The two caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar and the share of those whose hearts are made to incline (to the truth)
Source: Al-Nass Wal-Ijtihad, Text and Interpretation
By: Allama Abdul Husayn Sharafuddin al-Musawi
Allah, in His holy Book, has assigned a share from the zakat for a certain group of people when saying: “The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarer; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is Knower, Wise.” (Qur’an, 9:60).
The Prophet (S) used to give those people, whose hearts had been reconciled (to the Truth) this share from the zakat. They were different kinds of people. Among them there were notable men of the Arab tribes, whom the Prophet (S) gifted to become Muslims in order to be safe from their dangers and others who had become Muslims but their determinations were weak; therefore the Prophet (S) attracted them by gifting them profusely like Abu Sufyan and his son Mo’awiyya, Uyayna bin Hissn, al-Aqra’ bin Habis and Abbas bin Mirdass, and among them there were those people, who were waiting for their equals of the Arab personalities to become Muslims so that they themselves, then, would become Muslims.
The first kind of those people might be those people, whom the Prophet (S) gifted from the sixth of the khums 46 (fifth), which was his own pure share, and he had prepared some of those people, by gifting them with a part of the zakat, to fight the unbelievers.
Thus was the conduct of the Prophet (S) towards those, whose hearts had been reconciled to Islam, since this verse had been revealed to him until he left to the better world. He had never ordered anyone to annul it after him at all. All the Ummah has agreed unanimously upon this.
When Abu Bakr became the caliph, those people came to receive their shares as it was usual during the time of the Prophet (S). Abu Bakr wrote them a book confirming their right. They took the book to Umar to be signed by him. Umar tore the book and said to them: “We are not in need of you. Allah has strengthened Islam and made us no longer need you. Either you become Muslims or the sword will be between us and you.” They went back to Abu Bakr and said to him: “Are you the caliph or he?” Abu Bakr said: “It is he inshallah” and he agreed to what Umar had done. 47
The matter had been settled by the two caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar, and those, who had adopted their opinion, and they determined to deprive those people, whose hearts had been reconciled to Islam, of their share and turned it from them to the other classes mentioned in the Qur'anic verse.
Some virtuous ulama have talked about this subject that it would be better to quote their speech and to test it because it has some advantages.
Professor ad-Dawaleebi48 said in his book Usool al-Fiqh:49 “The ijtihad of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) on stopping the gift that the Holy Qur'an had determined for the people, whose hearts had been reconciled to Islam, might have been the first of the verdicts that Umar had done according to “the change of benefits due to the change of time” although the Qur’anic text about the subject was still valid and had not been annulled just because he had preferred his own opinion, which had led to his ijtihad.” Ponder on what he has said and scrutinize his following speech.
He added: “Allah, the Almighty has assigned, at the beginning of the advent of Islam and when the Muslims were still weak somehow, a gift to be given to some people, whose dangers against the Muslims were feared and whose goodness was expected, to reconcile their hearts to Islam. They were among the groups, whom the Qur'an had mentioned to be gifted from the charities of the treasury. Allah said: “The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarer” (Qur’an, 9:60).
Thus the Holy Qur'an had put those people, whose hearts were reconciled, among the groups of people, who received their shares of the charities, and had assigned for them certain allowances as some countries do nowadays when assigning some expenses from their budgets for the political propaganda.” 50 He added: “But when Islam became strong and its rule became firm, Umar determined to deprive those people of their gifts, which the Qur'an had assigned for them”.
I say: The professor has repeated his saying that Umar had stopped the gift of those people that the Qur'an had determined as a fixed right in a clear verse just to prefer his own opinion and then the professor has justified the doing of the caliph Umar by saying: “…That did not mean that Umar had annulled a Qur'anic verdict but he had noticed the cause of the text (verse) and not its apparent form and he considered gifting those people as was related to temporary circumstances when Islam was weak yet and to be safe from their evils but when Islam became strong and the circumstances requiring to gift those people were changed then it became obligatory to act according to the cause51 of the verse and to stop that gift”.
