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The pledge of allegiance taken at the Saqifa was not Consensus

By: Allamah Sayyid 'Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din al-Musawi
Reference: Al-Muraja'at

We say that the meaning of his (pbuh) statements: "My nation's consensus shall never occur regarding anything wrong," and "My nation's word shall never be misleading," is that he (pbuh) negates the error, or the misguidance, of the issue regarding which the nation arbitrates; thus, the nation will be reaching a unanimous endorsement in that issue's regard. This is the meaning of such traditions, and nothing else. As regarding the matter which is considered by a group of individuals of the nation who decided to carry it out, successfully forcing it even on those who had a say, their carrying it out does not prove its validity. The pledge of allegiance taken at the saqifa was not an issue regarding consultation; rather, it was something which was undertaken by the second caliph and by Abu `Ubaydah and a group of their friends, then they took by surprise those who actually had the authority to do and undo, assisted by contemporary circumstances. Thus did they finally achieve what they had aspired. Abu Bakr himself declared that the oath of allegiance which he had received was conducted neither in accordance with consultation nor wisdom. He did so when he delivered a sermon at the dawn of his caliphate in which he apologized to the public saying: "The allegiance which I have received is a rash slip from the evil of which Allah has protected us, and there was a presentiment regarding dissension."[1] `Umer testified to the same fact in front of many eye-witnesses when he delivered a sermon from the pulpit of the Prophet's Mosque one Friday shortly before the conclusion of his reign, a sermon the news of which became widely publicized. Al-Bukhari has included it in his Sahih,[2] and I would like to quote it for you here verbatim: "It has come to my knowledge that someone[3] has said that if `Umer dies, he will swear the oath of allegiance to so-and-so; therefore, let nobody hesitate from saying that the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr was a slip that was driven home, for it was exactly so, yet Allah protected us from the evil of its consequences... Whoever swears the oath of allegiance to someone prior to consulting others, doing so only out of fear of being killed if he did not, then he should not do it at all [and accept death instead]...[4] One of the rumours circulated about us when Allah took His Messenger (pbuh) away from us is that the Ansar differed from us in their views; they all assembled at the saqifa [shed] of Bani Sa`idah; besides them, `Ali (as) and al-Zubayr, and their followers, differed, too..."
He continued to point out what had happened at the shed, the disputes and differences of opinion, the voices that rose out of concern for the safety of the religion, etc. It was under those circumstances that `Umer swore allegiance to Abu Bakr.
It is a fact well-known by those who research the events that prevented the members of the Prophet's household (as), the custodians of the Message, from attending the allegiance [inauguration] ceremony. They were detained at `Ali's house together with Salman, Abu Tharr al-Ghifari, al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad al-Kindi, `Ammar ibn Yasir, al-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, Khuzaymah ibn Thabit, Abu ibn Ka`b, Farwah ibn `Amr ibn Wadqah al-Ansari, al-Bara' ibn `Azib, Khalid ibn Sa`d ibn al-`As al-Amawi, and many others. So, how can it be said that there was a consensus in spite of the fact that all these men, including Muhammad's progeny (as), who are to the nation like the head to the body, the eyes to the face, the descendants of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and the custodians of his knowledge, the ones who are peers only to and the companions of the Book of Allah, the arks of the nation's redemption, and the gates of its salvation, the nation's protection against straying, and the standard-bearers of its guidance, as we have proven above...,[5] did not attend? But their dealing requires no proof if conscientiously discerned.
