The Prophet (SAW) orders Abu Bakr and Umar
Source: Al-Nass Wal-Ijtihad, Text and Interpretation
By: Allama Abdul Husayn Sharafuddin al-Musawi
The Prophet (S) had ordered Abu Bakr and Umar to kill Thu ath-Thadiyya but they did not kill him.
Thu ath-Thadiyya was al-Khusayra at-Tameemi Harqoos bin Zuhayr,98 who was the head of the apostates. The Prophet (S) wanted to uproot the ravage and corruption of this apostate man when he ordered to kill him but the hypocrisy of this man and his false reverence in his praying deceived Abu Bakr and Umar and so they hated to kill him and they let him alive.
This has been mentioned by the scholars, the historians and the authors of the books of Hadith.
Abu Ya’la has said in his Musnad - as mentioned in al-Isaba by Ibn Hajar, Thu ath-Thadiyya’s biography: “At the age of the Messenger of Allah (S) there was a man, whose worship and loyalty we had admired too much. We mentioned his name to the Prophet (S) but the Prophet (S) did not know him. We described him to the Prophet (S) and he did not know him. After a little the man came towards us. We said to the Prophet (S): “It is him.” The Prophet (S) said: “You have told me about a man, in whose face there is a scorch of the Satan.”
He came until he stopped before us but he did not greet us. The Prophet (S) said to him: “I adjure you by Allah, did you say, when you stopped before the people: there is no one among this people better than me?” He said: “Yes, I did.” Then he went in to offer prayer. The Prophet (S) said: “Who kills him?” Abu Bakr said: “I do.” Abu Bakr went to him and he found him offering prayer. He said: “Glory be to Allah, shall I kill a praying one whereas the Messenger of Allah has prohibited killing a praying one?” He came back. The Prophet (S) said: “What did you do?” Abu Bakr said: “I hated to kill him while he was praying and you have prohibited killing praying people.”
The Prophet (S) said: “Who kills him?” Umar said: “I do.” He went to him and found him lying prostrate and his forehead touching the ground. Umar said to himself: “Abu Bakr is better than me” and he came back. The Prophet (S) said to him: “What did you do?” He said: “I found him prostrate before Allah and I disliked killing him.” The Prophet (S) said: “Who kills him?” Ali said: “I do.” The Prophet (S) said: “Yes, you do if you find him.” Ali went to him and found that he had gone. The Prophet (S) said: “If he was killed, then no two men of my Ummah would ever disagree.”
Al-Hafidh (memorizer) Muhammad bin Musa ash-Shirazi has mentioned this tradition in his book, which he had written according to the tafseers (interpretations) of Ya’qoob bin Sulayman, Yousuf al-Qattan, al-Qassim bin Salam, Muqatil bin Hiyad, Ali bin Harb, as-Sadiy, Qatada, Waqee’, Ibn Jurayh and others.
Some scholars have mentioned this tradition and considered it as true like Ibn Abd Rabbih al-Andalusi in his book al-Iqd al-Fareed. He mentioned at the end of the tradition that the Prophet (S) had said: “This is the first horn that appears in my Ummah. If you kill him, no two men will disagree after him. The Israelites have separated into seventy-two groups and this Ummah will separate into seventy-three groups, all of which will be in Hell except one group.”
The Prophet (S) orders Abu Bakr and Umar for the second time
The Prophet (S) ordered Abu Bakr and Umar to kill this apostate for the second time but they did as they had done in the first time.
A friend of mine, whom I trust in his virtue, piety and knowledge, told me that once Abu Bakr passed by this apostate (Thu ath-Thadiyya), after he had been ordered to kill him but he disliked to kill him, and he found him offering prayer in one of the valleys where no one could see him save Allah. He admired his devotedness and supplication. He thanked Allah that he did not kill him. He came to the Prophet (S) interceding for that man. He mentioned to the Prophet (S) the sincerity and submissiveness of that man while offering his prayer where no one could see him save Allah. The Prophet (S) did not accept Abu Bakr’s intercession and he ordered him immediately to kill that apostate man. When Abu Bakr did not kill the man, the Prophet (S) ordered Umar and then ordered Imam ‘Ali (as) and stressed on killing him and his companions.
This is what I have been told by the one, whom I know well and know about his deep research and careful study.99 He has confirmed it to me but I forgot to ask him about the source of the tradition. I began to research by myself until I found the tradition, and all thanks be to Allah, in Ahmad bin Hanbal’s Musnad, vol.3 that Abu Sa’eed al-Khidri had said: “Once Abu Bakr came to the Prophet (S) and said to him: “O Messenger of Allah, I passed through the valley of so and so and I saw a good looking man offering prayer reverently.” The Prophet (S) said to him: “Go and kill him!” Abu Bakr went to him and when he saw him in that state, he disliked killing him and then he came back to the Prophet (S).
Then the Prophet (S) said to Umar: “Go and kill him!” Umar went to him and he saw him in that state, which Abu Bakr had seen him in. he disliked to kill him and he returned to the Prophet (S). He said to the Prophet (S): “O Messenger of Allah, I found him offering prayer reverently and I disliked killing him.” The Prophet (S) said to Ali: “Go and kill him!” Ali went but he did not find the man. He came back to the Prophet (S) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, I did not find him.” The Prophet (S) said: “This man and his companions100 recite the Qur'an but the Qur'an does not go past their clavicles. They get out of religion as an arrow that slips away from a hunted animal. Kill them for they are the worst of people.”
He, who ponders on these two traditions concerning this apostate man; the tradition mentioned by Abu Ya’la and narrated by Anas and the tradition mentioned by Ahmad bin Hanbal and narrated by Abu Sa’eed al-Khidri, will know that the Prophet (S) has ordered to kill this man two times in different events. The first tradition narrated by Anas shows that the Prophet (S) has not known this apostate man before. The Prophet’s companions mentioned and described the man to the Prophet (S) but he did not know him until he saw him and knew him because of the scorch in his face and because of his self-conceit and then the Prophet (S) ordered his companions to kill him.
The prayer of that apostate, which pleased Abu Bakr and Umar on that day, was in the mosque whereas the second tradition mentioned by Ahmad and narrated by Abu Sa’eed showed that Abu Bakr had seen this apostate offering his prayer in one of the valleys and not in the mosque where Abu Bakr had admired this apostate’s devotion and reverence where no one saw him save Allah the Almighty. Abu Bakr told the Prophet (S) about that and the Prophet (S) immediately ordered him to kill that man without seeing the man. This was because the Prophet (S) had already ordered before to kill that man so the traditions talked about two events with a period of time between them. Here the clear orders of the Prophet (S) were opposed by Abu Bakr and Umar due to their own ijtihad.
98. Ibnul Atheer mentioned his biography in his book Usdol Ghaba and mentioned another tradition narrated by Abu Sa’eed saying: “As the Messenger of Allah was taking an oath one day, al-Khuwaysara at-Tameemi said: “O Messenger of Allah, be just!” The Prophet (S) said: “Woe unto you! And who is just if I am not?” It was mentioned by Muslim too.
99. He is the pious Sheikh Mirza Husayn an-Noori, the author of al-Mustadrakat ala al-Wasa’il.
100. Later on, during the rule of Imam ‘Ali (as), they seceded from Imam Ali and were called the Kharijites.