do  not  want  to  tell  him  the  news  of  his  own  death.”  [At-Tabaqat  by  Ibn  Sa’d,  3/332,  its  isnad  is  Saheeh]

The  Last  Jumu’ah  Khutbah  given  by  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) in  Madinah
‘Abdur-Rahman  ibn  ‘Awf  (radhiyallahu anhu)  narrated  some  of  what  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said  in  his  khutbah  on  Friday  21  Dhu  al-Hijjah  23  A.H.,  which  was  his  last  khutbah.  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  himself  told  the  Muslims  of  a  dream  that  he  had  seen  and  interpreted  it  for  them.  He  said  in  that  last  khutbah:  “I  have  seen  a  dream,  and  I  think  it  signals  my  death.  I  saw  myself  being  pecked  by  a  rooster  twice,  and  the  people  were  telling  me  to  appoint  a  caliph  after  me.  Allah  will  not  cause  His  religion  or  His  caliphate  to  be  lost,  nor  that  with  which  He  sent  His  Prophet.  If  I  die,  then  the  caliphate  is  to  be  decided  by  a  council  of  these  six  men  with  whom  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  was  pleased  when  he  died.”  [Al-Mawsooah  al-Hadeethiyah  Musnad  al-Imam  Ahmad,  no.  89,  its  isnad  is saheeh].

‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)’s  meeting  with Hudhayfah (radhiyallahu anhu) before  he  was  stabbed
Four  days  before  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) was  martyred  – i.e.  on  Sunday  23rd Dhu  al-Hijjah –  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  met  with  the  two  Sahabis,  Hudhayfah  ibn al- Yaman  and  Sahl  ibn  Hunayf (May  Allah  be  pleased  with  them  both).  He  had  appointed  Hudhayfah  (radhiyallahu anhu)  to  estimate  the  kharij  on  the  land  which  was  irrigated  by  the  water  of  the  Tigris,  and  he  had  appointed  Sahl  ibn  Hunayf  (radhiyallahu anhu) to  estimate  the  kharij  of  the  land  which  was  irrigated  by  the  water  of  the  Euphrates.  He  said  to  them:  “What  did  you  do?  I  am  afraid  that  you  may  have  imposed  more  that  the  land can  bear.”  They  said,  “We  imposed  a  reasonable  amount.”  ‘Umar  said,  “If  Allah  keeps  me  safe,  I  will  leave  the  widows  of  the  people  of  Iraq  needing  no  man  after  me.”  But  he  was  stabbed  four  days  after  this  discussion  with  these  two  Sahabis.’  [Bukhari,  hadith  no.  3700]

‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) preventing  the  prisoners  from  settling  in  Madinah
‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) did  not  give  the  prisoners  from  the  conquered  regions  permission  to  enter  Madinah,  the  capital  of  the  caliphate.  He  forbade  the  Magians  of  Iraq  and  Persia,  and  the  Christians  of  Syria  and  Egypt,  to  settle  in  Madinah,  unless  they  became  Muslim  and  entered  the  faith.  This  attitude  is  indicative  of  his  wisdom  and foresight,  because  these  defeated  people  who  hated  Islam  and  had  plenty  of  motives  to  conspire  and  plot  against  Islam  and  the  Muslims.  Hence  he  forbade  them  to  settle  in  Madinah,  so  as  to  ward  off  evil  from  the  Muslims.  But  some  of  the  Sahabah  (May  Allah  be  pleased  with  them)  had  slaves  from  among  these  Christian  and  Magian  prisoners,  and  some  of  them  urged  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  to  give  permission  to  some  of  these  slaves  to  settle  in  Madeenah,  so  that  they  could  make  use  of  them  in  their  work.  So  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  reluctantly gave  permission  to  some  of them  to  settle  in  Madinah,  and  what  he  expected  and  had  warned  against  came  to  pass.  [AI-Khulafa’  ar-Rashidoon  by  al-Khalidi, p.  83]

The  Murder  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)   
The  murder  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) 
‘Amr  ibn  Maymoon  said:  “I  was  standing  with  no  one  between me  and  him  but  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) on  the  day  when  he  was  struck.  When  he  passed  between  the  rows,  he  would  say,  “Make  (your  rows)  straight,”  and  when  they  were  straight,  he  would  go  forward  and  say  takbeer,  and  he  would  recite  Surah  Yusuf  or  an-Nahl,  or  a  similar  Sirah  in  the  first  rak’ah,  until  all  the  people  had  gathered.  No  sooner  had  he  said  the  takbeer,  but  I  heard  him  say,  “The  dog  has  killed  – or  devoured  me!”  when  he  was  stabbed.  The  foreigner  (non-Arab  infidel)  tried  to  flee,  wielding  a  two-edged  knife,  and  he  did  not  pass  by  anyone,  right  or  left,  but  he  stabbed  him.  He  stabbed thirteen  people,  of  whom  seven  died.  When  one  of  the  Muslim  men  saw  that,  he  threw  a  cloak  over  him  and  when  the  foreigner  realized that  he  had  been  caught,  he  killed  himself.  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  took  the  hand  of  ‘Abdur-Rahman  ibn  ‘Awf  (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  made  him  go  forward  to  lead  the  people  in  prayer.  Those  who  were  immediately  behind  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  saw  what  had  happened;  those  who  were  in  other  parts  of  the  mosque  did  not  realize,  but  they  missed  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)’s  voice,  and  they  were  saying,  “Subhan-Allah.”  ‘Abdur-Rahman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  led  them  in  a  brief  prayer,  and  when  they  finished,   ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)  said, “O  Ibn  ‘Abbas,  see who  killed  me.”  He  went  around  for  a  while,  then  he  came  and  said,  “It  was  the  slave  of  al-Mugheerah.”  He  asked,  “The  craftsman (referring to Abu  Lu’lu’ah  Fayruz)?”  He  said,  ‘Yes.”  He  said,  “May  Allah  curse  him,  I  told  his  master  to  treat  him  well.  Praise  be  to  Allah  Who  has  not  caused  my  death  to  be  at  the  hands  of  a  man  who  claimed  to  be  a  Muslim.  You  and  your  father – meaning  al-‘Abbas  and  his  son,  ‘Abdullah  wanted  to  bring  more  infidel  foreigners  to  Madeenah!”  Al-‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  the  one  who  had  the  most  slaves,  and  ‘Abdullah  said,  “If  you  wish  (we  will  kill  them).”  ‘Umar said,  ‘No,  that  is  wrong,  after  they  have  learned  your  language  and  started  to  pray  facing  your  qiblah,  and  performed  Hajj  as  you  do.”

‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  carried  to  his  house,  and  we  set  off  with  him,  and  it  was  as  if  no  calamity  had  ever  struck  the  people  before.  Some  nabeedh  was  brought  to  him  and  he  drank  it,  but  it  came  out  from  his  stomach.  Then  some  milk  was  brought  to  him  and  he  drank  it,  but  it  came  out  through  his  wound.  They  realized  that  he  was  dying,  so we  entered  his  house  and  the  people  came  and  started  praising  him.  He  said:  “O  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar,  see  what  debts  I  owe.”  They  worked  it  out,  and  the  total  came  to  eighty-six  thousand  or  thereabouts,  He  said,  “If  the  family  of  ‘Umar  can  afford  it,  pay  it  off  from  what  you collect  from  them.  Otherwise  ask  Banu  ‘Adiyy  ibn  Ka’b,  and  if  their  wealth  is  not  enough  then  ask  Quraysh,  but  do  not  go  to  anyone  else  after  them.  Pay  off  this  money  on  my  behalf.  And  go  to  ‘Aishah,  the Mother  of  the  Believers,  and  say,  “‘Umar  sends  you  greetings  of  peace.  Do  not  say Ameer  al-Mu ‘mineen,  for  today  I  am  no  longer  the  leader  of  the  believers.  Say,  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab  is  asking  for  permission  to  stay  with  his  two  companions.”  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar  said  salaam  and  asked  permission,  then  he  went  to  her  and  found  her  sitting weeping.  He  said,  “Umar  ibn  al-Khattab  sends  you  salaams  and is  asking  for  permission  to  be  buried  with  his  two  companions.”  She  said,  “I  had  wanted  it  for  myself,  but  today  I  will  give  it  up  for  him.”  When  he  came  back,  it  was  said,  “Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar  has  come.”  ‘Umar  said,  “Lift  me  up.”  So  a  man  helped  him  to  sit  up  and  he  asked,  “What  news  do  you  have?”  He  said,  “That  which  you  want  to  hear,  O  Ameer  al-Mu’mineen.  She  has  given  permission.”  He  said, “Praise  be  to  Allah,  nothing  was  worrying  me  more  than  that.  When  I  pass  away,  carry  me  there  and  say:  “‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab  is  asking  permission to  enter.  When  permission  is  given  to  me,  carry  me  in,  but  if  she  says  no,  then  take  me  to  the  graveyard  of  the  Muslims.”  When  he  died,  we  took  him  out  and  set  off  walking.  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar  said  salaam  and  said,  “Umar  ibn  al-Khattab  is  seeking  permission  to  enter.”  ‘Aishah  (radhiyallahu anha)  said,  “Bring  him  in.”  So  he  was  brought  in  and  placed  there  with  his  two  companions.  [Bukhari, Kitab  Fada’il  as-Sahabah, hadith  no.  3700]

There  are  other  reports  which  describe  in  detail  the  events  that  are  not  mentioned  in  the  report  of  ‘Amr  ibn  Maymoon.  Ibn  ‘Abbas  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  “‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  stabbed  before  dawn,  by  Abu  Lu’lu’ah,  the  slave  of  al-Mugheerah  ibn  Shu’bah (radhiyallahu anhu),  who  was  a  Magian.”‘  [Saheeh  at-Tawtheeq  fee  Seerah  wa  Hayat  al-Farooq, p.  369]

Abu  Rafi’  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said:  “Abu  Lu’lu’ah  was  a  slave  of  al-Mugheerah  ibn  Shu’bah,  and  he  used  to  make  grindstones.  Al-Mugheerah  used  to  deduct  four  dirhams  from  him  every  day.  Abu  Lu’lu’ah  met  ‘Umar  and  said,  ‘O  Ameer  al-Mu ‘mineen,  al-Mugheerah  is  taking  too  much  from  me;  ask  him  to  reduce  it.’  ‘Umar  said,  ‘Fear  Allah  and  be  good  to  your  master.’  ‘Umar  intended  to  speak  to  al-Mugheerah  and  ask  him  to  reduce  it,  but  the  slave  got  angry  and  said,  ‘His  justice  extends  to  all  of  them  except  me.’  So  he  planned  to  kill  him.  He  made  a  two-headed  dagger, sharpened  it  and  put  poison  on  it,  then  he  showed  it  to al-Hormuzan,  and  asked,  ‘What  do  you  think  of  this?’  He  said,  ‘I  do  not  think  you  will  strike  anyone  with  it  but  you  will  kill  him.’  Then  Abu  Lu’lu’ah  waited  for  an  opportunity  to  strike  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu  anhu).  He  came  to  him  at  the  time  of  Fajr  prayer  and  stood  behind  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu  anhu).  As  was  his  habit,  when  the  iqamah  for  prayer  was  given  ‘Umar  spoke  to  the  people  and  told  them  to  straighten  their  rows,  then  when  he  said  the  takbeer,  Abu  Lu’lu’ah  stabbed  him  in  the  shoulder  and  then  in  his  side,  and  ‘Umar  fell  down.”  ‘Amr  ibn  Maymoon  (may  Allah  have  mercy  on  him)  said:  “When  he  was  stabbed,  I  heard  him  say,

And  the  Command  of  Allah  is  a  decree  determined.  [Qur’an  33:38]

The Final Moments of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)
Ibn  ‘Abbas  (radhiyallahu anhu) described  the  final  moments  in  the  life  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  when  he  said:  “I  entered  to  see  ‘Umar  when  he  had  been  stabbed,  and  said,  ‘Receive  the  glad  tidings  of  Paradise,  O  Ameer  al- Mu  ‘mineen,  for  you  became  Muslim  when  the  people  disbelieved,  and  you  strove  in  jihad  with  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  when  the  people  let  him  down.  The  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  died  when  he  was  pleased  with  you,  no  one  disputed  your  appointment  as  caliph,  and  you  have  been  killed  as  a  martyr.’  ‘Umar  said,  ‘Say  it  again.’  So  I  repeated  it  to  him,  and  he  said,  ‘By  Allah,  besides  Whom  there  is  no  other  god,  if  I  had  all  the  gold  and  silver  in  the  world,  I  would  pay  it  to  avoid  the  terror  of  what  comes  after  death.'” [Saheeh  at-Tawtheeq  fee  Seerah  wa  Hayat  al-Farooq,  p.  383]

According  to  a  report  narrated  by  Bukhari,  “As  for  what  you  have  said  about  having  been  a  Companion  of  the  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  and  his  having  been  pleased  with  me,  that  is  a  blessing  that  Allah  has  bestowed  upon  me.  As  for  what  you  see  of  my  worry,  that  is  because  I  am  worried about  you  and  your  companions.  By  Allah,  if  I  had  an  earthful  of  gold,  I  would  use  it  to  ransom  myself  from  the  punishment  of  Allah  before  I  saw  it”. [Bukhari,  Kitab  Fada’il  as-Sahabah,  hadith  no. 3692]

‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  profoundly  afraid  of  the  punishment of  Allah  even though  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  had  testified  that  he  was  bound  for  Paradise;  despite  that  be  made  great  efforts  to  establish  the  rule  of  Allah  and  justice,  was  a  great  ascetic,  engaged  in  jihad  and  did  other  righteous  deeds.  This  offers  an  important  lesson  to  the  Muslims  in  general,  that they  should  remember  the  stern  punishment  of  Allah  and  the  terrors of  the  Day  of  Judgement. [At-Tareekh  al-Islami,  19/33]

‘Uthman  (radhiyallahu anhu)  tells  of  the  last  moments  in  the  life  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu),  as  he  says:  “I  was  the  last  of  you  to  see  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu).  I  entered  to  see  him  and  his  head  was   resting  in  the  lap  of  his  son  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar.  He  said  to him:  “Lay  my  cheek  upon  the  ground.”  He  said,  “Is  there  any difference  between  my  thigh  and  the  ground?”  He  said,  “Lay  my  cheek  on  the  ground,  may  you  be  bereft  of  your  mother,”  the  second  or  third  time.  Then  he  crossed  his  legs  and  I  heard  him  say,  “Woe  to  me  and  woe  to  my  mother  if  Allah  does  not  forgive  me,”  then  his soul  departed?  [Saheeh  at-Tawtheeq  fee  Seerah  wa  Hayat  al-Farooq,  p.  383]

This  is  an  example  of  ‘Umar’s  characteristic  fear  of  Allah,  for his  last  words  were  words  of  woe  against  himself  if  Allah  did  not  forgive  him,  even  though  he  was  one  of  the  ten  who  had  been  given  the  glad  tidings  of  Paradise.  But  the  one  who  knows  more  of  Allah fears  Allah  more.  His  insistence  that  his  son  lay  his  cheek  on  the  ground  was  a  kind  of  humbling  himself  in  order  to  glorify  Allah,  because  that  would  be  more  likely  to  bring  a  response  to  his  dua’.  This  shows  us  how  much  his  heart  was  focused  on  Allah. [At-Tareekh  al-Islami, 19/44, 45]

The  Date  of  his  death  and  his  age  at  death
Adh-Dhahabi  said:  “He  was  martyred  on  a  Wednesday,  the twenty-sixth  or  twenty-seventh  of  Dhu  al-Hijjah  23  A.H.,  and  he  was  sixty-three  years  old  according  to  the  correct  view.” [At-Tahdheeb,  no. 177]

His  caliphate  lasted  a  little  more  than  ten  and  a  half  years.  [Siyar  as-Salaf  by  Abu  al-Qasim  al-Isfahani, 1/160]

In  Tarikh  Abi  Zar’ah  it  is  narrated  that  Jareer al-Bajali  said:  “I  was  with  Mu’awiyah  and he  said,  ‘The  Messenger  of  Allah  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  died  when  he  was  sixty-three  years  old,  and  Abu  Bakr  (radhiyallahu anhu)  died  when  he  was  sixty-three  years old,  and  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  killed  when  he  was  sixty-three  years  old” [Muslim,  Fada’il  as-Sahabah,  hadith  no.  2352]

Ghusl,  funeral  prayer  and  burial
It  was  narrated  from  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) that  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was  washed  and  shrouded  and  the  funeral  prayer  was  offered  for  him,  although  he  was  a  martyr. [At-Tabaqat,  3/366,  its  isnad  is  saheeh]

The  scholars  differed  concerning  one  who  is  killed  unjustly – is  he  like  a  martyr  so  he  should  not  be  washed,  or  not?  There  are  two  views:

1.  That  he  should  be  washed.  This  report  is  evidence  for  those  who  are  of  this  opinion. [Al-Insaf by al-Mardawi, 2/503]

2.  That  he  should  not  be  washed  and  the  funeral  prayer  should  not  be  offered  for  him.  Their  answer  concerning  the  story  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  is  that  ‘Umar  (may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him)  lived  for  a  while  longer  after  he  was  struck.  If  a  martyr  lives  after  he  has  been  struck,  even  a  martyr  who  is  struck  in  battle,  and  eats  or  drinks  or  lives  for  a  long  time  or  some time  afterwards,  then  he  is  to  be  washed  and  the  funeral  prayer  offered  for  him.  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  lived  for  a  while  afterwards,  drinking  water  and  whatever  the  doctor  gave  him.  Hence  he  was  washed  and  the  funeral  prayer was  offered  for  him.  [Mahd as-Sawab, 3/845]

Who  offered  the  funeral  prayer  for  him?
Adh-Dhahabi  said  that  Suhayb  ibn  Sinan ar-Rumi (radhiyallahu anhu)  offered  the  prayer  for him. [Mahd as-Sawab, 3/845]

Ibn  Sa’d  said: “‘Ali  ibn  al-Husayn  asked  Sa’eed  ibn  al- Musayyib,  ‘Who  offered  the  funeral  prayer  for  ‘Umar?’  He  said,  ‘Suhayb.’  He  said  ‘How  many  takbeers  did  he  say?’  He  said,  ‘Four.’  He  asked,  ‘Where  was  the  prayer  offered?’  He  said,  ‘Between  the grave  and  the  minbar.”‘ [At-Tabaqat,  3/366,  its  isnad  includes  Khalid  ibn  Ilyas,  who  is  matrook]

Ibn  al-Musayyib  said:  “The  Muslims  looked  and  saw  that  Suhayb  was  leading  them  in  the  obligatory  prayers,  on  the  instruction  of  ‘Umar,  so  they  made  him  lead  the  funeral  prayer  for  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) . [At-Tabaqat,  3/367]

‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)  did  not  appoint  any  of  the  six candidates  for  the  caliphate  to  lead  the  prayer,  lest  that  be  seen  as  an  endorsement  of  that  man  by  ‘Umar.  Suhayb  was  also  held  in  high  esteem  by  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  the  Sahabah,  and  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)  had  said  concerning  him:  “What  a  good  man  Suhayb  is;  even  if  he  did  not  fear  Allah,  he  still  would  not  disobey  Him.” [AI-Fatawa, 15/140]

The  burial  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)
Adh-Dhahabi  said:  “He  was  buried  in  the  room  where  the Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  was  buried.”  [Mahd  as Sawab, 3/846]

Ibn  al-Jawzi  narrated  that  Jabir  said:  “Sa’eed  ibn  Zayd,  Suhayb  and  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhum)  went  down  into  the  grave  of  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu). 