I say: there is no doubt that the verse talking about gifting those people is absolute and not limited and this is clear in the Qur'an without any disagreement or ambiguity. We are not to limit it to some conditions or to justify it according to something unless there is an authority from Allah or His messenger. It is certain that there is no authority on this concern. 52
Then how could we consider gifting those people as being justified according to temporary circumstances of a certain time, when it was to reconcile their hearts to Islam when Islam was still weak and not in other times?
If the Muslims became safe from the evils of those people, whose hearts would be reconciled, in a certain time, their becoming Muslims because of gifting them would not stop. In fact this might increase due to the powerful authority of Islam and this hope would be sufficient to reconcile their hearts by gifting them. The Prophet (S) reconciled many classes of people by giving them gifts; some to be Muslims and consequently their peoples would be Muslims, some had become Muslims but their faith was somehow weak and so the Prophet (S) wanted to strengthen their faith by gifting them and some were gifted in order that the Muslims would be safe from their evils.
Let us suppose that we were safe from the dangers of the evil ones; nevertheless this gift should be given to those, whose followers would be Muslims when they themselves became Muslims, or to those, whose weak faith would be strengthen and fixed, imitating, by that, the Prophet (S) and whoever imitated his prophet, surely would be the most beloved one to Allah among His people.
The power of Islam that had defeated the enemies of the Muslims and made them safe from their dangers changed into the opposite situation. The foreigners conquered the Muslims and forced them to flatter the foreigners and to attract their pity by paying them gifts or by other things as it is seen nowadays or it has been seen some time ago. Hence it became clear that annulling the share of those people, whose hearts had been attracted to Islam by being gifted, when Islam had become strong was just due to their being deceived by their state at that time but the Holy Qur'an is from Allah, the Knowing, the Wise.
Now we come back to our research on the absolute text and limiting it to the benefit that changes according to the changes of the different ages and due to that a legal verdict changes. We research on this principle according to its conditions.
We, the Shia, all in all and unanimously do not pay any attention to the benefit in specializing a general verdict or limiting an absolute verdict except if the Shari’ah has a clear text confirming this regard. If there is no source in the Shari’ah confirming this matter (specializing a general verdict or limiting an absolute verdict) whether positively or negatively it will have no any value near us. If there is a benefit or not it will be the same for us.53 This opinion is adopted too by the two sects; the Shafiites and the Hanafites.
As for the Hanbalites, although they have taken in their consideration the benefits that have no source in the Shari’ah, they do not make the benefits stand against the clear texts of the Shari’ah but they put the benefits after the texts.54 Thus they do not limit the clear verse talking about the people, whose hearts have been attracted to Islam by gifts. Then they may be added to the Shia, the Shafiites and the Hanafites in this concern.
The opinion of the Malikites towards the text talking about the people, whose hearts have been reconciled to Islam, is also like the others, although they have taken the benefits in their consideration and made them oppose the text but they oppose with that the traditions narrated by single narrators (not proved by others) and the traditions that have not been proved definitely and they also oppose, with the benefits, the general verse of the Qur'an, which have not had definite meanings. But as for the texts that have been proved to be true and the ones that have assigned definite meanings like the verse talking about the people, whose hearts have been attracted to Islam by gifts, they do never make the benefits stand against such texts at all 55 because they are definite in being true and definite in meaning as well.
After all, the principles of jurisprudence according to all these sects do not permit to justify depriving those people of their shares as Professor ad-Dawaleebi has justified it.
If the two caliphs (Abu Bakr and Umar) had not annulled - after the Prophet’s death - the share of that class of people, whose hearts had been reconciled to Islam, and stopped their right, which had been determined by the Holy Qur'an, we could have said that the two caliphs (Abu Bakr and Umar) had not contradicted the Qur'anic verse even if they had not given those people their shares then because Allah had made those eight classes of people, mentioned in the verse, as the only ones, on whom the charities were to be spent just to limit the spending of the charities to them and not to other than them.
The verse had not made it compulsory to spread the charities among all the eight classes mentioned. That is to say: if someone gives all his charity to only one class from among these eight classes, he will act correctly and will not be blamed exactly as if he has spread the charity among the eight classes. This has been agreed upon unanimously by all the Muslims and such they have done after the Prophet (S). So the doing of Abu Bakr and Umar would have been accepted if they had not annulled this right and invalidated it in spite of the clear Qur'anic text, which has been still fixed and not annulled.
