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The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) gives order to kill the renegade

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

Suffices you in response to your request what is recorded by a group of the nation's scholars and the imams of narrators, such as imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal who writes on page 15, Vol. 3, of his musnad, quoting Abu Sa`d al-Khudri saying that Abu Bakr once came to the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny and said: "O Messenger of Allah! I was passing through a valley when I saw a man, solemn and properly attired, saying his prayers." The Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny, said to him: "Go and kill him." So Abu Bakr went there, and when he saw the man like that, he hated to kill him; therefore, he returned to the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, without carrying out his order. The Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny, said to `Umer: "Go and kill him," and `Umer went there and saw him in the same way Abu Bakr had described, and he, too, came back without killing the man and said: "O Messenger of Allah! I have seen him saying his prayers very solemnly; so, I hated to kill him." The Prophet (pbuh) then said to `Ali: "`Ali, you go and kill him," whereupon `Ali went to the place and returned only to say: "O Messenger of Allah! I could not find the man." The Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny, then said: "This man and his friends read the Qur'an only pronouncing its words [just to impress people]; they depart from the faith as swiftly as the arrow departs from the bow, and they do not go back till the arrow goes back to the bow anew. Kill them, for they are the worst among the living."
In his Musnad, Abu Ya`li, as stated in the biography of Thul-Thadya by Ibn Hajar in his Isaba, quotes Anas ibn Malik saying: "We used to admire the piety and ijtihad of a man who was contemporary to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), and we mentioned him by name to the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, but he did not know him. We described him to the Prophet (pbuh), but he still did not recognize him. While we were talking about him, he came into sight and we said that it was he. He (pbuh) said: `Are you talking to me about a man on whose face Satan has placed his mark?' The man approached till he stood before them without greeting them. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, asked him: `I ask you in the Name of Allah if you have told yourself when you approached that there is nobody among us better than or superior to you?' The man answered: `Indeed, I have,' and he came in to say his prayers. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, asked who would be willing to kill the man, and Abu Bakr said he would. When Abu Bakr entered, he found the man engaged in saying his prayers; so, he wondered how he could kill a man who was saying his prayers. When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) asked him what he did, he answered: `I hated to kill him while he was saying his prayers, and you yourself had ordered us not to kill those who pray.' The Prophet (pbuh) asked for a volunteer, and this time `Umer responded. `Umer entered and found the man prostrating and said to himself that Abu Bakr was better than him; therefore, he went out. When the Prophet (pbuh) asked him if he did what he had promised to do, he told him that he had found the man placing his forehead on the ground prostrating to God. The Prophet (pbuh) once more asked: `Who can kill this man?' `Ali answered in the affirmative, and when he entered looking for him, he found out that he had already left; so, he went back to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and told him that the man had already left. It was then that the Prophet (pbuh) said: `Had this man been killed, no couple among my nation would have disputed with one another.'"
This incident has been recorded by al-Hafiz Muhammad ibn Müsa al-Shirazi in his book wherein he combines the tafasir of Y`aqüb ibn Hayyan, `Ali ibn Harb, al-Sadi, Mujahid, Qatadah, Waki`, and Ibn Jurayh. Its authenticity is considered common knowledge by trustworthy traditionists such as Imam Shihabud-Din Ahmed, who is better known as Ibn `Abd Rabbih al-Andalusi, who quotes it at the conclusion of his chapter on those who follow their own inclinations in the first volume of his book Al-`Iqd al-Farid. At the conclusion of this incident as he narrates it, he says that the Prophet (pbuh) has said: "This is the first horn [of the devil] coming out in my nation. Had you killed him, no two men would have disputed with each other. The children of Isra'il split into seventy-two groups, and this nation shall split into seventy-three groups all of which, except one, will go to Hell."[1]
Another almost similar narration of this incident is recorded by authors of books of traditions[2] who cite `Ali (as) saying: "Some people from Quraysh came once to the Prophet (pbuh) and said: `O Muhammad! We are your neighbours and allies, and some of our slaves had come to you without a genuine desire to learn your religion or jurisprudence; they simply escaped from our possession; so, return them to us.' He asked Abu Bakr his opinion, and Abu Bakr said: `They are right in saying that they are your neighbours;' whereupon the Prophet's face changed colour [i.e. became red with anger], and he asked `Umer what he thought. `Umer repeated Abu Bakr's words, and again his face changed colour and said: `O people of Quraysh! By Allah! Allah will send you a man the faith of whose heart is tested by Allah, and he will fight you in order to safeguard the faith.' Abu Bakr inquired if he meant him, and his answer was negative. Then `Umer inquired if it was he about whom the Prophet (pbuh) was talking, and his answer was: `No, it is the man who is mending the sandal;' the Prophet (pbuh) had given me his sandal to mend,".