It  was  narrated  that  Hisham  ibn  ‘Urwah  said:  ”When  the  graves  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam),  Abu  Bakr  and  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu  anhum)  collapsed  during  the  time  of  al-Waleed  ibn  ‘Abdul-Malik,  they  started  to  rebuild  it,  then  a  foot  appeared  and  they  got  scared,  thinking  that  it  was  the  foot  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).  They  could  not  find  anyone  to  confirm  that,  until  ‘Urwah  said  to  them,  ‘No,  by  Allah,  it  is  not  the  foot  of  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  rather  it  is  the  foot  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu).’  [Bukhari,  Kita’b  al-I’tisam, hadith  nos.  2671 and 6897]

We  have  mentioned  above  that  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  sent  word  to  ‘Aishah  (radhiyallahu anha)  saying:  “Give  me  permission  to  be  buried  with  my  two  companions.”  She  said, “Yes  by  Allah.”  Hisham  ibn  ‘Urwah  ibn  az-Zubayr  said:  “If  any  man  from  among  the  Sahabah  sent  word  to  her  concerning  that,  she  would  say,  “I  will  not  give  it  up  for  anybody”. [Mahd  as-Sawab,  3/848] 

There  is  no  dispute  among  the  scholars;  all  are  agreed  that  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  Abu Bakr  and  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhum)  are  buried  in  this  place  in  the  Prophet’s  Mosque.  [Ibid]

What  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Talib said  concerning ‘Umar  (may  Allah  be  pleased  with  them)
Ibn  ‘Abbas  said:  “‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  placed  on  his  bed  and  the  people  surrounded  him,  praying  for  him  before  he  was  lifted  up,  and  I  was  among  them.  Suddenly  I  felt  a  man  taking  hold  of  my  shoulder  and  it was  ‘Ali  ibn  Abi  Talib.  He  prayed  for mercy  for  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu),  then  he  said,  ‘There  is  no  one  that  I  would  love  to  meet  Allah  with  deeds  like  his  more  than  you.  By  Allah,  I  always  thought  that  you  would  join  your  two  companions,  for  I  remember  that  I  often  heard  the  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  say,  “Abu  Bakr,  ‘Umar  and  I  went;  Abu  Bakr,  ‘Umar  and  I  entered; Abu  Bakr,  ‘Umar  and  I  came  out.'” [Bukhari,  Kitab  al-Manaqib, hadith  no. 368]

The  Effect  of  his  Killing  on  the  Muslims
This  event  had  a  great  impact on  the  Muslims,  for  his  death  did  not  come  after  a  lengthy  illness.  The  impact  was  made  greater by  the  fact  that  it  happened  in  the  mosque  when  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  leading  the  people  in  Fajr  prayer.  If  we  understand  the  state  that  the  Muslims  were  in  after  this  happened,  we  will  realize  what  an  effect  it  had  on  them.  ‘Amr  ibn  Maymoon  said:  “It  was  as  if  no  calamity  had  ever  befallen  the   people  before  that  day.  Ibn  ‘Abbas  (radhiyallahu anhu)  went  to  find  out  what had  happened  after  the  killing  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) ,  and  he  did  not  pass  by  any  group  of  people  but  they  were  weeping  as  if  they  had  lost  the  dearest of  their  children.”

‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  a  beacon  of  guidance,  a  criterion  between  truth  and  falsehood,  so  it  was  natural  that  the  people  should  be  affected  by  his  loss.  The  people  were  clearly  affected  deeply.  It  was  narrated  that  al-Ahnaf  ibn  Qays  said:  “When  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) was  stabbed,  he  ordered  Suhayb  to  lead  the  people  in  prayer,  and  to  feed  them  for  three  days  until  they  agreed  upon  a  man  (to  succeed  him  as  caliph).  When  the  food  was  served,  the  people  refrained  from  eating.  Al-‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) said, O  people,  the  Messenger  of  Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  died  and  we  ate  and  drank  after  he  was  gone,  and  Abu  Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) died,  and  we  ate.  The  people  cannot do  without  eating  and  drinking.’  Then  he  stretched  forth  his  hand  (to  take  food)  and  the  people  ate.”  [Mahd  as-Sawab,  3/855]

When  mention  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  was  made  to  ‘Abdullah  ibn  Mas’ood  (may  Allah  be  pleased  with  them  both),  he  wept  until  the  pebbles  grew  wet  with  his  tears,  then  he  said:  “‘Umar  was  a  fortress  of  Islam,  the  people  would  enter  Islam  and  not  leave.  When  he  died,  the fortress  was  breached,  and  now  people  are  going  out  of   Islam.”  [At-Tabaqat  al-Kubra,  3/284]

Before  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) was  killed,  Abu  ‘Ubaydah  ibn  al-Jarrah (radhiyallahu anhu) used  to say:  “If  ‘Umar  dies,  Islam  will  be  weakened.  I  would  not  like  to  have  all  that  the  sun  rises  and  sets  over  in  return  for  surviving  after  ‘Umar  is  gone.”  It  was  asked  to  him,  “Why?”  He  said,  “You  will  see  what  I  am  speaking  about  if  you  survive.  If  anyone  comes  after  ‘Umar  and  tries  to  rule  in  the  same  style  as  ‘Umar,  the  people  will  not  obey  him  or  support  him,  and  if  he  is  weak,  they  will  kill  him.”  [At-Tabaqat  al-Kubra, 3/284]

Lessons  learned  from  the  killing  of  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)
Highlighting  the  hatred  that  is  hidden in  the  kafirs’  hearts  against  the  believers
This  is  indicated  by  the  fact  that  the  Magian  Abu  Lu’lu’ah killed  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu).  That  is  the  nature  of  the  kuffar  in  all  times  and  in  all  places.  Their  hearts  bear  nothing  but  hatred,  envy  and  resentment  towards  the  Muslims,  and  they  wish  nothing  but  evil  and  doom  for  the  believers.  They  would  like nothing  more  than  for  the  Muslims  to  apostatize  from  their  religion  and  disbelieve  after  having  become  Muslims.  Anyone  who  looks  closely  at  the  story  of  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)’s  slaying  and  what  this  hate-filled  Magian  Abu  Lu’lu’ah  did,  will  learn  two  important  things  from  it  which  reveal  the  hatred  that  this  kafir  held  in  his  heart  towards  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  and  the  Muslims.  These  are:

1.  It  is  proven  in  at-Tabaqat  al-Kubra  by  Ibn  Sa’d,  with  a  saheeh  isnad  going  back  to  az-Zuhri,  that  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  said  to  the  Magian  one day,  “Have  I  not  been  told  that  you  said,  ‘If  I  wanted  to  I  could  make  a  grindstone  that  is  driven  by  the  wind’?”  The  Magian  turned  to  him  frowning  and  said,  “I  shall  make  for  you  a  grindstone  that  the  people will  talk  about.”  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)  turned  to  those  who  were  with  him  and  said, “This  slave  is  threatening  me.” [At-Tabaqat,  3/345,  its  isnad  is  saheeh]

2.  The  second  thing  which  points  to  the  hatred  that  filled  the  heart  of  this  Magian  is  that  when  he  stabbed  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu),  he  also  stabbed  thirteen  Sahabah,  seven  of  whom  died  as  martyrs.  According  to  the  report  of  Imam  al-Bukhari:  “The  infidel  foreigner  flew  with  a  two-edged  knife  and  he  did  not  pass  by  anyone  on  his  right  or  his  left  but  he  stabbed  him,  until  he  stabbed  thirteen  men,  of  whom  seven died.” [Bukhari,  Kitab  al-Manaqib  as-Sahabah,  hadith  no.  3700].

Even  if  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  had  wronged  him  what   had  the  other  Sahabah  done  who  were  attacked  by  him?  Allah  forbid  that  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)  should  have  wronged  him.  It  is  narrated  in  the  report  of  Bukhari  that  when  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) was  stabbed,  he  said:  “O  Ibn  ‘Abbas,  see  who  has  killed  me.”  He  went  to  find  out,  then  he  came  back  and  said.  “(It  was) the  slave  of  al-Mugheerah.”  He  asked,  “The  craftsman?”  He  said, “Yes.”  He  said,  “May  Allah  curse  him;  I  told  his  master  to  treat  him  well.  Praise  be  to  Allah  Who  has  not  caused  my  death  to  be  at  the  hands  of  a  man  who  claims  to  be  a  Muslim.”  [Bukhari,  Kitab  al-Manaqib  as-Sahabah,  hadith  no.  3700]

Those  enemies  of  Islam  who  love  this  Magian  Abu  Lu’lu’ah have  built  a  memorial  shrine  to  him  in  Iran  which  is  similar  to  the  idea  of  the  “Unknown  Soldier”.  As-Sayyid  Husayn  al-Musawi,  one  of  the  scholars  of  an-Najaf,  says:  “In  the  Iranian  city  of  Kashan,  in  an  area  called  Baghi Feen,  there  is  a  shrine  like  that  of  the  ‘Unknown  Soldier’  in  which  there  is  a  fabricated  grave  for  Abu  Lu’lu’ah  Fayrooz  al-Farisi  al-Majoosi,  the  murderer  of  the  second  caliph  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khaeb.  They  call  it  the  ‘resting  place  of  Baba  Shuja’ ad-Deen’.  Baba  Shuja’  ad-Deen  is  the  name  that  they  bestowed  upon Abu  Lu’lu’ah  for  his  having  killed  ‘Umar  ibn  al-Khattab.  On  the  walls  of  this  shrine  it  is  written  in  Farsi,  ‘Marg  bar  Abu  Bakr,  marg  bar  ‘Umar,  marg  bar  ‘Uthman,’ which  means  ‘Death  to  Abu  Bakr, death  to  ‘Umar,  death  to  ‘Uthman’.  The  shrine  is  visited  by  the  Iranian  Shi’ah,  and  money  and  donations  are  given  to  it.  I  have  seen  this  shrine  myself.  The  Iranian  Ministry  of  Guidance  has  started  to  expand  and  renovate  it,  and  they  have  printed  pictures  of  the  shrine  on  cards  to  be  used  for  sending  greetings  and  messages.” [Lillahi  thumma  li’l-Tareekh,  Kashf  al-Asrar  wa  Tabri’at  al-A’immah  al- Athar,  p. 94]

Was ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) assassinated merely for a verdict passed on Abu Lu’lu’s Complaint??
Hadhrat ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) himself, as well as a few of the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) believed that the assassination of Hadhrat ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was not merely a result of a verdict that has been passed by Hadhrat ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) regarding the slave, Abu Lulu’ah Al-Majusi, but was rather the result of a well planned Persian plot to assassinate their most hated conqueror (i.e. Hadhrat Umar radhiyallahu anhu) with Harmuzan, a Persian leader, who had only “accepted” Islam after being caught, being at the center of the plot.

Under the guidance of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), the Muslim armies defeated Rome and blitzed across Persia, dealing both empires a crushing blow. The Persians, with their haughty attitude of superiority, were sourly humiliated. The Muslims took the Persians as POWs (Prisoners of War).

The defeated Persian governor and former military commander, Harmuzan, was brought before Caliph ‘Umar. Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) said to the defeated Persian:

“Harmuzan, we Arabs are the desert-dwellers you considered too lowly for even fighting with. We used to get licked by small columns of your troops. Now you see your King’s throne and crown lying at our feet while he is running about places to save his life. How did that happen?”

Harmuzan replied:

“Sir, then it used to be a war between the Persians and the Arabs. Now you have your God with you.”

In another narration, Harmuzan declared that before it was merely the Arab forces against the Persian forces, and the Persian forces were stronger. But now, it was the Arab forces and Allah, and it was impossible to defeat both at the same time. It was thus that Harmuzan and his Persian confederates realized that the power of the Republic of Madeenah lay in its religious beliefs. To destroy the religious beliefs of the Muslims would be to destroy the Muslims.

Harmuzan was to be executed for war crimes by Caliph ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), but he saved his life through an ingenious trick. He asked for water to drink, and requested Caliph Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) for a reprieve for his life until he could finish his drink of water. ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) granted him this request, and upon this, Harmuzan spilled the water on the ground. Because he was unable to drink the water, therefore technically his royal reprieve would never lapse. Caliph ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) upheld his word, and thereby pardoned Harmuzan.

Assassination Plot
Harmuzan “converted” to Islam and moved to Madinah, whereupon he planned the Persian revenge on the Arab Muslims. Harmuzan blamed the Commander of the Faithful ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) for the downfall of the Persian Empire, and it was thus that Harmuzan hatched the plan to assassinate the Caliph.

In Madinah, Harmuzan became close companions with a staunch Christian named Jafeena Al-Khalil. Jafeena was a political pawn of the Roman ruler and had served as an official in Damascus, Palestine and Heerah; the defeat of Rome by the Muslims left its mark on Jafeena who, like Harmuzan, swore revenge.

The third partner was a Jew by the name of Saba’ bin Shamoon (whose son would be Abdullah Ibn Saba, the notorious founder of the Shia movement). Saba despised the Muslims who had expelled the Jews on charges of conspiracy. All three of these individuals– Harmuzan (the Zoroastrian), Jafeena (the Christian), and Saba (the Jew) – belonged to peoples who had grievances against the rise of Muslim dominance.

They hired Fayruz Abu Lulu’ah, a Persian, who had recently been captured by the Muslims as a POW; he was a slave under Hadhrat Mugheera bin Shu’ba (radhiyallahu anhu). Abu Lulu’ah stabbed Caliph ‘Umar bin Khattab to death.

A day before ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) had been assassinated, Abdur Rahman-–Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu)’s son-–had seen Abu Lulu standing with Harmuzan and Jafeena. The three men were whispering to one another. As Abdur Rehman passed by, the three got startled and a double edged dagger fell to the ground. Abdur Rahman would later confirm that this was the same dagger that killed ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) . The murder of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was thus instigated by a coalition of a Roman Christian, a Jew, and a Persian Zoroastrian. It should be noted that the Prophet had prophesied that the Christians, Jews, and pagans would always be united against the Muslims.

Today, the modern day Shia venerate Abu Lulu’ah, and they call him “Baba Shuja-e-din” which can be translated as “Honored Defender of Religion.” These Shia have a shrine erected for this murderer, located in the Iranian city of Kashan called the Abu Lulu Mausoleum wherein he is buried. The Shia travel from far distances to pray inside this shrine, and many of the Shia fast on the day that Umar was killed, and even pass out sweets. Feroz Abu Lulu is one of the venerated founding figures of Shia ideology; the same people who conspired to kill ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) were the ones who planted the seeds of the Shia movement.


The Lunar Calendar is the Islamic choice

[From  Tafsir  Maariful  Quran  [1392  AH/1972]  by  Mufti  Muhammad  Shafi  (Rahmatullah Alayh)  –  (Vol.1/pp. 480-482)]

They  ask  you  about  the  new  moons.  Say:  They  are  indicative  of  time  for  people,  and  of  the  Hajj;  [Qur’an 2:189]

This  verse  tells  us  no  more  than  that  the  moon  will  help  identify  the  count  of  months  and  days  on  which  rest transactions  and  acts  of  worship,  such  as,  the  Hajj.  The  same  subject  has  been  dealt  with  in  Surah  Yunus  in  the following manner:

And  determined  it  (the  moon)  by  stations,  that  you  might  know  the  number  of  the  years  and  the  reckoning  [of  time].   [Qur’an 10:5]

This  tells  us  that  the  benefit  of  having  the  moon  pass  through  different  stages  and  conditions  is  that  people  may find  out  through  it  the  count  of  years,  months  and  days.  But,  in  a  verse  of  Surah  Bani  Isra’il,  this  count  has  been connected  to  the  sun  as  well  in  the  following  words: 

Then  We  erased  the  sign  of  the  night  and  brought  out  the  sign  of  the  day  to  see,  so  that  you  seek  the blessing  from  your  Lord  and  get  to  know  the  number  of  years  and  the  reckoning  [of  time].   [Qur’an 17:12]

Although  this  third  verse  proves  that  years  and  months  can  be  counted  with  the  help  of  a  solar  calendar  also,  yet the  words  used  by  the  Holy  Qur’an  with  regard  to  the  moon  very  clearly  indicate  that  the  lunar  calendar  is  a  fixed choice  in  the  Shari’ah  of  Islam,  specially  in  prescribed  acts  of  worship  which  relate  to  a  particular  month  and  its  dates;  for  instance,  the  months  of  Ramadan  and  Hajj,  as  well  as  injunctions  related  to  the  days  of  Hajj,  Muharram  and  Laylatul-Qadr  are  all  tied  to  the  sighting  of  the  new  moon,  all  this  because  in  this  verse,  by  saying  (They  are  indicative  of  time  for  the  people  and  of  the  Hajj),  it  has  been  established  that  the  lunar  calendar  is  the  one  to  be  trusted  upon  in  the  sight  of  Allah,  although,  the  count  of  months  can  come  out of  a  solar  calendar  as  well.  

The  Shari’ah  of  Islam  has  opted  for  the  lunar  calendar  because  it  is  based  on  something  which  every  sighted person  can  see  on  the  horizon  and  be  informed  accordingly;  the  knowledge  of  it  is  equally  easy  for  the  scholars, the  ignorant,  the  villagers,  the  islanders  and  the  dwellers  of  the  mountains.  This  stands  in  contrast  with  the  solar  calendar  which  depends  on  meteorological  equipment  and  mathematical  computations  which  cannot  become  the common  personal  experience  of  everybody  so  easily.  Then  comes  the  matter  of  religious  observances,  the  lbadat,  where  the  lunar  calendar  has  been  fixed  as  an  obligation.  This  has  also  been  favoured  in  social  and  business  transactions  because  it  serves  as  a  basis  for  the  acts  of  Islamic  worship,  and  a  symbol  of  Islamic  identity, notwithstanding  the  position  of  the  solar  calendar  which  has  not  been  prohibited  juristically,  the  only  condition being  that  the  use  of  the  solar  calendar  should  not  become  so  widespread  that  people  forget  all  about  the  lunar calendar.  If  this  happens,  it  would  necessarily  affect  the  obligatory  lbadat  like  Fasting  and  Hajj  adversely,  a  sampling  of  which  is  visible  in  our  time,  in  offices  and  businesses,  government  and  private,  where  the  solar  calendar  is  being  used  with  such  frequency  that  many  people  do  not  seem  to  even  remember  all  Islamic  months  by  name.  Apart  from  the  juristic  position  of  the  lunar  system,  this  situation  is  a  deplorable  demonstration  of  our  lack  of  will  to  approach  and  uphold  such  a  matter  of  national  and  religious  identity  with  a  sense  of  self-respect.  It is  not  difficult  to  use  the  solar  calendar  only  in  office  situations  where  one  has  to  deal  with  non-Muslims  as  well, but  for  the  rest  of  office  correspondence,  private  dealings  and  daily  requirements  the  lunar  calendar  may  be  used with  advantage,  that  is,  if  this  is  done,  the  user  will  earn  the  thawab  of  performing  a  fard  ‘ala  al-kifayah  (an obligation  which,  if  performed  by  some,  suffices  for  others),  and  of  course,  national  identity  will  be  preserved.  

Surely,  the  number  of  months  according  to  Allah  is  twelve  (as  written)  in  the  Book  of  Allah  on  the  Day  He  created  the  heavens  and  the  Earth;   [Qur’an 9:36]

Injunctions  and  Rulings  
The  verses  cited  above  prove  that  the  order  of  months  and  the  names  by  which  they  are  known  in  Islam  should  not  be  taken  as  terms  coined  by  human  beings.  In  fact,  the  day  the  Lord  of  all  the  worlds  created  the  heavens  and  the  Earth,  He  had  also  settled  this  order  and  these  names  and,  along  with  it,  particular  injunctions  to  be  carried  out  during  particular  months.  From  here,  we  also  come  to  know  that,  in  all  Islamic  legal  injunctions,  only  lunar  months  are  credible  in  the  sight  of  Allah  Ta’ala.  In  other  words,  all  injunctions  of  the  Shari`ah  of  Islam  –  such  as,  fasting,  Hajj,  Zakah  and  many  others  –  relate  to  the  lunar  calendar.  But,  when  it  comes  to  finding  out  the  day,  date  and  year,  the  way  the  Holy  Qur’an  has  declared  the  Moon  as  its  indicator,  it  has,  very  similarly,  identified  the  Sun  too  as  the  other  sign:  (so that you may know the number of years and the count [of time]  –  Qur’an 10:5).

Therefore,  keeping  track  of  days  and  years  through  a  lunar  or  solar  calendar  is  equally  permissible.  But,  Allah Ta’ala  has  favored  the  lunar  calendar  for  His  injunctions  and  has  made  it  the  pivot  round  which  the  laws  of  the  Shari`ah  of  Islam  revolve.  Therefore,  the  preservation  of  the  lunar  calendar  is  Fard  al-Kifayah  (a  religious  obligation  which,  if  fulfilled  by  some,  will  absolve  others).  If  the  entire  community  of  Muslims  were  to  abandon  the  lunar  calendar  and  forget  all  about  it,  then,  everyone  will  be  a  sinner.  However,  if  it  remains  viably  preserved,  the  use  of  another  calendar  is  also  permissible  –  but,  there  is  no  doubt  that  it  is  against  the  way  of  Allah  and  the  way  of  the  worthy  forbears  of  Islam  –  therefore,  it is  not  good  to  opt  for  it  unnecessarily. 