Both Bukhari and Muslim,[6] in their sahihs, in addition to many other renown traditionists and historians, have all proven the fact that `Ali (as) did not participate in the allegiance process, and that he did not reconcile and make peace except after the mistress of the ladies of the world (as) had joined her father (pbuh) [in Paradise], six months thereafter, compelled by the general Islamic interest during those very critical circumstances. The testimony to these facts comes from `Ayesha herself who says: "Al-Zahra' (as) boycotted Abu Bakr and did not speak to him after the demise of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) till she died, and when `Ali (as) made peace with them, he accused them of depriving him of his place in the caliphate." This hadith, as you can see, does not mention anything about his swearing the oath of allegiance to them. How thought-provoking his statement is when he addresses Abu Bakr thus: If you had argued with them, kinship claiming, Then others are closer to the Prophet and more deserving; And if through consultation you took control, How so when those with counsel were not there at all?![7]
Al-`Abbas ibn `Abdul-Muttalib had used the same argument with Abu Bakr, as Ibn Qutaybah discusses him on page 16 of his book Al-Imama wal Siyasa, telling him once: "If you demanded what you demanded through kinship to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), then you had confiscated our own. If you had demanded it due to your position among Muslims, then ours is a more prestigious than yours. If this affair is accomplished when the believers are pleased with it, then it cannot be so as long as we are displeased therewith."
So; tell me where is the consensus you are talking about, having heard what the uncle of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), the one who was his father's peer, stated, in addition to the statement of his cousin, brother and executor of his will, as well as the statements of all his household and kin?

Consensus Was Not Concluded; Dissension Did Not Dissipate
Their consolidation in supporting al-Siddiq, and their providing him with counsel in secrecy and in public, is one thing; the validity of the consignment of the caliphate through consensus is quite another. They are not correlated judged by reason or tradition, for `Ali and all the infallible Imams from his descendants (as) have a well-known policy in supporting the Islamic authority; it is the same whereby we worship Allah. I mention it here in answer to what you have stated. It may be summed up thus: They believe that the Muslim nation can never rise to glory except through a state that unites its populace, mends any crack in its structure, protects its borders, and safeguards its undertakings. Such a state cannot be established except by subjects who support it with their lives and possessions. If it is possible for such a state to be led by a legitimate statesman who represents in the true sense of the word the government of the Messenger of Allah, then he is the one to be assigned for such a responsibility rather than anyone else. But if this becomes impossible, and the government is usurped by someone else, then the nation has to support him in every issue upon which the dignity and fortitude of Islam hinges, and so do the protection of the borders of the Islamic state, and the safeguarding of its national security.
It is not permissible to divide the Muslims or create discord among them by opposing him; rather, the nation has to treat him, albeit if he is a slave with amputated limbs, the treatment meted to rightful caliphs, entrusting him with the land's khiraj tax and his share thereof, the zakat of cattle and other items, etc. It has the right to take the same from him through the sale and purchase, as well as all means of property transfers, such as by way of awards, gifts, and the like.
There is no doubt about the clearing of conscience of one who pays him liabilities, as though he is paying them to the Imam of truth, and the rightful caliph. This is the path of `Ali and the purified Imams from his descendants (as). The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has said: "There will be after me favouritism, and unpleasant matters," as stated in one hadith narrated by `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud which is quoted by Muslim on page 118, Vol. 2, of his Sahih, and by many authors of sahihs and sunan. People asked him (pbuh): "O Messenger of Allah! What do you enjoin one of us who witnesses them to do?" He (pbuh) answered: "Perform your obligations, and pray Allah for the attainment of what rightfully belongs to you." Abu Tharr al-Ghifari, may Allah be pleased with him, is also quoted by Muslim in Vol. 2 of his Sahih as saying, "My friend the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) advised me to listen and to obey even [a ruler who is] a slave whose limbs are amputated." Salamah al-Ju`fi is quoted by Muslim and others asking the Messenger of Allah (pbuh): "O Messenger of Allah! Suppose we are ruled by those who require us to discharge our duties towards them while they themselves decline to grant us our rights, what do you advise us to do then?" He (pbuh) answered him saying, "Listen and obey, for they will bear the burden of their sins, and you will bear yours." In one particular hadith quoted by Muslim on page 120, Vol. 2, of his Sahih, which is narrated by all authors of books of traditions, Huthayfah al-Yemani, may Allah be pleased with him, quotes the Prophet (pbuh) saying: "There will be rulers after me who will neither guide according to my guidance, nor follow my Sunnah; and there will be among them men whose hearts are like those of the devils' clad in human form." Huthayfah asked him (pbuh): "What shall I do then, O Messenger of Allah, if I happen to witness that?" He (pbuh) answered: "You shall listen to the ruler and obey him; if he whips your back and confiscates your property, you will still have [no choice but] to listen and obey." Similar to this hadith is one narrated by Umm Salamah thus: "There will be [unjust] rulers over you, and you will either acknowledge [their being unjust] or deny it. Those who acknowledge shall be considered innocent, while those who deny it will be saved from chastisement."[8] They asked him (pbuh): "Are we not supposed to fight them?" He answered: "No, as long as they uphold their prayers."