Before we end this research, we think that we have to draw the attention of Professor ad-Dawaleebi to review what he has quoted about the Shia56 that they believe in the benefits and prefer them to the definite texts. This is not true and no one of the Shia has ever said it. Sulayman at-Touffi was one of the fanatic people, who had been ascribed unjustly to the Shia by the opponents.
The opinion of the Shia in this concern is as what we have mentioned previously. All the Shia have agreed upon this unanimously. Their books are available everywhere. Let the professor refer to them and quote from them directly instead of quoting from the books of Ahmad bin Hanbal (may Allah forgive him).
46. A type of religious levy, equivalent to one fifth of taxable income.
47. Refer to al-Jawhara an-Nayyira ala Mukhtasar al-Qaddoori on Hanafite jurisprudence, vol.1 p.164. Also it has been mentioned by other historians when talking about the qualities of the two caliphs.
How many cases like this one Umar had done! One of them, for example, as mentioned by the historians, was: “Once Uyayna bin Hissn and al-Aqra’ bin Habiss came to Abu Bakr and said to him: “There is a piece of inarable land that has neither plant nor any advantage”. Abu Bakr said: “I see to grant it to you that Allah may make it useful”. Abu Bakr asked the people around him: “What do you say?” They said: “It is ok.” He wrote them a book about that. They took the book to Umar to witness on it. Umar took the book from them, spit on it and erased it. They became so angry and said to him bad words. Then they came back to Abu Bakr complaining. They said to Abu Bakr: “By Allah, we do not know who the caliph is, you or Umar!” Abu Bakr said: “It is he!” Umar came and stopped before Abu Bakr while he was angry. He said to Abu Bakr: “Tell me about this land that you have granted to these two. Is it yours or it is for the Muslims?” Abu Bakr said: “It is for the Muslims.” Umar said: “So what made you grant it to these two?” Abu Bakr said: “I consulted with the people around me.” Umar said: “Did you consult with all the Muslims and get their consent?” Abu Bakr said: “I have said to you before that you are better than me in this matter (the caliphate) but you forced me to it”. Mentioned by Ibn Abul Hadeed in Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol. 12 p.108, al-Asqalani in his Isaba when mentioning the biography of Uyayna and it has been mentioned by others.
Would that they had consulted all the Muslims on the day of as-Saqeefa and would that they had waited a little until the Hashemites would have finished the funerals of the Prophet (S) to be able to attend that consultation for they no doubt were the worthiest of that among the Ummah!
48. He is Sheikh Muhammad Ma’roof, the professor in jurisprudence and Roman laws in the College of Laws - Syrian University.
49. Where he has mentioned examples about changing the verdicts according to the changes of the ages in p.239.
50. They (the countries) might have learnt this from the Qur’anic verse talking about those, whose hearts have been reconciled to Islam. England, U.S.A. and their likes supply the poor and needy people of the weak countries with food and clothes and reformative projects although these countries are not in need of those weak countries or their peoples but they follow the maxim, which is the aim of the Qur'an out of giving those people to reconcile their hearts.
51. There was no cause here, on which the verdict relied, that following it would be required by the text (verse). Reconciling those people, whom Allah had assigned this share from the charities for, was not a cause for this legal verdict but it was from among the maxims and benefits that had been noticed in legislating it. The ulama know well that the cause of a certain verdict is something and the maxim, which is the benefit in legislating it, is something else. Have you not seen that the benefit behind the obligatory iddah (a prescribed period, during which a widow or a divorcee may not remarry, beginning from the death of her husband or from the divorce) on the divorced women is to keep the lineages of the fetuses that may be in their mothers’ wombs? In spite of that the iddat of a woman is obligatory even if it becomes certain that she is not pregnant!
52. The revelation of the Qur'an at the beginning of Islam and when Islam was still weak was not limited to any restrictions.
53. The details of this matter are available in the books of the Shia jurisprudence, which are widespread everywhere.
54. Ad-Dawaleebi in his book Usool al-Fiqh, p.294.
55. Usool al-Fiqh by ad-Dawaleebi, p.206.
56. p.207, 209 in his book Usool al-Fiqh.