The order was one that required its execution as such; so, nobody would understand it any other way; therefore, calling it a recommendation is not proved by any argument at all. On the contrary, proofs emphasize its real meaning, i.e. as an order; so, look carefully into those traditions and you will find out that what we say here is the truth. Suffices you his statement (pbuh): "This man and his men read the Qur'an only pronouncing its words [just to impress people]; they depart from the faith as swiftly as the arrow departs from the bow, and they do not go back till the arrow goes back to the bow anew. Kill them, for they are the worst among the living," and also his statement, peace be upon him and his progeny, "Had he been killed, no two men of my nation will have ever disputed with one another." Such statements were not said except when there was a serious command greatly emphasizing that the man be killed.
If you refer to Ahmed's Musnad, you will find the order to kill the man was directed to Abu Bakr in particular, then to `Umer in particular; so, how can the obligation be ruled out?
Yet traditions are indeed explicit in indicating that those companions refrained from killing the man only because they hated to do so for no reason other than the fact that he was engaged in prayer and supplication. They did not feel well even though the Prophet (pbuh) himself felt well about getting rid of him. They did not abide by the order which they had received from the Prophet (pbuh) to kill the man. This incident, therefore, is just another proof testifying to the fact that they used to prefer to follow their own opinions rather than the instructions of the Prophet (pbuh).
1) Consider the Hudaybiya Treaty, Hunayn's booties, the taking of ransom from the captives of the Battle of Badr, his (pbuh) order to slaughter a few camels when they had a severe shortage of food rations during the Battle of Tabük, some of their own affairs on Uhud and its valley, the incident when Abu Hurayrah started conveying glad tidings to all those who believed in the Unity of Allah, the incident of performing ritual prayers for a hypocrite, the incident of their questioning the sadaqat and their inquiries about debauchery, their interpretation of the verses dealing with the khums and zakat, the two verses dealing with the mut`a [temporary] marriage, the verse dealing with the divorce thrice, their interpretation of the traditions regarding the extra prayers during the month of Ramadan, the latter's methods and numbers, the method of calling the athan, the number of takbirs during funeral prayers..., to the end of the list that is too lengthy to be dealt with in detail here.
Add to this their opposition regarding the matter pertaining to Hatib ibn Balta`ah, their opposition to what the Prophet (pbuh) did at Ibrahim's maqam, the addition of the houses of some Muslims to the building of the mosque, the enforcement of the blood money of Abu Khirash al-Hathli to be paid by the people of Yemen, the banishment of Nasr ibn al-Hajjaj al-Salami, the penalty enforced on Ja`dah ibn Salam,[3] the method to regulate the jizya, the covenant to conduct the shüra in the well-known manner, roaming at night and spying during day-time, the compensation in performing the rituals..., to the end of the list of innumerable issues in which they aspired to achieve power and control, as well as special interests. We have dedicated in our book Sabil al-Mu'minin[4] a lengthy chapter to deal with them.
2) Yet there are other texts dealing particularly with `Ali and the purified progeny (as) besides the ones related to the caliphate which they did not honour either; rather, they acted to the contrary of the latter, as researchers know very well. So, no wonder to see how they used their own judgment to interpret the texts related to his caliphate; after all, isn't it just another text which they subjected to their own views and preferred their own thinking rather than acting upon it?
[1] The words "firqa" and "Shi`ah" are, if you count the times each one of them is repeated, synonymous, for the total number of each one of them is 385, making the majority of that group hopeful.
[2] Such as Imam Ahmed near the conclusion of page 155, Vol. 1, of his Musnad, Sa`id ibn Mansür in his Sunan, and Ibn Jarir in Tahthib al-Athar, all testifiying to its authenticity. It is quoted from all of them by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi on page 396, Vol. 6, of his book Kanz al-`Ummal.
[3] Refer to `Umer's biography in Ibn Sa`d's Tabaqat and you will see how Ja`dah was executed for no complaint brought against him nor a witness other than a sheet on which there were verses written by an anonymous poet accusing Ja`dah of committing adultery.
[4] If you did not have a chance to read Sabil al-Muminin, try not to miss reading Al-Fusül al-Muhimma, for it contains precious benefits which no other book contains. We have dedicated a complete chapter to those who interpret it; it is Chapter 8, pages 44 to 130 of the second edition, where these matters are explained in detail.

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