Sahihs are consecutively reported in narrating the above quoted traditions, especially through the purified progeny (as). For this reason, the latter remained persevering as they saw eye-sores, and they kept tongue-tied, acting upon these sacred commandments and upon others whereby they were bound. They were enjoined to persevere while suffering as they felt forced to overlook eye-sores, safeguarding the unity of the nation, and keeping it intact. They abided by the gist of these texts while dealing with those who were entrusted with faring with the affairs of the Muslims. While being aware of the fact that they themselves were more worthy of being in their shoes, they tasted the bitterness of colocynth, hoping they might be able one day to lead them to the Right Path. The ascension of those individuals to power was more painful to them than the blows of sharp swords, yet they tolerated it only to fulfill the covenant, discharge the commitment, and carry out their duties as far as the Shari`a is concerned, favouring - while opposing such rulers - to prefer what is most important over what is more important. For this reason, the Commander of the Faithful (as) tried his best to provide counsel to all three caliphs, exerting himself in providing them with advice.
Whoever acquaints himself with his policy during their epoch will come to know that he, having lost all hope to get his indisputable right to succeed the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), willingly took to reclusion, preferring to make asylum with those in authority. He did not fight them while seeing his promised throne in their grip, nor did he oppose them openly. He did so only in order to maintain the solidification of the nation and safeguard the creed, always keeping the religion's interest in mind, preferring the life hereafter to this one. He suffered from agonies which nobody else suffered. He was agonized by two calamities: the caliphate in its texts and commandments was earnestly pleading to him in a heart-rending voice on one hand, and, on the other hand, oppressive discord was warning him against a possible mutiny in the peninsula. There was a possible danger of bedouin Arabs renouncing their religion, thus annihilating the Islamic creed. The faith was being threatened by the hypocrites of Medina in whose nature hypocrisy was immersed, and who were aided by the hypocritical bedouins around them, according to the text of the Book (Qur'an). Nay, the latter party was even worse in disbelief and hypocrisy than the first, so much so that it was better they did not know the limits of what Allah had revealed to His Messenger (pbuh).
The loss of the Prophet (pbuh) emboldened the latter, and Muslims became in the aftermath like frightened cattle in a winter night, surrounded by wolves and ferocious brutes. While their fellows were quite active in their attempts to wipe out the religion of Islam and crush the Muslims, the Romans, the Kisras and others were waiting in anticipation, to the end of the list of such thronging elements that bore grudge against Muhammad, the progeny of Muhammad, and the companions of Muhammad (pbuh). These parties bore animosity towards and felt jealous of the message of Islam; they desired to demolish its foundations, and undermining its might. In such endeavour, they would be very quick, seeing that they had their golden opportunity in the departure of the Prophet to his Supreme Companion. The chance had ripened then for them to make use of the chaos before Islam had recovered its strength and organization. It was then that the Commander of the Faithful (as) realized both dangers, and it was only natural that he would sacrifice his own right in order to sustain the religion of Islam, thus preferring the general interest to that of his own.