Hazrat Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullah Alaih)

By Jamiatul Ulama Gauteng

Birth: 132 Hijri 

Demise: 189 Hijri 

Age: 57 Years 

Name: Muhammad  

Patronymical Name (Kunyat): Abu Abdullah  

Lineage: Abu Abdullah, Muhammad Bin Hasan Shaybaani (Rahmatullahi alaih) 

Birth: Imam Muhammad was born in the town of Waasit in Iraq. 

Education: Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) studied in Kufa. 

Descent, Race: Imam Muhammad’s forefathers stayed in Damascus. Thereafter, they moved to Iraq to a town by the name of ‘Waasit’.

Imam Muhammad was born in this town in the year 132 Hijri and brought up in Kufa. (At that time, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was 29 years old. Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) lived until the age of 57 and he passed away 7 years after Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Some Accolades
Ustaad of Hadeeth and Fiqh, Imam (leader), Mujtahid (independent jurist), Aabid (worshipper), Zaahid (pious), Jawwaad (generous), Fayyaaz (philanthropist) and the author and compiler of many kitaabs, this sums up the great personality whose name is Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih), who deduced over a hundred thousand Masaail, compiled approximately a thousand kitaabs and left behind innumerable students. 

Khateeb Baghdaadi (Rahmatullahi alaih) wrote that once Ibne Aktham said to Yahyaa bin Saalih (Rahmatullahi alaihima): 

“You have spent time in the company of Imam Maalik bin Anas and Imam Muhammad bin Hasan (Rahmatullahi alaih). Tell me, who have you found more well versed in Fiqh (i.e. a Faqeeh)?”

Spontaneously Yahyaa bin Saalih replied:
“Imam Muhammad is a greater Faqeeh than Imam Maalik.”

Ta’leem and Tarbiyat
After a short stay in Waasit, his honourable father moved to Kufa. This is where Imam Muhammad’s primary Ta’leem (Deeni education) began.

After the Haramain Shareefain, Kufa was known in that era to be the headquarters of Ilm. At that time, Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Abu Yusuf, Mis’ar Bin Kiddaam and Sufyaan Thawree (Rahmatullahi alaihim), were prominent and famous scholars in Kufa. Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) studied the entire Quraan Majeed, Uloom-e-Adabiyah (language sciences, ethics and moral science), thereafter he studied Ilm-e- Deen (religious sciences). 

Meeting Imam Abu Hanifah for the first time
Imam Muhammad was once present in the Majlis of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi aliah). (This happened when he was 14 years old). 

After the Majlis, he intended to meet Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih). Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) introduced him to Imam Abu Hanifah.

Imam Muhammad asked Imam Abu Hanifah: “A na-baaligh (minor) boy read his Esha Salaah and slept. The next morning, before Fajr Salaah he became baaligh (mature). Will he have to repeat his Esha Salaah?” 

“Yes, he has to repeat his Namaaz”, replied Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih). 

Immediately, Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) stood up, went to a corner and repeated his Salaah. Spontaneously, Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) said: “Insha-Allah, this boy will become an intelligent man.” 

After this meeting, Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) would frequent the Majaalis of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) was of tender age and exceptionally handsome.

When he requested for enrollment in the classes of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih), Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) said:  “First do your Hifz, then come.”

After seven days Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) came to Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih). Upon seeing him, Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) said:  “I told you to first do your Hifz, then come.” 

Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied:  “I completed my Hifz.”

Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) then told his father:  “Firstly, shave his head.”  [A lad with long hair is very handsome looking. Hence, by shaving his hair, it reduces his beauty-Translator.]

However, after his head was shaven, his beauty increased. At this juncture, Abu Nawaas (Rahmatullahi alaih) said this poem: 

“They shaved his head to lessen his beauty.
His face had both day and night; 

They removed his night. However, his day remained just as bright (and beautiful).”  (‘Day’ in the poem refers to a shaven head and ‘night’ refers to long hair).

Hence, when Imam Muhammad was accepted in the classes of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih), his hair was long. This is called ‘Night’ in the poem. When his hair was shaven, then his beauty and handsomeness increased. This is referred to as ‘Day’ in the poem. Generally, by shaving the hair, beauty and at times handsomeness disappears. But this did not happen to Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih)-Translator.)

Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) remained a student of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) for four years. He would accompany Imam Abu Hanifah during his journeys as well. He learnt Fiqh from Imam Abu Hanifah.

Lessons by Imam Abu Hanifah During the era of Mansoor (in Baghdaad) Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) would go to the jail and study Fiqh from Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) who ws imprisoned for refusing to take up the post of the Qaadhi.
Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih)
After the demise of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih), Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) studied under Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). He completed his Fiqh course by Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). Then he went to Madinah Munawwarah and studied under Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alah) the famous Hadith kitaab called Muwatta.

Imam Abu Yusuf
Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) was experienced and well versed person in determining the intelligence of his students. He tried his utmost best to bring out the full capability of Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih). Ismail Bin Hammaad (Rahmatullahi alaih) says that Imam Abu Yusuf would conduct lessons in the mornings. At that time, Imam Muhammad had to go for Hadith lessons to his other Ustaads. When he would come to Imam Abu Yusuf’s Hadith lessons, many Masaail would have already been explained and discussed (during his absence).
But for the sake and benefit of Imam Muhammad, Imam Abu Yusuf would repeat all those Masaail.

Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) was an expert in Hadith just as Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) was an expert in Fiqh.

Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) was very fortunate to have two great scholars of his time, the likes of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) and Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) as his Ustaads. Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) says: 

“I spent 3 years by Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) and learnt over seven hundred Ahadith from him.”

Enthusiasm for Ilm
His enthusiasm for Ilm was to such a high degree that he (Imam Muhammad) himself says: 

“I recieved 30,000 Dirhams as inheritence after the demise of my honourable father. I spent 15,000 Dirhams to purchase Nahw (Arabic grammar) and Ash’aar (literature) kitaabs  and 15 000 Dirhams to purchase Fiqh kitaabs.” 

His Excellence in Understanding the Qur’aan Majeed
Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) was well versed in understanding the Quraan Majeed. His Student, Imam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi alaih) is a witness to this. 

Imam Shafi’ee (Rahmatullahi alaih) states, “I haven’t seen anyone to be a greater Aalim of the Qur’aan Majeed than Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih).”

Imam Shafi’ee (Rahmatullahi alaih) also says:  “When Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) would discuss any Mas’alah, he would explain it in such a perfect manner, that it would seem as if the Qur’aan Majeed had been revealed to him.”

His Excellence in Fiqh
Just as he was perfect and an expert in Qur’aan and Hadeeth, he was also perfect and an expert in the field of Fiqh. Imam Shafi’ee (Rahmatullahi alaih) says: 

“I haven’t seen anyone to be more knowledgeable in the fields of Halaal, Haraam, ‘ilal (defects in narrations of Hadith), naasikh (abrogating injunctions) and mansookh (abrogated injunctions) than Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih).” 
Imam Shafi’ee (Rahmatullahi alaih) also said: “If people are impartial, then surely no one has seen the likes of Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) in Fiqh.” 

At another time Imam Shafi’ee (Rahmatullahi alaih) said:  “I have not attended a Majlis which was conducted by a greater Faqeeh than Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih).” 

Imam Shafi’ee (Rahmatullahi alaih) also said:  “Whoever I questioned in ‘Ilm (i.e. Deeni knowledge), his face changed (expression), except for Imam Muhammad Bin Hasan Shaybaani.”

Khateeb Baghdaadi also writes that in the field of Jurisprudence, the most thanks he can give is to Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Moulana Abdul Hay (Rahmatullahi alaih) writes that someone asked Imam Ahmed bin Hambal (Rahmatullahi alaih) from where he had learnt ‘Ilm? He replied: “From the kitaabs of Imam Muhammad.”

His Speech-Pure and Eloquent The speech of Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) was articulate and filled with eloquence. It is for this reason that the audience would attain great enjoyment. 

Thus, Imam Shafi’ee (Rahmatullahi alai) remarked, “If I wish to say that the Qur’aan Majeed was revealed on his tongue then judging on his eloquence and clarity, I can say so.” 

His Excellence in Deducing Masaail from the Qur’aan Majeed Imam Shaafi’ee (Rahmatullahi alaih) said:  “I once spent a night by Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih). I spent the whole night in ‘Ibaadat (Salaah), whilst on the other hand Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) was laying sidewards on his bed.

In the morning, Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) read Salaah without making wudhu. I asked him for the reason, upon which he explained:

“Were you under the impression that I was in a deep sleep last night? No, in fact I was contemplating over the Qur’aan Majeed and deduced a thousand Masaail. Whilst you have made ‘Ibaadat the entire night thereby only benefitting yourself, I deduced Masaail and benefitted the entire Ummat.” 

It is also narrated that Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) used to make Tilaawat of one third of the Qur’aan Majeed every night.

His Nights
Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) would divide the night into three portions;
1. One part for sleeping
2. The second part for Namaaz
3. The third for teaching

However, Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahai alaih) would remain awake most of the nights. 
When he was asked as to why he would sleep so little, he would say:

“How can I sleep whilst the Muslims (general public) sleep with the thought and trust that when they have a Mas’alah (Deeni question) to ask, they will ask me. I will then explain it to them, Insha-Allah. So, if I sleep then it will be the destruction of Deen (i.e. in other words, there wouldn’t be anyone to inform them of the Masaail of the Deen-Translator).”

His Mind was Free Only for Mutaala’ah (studying)
His love for Mutaala’ah (studying), writing and deducing Masaail was to such an extent that he told his household that they shouldn’t ask him for any of their worldly needs. If there is anything which they require from the market, etc. they should ask his worker. In this way, his (Imam Muhammad’s Rahmatullahi alaih) time was saved and his concentration was not disturbed.

This was his manner of studying from the beginning. Thus, at the young age of twenty he conducted lessons in the Musjid of Kufa.

His  Studying  Denied  Him  Time  to Change  His  Garments
It  is  mentioned  in  one  narration  that  Imam  Muhammad (Rahmatullahi  alaih)  would  be  so engrossed  in  studying,  deducing  Masaail,  etc.  that his  clothes  would  become  dirty.  Thus,  when  hi s clothes  would  become  dirty,  his  household  would bring  (clean)  clothes  to  him  which  would  force  him  to change his garments.

Love for His Ustaad
Imam  Muhammad  (Rahmatullahi  alaih)  did  not  conduct  himself  as  a  student  of  Imam  Abu  Yusuf  (Rahmatullahi  alaih)  in  class  times  only  and  during  the  days  of  studying  by  him.  In  fact  he  was  an  ardent  lover  of  his  Ustaads.  Just  like  benefitting  from  them,  he  was  restless  and  always  in  the  quest  of  going  to  meet  them  and  gain  their  Du’aas. When  Imam  Abu  Yusuf  (Rahmatul lahi  alaih) was  appointed  the  Qaadhi  of  Baghdaad,  Imam  Muhammad (Rahmatullahi  alaih)  at  that  time  was  in  Kufa.  But  the  separation  from  Imam  Abu  Yusuf  (Rahmatullahi  alaih)  was  very  difficult  upon  Imam Muhammad  (Rahmatullahi  alaih). Eventually,  due  to  the  love  he  had  for  his  Ustaad,  he  wrote  a  letter  from  Kufa  to  Imam  Abu  Yusuf  (Rahmatullahi  alaih) seeking  his  permission  to  go  to  Baghdaad  and  benefit  from  him,  visit  him  and  take  Du’aas  from  him.

However, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) knew the capabilities of Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) and keeping the benefit of people in mind, replied as follows: 

“Don’t take the trouble of coming to Baghdaad. Otherwise, the people of Kufa will be deprived of asking and knowing Masaail and learning Knowledge. The people of Kufa flock to you because of your Knowledge, Therefore, carry on benefitting them.”

His Life at Home
Imam Haazim (Rahmatullahi alaih) says that the grandson of Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) said: 

“I once asked my honourable mother regarding the life of her honourable father at home. She said: ‘My beloved son! Allah’s Qasm! Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) would sit and study with stacks of Kutub (piled around) him. He was always engrossed in studying and writing. He would not speak to anyone. I have never heard a word from him while he was studying. If the need would arise for him to say something, he would do so by making a sign with his eyebrows or fingers.’ ”

Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) would be engrossed fully in his studying. For verily, the joy and sweetness that is experienced in studying Deeni knowledge is indescribable. 

His Journey to the Holy Grave of Our Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and his studying by Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) It has been explained before that Imam Muhammad’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) studying by Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaihima) ignited a passion for learning Hadith in the heart of Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Thus, he was in search of such an Ustaad who could teach Hadeeth. When Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) heard of Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) and his Kitaab Muwatta, he packed his bags and travelled to Madinah Munawwarah.

Yet, at that time there were many great scholars and Shuyookh (experts in Deeni knowledge) in Kufa and Basrah. In Makkah Mukarramah there was Sufyaan Bin ‘Uyaynah, in Khurasaan there was Abdullah Bin Mubaarak. In Madinah Munawwarah there were many great scholars: Ibraahim Bin Muhammad, Abdullah Bin Muhammad et al.

However, in the Dars of Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) there were a few exclusive qualities which made it become the Markaz (head quaters) of the Islamic world. And these things made Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) undertake a journey of over a few 100 kilometers from Kufa to Madinah Munawwarah.

Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) was Imam Maalik’s student for three years. From all the Ahaadeeth that he learnt from Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih), 700 of them he learnt with their chains of narrators.

Imam Muhammad’s Question to Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih)
When Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) was Imam Maalik’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) student, he was still very young.

Once, he asked Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) a Mas’alah: 

“If a Junubi (a person who requires a Fardh Ghusl) requires water and water is only available in the Musjid, no water is available outside, is it Jaaiz for him to go into the Musjid to fetch the water?” 

Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied: “A Junubi can not enter the Musjid.” 

Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) added:  “Namaaz is about to begin and water is available only in the Musjid, what should he do?”  (Assuming no one is available to give him that water-Translator.) 

Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied with the same answer. This question and answer were repeated several times. Eventually, Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) asked Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih):  “So, what is your opinion?” 

“Such a person should make Tayammum, enter the Masjid to take the water and go outside and make Ghusl,” replied Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) (astonished) asked:  “From where have you come?”  

Indicating towards the ground, Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) answered: “I am from the people of here.” (Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) was referring to the earth, in other words he was saying that he was from the people of this Dunya who was created from sand and will return back to sand (grave.) In reality, this is not a lie. The Ulama-e-Haq and Ahlullaah’s gaze is always focused on Maut. Hence, they attribute almost everything to its quick termination. And Allah knows best.-Translator.)

Saying this he stood up and went away. After leaving, the people said: “That was Muhammad Bin Hasan (Rahmatullahi alaih), the special and close student of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih).” 
Hearing this, Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) said: 

“He said that he was from (the people of) Madinah Munawwarah?”  (Imam Maalik never pick up the Ishaarah (indication) of Imam Muhammad when he pointed to the ground –Translator.)

The people replied: “Yes, but saying so he indicated to the ground.” 

Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) said: “That is why he was so daring and brave (to me).” (In other words because he was a student of Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) he was so courageous.)

Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) and Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih)
Qadhi Abdul Aasim (Rahmatullahi alaih) has written in his Mabsoot: 
“Imam Shafi’ee (Rahmatullahi alaih) asked Imam Muhammad   (Rahmatullahi alaih): 

“Who was a greater Aalim, Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) or Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih)?” 

Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) asked:  “In what aspect?”

“In the knowledge of the Qur’aan Shareef,” replied Imam Shaf’ee (Rahmatullahi alaih). 

Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied:  “Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih).” 

Then Imam Shafi’ee (Rahmatullahi alaih) asked:  “Who had more Knowledge regarding the Sunnat of Rasulullah (i.e. Hadeeth)?” 

Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) said:  “Imam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullahi alaih) had more understanding of Hadeeth and Imam Maalik (Rahmatullahi alaih) knew more Ahaadeeth.”

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) and Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) had a Very High Stage of Knowledge Muhammad Bin Abdus-Salaam (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrates from his father that once he asked Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullah alaih) a Mas’alah. Accordingly, Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) answered the Mas’alah. After some time, he asked the same question to Imam Muhammad (rahmatullahi alaih). However, his answer was different to that of Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). Thus, he informed Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) about it and also suggested that he should discuss the Mas’alah with Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih).

Accordingly, both went to the Masjid and discussed the Mas’alah. The Mas’alah was debated by both great Imams. In the beginning of the debate, the discussions were understood. However, soon their debate reached such ‘Ilmee depths that only their voices were heard but nothing was understood. 

“Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) is the Greatest of His Time,” said Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih)
Mu’allaa Bin Mansoor (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrates:  “Once I met Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) when he was the Qadhi. Upon seeing me he asked: 

‘O Mu’allaa! Nowadays, whose Ilm (knowledge) are you taking?’ 

I replied: “I am taking Ilm from Imam Muhammad Bin Hasan (Rahmatullahi alaih).” 

Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) said: “Yes, yes! Cling to him, because he is today’s greatest Aalim.” 

Few years thereafter, Mu’allaa Bin Mansoor (Rahmatullahi alaih) met Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih). Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) asked: 

“O Mu’allaa! From whom are you learning Knowledge nowadays?” 

Mu’allaa replied: “Only from Imam Muhammad  (Rahmatullahi alaih).” 
Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied:  “Very good! Remain in his company because he is one of today’s high ranking scholars.” 
His Solving ‘Difficult’ Masaail Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) was extremely clever and intelligent. He could untie difficult knots in Masaa’il easily.

Thus, Imam Bukhari (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrates that once Fudhail Bin Ibraahim (Rahmatullahi alaih) was asked a Mas’alah: 

If a frog falls and dies in vinegar, is the vinegar paak (pure) or na-paak (impure)?

Fudhail Bin Ibraahim (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied:  “I don’t know, ask Yahya Bin Sallaam   (Rahmatullahi alaih).”

When Yahya Bin Sallaam (Rahmatullahi alaih) was asked, he replied: “I don’t know, ask Uthman Bin Uyaynah (Rahmatullahi alaih).”

When Uthman Bin Uyaynah was asked, he replied:  “I don’t know, ask Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih).”

Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) was asked, he thus answered: 

“The vinegar is paak (pure).”

He further explains: 

“If a frog dies in water, the water remains paak. And if that water is poured in the vinegar, the vinegar will also remain paak. Similarly, if a frog dies in vinegar, the vinegar will remain Paak.”

Upon this explanation of Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih), the audience was left dumbstruck. 

Once, Haroon Rashid told Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih):  “I am a just ruler. And a just ruler will enter Jannat. To the contrary, Zubaidah (Haroon Rashid’s wife) said: “No! You are a Zaalim (oppressor), a Faajir (open sinner) and you won’t enter Jannat!” 

Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) asked Haroon Rashid: “Tell me, during sinning or after sinning, did the fear of Allah ever grip your heart?” (i.e. did you/do you feel the Presence of Allah?) 

Haroon Rashid replied:  “Allah’s Qasm! After sinning, the fear of Allah which I have is un-describable!” 

Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied:  “Then you will have two Jannats. Because Allah Ta’ala says:  

For the one who fears standing before his Rabb [and answering for his deeds] there are two Jannats.

Yahood and Nasaaraa would bring Imaan if they Read his Kitaabs Imam Shafi’ee (Rahmatullahi alaih) once said: “If the Yahood and Nasaaraa had read (studied) Imam Muhammad’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) compilations, they would have embraced Imaan immediately.” 

Verifying this statement of Imam Shafi’ee (Rahmatullahi alaih), Moulana Muhammad Jahlamee (Rahmatullahi alaih) writes:  “One Christian priest was given Da’wat (invitation to Islam) by several Muslim Ulama, however, he refused their Da’wat. 

Coincidently, he came across Imam Muhammad’s (Rahmatullahi alaih) Jaami’-Kabeer (one of his kitaabs). Upon reading it he immediately embraced Imaan. He commented that if the author of this Kitaab had to claim to be a prophet and offer this Kitaab to verify his prophethood, no one will be able to refute and oppose him.

He further commented that he pondered over the status of this one individual from the Ummat of Muhammad (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam). The knowledge of Muhammad (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) himself is then unimaginable!  

In The Obedience of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), He Never Feared ‘Disrespecting’ The Khalifah!
Nothing prevented Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) from practising upon the Ahkaam (Laws) of Allah and the Sunnah of Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam). Thus, it is mentioned that once the Khalifah Haroon Rashid was walking with his entourage. Upon seeing him, all the people stood up except Imam Muhammad Bin Hasan (Rahmatullahi alaih).

After some time, the Khalifah’s minister called Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) (to the palace). The students and followers of Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) were worried as to what the Khalifah’s decision will be. Upon reaching the Khalifah, he was asked: “Why did you not stand up on a certain day (so and so day and place)?” 

Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied: “I am in the class (category) of the Ulama. I did not wish to exit that class and enter the class of the servants of the Khalifah. By standing for the Khalifah, one removes himself from the class of Ulama and enters the servants of the Khalifah’s group. I disliked this. Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “The one who wants (and is pleased with) people to stand out of respect, should prepare his abode in Jahannam.” 

Haroon Rashid said: “You have spoken the truth.” 

His Compilations
Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) spent his whole life in Knowledge. He compiled the most kutub (plural of Kitaab) in the Hanafi Mathab. Moulana Abdul Hay and Moulana Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaihima) have written that Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) compiled 999 Kitaabs. If he had lived longer, he would have compiled 1000 Kitaabs.  

His Demise (Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Elayhi Raaji’un)
Imam Muhammad Bin Hasan (Rahmatullahi alaih) passed away in the year 189 Hijri. He passed away in Ray. Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) and the Imam of Nahw (Arabic grammar), Imam Kisaai (Rahmatullahi alaih) both passed away in the same year. According to one narration, both these great Imams passed away on the same day and according to another narration, Imam Kasaai (Rahmatullahi alaih) passed away two days after Imam Muhammad. After burying both these Imams, Haroon Rashid lamented:  “I buried Fiqah and Nahw in Ray.”

He is Seen in a Dream
A few days after the demise of Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih), someone saw him in a dream. He asked him: “How did you find Maut, O Imam Muhammad?” Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied: “I was pondering over the Mas’alah of the Mukaatab slave, when suddenly Maut overtook me.”(Mukaatab is that slave whose master has given him a sum/amount to pay upon which he will be freed. Such a slave is permitted to work and earn for his freedom-Translator.)

His Stage in Jannat
Imam Muhammad Bin Ahmad (Rahmatullahi alaih) narrates from his father:  “I saw Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) in a dream. I asked him: “How did Allah Ta’ala treat you?”  Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullahi alaih) replied: ‘Allah Ta’ala granted me Jannat and told me: ‘If I wanted to punish you, then I wouldn’t have given you knowledge.’ I then asked further: “Which stage is Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullahi alaih) in?” He replied: ‘He is in a stage higher than me.’  I then asked regarding Imam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullahi alaih):  He replied: “He is in A’laa ‘Illiyeen” (The Highest of Highest Stages.) 

May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Tawfeeq to value these pious scholars who sacrificed their families and lives to formulate and codify the Laws of Allah Rabbul Izzah and the Shari’ah. May Allah Ta’ala reward them fully, illuminate their Qabrs with Noor and make their Maghfirah.

May Allah Ta’ala help us to follow in their footsteps and grant us the ability to understand their writings and explanations. Aameen. 

Refuting the Allegation of the Islamic ‘Destruction’ of Library in Iran

This article, entitled “Kitabsuzi-ye Iran wa Misr” was added as the last chapter to Part One of the 8th edition of the book Khadamat-e mutaqahil-e Iran Islam wa Iran (‘The Mutual contributions of Islam and Iran’). It was also published separately as a booklet. It was written in the atmosphere of the nationalistic and anti-Islamic propaganda of the Pahlavi era in Iran, and although the old rumours that it discusses have ceased to be of much relevance today, it is still of interest due to the light it throws on their origin and the motives that lay behind them. The late Dr. Wahid Akhtar had translated it years ago while translating Part One of the book which was published in several parts in al-Tawhid [vol. 6, No. 2 and vol. 8, No. 2]. 

Among topics relating to the reciprocal relations of Iran and Islam one issue that needs to be discussed is that of the alleged burning of libraries by Muslim conquerors of Iran. During past half a century this issue has been so vehemently propagated that it is now taken as a recognized fact. The textbooks of secondary and higher secondary schools and universities-which must contain only such material as is definite and avoid mentioning anything dubious and misleading to the immature minds of school and university students regularly mention this story in their contents. 

If this incident were historically true and Muslims did set fire to a library or libraries in Iran and Egypt, there could be some excuse for saying that Islam had a destructive character and not a constructive one. At least it could be said that although Islam did create a civilization and culture it was also responsible for destroying other cultures and civilizations: Hence as against the services it rendered to Iran it also inflicted losses on the Iranian culture, that if it were a blessing from one angle, from another it was also a catastrophe. 

So much has been said and written on the topic that there were libraries and educational institutions in Iran-such as primary and higher secondary schools and universities-and that all of them were destroyed by Muslims, that some Iranians who are not experts in this field have gradually come to believe it as an established fact. Some years ago I happened to receive one copy of the journal Tandarust, which is purely a medical journal. It contained the summary of a speech by an eminent Iranian physician which was delivered in a certain university in the West. In that speech, after referring to Sa’di’s famous verse: 

Mankind are like members of one body and stating that for the first time in history this Iranian poet had developed the idea of an international society, he goes on to make the following remarks:

Ancient Greece was the cradle of civilization and had great philosophers like Socrates . . . , but what may be compared to a modern university was the one that was founded by Khusro, the Sassanian king. A large academy named “Gundi-shapur” was established at Shush, then the capital of Iran…

This university flourished for a long time until the invasion of the Arabs who destroyed it like all our other institutions. Although the sacred religion of Islam lays great emphasis on knowledge and requires one to seek knowledge even if it were to be found in China, the Arab conquerors set fire to the great national library of Iran in gross violation of the dear commandment of the Prophet (s), and destroyed all our academic institutions. From that day Iran remained under Arab yoke for two centuries.  [Majalleh ye Tandrust, No.2] 

This is just an example out of many utterances and writings that make similar allegations without mentioning any historical document or evidence. Before embarking on a historical study of this issue and examining the so-called arguments advanced in its support, I would like to make some remarks in answer to this respected physician who has so categorically expressed these views before an international medical audience, which, as a rule, could not have been better informed on historical issues than the speaker himself. Firstly, following the Greek era and before the establishment of Jundi-shapur in Iran, there existed the great academy of Alexandria which was incomparably superior to Jundi-shapur. 

From the 2nd/8th century onwards, or, to be more precise, since the last decades of the 1st/7th century, Muslims began translating foreign sciences into Arabic, and they benefited to a large extent from Alexandrian works, details of which are to be found in relevant books. Secondly, the academy of Jundi-shapur, which was largely a medical centre, did not suffer the slightest harm at the hands of the Arab conquerors. 

It continued to flourish till the 3rd/9th and 4th/10th century. After the establishment of the great academy at Baghdad, the importance of Jundi-shapur was overshadowed and it gradually disappeared. Before the establishment of the academy at Baghdad, the Abbasid caliphs employed the services of physicians and astronomers from Jundi-shapur at their courts. The likes of Ibn Masawayh and Bakhtayshu` in the 2nd/8th and 3rd/9th centuries were products of this academy. Hence the claim that Jundi-shapur was destroyed by the Arab invaders is based on a total ignorance of facts. 

Thirdly, the Jundi-shapur, academy was run and managed by Christian scholars who had close ties, from the viewpoint of creed and race, with the Byzantium (Antioch), and the spirit of this institution was affiliated to Christian-Byzantine, not Zoroastrian-Iranian. Of course, it was geographically situated in Iran and was a part of Iran in the political and civil sense. But the intellect that had created this university was a different one which derived from the association of its authorities with a non-Zoroastrian milieu abroad. 

Similarly, other centres of education situated in Transoxiana had come into existence under Buddhist influence. Of course, the spirit of the Iranian people was one that was characterized by fondness for knowledge, but the regime of the mu’bads that ruled over Iran in the Sassanian period was anti-academic, and wherever it ruled this spirit strangulated all possibilities of growth of sciences . For this reason, the schools and sciences could flourish in the south-west and north-east of Iran which were distant from the influence of the religious spirit of the mu’bads, while in other places where this spirit was dominant scholarship had no chance of growth. 

Among the compilers of literary, historical and geographical texts for higher secondary schools, who generally repeat the above-mentioned view in the manner of an official circular, the late Dr. Rida-zadeh Shafaq, who was a scholar and one not devoid of academic justice, has done some justice in this regard. In the textbook on the history of [Persian] literature, written for the fourth year, he writes: “During the Sassanian period, books on literature, theology, sciences and history, both original works and translations, were in abundance. 

It may also be inferred from reports concerning court poets and singers that versified literature (poetry) also existed during that era. Despite this it may be concluded from historical evidence that the literature of that time was not very extensive and was mainly confined to the courtiers and priests. As in the last phase of the Sassanian rule, the life and morality of these two classes, the courtiers and the priests, had degenerated due to rampant corruption and intrigues at the court and the emergence of various sects, it may be said that the literary situation in Iran at the time of emergence of Islam was not bright and literature, too, was in a state of decay due to the corruption of these two classes.”

Fourthly, it would have been better if this honourable physician, who, like the others, repeats in a parrot-like manner that “the Arab conquerors burnt our national library and destroyed our academic institutions,” had pointed out where that national library was situated. Was it in Hamadan or Isfahan, in Shiraz or Azerbaijan? Was it at Nishabur or at Tisfun, in the sky or under the ground? Where was it? How is it that he and others like him who go on repeating this statement, know about the burning of a national library but have no information about its location? 

Such an incident is not recorded in any historical document, and although the details of Muslim conquests of Iran and Rome are on record, there is no mention anywhere in historical documents of any such library having existed in Iran, regardless of whether it was burnt or not. On the other hand, the records reveal what is contrary to this statement. The records show that there was no interest in academic pursuits in regions under Zoroastrian influence.

Al-Jahiz, although an Arab, is free from Arab prejudice, for he has written a lot against Arabs, and we shall soon quote from him. In his book al-Mahasin wa al-addad, P.4, he writes: “The Persians were not much interested in writing books; they were more interested in buildings.” The Legacy of Persia, by a group of orientalists, [Tamauddeen-e-Irani by Dr Behnam, p. 187] mentions in unambiguous terms the absence of interest in writing in Zoroastrian religion during the Sassanian period. 

Researchers are unanimous in stating that even the copying of the Avesta was subject to restrictions and prohibitions. Apparently no more than two manuscripts of the Avesta were in existence when Alexander invaded Iran, one of which was at Istakhr and it was burnt by Alexander. 

Considering that in the creed of the mu’bads teaching, education and instruction were exclusively confined to the courtiers and the priests and all other social classes and occupational groups were prohibited from education, learning and writing had naturally no chance to grow. Scholars and writers usually arise from the deprived classes, not from the affluent class. It is the children of shoemakers and potters who become such figures as Ibn Sina, Biruni, Farabi and Muhammad ibn Zakariyya al-Razi, not the offspring of nobles and courtiers. 

Besides, as the late Dr. Rida-zadeh Shafaq has written, these two classes had become corrupt during the Sassanian era and scholarly works and cultural accomplishments are not to be expected from a degenerate class. Undoubtedly, there did exist some literary and academic works in the Sassanian era, and many of them were translated into Arabic during the Islamic period and survived.

Also there is no doubt that many of those works vanished, but not due to any book burning or some other accident of this kind. That happened rather in the natural and normal course, for whenever there, is a change in a people’s ideas and beliefs and a culture overwhelms another and engages the minds of the people, due to an immoderate attitude which is harmful, the old culture is neglected and the literary and scientific heritage of the old culture gradually perishes due to the people’s neglect and their lack of interest. An example of this process is observable in our own time, in the invasion of Islamic culture by Western culture. 

The Western culture became a fashion in Iran, and the Islamic culture went out of fashion. For the same reason no effort is being made to preserve and protect the Islamic heritage. Rare and precious manuscripts in the fields of natural sciences, mathematics, literature, philosophy and theology, which were in personal libraries until a few years ago have disappeared and nobody knows what has happened to them and where they have gone. Probably they made their way to groceries or were allowed to perish. 

Similarly, at the time of the Arab conquest of Iran there existed books in personal libraries some of which must have been precious manuscripts. Perhaps they continued to be preserved for two or three centuries even after the conquest of Iran. 

But following the Iranians’ conversion to Islam and the prevalence of Arabic script and the falling of the Pahlavi script into disuse, the old books became unusable for the majority of people and gradually disappeared. But that there existed a national library or libraries and academic institutions that were destroyed deliberately by Arab conquerors is no more than a fiction. 

Ibrahim Pur Dawud, whose bias is evident and who, in the words of  Qazwini, is hostile to Arabs and everything that is associated with them, made efforts to collect ‘circumstantial evidence’ from the nooks and comers of history, citing them, often with interpolations, as ‘proof’ of the alleged book burning in Iran by Arab conquerors and destruction of its academic institutions. After him a number of individuals – some of whom, at least, were not expected to be misled by such an unfounded story-followed in his footsteps. The late Dr. Mu’in was one of them.

In Mazdayasna and Persian Literature, while dealing with the consequences of the Arab invasion of Iran, he refers to this matter repeating for the most part the views of Pur Dawud. Following is what he cites as evidence in this regard: 

1) Sir John Malcolm has referred to this incident in his history.

2) During the Jahiliyyah the Arabs were illiterate. According to al-Waqidi only seventeen persons among the Quraysh were literate at the time of the Prophet’s ministry. The last Bedouin poet, Dhu al- Rummah, used to conceal his literacy, and he would say, Amongst us literacy is considered a sign of being uncultured. [Tajalliyat-e-Irani, pp 36-37] 

3) Al-Jahiz, in al-Bayan wa al-tabyin, writes that one day one of the chieftains of Quraysh saw a boy reading a book of Sibawayh. He shouted at him, saying: “Shame on you! What you are doing is the occupation of teachers and beggars.” In those days, teaching-that is instruction of children-was regarded as a mean job, for a teacher’s pay was not more than sixty dirhams and that was a petty income in their opinion. [Tarikh-e-adabiyat, p.10] 

4) Ibn Khaldun, in the chapter “On the Rational Sciences and their Kinds” (al-‘ulum al-‘aqliyyah wa asnafuha) of his Muqaddimah, says: “At the time of the conquest of Iran many books of that country fell into the hands of the Arabs. Sa’d ibn Abi al-Waqqas wrote to `Umar ibn al-Khattab asking his permission to have them translated for Muslims. ‘Umar wrote to him in reply that he should cast them into water, “for if what is written in those books is guidance, God has given us a better guide; and if that which is in those books is misleading, God has saved us from their evil.” Accordingly those books were cast into water or fire, and the sciences of the Iranians that were contained in them were destroyed and did not reach us.   [Yashta, vol.2, p. 20] 

Abu al-Faraj ibn al-`Ibri in Mukhtasar al-duwal, Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi in Kitab al-ifadah wa al- i`tibar, Qifti in Ta’rikh al-hukama’, in the account of Yahya al-Nahwi, Hajji Khalifah in Kashf al-zunun, and Dr. Dhabih Allah Safa in Ta’rikh-e `ulum-e `aqli dar Islam, have mentioned the burning of the library of Alexanderia by the Arabs. (This means that if it is proved that Arabs burnt the library of Alexanderia, it would indicate that they could also have burnt down libraries anywhere that they found them. Hence it is probable that the library in Iran suffered a similar fate at their hands.) However, Shibli Nu’mani, in his treatise Kitabkhaneh-ye Iskandarivyah, which has been translated into Persian by Fakhr Da’i, and also Mujtaba Minawi in an article published in the journal Sukhan (No. 74, p. 584), has refuted this allegation (concerning the burning of the library of Alexandria by Muslims).

5) Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, in al-Athar al-baqiyyah, writing about Khwarizm, says: “When Qutaybah ibn Muslim reconquered Khwarizm after the apostasy of its inhabitants, he appointed Iskajmuk as its governor. Qutaybah destroyed and eliminated everyone who knew the Khwarazmi script or had some knowledge of its people and their sciences. He dispersed them in different parts of the world, and so-their traditions and conditions have remained unknown, to the extent that after the advent of Islam there remains no means to learn about the facts concerning them.”  [ibid, vol. 2, p. 21-23] 

Also Abu Rayhan writes in the same book: “When Qutaybah ibn Muslim destroyed their scribes (i.e. of the Khwarizmis), and killed their priests (hirbads) and burnt their books and writings, the people of Khwarizm were reduced to illiteracy. They were compelled to rely upon their memory in things that were needed by them. In the course of time they forgot all details pertaining to their differences and preserved in their memory only the general matters on which there was agreement among them. [al-Athar al-Baqiyah, p. 30] 

6) The story of book burning at the hands of ‘Abd Allah ibn Tahir, which has been mentioned in Tadhkirat al-Shu`ara’  by Dawlat-Shah Samarqandi.

These make up the bulk of the so-called evidence that Dr. Mu’in has advanced to prove the alleged book burning in Iran by the Arabs. Among these, only the fourth one cited from Ibn Khaldun, along with the story of book burning in Alexandria mentioned by Ibn al-‘Ibri, al-Baghdadi and al-Qifti, along with what Hajji Khalifah has written, need to be examined critically. 

Presently, first we shall examine the arguments forwarded by Dr. Mu’in – excepting the fourth one-and then examine the seventh one. Later on we shall take up in detail the fourth argument of Dr. Mu’in. 

The first argument, that is, the statements of Sir John Malcolm, were already cited by us in the context of our review of Mazdayasna wa adab-e Parsi and their baselessness has been made clear. Apparently, Sir John Malcolm lived in the 13th/19th century, and his statements concerning an incident that purportedly took place thirteen centuries earlier cannot be accepted as reliable historical evidence. Besides, he shows such an open hostility to Islam that no credence can be attached to any of his statements. 

He claims that `the followers of the Arabian Prophet razed Iranian towns to the ground’ (a big time lie as the saying goes – that is not to be found in any apothecary’s store)

It is amazing that Dr. Mu’in should have quoted Sir John Malcolm’s consistently incoherent nonsense in support of his assertions. But as for the issue of the Arabs’ illiteracy, the Qur’an itself has mentioned it. Yet what an argument is it? If the Arabs of the Jahiliyyah were illiterate, is it a proof that the Arab Muslims habitually burnt books? Besides, in the period of a quarter century that elapsed between the Jahiliyyah and the conquest of Iran a wonderful literacy campaign had been launched by the Noble Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Arab of the Jahiliyyah embraced a faith whose prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) told some of his prisoners of war to buy their liberty by teaching a certain number of Muslim children to read and write. The prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) encouraged some of his companions to learn foreign languages such as Syriac, Hebrew and Persian. He himself had twenty secretaries, each of whom, or several of them, were responsible for some secretarial job.

The Arab of the Jahiliyyah embraced a faith whose scripture swore by the pen and writing [(this is a reference to the opening verse of Surah al-Qalam which reads: Noor. By the Pen, and what they write… (68:1)] and whose revelations began with the mention of reading and teaching. [A reference to the opening verses of Surah al-‘Alaq which reads: Read in the name of Thy Lord who created, created Man from a clinging mass. Read and Thy Lord is the Most Generous, who taught by the Pen, taught Man what he knew not.” (96:1-5)] 

Didn’t the attitude of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and the Qur’an in glorifying reading, writing and acquisition of knowledge inspire a sense of respect for books, writing, scholarship and education in the Arab of the Jahiliyyah, who came to be passionately attached to the Qur’an and the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)? As for the story concerning the contempt that the Quraysh and other Arabs had for a teacher’s occupation, it is interpreted to imply not only that the Quraysh and Arabs in general considered the teacher’s job as mean, but that they rather looked down upon literacy as such. 

First of all, it is mentioned in this account itself (given by Jahiz) that the teacher’s job was regarded as mean due to its low income. It is the same as in our own country today where teachers, clerks and clergymen belong to low-income groups of society, and for the same reason some of them occasionally change their profession. 

If a young teacher, clerk, or clergyman asks for the hand of a girl in marriage and she also receives proposals from some merchant, contractor, or real-estate dealer, the girl’s family prefers to give their daughter in marriage to the merchant or contractor, though he should be illiterate, rather than to a teacher, clerk or clergymen. Why? Is that because they have a contempt for learning and intellectual abilities? Of course not. It has nothing to do with contempt for learning. 

To marry one’s daughter to someone from such a class requires a spirit of sacrifice, and there are few who are ready to make it. It is also strange that from a derisive remark made by an Arab belonging to the Quraysh about a child reading a book, it is construed that all Arabs were absolutely opposed to learning and writing and that they burnt books wherever they found them! It is precisely like saying that all the people of Iran are generally enemies of learning and literary, that they favour buffoonery and minstrelsy and that they burn books wherever they come across them because `Ubayd Zakani (d. 722/1322), the Iranian poet and man of literature, has said: 

Don’t seek knowledge so far as you can, As, in this deserted path, you will beg your daily bread.