This is how such confusion ended, and the dispute between him and Abu Bakr was suspended, for he dreaded nothing save the disunity of Muslims and was concerned only that the Muslims should have the upper hand. So, he, all members of his household, their supporters from the Immigrants and Ansar, remained patiently tongue-tied even as they saw eye-sores. His speech after the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had departed is very frank in reflecting this attitude, and relevant reports are consecutive through the Imams of the purified progeny.
But the head of the Ansar, Sa`d ibn `Abadah, never made asylum with the first two caliphs, and he was never seen in public accompanying either of them during an `Id celebration or on a Friday, and he never subscribed to their views, nor did he ever yield to their orders, till he was assassinated in Huran during the reign of the second caliph, and his assassins claimed that he was killed by the jinns. He made a memorable statement during the saqifa incident, but we see no need to quote it here.[9]
As regarding his friends such as Haban ibn al-Munthir[10] and other Ansaris, these succumbed unwillingly, yielding to pressure; so, do you consider the actions dictated by the fear of the sword or the burning by the fire[11] as a belief in the consignment of the allegiance? Or is it a testimony to such "consensus" implied in the statement of the Prophet (pbuh) saying "My nation shall never commit an error in its consensus of opinion"? Please state your verdict; may Allah reward you, Wassalam.

Rationalizing the Imam's Reluctance to Demand his Right
1) Our legacy of traditions, which has been left to us by those companions, indicates that the latter adhered to all texts as long as they were relevant to the faith, concerned about the matters related to the Hereafter, such as his (pbuh) hadith regarding the obligatory fast during the month of Ramadan rather than any other month, facing only the qibla while performing the obligatory prayers, the number of obligatory prayers during the day or the night, the number of rak`at [prostrations] in each, as well as how to perform them, his hadith that the ceremonial tawaf around the House [Ka'ba] is seven times, and such ahadith aiming at the achievement of divine rewards in the life to come.
As regarding his texts that deal with political matters such as succession, government, administration, legislation, invasions, etc., they did not see that they had to follow or adhere to them in all circumstances; rather, they allowed themselves to practice a measure of research, discretion, and ijtihad. If they saw in opposing such texts a promotion of their cause, or an advantage to their power, they would oppose them. They may even seek to please the Prophet by doing just so. They were convinced that the Arabs would neither accept `Ali's rule nor follow a text in such a matter, since he pressured them a great deal while enforcing the Will of Allah in their regard, spilling their blood with his sword in while promoting the Word of Allah, dismantling all their masks while defending the truth, till Allah's Will became dominant in spite of every infidel. So, they would not obey him willingly, nor would they follow such texts except by force, having attributed to him the spilling of all blood in the way of Islam during the life-time of the Prophet (pbuh), according to their custom of retaliation in such circumstances, for they saw him as the only candidate upon whom they would seek revenge, especially since seeking revenge is usually done to the best among the foe's tribesmen, and the choicest of its clans. They knew that he was the best among the Hashimites, after the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), without any doubt or dispute. For this reason, the Arabs waited for a chance to annihilate him; they sought means to deal with him, and they bore a great deal of grudge against him and his descendants, till they leaped over them in a way that became well-known everywhere, and its shame filled the earth and the skies.
There is another reason: Quraysh in particular and the Arabs in general used to criticize `Ali's might in dealing with the enemies of Allah, the forcefulness of his method of dealing with those who trespass the limits of Allah or permit what He prohibited. They feared his enjoining right and forbidding wrong; they dreaded his justice in dealing with the subjects and his equity in every public issue. Nobody hoped for his concession nor dreamed of his compromise. The mighty and powerful are weak till he executes justice on them, and the weak and downtrodden are strong and dignified when he grants them what is rightfully theirs. So, how can the Arabs willingly submit to a man like that while "They are the foremost in disbelief and hypocrisy, so much so that they ought not know the limits of what Allah has revealed unto His Messenger ( Qur'an, 9:97)," and "Among the people of Medina are those who are stubborn in hypocrisy; you [O Our Prophet Muhammad] do not know them; We know them (Qur'an, 9:101), and among them are those who do not hesitate to commit anything insane.
There is still another reason. Quraysh in particular and Arabs in general used to envy him for the favours Allah bestowed upon him. He has been uplifted by Allah, His Messenger and the wise, to a sublime status due to his knowledge and feats; peers fall short of their attainment; those qualified hesitated to attempt to compete with him. He has, through his feats and attributes, won a status from Allah and His Messenger coveted by the hopeful, and a prestige unattainable by the most ambitious. For these reasons, jealousy filled the hearts of the hypocrites. The spiteful, ungrateful, and unequitable hypocrites, in addition to opportunists, all agreed not to discharge their responsibility towards him; therefore, they left these texts behind their backs, entrusting them to oblivion.
It was what it was, I shall never discuss the views; So, entertain good thoughts; do not ask about the news.
Also, Quraysh and all other Arabs had by then coveted political dominance for their own respective tribes, and their ambition extended thereto. For this reason, they decided to discard the covenant and were determined to ignore the will. So, they all collaborated to forget the text, pledging not to mention it at all. They all agreed to divert the caliphate, since its inception, from its rightful candidate, who was assigned to it by their Prophet, and make it through election and choice, so that each one of their quarters might have a justification for hoping to attain it, though after a while. Had they followed the text and advanced `Ali to succeed the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, such caliphate would never have left his purified progeny, since he had equated his progeny on the Ghadir Day, as well as on other occasions, to the perfect Book of Allah, describing them as models for the wise till the Day of Judgment. The Arabs would not have been able to tolerate the confinement of caliphate to one particular dynasty, especially when all their tribes coveted it, and it was sought by all those who wanted it for their own camps.
It has, indeed, withered, weakened, and waned: A skeleton unwanted even by one whose funds drained.
Also, whoever knows the history of Quraysh and the Arabs at the dawn of Islam would come to know that they did not yield to the Hashimite Prophethood except after being annihilated, being powerless; so, how could they have agreed that Hashim's descendants should monopolize both prophethood and caliphate? `Umer ibn al-Khattab once said to Ibn `Abbas in a dialogue between them: "Quraysh hated that both prophethood and caliphate should be confined to your household for fear you might oppress other people."This is quoted by Ibn Abul-Hadid on page 107, Vol. 3, of Sharh Nahjul Balaghah, while discussing an issue worthy of the attention of researchers which is also discussed by Ibn al-Athir near the conclusion of `Umer's biography on page 24, Vol. 3, of his Al-Kamil before discussing the story of the "consultation."
2) The good ancestors then could not force those folks to implement the spirit of the text for fear they might rebel if they did, and in apprehension of the dire consequences of disputing regarding such an issue. Hypocrisy surfaced immediately after the demise of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, and the might of the hypocrites increased by such a loss. The dark souls of the infidels grew darker, the foundations of the faith weakened, and the hearts of the Muslims waned, so much so that they became like frightened cattle in a winter night, surrounded by wolves and ferocious beasts. One group among the Arabs reneged, while another contemplated doing so, as we explained in Letter No. 82 above. Under such circumstances, `Ali (as) feared dire consequences resulting from rushing matters if he took upon himself to take charge, knowing how people's hearts were, as we have described, with the hypocrites being what they were, biting their fingers in rage, and the renegades as we have clarified, while the polytheist nations were just as we have previously indicated. The Ansars had differed and deviated from the Muhajirun, saying, "Let us choose our ruler and you choose yours, etc." His concern about the faith prompted him to refrain from demanding the caliphate for himself and overlooking certain matters, knowing that demanding the caliphate under such circumstances would endanger the nation and jeopardize the safety of the faith; so, he opted to refrain just in preference of the interest of Islam and that of the common welfare, of the good of the future to that of the present.