Make buffoonery your calling and learn the minstrels art, And receive applause from the high and low 

Or it is like saying that as Abu Hayyan Tawhidi, disgusted with poverty and hardship, burnt all his books, so therefore, his countrymen are enemies of knowledge and learning.

As for Al-Biruni’s account concerning Khwarizm, though it is not documented and Al-Biruni has not cited any source, it is not improbable. Aside from his other merits, Al-Biruni is a historian of integrity and he does not make any baseless statements.

Also, he was close to the date of the incident, for he lived in the second half of the 4th/10th and the first half of the 5th/11th and Khwarizm was conquered by Muslims about the year 93/711-2 during the reign of Walid bin ‘Abd al-Malik. Moreover, he himself came from Khwarizm. However, firstly, Al-Biruni’s report pertains to Khwarizm and the Khwarizmian language, not to the Pahlavi or Avestan languages. Secondly, Al-Biruni himself, in the introduction to his, Saydalah, or Saydanah, which is still unpublished, discusses the ability of various languages as a medium for discussing scientific subjects and prefers Arabic to Persian and Khwarizmian. 

Especially concerning the Khwarizmian language he remarks that ‘this language is in no degree capable of expressing scientific conceptions, and someone desiring to express a scientific theory in this language is like one who wants to see a camel emerge from a drainpipe.’ [Barrasihayi dar barehyi Abu Rayhan al-Biruni]

On this ground it may be said that if some books of an academic value existed in the Khwarzmian language, Abu Rayhan al-Biruni would not have described it as being so inadequate for academic purposes. 

The books referred to by Abu Rayhan al-Biruni could not have been anything beyond a few historical works. Qutaybah ibn Muslim’s treatment of the people of Khwarizm, which pertains to the reign of Walid ibn ‘Abd al-Malik not the period of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs if the story is true and free from exaggeration was certainly inhuman and unIslamic. It was radically different from the behaviour of other Muslim conquerors that conquered Iran and Byzantine, who were mostly Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and under the influence of Islamic teachings. Hence, this conduct of Qutaybah, which pertains to the  cannot be taken as a criterion of the general behaviour of Muslims who conquered Iran in the early period of Islam. 

In any case, the probable sites of academic institutions of Iran were Tisfun, Hamadan, Nahawand, Isfahan, Istakhr, Rey, Nishabur or Azarbaijan, and not Khwarizm. The probable language in which the academic works might have existed was Pahlavi and not Khwarzmian. Iranian books that were rendered into Arabic-such as the Kalilah wa dimnah, by Ibn al-Muqaffa`, and a part of Aristotle’s Logic, by him or his son were in Pahlavi, not in Khwarizmian or some other regional dialect. Chirstensen writes that Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan ordered a certain book to be translated from Pahlavi into Arabic. [L’Iran sous les Sassanides, Persian Trans. Iran dar zaman Sassaniyan, p. 86]

That an invasion should result in the destruction of all works of academic worth of a language and in reducing a people to a state of complete illiteracy with total ignorance of their past history that could be a consequence relating specifically only to a local language. Obviously a local language cannot develop into an academic language with varied kinds of books in medicine, mathematics, natural sciences, astronomy, literature, and religion. If a language attains such a degree of development that it possesses a library of various sciences, the people speaking it cannot be reduced to complete illiteracy as a result of a single invasion. No invasion has ever been more terrible than that of the Mongols. 

Mass-scale massacres, in its literal sense, took place in the wake of the Mongol invasion; books and libraries were burnt; but this attack could not wipe out all the academic legacy in Persian and Arabic or sever the links of the post-Mongol generations with the pre-Mongol culture. For the academic heritage in Arabic and Persian was too wide-spread to be annihilated even as a result of several mass massacres by the Mongols. Hence it is clear that what was destroyed in Khwarizm was no more than a number of religious and literary Zoroastrian texts whose contents are known to us. Abu Rayhan al-Biruni also does not say anything more than this.

A careful examination of Abu Rayhan al-Biruni’s statements indicates that he is referring to books on history and religion.

As for the story of book burning by ‘Abd Allah ibn Tahir, it is an interesting episode and it is amazing that Dr. Muin should have cited it as an evidence of book burning in Iran by Arab conquerors. Abd Allah. was the son of Tahir Dhu al-Yaminayn, the famous Iranian general of al-Ma’mun’s era who, supporting al-Ma’mun, commanded the Khurasan army in the battle between al-Ma’mun and al-Amin, sons of Harun al-Rashid (Ali ibn `Isa commanded the Arab army supporting al-Amin). He defeated al-Amin’s forces, conquered Baghdad, killed al-Amin, and secured the caliphate for al-Ma’mun. 

Tahir himself was personally hostile to Arabs. He awarded thirty thousand dinars or thirty thousand dirhams to Allan al-Shu`ubi, who worked in Harun’s Bayt al-Hikmah, for compiling the Mathalib al-‘Arab, a book describing the vices of the Arabs. [Duha al-Islam, vol. 1, p. 64]

His son, ‘Abd Allah, who is held guilty of the book burning, was the founder of the Tahirid dynasty; that is, it was through him that Khurasan attained political independence for the first time and an independent Iranian state came into existence. 

‘Abd Allah, like his father, had a strong bias against Arabs. Nevertheless, it is one of the wonders of history and Islam that the same anti-Arab Iranian who had attained so much power as to declare himself independent from the caliph of Baghdad burnt all pre-Islamic Iranian books on the ground that all that literature was useless in the presence of the Qur’an. It is said that one day a man came to the court of ‘Abd Allah bin Tahir (died 844 C.E.) in Nishabur and presented an old book containing `The Romance of Wamiq and Adhra.’ When asked as to what book it was he said that it was an absorbing tale compiled by wise men and dedicated to King Anushirwan (531-579 C.E.). 

The emir ordered its destruction, saying that the Qur’an and Traditions of the Prophet ought to suffice for good Muslims, and added, “This book was written by Magians and is accursed in our eyes” The book was cast into water and he issued a decree ordering that throughout his domain any book found in Persian and written by Magians was to be destroyed. [A Litrary History of Persia, Vol. 2, p. 12]

Why did he do that? I don’t know. Most probably it was a reaction inspired by the Iranians’ hatred of Zoroastrians. In any case this act was committed by Abd Allah ibn Tahir, an Iranian, not by an Arab. 

May we blame all Iranians for the action of ‘Abd Allah, and claim that basically such was their thinking that they burnt any book other than the Qur’an that they found? Again the answer will be No.’ This act of ‘Abd Allah was blameworthy. But it proves what we have said earlier, that whenever a culture is invaded by another, the champions and advocates of the new culture adopt an extreme and harmful attitude of indifference toward the old culture. The Iranians who were greatly impressed and inspired by Islamic culture, did not show any sign of attachment towards their old culture. Rather, they deliberately pushed it into oblivion.
There are numerous examples of a conduct similar to that of ‘Abd Allah ibn Tahir on the part of Iranians, who while detesting the chauvinism of the Arabs, who as a race wished to impose themselves upon other peoples, had a pro-Islamic bias which they employed against the Zoroastrian heritage. If the reference to the book burning by ‘Abd Allah ibn Tahir is meant to show that such acts have precedents in history, there is no need of it. History has witnessed such scenes and continues to witness scenes of book burning.  

Christians cast eighty thousand books into flames at the time of the fall of Spain when Muslims were massacred on a mass scale. [Duha al-Islam, vol. 1, p. 64] 

Jurji Zaydan, a Christian writer, concedes that the crusaders burnt three millions books during their invasion of Syria and Palestine. The Mongols burnt the library of Marv. The Zoroastrians burnt the books of Mazdakians in the Sassanian period. Alexander burnt Iranian books and Romans cast the works of Archimedes, the renowned mathematician, into fire.
Later on we shall come to the burning of the library at Alexandria by Christians.

George Sarton, in his History of Science, says: “Pythagoras, the Greek Sophist, in one of his books, while dealing with the problem of reality and truth, said: As for gods, we can neither say that they exist, nor that they don’t. There are many things that prevent us from understanding this issue. First of them is the darkness surrounding the subject itself, and, second, the brevity of human life.’ “ [Tarikh-e-Ilm, p. 271] 

Sarton says: “These views led his books to be burnt at the city square in the year 411 B.C., and it is the first instance of book burning recorded in history.” [ibid]
Jurji Zaydan, in his history of Islamic civilization, and Dr. Dhabihullah Safa, in Ta’rikh-e `ulum-e `aqli dar Islam, have expressed certain views that require critical examination. Dr. Safa says: Like all other Muslims, the Arabs believed in the dictum: 

(Islam demolishes what has been before it). For this reason the belief became rooted in their minds that they should not pay attention to anything except the Qur’an, for the Qur’an had abrogated all other scriptures and Islam abrogated all previous religions. The religious leaders had banned the study of all other books other than the Qur’an including even religious texts. It is said that one day the Prophet (‘s) saw a leaf of the Torah in the hands of `Umar. He was so upset that signs of anger were manifest in his face. He said to `Umar: 

Didn’t I bring you a bright and pure shari’ah? By God, had Moses himself been alive, he would not have had any choice but to follow me. For the same reason the Prophet (s) said: 
Neither affirm nor negate what the People of the Book (Ahl al-Kitab) say in the name of religion, and say: `We have faith in what is revealed to us and what was revealed to you, and our and your God is one. One of the well-known traditions in that period was: 

The Book of God contains the reports of those who have gone before you and prophesies of your future and the judgement governing you. The words of the Qur’an, which states that: 
There is naught in land or sea but it is recorded in a clear Book naturally strengthened this belief, and the result was to make the Muslims confine themselves to the Qur’an and hadith to the exclusion of all other books…   [Tarikh-e-ulum-e-‘aqli dar Islam pp. 54-54]

I am really amazed at the words of these learned men. Didn’t they know that the phrase 
(Islam demolishes what has been before it) only meant that the advent of Islam annulled all older norms, customs and laws? All Muslims, from the very inception of Islam to the present, have not understood anything from this statement but that Islam invalidated all the past religious customs and practices of the Jahiliyyah, including the jahiliyyah of the idolators and the jahiliyyah of the Ahl al-Kitab, and that it did not refer to anything other than the religious precepts and traditions. It is similar to the saying: 

which means that Islam conceals all that was before it and that it does not hold anyone guilty for his pre-Islamic conduct, such as a crime which requiring retribution or compensation if committed by a Muslim; but if the same was committed by a man before embracing Islam during his pagan days, Islam did not hold him liable for his past guilt. 

All Muslims have understood these sentences to signify this sense of amnesty. See, how great is the distance between this meaning and that which is imputed to the statement by these writers. Similarly, the hadith relating to `Umar clearly indicates that what the Prophet (s) meant was that the revelation of the Qur’an and the ultimate Shari`ah abrogates the Torah and the Law of Moses. Hence he did not prohibit the study of other books even religious books.

He forbade the study of the revealed scriptures of the past which have been abrogated so that Muslims should not mix the abrogated laws with the Shari’ah of Islam and therefore he forbade them from studying the Torah. The Prophet’s statement “Neither affirm nor negate that which is said by the Ahl al-Kitab also referred to the religious legends and commandments. With this statement the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) made them understand that truth was adulterated with falsehoods in the creed of the Ahl al-Kitab, and as they did not posses the ability to distinguish between them, it was advisable for them not to affirm them, for thereby they might endorse a ‘falsehood, and not to negate them, for thereby they might negate a truth unknowingly. 

Similarly, the tradition stating that the Qur’an contained “the reports of the past, news of the future and the judgement governing your differences,” which is also found in the Nahj al-balaghah, also refers to religious accounts, eschatology and religious laws, and it means that Muslims have no need of any other revealed book with the revelation of the Qur’an. The most ridiculous of all is the reference to the Qur anic verse: 

There is naught in land or sea but it is recorded in a clear Book. So far as I know no commentator of the Qur’an has considered this verse as referring to the Qur’an. All exegetes have interpreted it as referring to the preserved Tablet (law mahfuz) Muslims have never understood this verse and those traditions, quoted above, to signify what these gentlemen have presumed, that the verse and the traditions fashioned a mentality amongst Muslims to destroy every book except the Quran.

Now it is the turn to examine the fourth argument advanced by the late Dr. Muin.

He quotes Ibn Khaldun as if he has mentioned the incident of book burning in Iran with certainty, and as if the accounts given by Abu al-Faraj Ibn al-`Ibri, Abd al-Latif Baghdad, al-Qifti and Hajji Khalifah were unproblematic. Although he was certainly aware that recent European scholars have established clearly and conclusively the baselessness and falsity of the story of book burning by Muslims in Alexandria, yet he contented himself with citing only the denials of Shibli Nu`mani and Mujtaba Minawi, ignoring the conclusive arguments forwarded by the European scholars. 

Here we shall give a brief summary of the views of various scholars concerning the book burning in Alexandria, with the addition of certain points that occur to my mind. Hereafter I shall embark upon a critique of what Ibn Khaldun and Hajji Khalifah have said concerning book burning in Iran. Most of the claimants of book burning by Muslims in Iran base their argument on the book burning in Alexandria. Obviously, if the illiteracy of Arabs during the Jahiliyyah, the expression of contempt for the teacher’s profession by an individual belonging to the tribe of Quraysh, the book burning by Abd Allah ibn Tahir, an Iranian, and the book burning by Qutaybah ibn Muslim in Khwarizm one hundred years after the first Muslim conquests, can provide evidence for burning of libraries by Arab conquerors of Iran, the book burning in Alexandria by an `intelligent and wise man’ like Amr ibn al-`Aas (who, according to the report, associated with a philosopher of those days in Alexandria) and that, too, not on his own accord, as done by Qutaybah ibn Muslim in Khwarizm, -but at the direct order from the person of the Caliph himself at the capital in Madinah, can with greater reason serve as a proof of the burning of the library in Iran! Hence this group of scholars always mention the book burning in Alexandria with great fanfare.
As a prelude to this discussion, it ought to be mentioned that the history of the Muslim conquests, both in general and in particular that is, accounts of the conquests in a particular region – have been recorded since the last decades of the 2nd/8th century, and these works are accessible to us. In the specific case of the conquest of Alexandria, beside Muslim historians, some Christians have also given detailed accounts of the fall of this city to the Arab conquerors. No source compiled before the Crusades; Islamic or Christian, Jewish or some other; mentions the book burning in Alexandria or Iran. 

It was for the first time at the end of the 6th/12th and the beginning of the 7th/13th centuries that Abd al-Latif al- Baghdad, a Christian, refers to it in his book entitled al-Ifadah wa al-Nibar fi al-umur al-mushahadah wa al-hawadih al-mu`ayanah fi `ard Misr (the subject of the book is the events and conditions observed personally by the author, and is in fact, a travel account). In it while describing a `tower’ (‘amud) known as `Amad al-Sawari, the previous site of the library of Alexandria, he writes: “It is said that this tower is one of the several on which was erected a theatre, where Aristotle used to lecture and which was an academy, and here stood the library of Alexandria which was burnt by Amr ibn al-`Aas at the Caliph’s order.”  

All that Abd al-Latif intended to say, without himself endorsing it, is that there was such a rumour among the people (perhaps among his fellow Christians), for he begins his statement with the expression “yudhkaru,” which means “it is said” or “it is rumoured.” We know that if a reporter has some authoritative source in reporting some historical event or tradition, he cites his source or sources, as is done by Tabari, for instance, among historians and most of the traditionists (muhaddithin). The best reporting is of this kind, which gives the reader the opportunity to investigate the truth or falsity of the report, which he accepts if the source is credible. In case the narrator does not refer to a source, there are two alternatives.

Sometimes he reports an incident as something which is generally known to have happened for certain, for instance, he may say that such and such an incident occurred in such and such a year. Sometimes he says, “It is said” or “It has been said.” In case the report is in the first form, it means that the narrator believes in what he reports; however, others do not rely upon such reports which are not accompanied by a source or authority. The scholars of hadith do not consider such narrations as reliable. 

European historians also do not consider historical reports unsupported by documents and sources as credible and consider them unreliable. At the most it is said that so and so has cited such and such a report in his book without citing any authority or source; that is, it has no credibility as a historical report. But in case an event is reported in the second form, that is, the reporter himself records it with the words “It is said” or “It has been said” and the like (in a passive voice), it indicates that the reporter himself is not sure of the credibility of what he narrates. 

Some experts are of the view that the word qila (it is said) indicates that the narrator himself does not believe the report to be credible. Abd al-Latif has reported this incident in the third form mentioned above, which is at least an indication that he himself did not regard the report as credible. Besides, it is improbable that Abd al-Latif was so ill-informed that he did not know that Aristotle never put his foot on the soil of Egypt and Alexandria, to say nothing of his lecturing in that place. Alexandria was actually founded after Aristotle’s death and after Alexander’s invasion of Egypt. The city was planned in Alexander’s time and probably its building was started at that time but it took the form of a city gradually in the course of time. Aristotle was a contemporary of Alexander. 

Hence, whether Abd al-Latif believed in the truth of the report or not, the report itself is incredible in respect of its content; that is, it contains a statement that is definitely false historically, which is the story of Aristotle’s lecturing in the library’s theatre. If a report consists of certain statements some of which are definitely false, it is indicative of the falsehood of its other statements also. 

The burning of the library of Alexandria by Muslims has the same degree of credibility as the report of Aristotle’s lecturing there. Hence, the report of Abd al-Latif is weak in respect of source as well as content, as it lack a source and authority in addition to containing an obvious falsehood. It is also weak in respect of the style of reporting, for it is reported in a way that suggests that he did not regard the story as credible. Apart from all this, had Abd al-Latif lived in the age of Arab conquest of Alexandria (first/seventh century) or at least during the period of the historians (2nd/8th to 4th/10th century) who compiled, on the basis of the narrations of others, the chronicles of the Islamic conquests, including the conquest of Alexandria, there was a probability of his having met persons who were direct or indirect witnesses of the events and who might have narrated them for Abd al-Latif, whereas, it could be said, others had not chanced to meet such persons. But Abd al-Latif compiled his book at the end of the 6th/12th century and the beginning of the 7th/13th. [Fath-e-Iskandariyyah, p. 28]

That means he lived six hundred years after the event which took place in the years 17/638 or 18/639. In the course of these six centuries no historical work and no historian, Muslim, Christian or Jew, has mentioned this incident.

It appears suddenly after such a long time for the first time in the book of Abd al-Latif: These considerations bring Abd al-Latif’s report even lower than one lacking source and authority, and reduce it to a report whose falsity is confirmed by external evidence. What is more significant is that histories bear testimony that the library of Alexandria had been devastated and burned several times before Alexandria was conquered by Muslims. Basically, at the time of the Muslim conquest the library did not exist in its earlier form. 

There were only some books in the possession of individuals from which Muslims benefited during the period from 2nd/8th to 4th/10th century. Here the famous proverb fits the present situation. Someone said: “Jacob, an Imam’s descendant, was torn to pieces by a wolf at the top of a minaret.” He was told: “That was a prophet’s son, not that of an Imam. Moreover, his name was Joseph, not Jacob, and he was not at the top of a minaret, but at the bottom of a well. Moreover such an episode never happened, for Joseph was not attacked by any wolf!”

We may listen at this juncture to Will Durant, the author of The Story of Civilization. He rejects Abd al-Latif’s report for the following reasons:

1) A large part of the library had been destroyed by Christian ardor under the Patriarch Theophilus in 392 [about 250 years before the Muslim conquest of Alexandria]; 

2) The remainder had suffered such hostility and neglect that “most of the collection had disappeared by 642;”

3) In the 500 years (or rather about 6 centuries) between the supposed event and its first reporter no Christian historian mentions it, though one of them, Eutychius, Archbishop of Alexandria in 933, described the Arab conquest of Alexandria in great detail. 

The story is now generally rejected as a fable. In any case, the gradual dissolution of the Alexandrian Library was a tragedy of some moment, (for it was believed to contain the complete published works of ‘Eschylus, Sophodes, Polybius, Livy, Tacitus, and a hundred others, who have come down to us in mangled form; full texts of the pre-Socratic philosophers, who survive only in snatches; and thousands of volumes of Greek, Egyptian, and Roman history, science, literature, and philosophy). [The Story of Civilization, Vol. 11, p. 219] 

Will Durant has described the gradual stages of the destruction of this library at the hands of Christians in The Story of Civilization. Those who are interested may refer to its sixth, ninth and eleventh volumes (the Persian translation). Gustav Lebon, in The Arab and Islamic Civilization, says:

“The burning of the library of Alexandria is attributed to the Muslim conquerors. It is very amazing that such an imaginary tale should have survived for such a long time and that it should be generally believed. But today the falsity of this story has been established.

Now it is proved that before the Islamic era Christians themselves burnt and destroyed the said library in the same manner that they took great care to demolish all the temples and deities of Alexandria, so that by the time of the Muslim conquest, nothing of its collection of books remained to be cast into flames. From the time of its foundation, which took place in 332 B.C., until its invasion by Muslims, for one thousand years the city of Alexandria was counted among the great and important cities of the world. In the age of the Ptolemies, all scholars and philosophers of the world had gathered in this city and they founded schools and large libraries. 

But these advancements in knowledge did not last long, for in 48 B.C. the Roman invasion under Caesar inflicted a severe blow to its academic life. Though it made considerable progress again under Roman domination and gained in importance, but this progress was transitory. For the madness of sectarian conflict arose among its citizens and continued to get more fierce day by day despite cruel suppression by Roman emperors, until Christianity was declared the state religion. 

Then Theodore ordered all the temples, statues of gods, and the libraries of idolators (the library of Alexandria was established by those who are considered to be polytheists) to be razed to the ground.” [Tarikh-e-Tamadun-e-Islam wa Arab, pp. 263-265]

The city of Alexandria, which is still one of the important cities of Egypt, was founded by Alexander in the 4th century B.C. and for the same reason was named Alexandria. Alexander’s successors in Egypt, who were called the Ptolemies, built a museum and library and in fact an academy that grew to become a great centre of learning. 

Many scholars of Alexandria may be ranked with the great figures of Greece and are among the world’s most famous scholars.

The school of Alexandria was started in the second and third centuries B.C. and flourished until the fourth century C.E.. Under the rule of Alexander and his successors Egypt was completely under the political domination of Greece. Afterwards, with the decline of Greek civilization and war with Romans, whose capital was the city of Rome in Italy, as a result of which Greece was defeated, Egypt and Alexandria also came under the political domination of Rome. 

Around the fourth century C.E. the Roman Empire was divided into the Eastern Empire with Constantinople (present Istanbul) as its capital, and the Western Roman Empire with its capital at Rome. The Eastern Roman Empire embraced Christianity, which had a negative impact both on the Greek and the Roman civilizations. The Western medieval ages, which marks a period of decline in the West, begin nearly about this time (the division of the Roman empire into the Eastern and the Western). 

After the conversion of the Eastern Roman Empire to Christianity, which considered the teaching of sciences and philosophy to be against the tenets of the Christian faith and regarded scholars and philosophers as heathen and heretics who also misled others, the school of Alexandria fell under the shadow of Christianity.

Once again, after the earlier attack of Caesar (48 B .C.), this library began to be subject to repeated plunder, attacks and conflagrations. Constantine I is the first emperor of Eastern Rome who converted to Christianity. Justinian, his descendent in the sixth century C.E. officially closed down the academy of Athens. 

The school of Alexandria had been closed down or had undergone dissolution earlier in the fourth century C.E. The closure of the Athenian school took place in 529 C.E., that is forty-one years before the birth of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) of Islam, eighty-one years before his mission started, ninety-four years before his migration to Madinah, and one hundred and five years before his death, and one hundred twenty and odd years before the conquest of Alexandria by Muslims. From what has been said it is clear that this library was established by polytheists and was destroyed by Christians. 
However, after the crusades, which continued for two hundred years (5th/11th and 6th/12th centuries), the Christians, on the one hand, became acquainted with the Islamic culture and civilization, which enlightened them, and, on the other, as a result of their final defeat by Muslims they nursed a strong enmity against Muslims in their hearts and launched a war of nerves against them. They concocted and spread so many rumours against Islam, the Qur’an, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and Muslims that it comes as an embarrassment to modern civilized Christians, and we see that some of them have written books in “apology to Muhammad and the Quran” to compensate for the lapses of the past. [op. cit. p. 22] 

The book burnings attributed to Muslims are among these rumours which have occasionally been repeated by unsuspecting Muslim writers since the 7th/13th century with such words as “It is said” or “It is related that,” without knowing that the story was one fabricated by Christian crusaders with the motive to malign Muslims. During the last century when Western colonialism came to give top priority in its programme to instigating the national sentiments of Muslims against Islam and Muslims of the early era, the likes of Pur Dawud gave it the shape of a historical incident by giving prominence to such reports as that of Abd al-Latif, and it was taught as genuine history to the students-of Iranian schools and universities. 

So far we have examined the report of Abd al-Latif. Let us now turn our attention to the statements of Abu Al-Faraj ibn al-`Ibri. Abu al-Faraj was a Jewish physician, born at Malatya (Asia Minor) in 623/1226. His father had renounced the Jewish faith and embraced Christianity. Abu al-Faraj’s education started with learning the tenets of Christianity. He was well-acquainted with Syriac and Arabic, and compiled a detailed history in Syriac based upon Syriac, Arabic and Greek sources. In that history there is no mention of any book burning by Muslims in Alexandria. 

He also prepared a condensed version of it in Arabic under the title Mukhtasar al-duwal. It is said that all its manuscripts are incomplete and defective. The strange part of it is that though it is a condensation of his detailed history in Syriac, it contains certain things that do not exist in the original Syriac history, and among these is the story of the book burning of Alexandria by Muslims. Mukhtasar al-duwal was edited and published by Pocock, a professor at Oxford and one of those who have played an active role in spreading lies against Muslims. 

He also translated this book into Latin. Since then through this book and this man the false story of the Muslims’ book burning of the library of Alexandria was circulated in Europe until it was refuted in recent centuries by European scholars like Gibbon, Krale, Gustav Lebon and others (this info has been cited from Shibli Nu’mani’s book Kitabkhaneh yi Iskandariyah).  

The story of the book burning is narrated in Mukhtasar al-duwal in the following form:

In those days Yahya al-Nahwi, who was known as Grammaticus in our language, enjoyed fame among Arabs. He was a resident of Alexandria and a Jacobite Christian who ascribed to the Savari creed. In his last days he renounced the Christian faith, and all Christian scholars of Egypt gathered around him and advised him to recant, but he did not.

When the scholars were disappointed they stripped him of all the offices that he held. He lived in that condition until Amr ibn al Aas (the Muslim commander of the army conquering Egypt) entered Egypt. 
One day Yahya went to see him. ‘Amr came to know about his learning and scholarship and he paid him great respect. He began a discourse on philosophical issues which were unknown to Arabs: His speech made a deep impression on ‘Amr and he became fond of him. As ‘Amr was an intelligent, wise and thoughtful man, he made Yahyaa his companion, never parting his company. One day Yahya said to Amr, “Whatever there is in Alexandria is in your control
As to things that are useful for you we have nothing to do with them, but as to those which you may not need, my request is that you favour us by putting them at our disposal, for we deserve them more than anyone else.” ‘Amr asked him what they were. He said: “They are the books on wisdom and philosophy that are stored in the state library” ‘Amr replied that he could not decide the matter himself but had to seek the Caliph’s instructions in this regard. Accordingly, he informed the Caliph of the matter and asked for instructions. The Caliph wrote: “If those books are in agreement with the Quran, we have no need of than; and if these are opposed to the Quran, destroy them.” 

After receiving the reply ‘Amr began dismantling the library. At his orders, the books were distributed among the public baths of Alexandria. Thus in a period of complete six months all the books were burnt and destroyed. Believe it, and do not be amazed. [Ibid pp.16-18]

I am sorry that with or without amazement one cannot accept this counsel and suggestion of Abu al-Faraj (if it was really he who has given this account) or that of Prof. Pocock. 

Aside from what we have already said in refutation of Abd al-Latif’s statements that a historical narration devoid of a source and authority is not acceptable on any account, especially if the narration lacking source or document surfaces for the first time six hundred years after the alleged event, without anyone else having reported it earlier; even without a source or authority in the view of researchers it has been established that basically there had remained nothing of the library of Alexandria at the time of the Muslim conquest of the city and therefore the story is totally baseless. In addition there are some points that may be mentioned as evidence of its falsehood.

Firstly, the main character of the story is Yahya al-Nahwi, the famous philosopher; who, according to recently uncovered evidence, had died about a hundred years, before the conquest of Alexandria, and his meeting with ‘Amr bin al-‘Aas (radhiyallahu anhu) is a fiction.

Amazing is what Dr Dhabi Allah Safa writes in Tarikh-e-Ulum-‘aqli dar Islam, p.6. He says:

Yahya al-Nahwi was one of the eminent figures of the  Alexandrian school during the last decades of the 5th and the first half of the 6th centuries C.E. (that is one hudred years before the Prophet’s hijrah).

And again on page 18 of the same book he says:

It is said that he was alive until the conquest of Egypt by ‘Amr bin al-‘Aas (i.e. 641 A.D.). But according to historical evidence he was one of the figures pf the last decades of the 5th century and the first half of the sixth century C.E, and his being alive till this time is contrary to reason and the normal course of nature.

It is strange that although Shibli Nu`mani writes that he was one of the seven scholars who migrated to Iran from the Roman empire due to Justinian’s persecution and they were well received by Khusro Anushirvan, yet he has affirmed the very story of Yahya’s meeting with ‘Amr. He has failed to notice that there was a gap of more than one hundred and twenty years between the migration of the philosophers from Alexandria and the city’s fall to Muslims. 

Normally, it is not possible that Yahya who was a renowned thinker about 120 years before the conquest of Alexandria should have lived on until those times to become an intimate companion of ‘Amr. On this ground the reports that mention Yahya’s meeting with ‘Amr are baseless, even though they may not make any reference to the library. Abu al-Faraj’s report concerning Yahya’s meeting with ‘Amr falls in the category of ‘Abd al-Latif’s story of Aristotle’s lecturing at Alexandria. 

The fabricators of these stories did not pay attention to their consistency with historical facts. Secondly, it is stated in the story that after the order came from the Caliph to destroy the books, ‘Amr had them distributed among the baths of Alexandria, and that these made the fuel for the baths for six months. At that time Alexandria was one of the largest cities of Egypt and one of world’ biggest cities. ‘Amr himself, in a report sent to the Caliph concerning the city, writes with much wonder: In this city there are four thousand baths, four thousand edifices, forty thousand Jews who pay the jizyah, four hundred public places of amusement, twelve thousand grocers who sell fresh vegetables. 

From this we are to suppose that these books formed heating fuel for four thousand baths for six months, which means that there were so many of them that they could serve as heating fuel for one bath for seven hundred thousand days, or two thousand years. What is more astonishing is that according to Abu al-Faraj’s account all of them were on philosophy and not on any other subject. Now it is good to think over this matter for a while. Have there ever existed so many books on philosophy since the dawn of civilization till this day when the printing industry has been active for centuries and is producing books at a stupendous rate to make fuel of four thousand hot baths for six months?
Moreover, what might have the dimensions of a library that could accommodate so many books?

The books were not kept in piles like grain or straw, but were arranged in an orderly manner on shelves, for they were used by people. Hence a report by a Christian priest of the fourth century C.E., who was sent to the city by the emperor with the task of destroying the library, states: “At that time I found bookshelves entirely empty of books.”  
[op. cit., p. 50] 

Not a hall that was seen by ‘Abd al-Latif, not even the area of a city could accommodate such a library. Nowadays there exist in the world, and especially in the United States and the Soviet Union, very large libraries and this is due to the advancements made in printing technology and other facilities unprecedented in human history.

At the same time, there exist today large cities that had no parallel in human history. I do not believe there exists in any modern city even today any library big enough to serve as heating fuel for all its baths for six months. All these points indicate the fictitious character of the story whose likes may be found only in the world of fiction. It is said that someone once made exaggerated claims about the largeness of the city of Herat in former days. He said, `There was a time when Herat was an extraordinarily large city.’ 

`How large?’ he was asked. He said, `At one time there were in Herat twenty-one thousand one-eyed cooks named Ahmad selling head and totters stew’ Now imagine, how many men there must have been in that city, as all of them were not named Ahmad and all those who were named Ahmad were not one-eyed and all the one-eyed Ahmads were not cooks that made head and totters stew, Hence if only the number of one-eyed Ahmads who cooked heads and totters stew was twenty-one thousand, just imagine how many other people there must have been? 

The entire earth would hardly suffice to accommodate the population of Herat!. The story narrated by Abu al-Faraj is like the story of one-eyed cooks named Ahmad who sold heads and totters stew. Hence, the contributors of an English encyclopedia, as mentioned by Shibli Nu`mani, have considered the story of Abu al-Faraj as belonging to humorous literature. Thirdly, As Shibli Nu`mani and some Western scholars have written, in those days books were made of parchment which was unsuitable for the purpose of fuel and hence it was absurd to use them for that purpose. 

Shibli Nu`mani cites a writer Monsieur Der Pierre  as having stated: “We are certain that those who ran the baths of Alexandria would not have used books written on parchment as long as other kinds of fuel were available, and what is significant is that most of the books were made of parchment.” [ibid, pp. 53-56]

Fourthly, if there had been such a library in Alexandria, ‘Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) would have definitely mentioned it in his report to the Caliph concerning the city, which is recorded in histories. In that report he mentions theatres and public places of amusement and groceries, but does not mention anything about any library. 

Fifthly, Alexandria concluded a peace treaty with Muslims after its conquest by Amr ibn al-`Aas (radhiyallahu anhu), and its people were considered dhimmis treated in accordance with the rules of a dhimmah pact. Accordingly, their lives and properties, honour, and even their places of worship and freedom of religion had the protection of law and the Islamic government was obliged to safeguard them. In his treaty with the people of Egypt Amr ibn al-As wrote: “This is a pact of amnesty vowed by Amr, promising the people of Egypt the security of their lives, properties, houses and all their other matters.” As cited in the Mujam al-buldan it is explicit that `The lands of Egyptian people, their properties and capital all belong to them and nobody has any right to interfere with them.’ [ibid]
In general, we know that the behaviour of Muslims vis-a-vis the People of the Book (Ahl al-Kitab) followed a set pattern: they were brought under the dhimmah pact after the conquest of their territory, charged jizyah, and, in turn for the levy of jizyah, the Muslims were responsible for protection of their lives, property, honour and places of worship. The same modus operandi was followed in Alexandria also. 

Had Abu al-Faraj written in his history that during the conquest of Alexandria the Muslims had done such a thing before concluding the peace treaty, it might have been acceptable to some extent. But his report states that this incident took place long after the fall of Alexandria as a consequence of Yahya al-Nahwi’s conversation with ‘Amr. It is contrary to the general conduct and character of the Muslims to have committed such an act after the conclusion of the peace treaty.

Sixthly, what we know about the characters of ‘Amr and `Umar (radhiyallahu anhum) does not conform to this description. So far as ‘Amr is concerned, he was a wise man of an independent temperament. If he had any plans in any matter; somehow or another he was capable of convincing `Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) to accept it. 

The histories write that `Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was not much keen to conquer Egypt, but ‘Amr al-As (radhiyallahu anhu) made him yield to his views, to the extent that, as recorded, ‘Umar’s permission had arrived. Had the case been as stated in the narration, that ‘Amr was so much impressed by the wisdom and learning of Yahya al-Nahwi that had made the latter his permanent companion and intimate friend, in his letter to `Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu) he would have taken care to report the matter in such a way as to preserve the library sought after by his philosopher friend. 

It was not his type to simply seek the Caliph’s permission and to carry out his instructions as soon as he received them without writing to him a second time and to set fire to books that were dearer to his scholarly friend than his own life. Apart from this, Amr (radhiyallahu anhu)’s conduct after conquering Egypt was that of a man who was interested in reform, development, and the welfare of the people, and not that of a tyrant and oppressor such as Qutaybah ibn Muslim. Will Durant writes: Amr administered Egypt competently. 

Part of the taxation financed the repair of canals and dikes, and the reopening of an eighty mile canal between the Nile and the Red Sea; (most likely to be Suez canal) ships could now sail from the Mediterranean into the Indian Ocean (This canal was again choked with sand in 732, and was abandoned.) [Will Durant, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 220]

A person whose social awareness was so high could not believably have set fire to a library. As for `Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), though he may have had a strict character, but no one can doubt his  farsightedness. In order to avoid taking full responsibility on his person and also to make use of others’ ideas he always consulted others concerning important issues, and particularly in the matter of his foreign policy he would hold consultations with others as is recorded in books of history.

One does not find in any history that ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) ever held a consultative session or sought counsel from anyone concerning the library of Alexandria. It is improbable that he might have taken this decision without holding any council. Besides, had he been of the view that there was no need of any book except the Qur’an, he should have also believed that there was no need of any place of worship other than mosques. If so, why did he tolerate the existence of churches and synagogues and even fire-temples in his treaties and pacts, even considering their protection and security as the duty of the Islamic government in return for the provisions of dhimmah? 

Seventhly, if supposedly ‘Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) did issue such an order, how one can one believe that the Christians and Jews of Alexandria received the books, which were the products of their culture and history, as fuel and burnt them without showing any reaction and without even making any attempt to save some of them by hiding them away secretly?

As for al-Qifti’s report, it is the same as the story narrated by Abu al-Faraj and all objections to which Abu al-Faraj’s report is open apply also to his report. 

As Abu al- Faraj did not mention this story in his detailed history written in Syriac but in the Mukhtasar al-duwal, its summary in Arabic, it is similarly amazing that al-Qifti too does not make any mention of this strange incident in his history of Egypt, but in his book Ikhbar al- `ulama’ bi akhbar al-hukama’, which gives biographical accounts of philosophers. He has narrated this story under the account of Yahya al-Nahwi without referring to any source. 

In al-Qifti’s story also, Yahya al-Nahwi is one of the two main characters of the incident, and all the books burnt were in philosophy and hikmah and made fuel for four thousand baths for six months. Al-Qifti claims that Yahya al-Nahwi was a sailor in the early period of his life. At the age of forty-five he was captivated by the love of knowledge and became a philosopher as well as physician and writer.

He also attained to the bishopric of Alexandria. There is, however, some ambiguity about Yahya al-Nahwi in history. What is certain is that there was a philosopher and bishop by this name in the pre-Islamic period who wrote a refutation of Proclus and Aristotle and a book in defence of the tenets of Christianity. Ibn Sina, in his well known letter to Abu Rahyan al-Biruni, has accused him of being insincere in his writings, alleging that his purpose thereby was to deceive Christians. On the other hand, Ibn al-Nadim, in al-Fihrist, mentions him and his meeting with Amr ibn al-`As without mentioning the library of Alexandria. 

In his book, Sawan al-hikmah, Abu Sulayman al-Mantiqi writes that he was seen in the period of `Uthman and Mu`awiyah (radhiyallahu anhum). Hence either the reports of Ibn al-Nadim and Abu Sulayman are baseless or the man known as Yahya in the age of Amr ibn al-`As and Mu awiyah was someone other than the one who wrote many commentaries on the works of Aristotle and other thinkers and was the bishop of Alexandria. It is not improbable that in inventing this story its fabricators made use of the mention of Yahya al-Nahwi in the works of Ibn al-Nadim and Abu Sulayman. However, it is definite that Yahya al-Nahwi the philosopher, physician and commentator of the works of Aristotle and the famous bishop of Alexandria was not alive during the times of Amr ibn al-`As and Mu`awiyah (radhiyallahu anhum). 

As to Hajji Khalifah, he belongs to a much later period and lived in the 11th/18th century. He was a bibliographer and not a historian. His famous work Kashf al-zunun is a bibliography and a valuable work in the field. The statement cited from him consists of two parts:

Firstly, he remarks that in the early period of Islam the Arabs were interested in three disciplines, language, laws of the Shari`ah, and medicine, of which they had some knowledge from earlier days and which was needed by them. But they did not study other subjects, for they did not want alien sciences to spread among the people before the foundations of Islam were strengthened.

This far the statement of Hajji Khalifah is correct. We shall deal with the beginning and development of sciences in Islam in the next part of our book relating to contribution of Iran to Islam. The Islamic sciences began to develop with qira’ah, fiqh and grammar (of Arabic), and in the first phase no attention was paid to mathematics and philosophical or natural sciences, which drew the attention of Muslims only gradually.

The second part of Hajji Khalifah’s statement is as follows: “”It is even said that at the time of conquering cities, the Arabs burnt all books that fell in their hands.”