He, therefore, remained at home, refusing to give his allegiance till he was forced to leave, just to silently enforce his own right, silently defying those who forsook him. Had he rushed to give his allegiance, he would have had neither argument nor pretext, but he, by doing so, safeguarded both religion and his own right to rule the believers, thus proving the originality of his mind, his overwhelming clemency, his patience and preference of the public interest to that of his own. Any soul that gives so much while facing so much affliction is sure to be rewarded by Allah with divine rewards. His objective was indeed to seek the pleasure of Allah in that epoch as well as in the epochs to come.
As regarding the three caliphs and their supporters, these have interpreted the text regarding his succession in the manner which we have indicated above. This should not surprise us at all once we come to know how they interpret and personally comprehend other texts of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny, regarding issues such as succession, government, administration, legislation, etc. They probably did not consider them to be religious issues; so, it was easy for them to practically oppose them. When they finally took charge, they stuck to a policy of overlooking such texts, promising to punish those who would mention or even allude to them. When they succeeded in enforcing order, the dissemination of the religion of Islam, the invasion of nations, and the acquisition of wealth and power, they did not become corrupt in their own personal desires, and that elevated them and caused them to win people's respect, confidence, and love. People followed suit in forgetting about that text, and when Banu Omayyah succeeded them, the latter's main objective became the extinction and annihilation of the Prophet's household. In spite of all this, a few correct texts have reached us and have been protected in authentic books of traditions; these suffice for proof; praise be to Allah, Wassalam.
[1] This is quoted by Abu Bakr Ahmed ibn `Abdul-`Aziz al-Jawhari in his book Al-Saqifa and by Ibn Abul-Hadid on page 132, Vol. 1, of his Sharh Nahjul Balaghah.
[2] Refer to the sahih, his chapter on the stoning of the woman who becomes pregnant out of adultery if she gets married, page 119, Vol. 4. It is also quoted by several authors of books of tradition and history such as Ibn Jarir and al-Tabari who discuss the events of the year 11 in the tarikh [history] book of each, and it is transmitted by Ibn Abul-Hadid on page 122, Vol. 1, of his Sharh Nahjul Balaghah.
[3] The one who is making a statement is Ibn al-Zubayr, and his statement is: "By Allah! As soon as `Umer dies, I will swear the oath of allegiance to `Ali, for allegiance to Abu Bakr was a slip by the nation that safely passed by." `Umer, therefore, was extremely angry, and he delivered the said sermon. This is stated by many of those who have commented on al-Bukhari. Refer to the explanation of this hadith in al-Qastalani's Sharh, page 352, Vol. 11, and you will find the author quoting al-Balathiri with regards to surnames, admitting the authenticity of this hadith according to its endorsement by both shaykhs.
[4] In his commentary on this hadith, Ibn al-Athir has stated that the statement's gist is that they feared being murdered. The meaning of the whole hadith, therefore, is something like: "The allegiance must come as a result of consultation and consensus; so, if two men split from the group and one of them swears the fealty of allegiance to the other, then they both have departed from the group and consensus. If one receives the oath of allegiance, then he should not be one of them; rather, they both have to be isolated from the group that agrees to distinguish its own Imam from the rest. Otherwise, if one of them receives the oath of allegiance, after having committed a heinous act which caused the group to do without them, then there is no guarantee that both persons will commit murder." It is one of the dictates of the justice described by `Umer who passed such a judgment on himself and his friend just as he passed it on others. Prior to his said sermon, he had stated the following: "Swearing the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr was a slip against whose evil Allah has protected us; so, you should kill whoever repeats it." This statement became extremely famous, and many narrators of historical events transmitted it, including scholar Ibn Abul-Hadid on page 123, Vol. 1, of his Sharh Nahjul Balaghah.
[5] Refer to Letter No. 6 and its following pages up to the end of Letter No. 12, and you will come to know the prestige meted to Ahl al-Bayt, peace be upon them.