We see that though Hajji Khalifah is not a historian, yet he observes the care taken by the narrators of traditions in his remark. He does not say that Arabs burnt books on conquering cities, which might have been taken as his opinion and assertion in this regard. He says, “It is said that . . .” which indicates that such a thing was commonly said in the time of Hajji Khalifah during the 11th/17th century. For four centuries this story had been on lips, naturally gaining greater currency with every century that passed. It is like our own saying today that it is said, and very often, that the Muslims of the early era burnt books wherever they found them. 

If today we say these words we do not tell a lie, for we have seen that it started since the time of Abd al- Latif, Abu al-Faraj and al-Qifti. Hence, not only Hajji Khalifah does not refer to any source and authority but also does not add anything new to the rumour current in his days, and he reports the matter in a manner that suggests his uncertainty regarding it. Following Abd al-Latif, others repeated his words in their books. As we know that they reproduce Abd al-Latif’s statements, they need not be discussed and examined. 

For instance, al-Maqrizi in al-Khitat, his history of Egypt, while giving as a historian the account of the conquest of Alexandria, does not mention the incident of book burning, but when he describes the Amud al-Sawari (Abd al-Latif’s famous statements also occur under its description) he merely repeats Abd al-Latif’s statements word by word. 

This is in itself an indication that al-Maqrizi did not give the slightest credence to this story, otherwise he would have referred to it in his account of the fall of Alexandria introducing it at least with the words “it is said that . . . .” Now it is the turn of Ibn Khaldun’s statements concerning the book burning in Iran to be critically examined. If we do not refer to the original passage in Ibn Khaldun’s history and believe the words of Pur Dawud cited by Dr. Muin, we might say that Ibn Khaldun’s statement cannot be compared to that of Abd al-Latif, who was a physician and wanted to write an account of his travels, or that of Abu al-Faraj, who was also a physician, or that of Hajji Khalifah, a bibliographer, or even with that of al-Qifti, the compiler of a history of philosophers.
For Ibn Khaldun was a historian and author of a general history. Hence, if he expresses his view in a definite and conclusive manner on some matter even without referring to any source, one might believe that he had some authority or source. However, Ibn Khaldun also does not express any opinion. He mentions the matter in passive voice with the words “wa laqad yuqalu” (And it has been said. . .). Moreover, he has prefaced his statement with another assertion that weakens the matter further. 

After stating his general principle of sociology (which is not accepted by others), which states that with the expansion of a state and its population and prosperity rational sciences also spread and develop automatically, he infers that in Iran where the state and prosperity had expanded greatly it is impossible that rational sciences should not have been highly developed. Thereafter, he states, “It is said that these sciences reached Greece from the Persians, when Alexander killed Darius and conquered Persia, getting access to innumerable books and sciences developed by them. And when Iran was conquered (by Muslims) and books were found there in abundance, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas wrote to `Umar . . . .”  

As we know no history has recorded that Alexander carried away books from Iran after his conquest of the country and that it was thus that the Greek were introduced to new sciences. This claim is baseless. Pur Dawud has committed an act of deception here by not mentioning that Ibn Khaldun’s statements begin with the phrase “It is said that” and also deleting the fictitious story of the transfer of books and sciences from Iran to Greece. And after these significant omissions he goes on to draw conclusions from them. The rumour referred to Ibn Khaldun [concerning book burning in Iran] has apparently a different source from that of the rumour relating to the book burning in Alexandria. 

The former was fabricated by Christians with the purpose of shifting the blame of burning books to Muslims. But the source of the rumour referred to by Ibn Khaldun were apparently the Shu`ubiyyah. The slogan of the Shu`ubiyyah was, `All genius belongs exclusively to Iranians,” and perhaps it may be inferred from Ibn Khaldun’s remarks that they wanted to claim that all Greek sciences were borrowed from Iran. We know that Alexander attacked Iran in the age of Aristotle, when the Greek civilization and culture was at its peak. Another point to be noted is that the statements of Ibn Khaldun referred to so far are made in his Muqaddimah, which is a philosophical and sociological work. We have not come across anyone who might have cited these remarks from his history itself, al-‘Ibar wa diwdn al-mubtada’ wa al-khabar. Had Ibn Khaldun believed in its historical value, he would have cited this story in his history. 

Unfortunately I do not have access to the history of Ibn Khaldun at present, but I am sure that had there been a mention of this story in it, it is very improbable that the protagonists would have remained unaware of it. They would not have referred to the Muqaddimah instead of the history itself. One should refer to Ibn Khaldun’s history in this regard. As for the library of Alexandria, in addition to the absence of any source and the narrators’ reporting the story in passive voice which discloses their own uncertainty about the report, there are certain external evidences of the story’s false character, including the historical reports that the said library had ceased to exist centuries before the advent of Islam.

There is also some external evidence concerning the book burning in Iran. First of all, basically no history has reported the existence of a library in Iran, as against the case of the library of Alexandria, whose existence between the period extending from the 3rd century B.C. to 4th century C.E. is historically established. Had there been libraries in Iran whose burning had not been recorded, their very existence at least should have been reported somewhere, especially considering that the incidents and events of the history of Iran were recorded in Islamic histories by Arabs as well as Iranians in greater details than about any other country. 

Secondly, there appeared a certain movement among the Iranians which requires that if such an event had taken place it would- have been definitely recorded and projected with great fanfare. This was the movement of the Shu`ubiyyah. The Shu`ubiyyah was originally a sacred Islamic movement directed at the pursuit of justice and against discrimination. But later it changed into a racist, anti-Arab movement. 

The Iranian Shu`ubis wrote books dedicated to the vices (mathalib) of the Arabs, highlighting and publicizing with much hue and cry every weakness of the Arabs that they could find. They would scan the pages of history to search out the details concerning Arabs and would not overlook anything. Had there been such a major weak point in Arab history, that they had set fire to libraries, particularly a library in Iran, it was impossible that the Shu`biyyah should have failed to mention this matter, for the Shu`ubiyyah attained the zenith of their influence in the 2nd/8th century with the full support of the Abbasid who pursued an anti-Umayyad and anti-Arab policy due to political expediency and publicized their weak points making a mountain out of a mole hill. This is itself a definite proof of the fictitious character of the story of book burning in Iran. 

Our discussion of the issue of book burning in Iran and Alexandria concludes here. To sum it up, it should be said that until the 7th/13th century, for six centuries after the conquest of Iran and Egypt, no mention was ever made in any Muslim or non-Muslim source of any such book burning by Muslims. For the first time, the issue was raised in the 7th/13th century, and even then those who raised it did not cite any source or foundation, and hence such reports are not reliable. 

Had these reports possessed no other shortcoming except this one, it was sufficient to undermine their credibility. Moreover, with the exception of Abu al-Faraj and al-Qifti all have referred to it as a rumour current among the people and not as an incident that may have occurred. According to the rules of narration and historical reporting, if instead of reporting an incident a historian refers to it as something rumoured, that is, if instead of stating that such and such an incident has occurred says “it is said that such and such an incident has occurred” it indicates that the narrator himself is uncertain of its occurrence. 

In addition, all the 7th/13th century reports which form the basis of all other reports-that is the reports of Abd al-Latif, Abu al-Faraj and al-Qifti-contain definitely false statements which establish their unreliability.

Besides, there is external evidence in regard to the reported incidents, both relating to Iran and Alexandria, which undermines the credibility of these reports, even if, supposedly, these reports had been free from the shortcomings of historical reporting and inner content.

Possibly, it may occur to the mind of the respected reader that I have prolonged my discourse on this issue more than was required and carried my criticism to an excessive degree, that this summary given here at the end would have sufficed, at the most with some additional details. 

I agree that if the issue of these book burnings were only a matter relating to some historical event pertaining to mere historical research it would not have required these details. But the respected reader will note that this story has crossed the limits of historical research and has been used as a weapon of propaganda. For impartial scholars, both Muslims and non-Muslim, the baselessness of this story is definite, but the groups who want to exploit these stories for their vested interests make use of it in various ways for propaganda purposes. 

The story of book burnings in Iran and Alexandria has gradually assumed the form of a strategy for attacking Islam. Shibli Nu`mani, in his booklet on the topic of the library of Alexandria, writes:

European scholars of renown, such as Gibbon, Carlyle, Hector, Renan, Siedlu and others have considered most of the vain stories prevalent in Europe concerning Islam and Muslims as baseless and have expressly rejected them. But in popular writings and traditions they have not lost their popularity. It is to be noted that the story of the burning of the library of Alexandria is one of such popular rumours. 

It is truly amazing how Europe has propagated this issue giving it a strange and terrible form. Books on history, fiction, religion, logic, philosophy and other subjects-none have been free from this propaganda (in order to establish it as a fact in the minds of the people, with some pretext or another, this story has been inserted in all kinds of books, including even books on logic and philosophy). So much so that once in an annual examination of the Calcutta University in India (which was under the control of the Britishers) in the question paper on logic, which was printed in thousands a question was framed asking students to resolve the following fallacy: “If books are in agreement with the Qur’an, they are not needed. If they are not in agreement with the Qur’an, burn them.” [Ibid, p. 6] 

Thereafter, Shibli Nu`mani poses this question: What policy is behind all this? Is it on account of regret for the books that were lost, or is there some other motive involved? If that which is involved is concern and regret for books, why is this concern not expressed in relation to definite and much more terrible occurrences of book burnings at the hands of Christians in their conquest of Spain and during the crusades?

Shibli himself answers the question, remarking that the real cause lies in the fact that the Christians themselves had destroyed that library before the advent of Islam, and now they try to impress on the people that Muslims destroyed that library. 

The real motive is to hide their own guilt. The reason mentioned by Shibli is only one of the reasons, that too applies only to the library of Alexandria. There are other causes at the work in this regard, and the main one is imperialism. Political imperialism can succeed only when cultural imperialism has succeeded. The essential condition for the success of cultural imperialism is to shake a people’s faith in their own culture and history.

Imperialism has found out the truth and tested it that it is Islam which is the source of the culture relied upon by Muslims and it is the ideology they are proud of. 
All other things are mere words that never go beyond the walls of conference halls, festivals and seminars and do not influence the minds on the masses. Hence the Muslim masses are to be brain-washed so that they lose their faith and conviction in their ideology and culture and are prepared to be moulded according to the Western pattern. What is a better way of making a people lose faith in their culture and ideology and their standard bearers than impressing it upon the minds of the young generations that the figures whom they consider to be the emancipators of humanity and leaders on the path of felicity, who invaded other countries in the name of human liberation and overthrew the ruling regimes, themselves committed the most barbaric acts? And here was one example of it.
Accordingly, the respected reader should not wonder why for setting a question concerning the resolution of a logical fallacy the examiner of the annual examination of the Calcutta University, which was under the control of the Britishers, could find no example or material other than the fictitious story of the book burning. Similarly, an Iranian writer compiling a book on elements of logic for the sixth year of higher secondary schools, a text of which tens of thousands of copies are printed and placed in the hands of unwary and simple-minded Iranian students, could not, while discussing the exceptional syllogism, and despite straining his mind, find any example other than the one that occurred to the English paper setters of Calcutta University and he was compelled to pose the issue in these words: 

“It is possible that the exceptional syllogism may simultaneously be both disjunctive and conjunctive, that is, a compound syllogism. The example of such a type of syllogism is the famous statement attributed to an Arab leader. When he wanted to rationalize and justify his act of setting fire to the Sassanian library, he argued in the following manner:`These books are either in agreement with the Qur’an, or are contradictory to it. If they are in agreement with the Qur’an, there existence is superfluous. Also , if they are contradictory to the Qur’an, their existence is harmful and superfluous. Therefore, in both the cases the books should be burnt.”  [Mabani-e-falsafeh, p. 256] 

The strongest weapon in favour of or against a faith or creed in our age is the manner in which the followers of that faith have encountered the manifestations of culture and civilization in the course of their history. 


Belief in Qadr/Taqdeer (Pre-Destination) – Between the Extremes

[By Allama Muhammad Idris Saheb Kandhlavi (Rahmatullahi Alayh)]

Just  as  Allaah  Ta’ala  is  the creator  of  human  beings,  so  too  is  He  is  the  Creator  of  their  characters,  habits,  qualities  and  actions.  These actions,  be  they  good  or  bad,  are  all  in  the  Taqdeer,  control and  knowledge  of  Allaah  Ta’ala.  Nevertheless,  He  is  pleased with  good  and  displeased  with  evil.  One  must  remember  this  and  remember  well,  that  to  attribute  only  evil  to  Allaah  Ta  ‘ala  is  contrary  to  respect  and etiquette.  It  is  inappropriate  to  (only)  say  that  Allaah  Ta ‘ala  is  the  Creator  of  evil,  it  will  be  more  befitting  to  say  that  He  is  the  Creator  of  good  and  evil.  One  should  say  that  Allaah Ta’ala  is  the  Creator  of  everything.  One  should  never  (only)  say  that  Allaah  Ta’ala  is  the  Creator  of  filth  and  pigs,  etc.  It  is  wholly  disrespectful  and  sacrilegious  to  attribute  such  things  (alone)  to  Allaah Ta’ala,  Who  is  a  Pure  Being.  In  short,  just  as  the  servants  are  the  creation  of  Allaah  Ta’ala,  so  too  are  their  actions  the creation  of  Allaah  Ta’ala.  However,  some  actions  of  man are  voluntary,  which  come  into  being  with  the  order  of  Allaah  Ta’ala,  and  others  are involuntary,  which  occur  without  man’s  intention  or  will,  and  without  his  intervention, like  the  hand  of  a  person  who  shakes  from  shaking  palsy.  In  this  shaking  there  is  no intention,  nor  desire  of  the person  for  it,  hence  this  is  known  as  an  involuntary  action.  When  the  doer  desires  for  an  action  and  he  initiates  it,  then  it  is  known  as  a  voluntary  action,  for  example,  when  one  stretches  the  hand  to  make  musafaha  (handshake),  or  one  lifts  his  hand  to  strike  someone  out  of  anger.  These are  voluntary  actions. 

Just  like  how  a  person  sees  with  the  eyes  given  to  him  by  Allaah  Ta’ala,  and  he  hears  with  the  ears  given  to  him  by  Allaah  Ta’ala,  so  too  does  he  carry  out  actions  by  the  power  and  ability  given  to  him  by  Allaah  Ta’ala.  All  these  actions  of  man,  although  they  are  created  by  Allaah  Ta’ala,  and  they  come  into  existence  by  His  Will  and  Decree,  however,  since  they  are  voluntary  by  man,  and  through  these  actions  he  carries  out  good  actions,  therefore  he  is  compensated  for  it.  If  he  does any  evil  action,  then  he  will  be punished  for  it. 

The  Mu’tazilahs  and  Qadariyyahs  (deviant  sects),  hold  this  belief,  that  man  has  the  full  control  of  his  actions  and  man  is  the  creator  of  the same. 

The  Jabariyyah  (another  deviant  sect)  hold  this  belief,  that  man  has  absolutely  no control  of  his  actions,  whatever  man  does  is  not  out  of  his  own  choice,  just  like  how  the  movements  of  a  tree  or  stone  occur,  so  too  do  the  actions  of  man.  Hence,  their  belief  is  that  man  will  not  be  taken  to  task  or  punished  for  any  evil  actions,  but  he  will  be  compensated  for  good  actions.  According  to  them  the  sinners and  the  Kuffaar  are  all  excusable  and  they  will  not  be questioned. 

The  Ahlus  Sunnah  Wal  Jamaat  say  that  both  these  beliefs  are  wrong  and  incorrect.  The  belief  of  the  Qadariyyahs  and  Mu’tazilahs  is  incorrect  because  man  does  not  have  the  ability  to  create  his  own  actions.  It  is  impossible  for  man  to,  bring  a  non-existent  thing  into  existence.  Also,  the  Pure  Being  of  Allaah  Ta’ala,  Who  has  no  partner  is  also  free  from  this  that  there  can  be  partners  to  His  exclusive  Quality  of  creating.  He  Alone  has  the  quality  of  creation.  As  Allaah  Ta’ala  says: 

“Do  they  ascribe  partners  to  Allaah,  that  they  (can)  create  like  how  He  creates.  They  are equating  the  creation  to  Him,  Say!  Allaah  is  the  Creator  of  everything.  He  is  One,  Most Powerful.”  

The  helplessness  of  man  is  such  that  he  cannot  even  utter  the  letter `meem’  from  the  throat  or  the  letter  ”ayn’  from  the  lips.  With  such  a profound  debility,  how  can  the quality  of  creation  be  attributed  to  man? 

The  belief  of  the  Jabariyyah  is  incorrect  because  it  is  contrary  to  common  sense  and  logic.  Therefore,  all  intellectuals  are unanimous  on  this  point  that  actions  are  of  two  categories;  voluntary  and  involuntary.  They  also  agree  on  this  point  that  whoever  carries  out  a  voluntary  good  action,  he  will  receive  a reward,  and  whoever  carries  out  a  voluntary  evil  action,  should  be  punished.  The  Jabariyyah  sect   oppose  this  differentiation  and  categorisation  of  actions. According  to  them  all  actions  are  involuntary  and  no  action  is  voluntary. 

The  trustworthy,   protectors  and  protagonists  of  any  land  are  rewarded  and  the  rebels  are  imprisoned  and  punished.  The  thieves  and  evil  people  are  imprisoned  for  a  while  and  have  to  undergo  a  trail  of  suffering.  If  there  was  no  system  of  reward  or  punishment  in  this  world  for  good  and  evil  actions  then  this  world  would  have  been absolutely  destroyed  and  devastated  long  ago.  When  this  system  of  rewarding  the  good  and  punishing  the  evil  is  acceptable  and  commended  as  being  justice  by  the  temporary  governments  of  this  world,  then  how  come  there  is  a doubt  and  objection  to  this  system  with  regard  to  Allaah  Ta’ala,  Who  is  the  Best  Judge amongst  judges. 

If  a  thief  is  caught  stealing  and  he  offers  the  following  excuse  that  he  was  forced  to  commit  the  crime and  it  was  an  involuntary  actions  on  his  part,  then  he  will  be  told  that  he  is  lying  and  if  he  was  forced,  then  how  come  he  left  his  home?  Can  we  say  that  it  is  an  involuntary  action  to  come  out  at  night  and  break  someone’s  lock  or  break  down  his  door?  If  man  can  be  subservient  to  the  temporary  justice  of  man,  how  can  he  not  be  subservient  to  the  eternal  and  perfect  Justice  of  Allaah  Ta’ala?  The  Ahlus  Sunnat  Wal  Jamaat  say  that  these  two  views,  that  man  is  completely  in  control  and  that  he  is  completely  helpless,  are  unacceptable  and  incorrect,  and  they  are  contrary  to  common  sense  and  logic. 

The  Straight  Path  is  the  one  that  goes  between  the  excesses.  That  is  that  man  is  neither  completely  in  control  (of  his  actions)  nor  is  he  completely  helpless,  in  fact  we  are  in  between  being  forced  and  having  full  choice.  Logically  as  well,  this  is  the Truth,  because  the  view  of  the Jabariyyah  that  man  is  completely  helpless  and  incapable  of  intention  and  choice,  is  contrary  to  common  sense  and  real  life.  Who  does  not  know  that  man  has  the  quality  of  choice  and  intention?  Every  person  knows  that  his/her  actions  are  not  like  that  of  a  stone.  The  movements  of  a  stone  are  done  without  its  choice  and  intervention,  whereas  man  has  a  choice  and  intention  in  his/ her  actions. 

Now  that  it  is  established  that  man  has  choice  and  intention,  then  there  are  now  two possibilities.  Either  this  choice  is  fixed  and  unshakeable  or  it  is  fixed  to  only  this  level  that  Allaah  Ta’ala’s  Will  has  no  play  in  a  person’s  kufr  and  Imaan.   This  is  the  Madh-hab  of  the  Qadariyyahs. 

The  second  possibility  is  this  that  man  has  choice  and  intention.  But  this  intention  and  choice  is  not  fixed  and  firm,  rather  it  is  subservient  to  the  Desire  and  Will  of  Allaah Ta’ala.  This  is  the  Madh-hab  of  the  Ahlus  Sunnat  Wal  Jamaat. 

Logically  and  rationally,  this  is  the  truth.  Because  for  a  person  to  have  such  full  and  fixed  control  over  his  choice,  that  is  not  subservient  to  Allaah  Ta’ala,  is  impossible.  When  the  mere  existence,  qualities  and  character  of  man  is  not  fixed  but  completely  subservient  to  the  Will  and  Desire  of  Allaah  Ta’ala,  then  how  can  the  quality   of  power  and  choice  be  fixed  in  man?  Allaah  Ta’ala  says: 

“And  you  do  not  desire,  except  that  which  Allaah  Ta ‘ala, Rabbul Aalameen,  Desires.”  

From  this  we  deduce  that  man  has  desire  and  choice,  but  this  is  limited  to  and  under  the  control  of  Allaah  Ta’ala.  Therefore,  the  Ahlus  Sunnat  Wal  Jamaat  say  that  man  is  in  between  being  totally  in  control  or  under  control.  In  a  way,  he  has  a  choice,  therefore  he  is  able  to  carry  out  actions  by  choice  and  intention.  He  is  not  totally  helpless,  but  he  also  has  no  choice  in  this  choice.  Just  like  a  how  a  person  has  the  choice  to  see  and  listen,  however,  he  has  no  choice  in  the  ability  of  hearing  and  seeing.  In  the  same  way,  man  has  choice  in  his  actions,  but  he  has  no  choice  in  this  choice,  in  fact  he  is  helpless  in  his  having  a  choice.  When  a  person  carries  out  an  action  through  this  Allaah  given  choice,  then  in  the  Shariah  we  say  it  is  ‘Khasab’  (earned).  Allaah  Ta’ala  is  the  Creator  of  actions  and  He  brings  it  into  existence.  Man  is  the  earner,  actor  and  doer  of   the  actions.  This  earning  and  acting  is  sufficient  to  warrant  reward  or  punishment.  For  the  weak,  a  weak  choice  is  appropriate,  and  a  full  and  complete  choice  is  appropriate  for  The  Creator  and  not  the  created.

The  difference  between  the  Qadariyyah  and  the  Ahlus  Sunnat  Wal  Jamaat  is  this  that  the  Qadariyyahs  claim  that  man  has  fixed  and  total  choice  over  his  actions,  and  we  say  that  this  choice  is  not  full  or  fixed.  We  take  the  middle  path  and  say  that  man’s  choice  is  between  full  choice  and  no  choice,  and  this  is  what  we  call  in  the  Shariah  earning  and  acting. 

In  the  Qur’aan  Majeed,  Allaah  Ta  ‘ala  has  in  all  places  attributed  the  quality  of  creation  exclusively  to  Himself,  and  earning  and  acting  (carrying  out  actions)  to  His  servants.

“And  Allaah  created  you  and  you  carry  out  the  actions.”

In  this  Aayat,  Allaah  Ta’ala attributes  the  quality  of  creation  to  Himself  and  the  carrier  out  of  the  actions  is  man.  There  is  absolutely  no doubt  that  every  action  of  man comes  into  being  by  the  Knowledge  and  Will  of  Allaah  Ta’ala.  However,  Allaah  Ta’ala  has  also  granted  a  certain  amount  of  power  and  ability  to  man,  whereby  man  carries  out  actions  and  he  becomes  worthy  of  reward  for  it  or  punishment  in  this  world.  Similarly,  he  will  be  rewarded  or  punished  for  his  actions  in  the  Aakhiraat  (Hereafter).

Fate  and  Divine  Decree  is  Haqq (Truth),  and  it  is  Fardh  (obligatory)  to  believe  in  it.  To  bring  Imaan  in  Divine  Decree   means  that  one  should  believe  that  Allaah  Ta’ala  had  pre-destined  for  mankind  even before  their  creation,  the  good and  the  bad,  Imaan  and  kufr,  guidance  and  deviation,  and obedience  and  disobedience,  and  all  this  has  been  recorded.  Now  whatever  occurs  in  this  universe,  is  doing  so  at  the behest  and  wish  of  Allaah  Taa’ala.  Also  whatever  happens,  Allaah  Ta’ala  knew  about  it  in  its  entirety  even  before  its  occurrence. 

The  dictionary meaning  of  Taqdeer  is  to  measure  or  estimate.  That  occurrence  that  happens  by  desire  and  intention,  is  done  with  full  understanding  and  measure.  For  example,  a  person  wants  to  build  a  house.  First  a  plan  will  be  drawn  so  that  the walls,  etc.  of  the  house  can  conform  to  some  set  standard.

In  the  same  way,  when  Allaah  Ta’ala  intended  to  bring  this  universe  into  existence,  He  first  set  out  a  plan  in  His  infinite  Wisdom  and  Knowledge,  and  He  measured  each  and  everything  from  the  time  of  inception  until  the  end.  Hence  this  ‘design’  and  ‘plan’  of  Allaah  Ta’ala  is  known  as  Taqdeer.  Allaah  Ta’ala,  in  His  infinite  Wisdom  and  Knowledge had  already  meted  out  that  at  a  certain  time  a  certain  occurrence  will  happen  at  a certain  place,  or  that  a  person after  his  birth  will  bring  Imaan at  a  certain  time,  or  that  a person  after  his  birth  at  a certain  time  will  make  kufr,  etc., etc.  As  Allaah  Ta’ala  says:

“Indeed  Allaah  had  made  everything  in  measure.”  

Taqdeer  is  that  Allaah  Ta’ala  measured  out  everything  of  this  universe  even  before  its  creation.  Qadha (Fate)  is  that  Allaah  Ta’ala  created  and  brought  into  existence  everything  according  to  His  plan  and  measure.  The dictionary  meaning  of  Qadha  is  to  create.  As  Allaah  Ta’ala  says: 
“And  He  created  in  them  seven  skies.”  

Hence  the  unanimous  belief  of  the  Ahlus  Sunnat  Wal  Jamaat  is  that  Fate  and  Decree  are  Haqq.  There  is  not  an  atom  (or  even  the  smallest  particle)  which  is  beyond  the  Taqdeer  of  Allaah  Ta’ala.  No  one  has  the  ability  or  potential  to  ward  of  or  evade  His  Decree.  Or  even  to  delay  it  or  expedite  it.  Whoever  He  wishes,  He  grants  guidance  to  and  whoever  He  wishes  He  leads  him  astray. There  will  never  be  any  questioning  Him  or  asking  for  explanation.  However,  He  will  question  His  bondmen  regarding  their  actions.  They  will  then  be  rewarded  or   punished  for  their  good  deeds  or  their  evil  actions. 

Nevertheless,  Allaah  Ta’ala’s  Decree  and  fate  is  Haqq.  There can  never  be  any  chance  of  mistakes  or  miscalculations  in  His  Actions.  A  human  will  first  draw  a  plan  prior  to  building  a  house,  and  Allaah  Ta’ala  had planned  this  universe  prior  to  His  creating  it,  but  between  the  planning  and  knowledge  of  man  and  that  of  Allaah  Ta’ala  is  a  vast  difference.  The difference  is  that  man,  due  to  some  obstruction  or  the  other,  may  have  to  change  or  alter  his  originally  intended  plans,  hence  the  planning  and  knowledge  of  man  can  be incorrect  and  deficient.  But when  Allaah  Ta’ala  intends  to  do  something,  there  is  nothing  that  will  or  can  ever  prevent  Him,  because  the  planning  and   Taqdeer  of  Allaah  Ta’ala  can  never  be  incorrect  or  deficient.  His  intentions  always  come  into  being  and  none  can  prevent  it.  Also,  the  knowledge  of  man  is  extremely  deficient.  There  are  many  things  that  man  only  comes  to  know  about  after  he  had  drawn  up  his  plans,  therefore,  there  will  be  a  difference  between  the  plan  of  man  and  the  outcome.  And  the  Knowledge  of  Allaah  Ta’ala,  because  it  is  All-Encompassing,  therefore  there  will  never  be  a  difference  between  the  plan  and  the  outcome  of  Allaah  Ta’ala. 

The  Taqdeer  of  Allaah  Ta’ala  is  Haqq.  It  is  Fardh  to  bring  Imaan  in  it.  It  is  incorrect  to  present  Taqdeer  as  an  excuse  to  our  actions  and  deeds. 

For  example,  a  man  steals  or  commits  Zina  (adultery),  and  then  he  makes  the  excuse  that  this  was  written  in  his  Taqdeer.  This  excuse  of  his  is  unacceptable  and  insufficient  to  avert  punishment  from  him.  Indeed,  Allaah  Ta’ala  has  decreed  everything,  but  you  did  not  have  any  knowledge  thereof.  When  you  had  stolen  or  committed  Zina,  then  you  did  so  purely  out  of  nafsaani  (inner)  desires  and  to  satisfy  yourself.  At  that  moment  you were  unaware  as  to  what  was  decreed  for  you.  This  is  all  an excuse,  you  have  no  knowledge of  Taqdeer.  You  committed  this  act  voluntarily  and  by  purpose.  You  were  not  forced  into  doing  it,  in  fact  you  expanded  your  effort,  strength,  desire  and  gratification,  hence  for  anyone  to  say  that  he/she  was  compelled  by  Taqdeer  to  carry  out  a  certain  act  is  a  lie  and  deception.  The  bondsman  is  not  bound  or  compelled  by  Allaah  Ta’ala  or  Taqdeer.  Whatever  the  servant  of  Allaah does,  he  does  so  of  his  own intention  and  accord,  even  though  this  intention  and thought  is  made  possible  by  Allaah  Ta’ala,  nevertheless,  the servant  has  the  choice  of  carrying  out  the  action,  he  is  not  forced. 

Now  remains  the contention  that  since  it  is  impossible  for  the  servant  to  act  contrary  to  Taqdeer,  is  not  this  a  form  of  being  forced?? 

No  this  is  not  the  case.  Allaah Ta’ala’s  Knowledge  and  planning  is  complete  and  flawless.  There  can  never  be  a  mistake  in  the  Taqdeer  of  Allaah Ta’ala.  Hence,  to  act  contrary  to  this  Taqdeer  is  impossible.  Taqdeer  is  the  information  and  ‘data’  of  Allaah  Ta’ala.  Knowledge  follows  that  which  is  known.  Information  and  data  is  something  that  follows  what  is  related  and  transmitted,  and  it  conforms  to  the  reality.  What  is  known  does  not  follow  the  knowledge  of  it  and  what  occurs  and  the  reality  of  a  situation  does  not  follow  the  information  and  data  of  that  incident.  Just  like  how  Allaah  Ta’ala  has  the  knowledge  of  our  actions  and  deeds,  so  too  has  He  the  Knowledge  of  His  actions.  Nevertheless,  Allaah  Ta’ala  does  not  force  anyone  on  account  of  His  knowledge.  In  this  way,  understand  that  the  servant  is  not  forced  due  to  Allaah  Ta’ala’s  knowledge  or  Taqdeer.  Allaah  Ta’ala’s  Knowledge  is  on  its  place  and  the  servant  is  on  his  place.  In  this  world  a  person  is  not  regarded  as  being  forced.  If  people  were  being  forced,  then  the  governments  would  not  need  to  make  prisons  for  the  transgressors.  Allaah  Ta’ala  had  granted  His  bondsmen  choice  and  ability,  whereby  he  conducts  his  Deeni  and  worldly  affairs.  But,  this  choice  of  the  servant  is  not  with  him  by  choice.  Just  like  how  a  person  has  eyes  and  ears,  not  by  choice  but  the  actions  he  does  with  the  eyes  (looking)  and  ears  (listening)  are  done  by  his  choice.  In  a  similar  way,  a  person  makes  a  choice  to  do  something  and  he  has  the  ability  granted  to  him  to  carry  it  out,  by  his  own choice.  It  is  for  this  reason  that  it  is  said  that  a  person  has  no  choice  in  his  qualities,  but  he  has  choice  in  his  actions. 

To  believe  that  Allaah  Ta’ala  is  the  Creator  of  man’s  actions,  movements  and  animations  does  not  necessarily  mean  that  these  movements  are  out  of  man’s  choice  and  power,  because  Allaah  Ta’ala  has  created  both  the  power  and  the  one  who  has  the  power.  He  has  created  both  the  choice  and  the  one  who  has  the  choice.  Power  is  one  of  the  qualities  of  man,  which  Allaah  Ta’ala  had  created  and  Allaah  Ta’ala  has  created  both  man  and  his  qualities.  All  this  is  in  His  Control.  If  man  carries  out  an  action  through  this  Allaah  given  quality  of  power  of  his,  then  according  to  all  learned  men,  this  is  by  his  (man’s)  choice,  and  not  an involuntary  action.  In  short,  we  say  that  the  existence  of  man,  his  actions  and  qualities,  although  we  relate  all  this  to  Allaah  Ta’ala,  does  not  mean that  man  is  helpless. 

Allaah  Ta’ala’s  Power  and  Will  is  connected  to  the  existence  of  man,  but  owing  to  this  connection  man  does  not  become  obliterated.  In  a  similar  way,  by  Allaah  Ta’ala’s  Power  and  Will  being  connected  to   man’s  power  and  choice  does  not  make  man  helpless.  Man  is  however  the  servant  and  the  creation  of  Allaah  Ta’ala.  It  is  not  possible  for  the  creation’s  existence  and  qualities  to  supercede  the  Encompassing  Power  and  Will  of  the  Creator.  Those  who  aver  that  man  is  the  creator  of  his  own  actions  and  that  (Nauthubillah!)  man’s  actions  have  no  relation  to  the  Power  and  Will  of  Allaah Ta’ala,  are  trying  to  say  that  the  creation  can  supercede  the  Creator’s  Power  and  Will.  The  entire  Ummat  unanimously  agree  that  “Whatever  Allaah  Ta’ala  Wills  comes  to  pass  and  whatever  He  does  not  Will  does  not  occur.” 

The  Mu’tazilahs  believe  that  the  actions  of  the  servant  are  excluded  from  the  Will  of  Allaah  Ta’ala.  LAA  HAWLA  WA  LAA  QUWWATA  ILLAA  BILLAAHIL  ALIYIL  AZEEM. 

Allaah  Ta’ala  has  created  this  universe  with  different  things  in  it,  the  size  and  shape  of  everything  is  different  for  one  another.  The  ability  of  each  thing  also  differs  from  the  next. 

Take  the  example  of  a  tree  which  has  thousand  different  types  of  wood,  some  are  used  for  burning,  others  for  making  wooden  boards,  others  for  roofing,  etc.,  etc.  Everyone  agrees  that  if  everything  in  this  universe  had  the  same  qualities  and  conditions,  then  this  universe  would  not  be  able  to  function  properly  and  smoothly. 

Now  remains  the  contention  that  why  are  the  abilities  of  everything  different.  This  answer  has  still  not  been fathomed  until  today. 

Muslims  say  that  all  this  is  in  the  Wisdom  of  the  All-Knowing  and  All-Wise.  The  atheists  say  that  all  these  different  abilities  are  due  to  the  movements  of  the  blind  and  deaf  matter. 

Just  as  Allaah  Ta’ala,  in  His  Infinite  Wisdom  has  created  the  abilities  and  shapes  of  trees  and  stones  different  from  one  another,  He  has  also  created  the  abilities  of  man  different  from  one  another.  Some  He  made  intelligent  and  sagacious,  whilst  others  He  made  stupid  and  ignorant.  Some  He  made  susceptible  to  the  Haqq  and  others  to  kufr.  He  made  the  heart  of  some  clean  and  clear,  whilst  that  of  others  are  black   and  dark.  “None  can  ask  about  what  He  does,  whilst  they  are  at  answerable.” 

The  objection  is  that  the actions  and  speech  of  man  is  dependant  upon  their  respective  abilities.  And  all  this  is  pre-destined,  and  not  in  the power  of  man,  hence  why  is  there  an  indictment  against  the Kuffaar,  when  they  are  in  actual  fact  helpless  and  without  choice.

Allaah  Ta’ala  has  created  two types  of  creations.  Some  are those  which  Allaah  Ta’ala  did not  give  any  knowledge  or  (intelligent)  qualities,  like  trees  and  stones.  This  type  of  creation  will  have  no questioning  or  retribution.  They  will  not  be  rewarded  or  punished.  The  other  type  of  creation  is  that  one  on  whom  Allaah  Ta’ala  placed  intelligence and  choice,  like  man  and  jinn.  For  this  creation  Allaah  Ta’ala  granted  them  intelligence,  choice  and  power.  They  have  also  been  given  limbs  and organs,  whereby  they  willingly  carry  out  actions,  and  these actions  are  attributed  to  them.  For  example,  they  say  that  we  have  done  this  action  with  our  hands,  or  that  ‘I  have  said  this’,  or  ‘I  did  that’,  etc.,  etc.  They  accept  and  agree  that  whatever  (worldly)  reward  or  recompense  is  due  upon  them  for  any  action  carried  out,  is  for  them  and  that  they  deserve  it.  But  when  it  comes  to  reward  or  punishment  in  the Hereafter  they  say  that  we  are helpless.  They  do  not  realize  that  Allaah  Ta’ala  has  granted them  intelligence  and  choice  in  this  world  so  that  they  may follow  and  carry  out  the Commands  of  Allaah  Ta’ala,  and then  be  liable  for  either  reward  or  punishment.  Just  like  how  in  this  world  one  is  merely  rewarded  because  of  his  ability  and  potential,  so  too  is  a person  not  punished  in  the Hereafter  simply  due  to  his  ability.  Reward  and  punishment will  be  meted  out  only  after  one  carries  out  good  or  bad  actions. 

A  person  is  not  rewarded  merely  because  he  is  brave  and  strong.  He  has  to  go  out  into  the  ring  and  prove  himself.  In  a  similar  way,  a  person  will  not  be  rewarded  (by  Allaah  Ta’ala)  merely  on  account  of  his  ability.  He  must  carry  out  actions  that  will  warrant  a suitable  retribution.


Copyrights – Restraining The Word of Allah

By Mujlisul Ulama

Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan Shareef:

“They purchase with the aayaat of Allah a cheap (miserable) price. Thus they prevented from the Path of Allah….”

“And they prevent you from the thikr of Allah and from Salaat. What, will you (not) desist (from preventing from the thikr of Allah)?”

“They spend their wealth so that they could prevent from the Path of Allah.”

“They devour the wealth of people in baatil (ways) and they prevent from the Path of Allah.”

“They love (and give preference) to this worldly life over the Aakhirah and prevent from the Path of Allah.”

While registering copyrights is unlawful in the Shariah, it is particularly abominable when applied to Deeni literature. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was sent to earth to deliver the message of Allah Ta’ala – the Deen of Islam. Every branch of Deeni Ilm stems from the Qur’aan. It is spiritually cruel and religiously (in terms of the Shariah) haraam to attempt the prevention of the dissemination of the Deen and Words of Allah Ta’ala by any means whatever.

Since copyright is tantamount to the prevention of Allah’s Thikr and strewing obstacles in the Path of Allah Ta’ala, it’s prohibition comes within the purview of the aforementioned Qur’aanic strictures. While the kuffaar prevented from the Thikr of Allah and from the Path of Allah in their peculiar ways of kufr, Muslims, even Ulama, execute a similar act by employing the kuffaar concept and law of copyright to prevent the spread of Allah’s Words – His Thikr which is Islam.

The sole motive underpinning this haraam concept of copyright is monetary gain. Thus, for the sake of a miserable and ‘cheap’ price, even learned Muslims are miserable and ‘cheap’ price, even learned Muslims are casting impediments in the Path of Allah Ta’ala. It is a lamentable commentary of their lack of comprehension of the issues involved inspite of them being men of Deeni knowledge. The prime function of the Ulama is the propagation and dissemination of Allah’s Thikr.

When the Ulama seek the subterfuge of kuffaar concepts and kuffaar laws to place restrains on the spread of Allah’s Thikr for monetary gain, they should understand that the label of ulama-e-soo’ (evil learned people) will be applicable to them.

From the Fiqhi (juristic) point of view, copyrights are not saleable commodities. The sale or trading in such imaginary rights is palpably baatil (baseless, null and void) in the Shariah. Copyright is simply not a haqq (right) in the Shariah. Even true rights recognized by the Shariah are not regarded as saleable commodity (maal). When true rights cannot be subject to trade, how can an imaginary right be a commodity for trade? The kuffaar have forged this baatil as a ‘right’. Since it promises haraam revenue, some among the learned men have gone out of their way to legalize this figment of kuffaar imagination. In the process, scant regard in shown for Allah’s Deen. For the sake of easy money, a brake is placed on the dissemination of Allah’s Kalimaat (Words). A variety of baseless arguments and false interpretations are presented for the legalization of this baatil.

The office of the Ulama demands that the Words of Allah Ta’ala be spread and given the widest publicity and distribution. While a trader working for his own pocket may be devoid of any altruistic motives, he unintentionally serves the purpose of spreading the words of Allah Ta’ala by publication and selling of Deeni literature. No one has the Shar’i right to prevent any person from reproducing any literature whatever. Those who do, are guilty of the crime of preventing the spread of Allah’s Thikr.

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