[6] Refer to al-Bukhari's Sahih, and read the last lines of his chapter on Khaybar's campaign on page 39, Vol. 3. Also refer to Muslim's Sahih, to his chapter on the Prophet's statement: "We do not leave behind us anything, for whatever we leave is for charity," in his treatise on holy wars and biographies on page 72, Vol. 2, and you will find the matter as we have detailed it.
[7] Both of these poetic verses are included in Nahjul Balaghah. Ibn Abul-Hadid has said so while explaining them in his Sharh Nahjul Balaghah, page 319, Vol. 4, adding, "His statement is addressed to Abu Bakr, for Abu Bakr argued with the Ansar at the saqifa, saying: `We are the progeny of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and his nutshell;' so, when he argued about the allegiance, claiming that it was done by those who had a say, `Ali (as) said: `As regarding your argument with the Ansar saying that you belong to the progeny of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and are among his kin, others are closer in kinship to him than you; as regarding your argument of being elected and that the masses are pleased with you, there many sahaba who were not present there; so, how can it be called consensus?'" Shaykh Muhammad `Abdoh has made two comments on these verses summarizing what Ibn Abul-Hadid has said while explaining them.
[8] This hadith is quoted by Muslim on page 122, Vol. 2, of his Sahih. The meaning of his phrase (pbuh) "Whoever knows it is innocent" is that whoever knew the abomination and identifies it as such will have a path leading to dissociation from its sin and punishment by changing it with his own hand or tongue, but if he cannot, then let him abhor it by his heart.
[9] Sa`d ibn `Abadah, Thabit's father, was one of those present at the taking of the allegiance at `Aqaba. He is also a participant in Badr and other battles. He was chief of al-Khazraj and their envoy, a generous man and a chief among the Ansar. His statement, to which we have referred, fills books of biographies and histories. Suffices you what Ibn Qutaybah has said in his treatise on Imamate and politics, Ibn Jarir al-Tabari in his Tarikh, Ibn al-Athir in his Al-Kamil, Abu Bakr Ahmed ibn `Abdul-`Aiz al-Jawhari in his book Al-Saqifa, and others.
[10] Habab was one of the chiefs of the Ansar and a hero of Badr and Uhud, a man of feats and a glorious record. He is the one who said: "I am [as strong and firm as] a wooden post rubbed by camels, and a sweet fruit very much coveted. I am the son of a lion in his own den; by Allah, if you so desire, we would go back to wage a war that would grind even youngsters." He said other much stronger statements, and we thought it would be wiser to refrain from quoting them here.
[11] Their threat to `Ali to burn his house is proven by absolute tawatur. Consider what Imam Ibn Qutaybah has said at the beginning of his chapter on Imamate and politics, Imam al-Tabari in two places where he discusses the events of the year 11 A.H. in his famous Tarikh, Ibn `Abd Rabbih al-Maliki in his hadith of the saqifa as quoted in Vol. 1, page 134, of Sharh Nahjul Balaghah] by al-Hamidi al-Hadidi, al-Mas`udi in Muruj al-Thahab quoting `Urwah ibn al-Zubayr when the latter apologized on behalf of his brother `Abdullah who almost started setting the houses of the descendants of Hashim on fire because they boycotted his allegiance, al-Shahristani who quotes al-Nizam while discussing the Nizami group in his book Al-Milal wal-Nihal. Abu Mikhnaf has dedicated for the narratives related to the saqifa an entire book in which he details what we have summarized here, not to mention the fame and tawatur of this hadith, in addition to these poetic verses by al-Hafiz Ibrahim which are famous as the "`Umeri poem": A statement `Umer said to `Ali; so think for a while; Its listener venerate, respect the speaker and bear: "Shall I burn your house and make of its ashes a pile Should you choose to be stubborn and not swear The oath of allegiance, even if and while The Chosen One's daughter is inside there?"
None other than Abu Hafs was the speaker Addressing Adnan's knight and protector... Thus did they treat the Imam (as) without whose agreement, consensus according to our view can never be binding; so, we ask all those who are fair-minded how can their "consensus" be binding upon us, since the case is as such?

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