Fighting innocent people
Source: Al-Nass Wal-Ijtihad, Text and Interpretation
By: Allama Abdul Husayn Sharafuddin al-Musawi
Abu Bakr ordered to fight the people who had hesitated to pay him the zakat. They did so because they had doubted whether Abu Bakr was the legal guardian after the Prophet (S) or not.
Abu Bakr had gathered the companions to consult with them about fighting those people. Umar and many other Muslims thought that they were not to fight faithful people, who had believed in Allah and His Messenger, and instead they were to make use of them to fight the enemy. 121 Those, who had adopted this opinion, were the most of the attendants whereas those, who had thought to fight against those people, were few.
The debate about this serious matter might have taken a long time until Abu Bakr himself interfered supporting the opinion of the few companions. He insisted on this opinion and this was clear out of his saying: “By Allah, if they refused to give me even a headband that they were used to give to the Messenger of Allah (S), I would fight them for that.” This saying did not deter Umar from seeing that such a fight would expose the Muslims to dangers and bad ends. Umar said sharply: “How do you fight these Muslims whereas the Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight people until they say “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”. Whoever says that, his life and monies will be safe except their due. It is Allah, Who will punish people.”
But Abu Bakr did not hesitate to answer Umar by saying: “By Allah, I will fight whoever separate between offering prayers and paying zakat. Zakat is the due on properties and he (the Prophet (S)) said: “except their due”.
I say: May Allah forgive Abu Bakr! He brushed aside this clear tradition and interpreted it as he liked according to his policy of fighting. No one of the believers, who had been fought and killed on that day, separated between prayer and zakat but they just hesitated to submit to Abu Bakr because they doubted (the legality of) his replacement for the Prophet (S) 122 and they were excused for that and in fact they would be rewarded for that.
They had the right not to obey except the orders of Allah and His Messenger or the orders of the one, whose guardianship was determined by Allah and His Messenger (S).
If Abu Bakr perceived those people’s excuse, he would consider it as an evidence against him but how would those oppressed people be treated fairly by Abu Bakr on that day!
The Sihah and books of Hadith are full of true traditions that show the impermissibility of shedding the blood of those faithful people and their likes and there is no tradition that annuls this verdict; nevertheless their blood was shed by the order of the caliph, who interpreted the prophetic traditions according to his own tendency.
As for the zakat that Abu Bakr had talked about it was just an obligation on the Muslims. The guardian, who replaced the Prophet (S), was to ask the Muslims for the zakat and he was to take it from them. If they refused to pay it willingly, he then had to force them to pay it unwillingly by using his power but without fighting or killing them.
Fighting them just to take the zakat from them contradicted the verdicts that had determined to protect their bloods and monies.
Here are some of these traditions that have been mentioned by Muslim in his Sahih 123 under the chapter of “Ali’s virtues”. The Messenger of Allah (S) said to Ali when he gave him the banner on the day (the battle of) Khaybar: “Move and do not turn.” Imam Ali walked a little and then he stopped but did not turn. He cried: “O Messenger of Allah, what for shall I fight the people?” The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “Fight them until they witness that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. If they do, they will spare their blood and monies except for their due and they will be answerable before Allah.”
In al-Bukhari and Muslim’s Sahihs there is a tradition narrated by Usama bin Zayd saying: “The Messenger of Allah (S) sent us (among an army) to al-Mahraqa. In the morning we reached there. We defeated the people. I and another man from the Ansar followed after a man from those people. When we caught him, he said: “There is no god but Allah.” My companion abstained from killing him but I stabbed him with my spear. When we came back, the Prophet (S) knew about what we had done. He said to me: “O Usama, did you kill him after he had said “there is no god but Allah”?” I said: “He just wanted to save his life.” The Prophet (S) kept on repeating this question until I wished I had not become a Muslim before that day.”
He did not wish that unless he thought that all what he had offered of faith, prayers, zakat, fasting, companionship (with the Prophet (S)), jihad and other things before that day would not compensate for this sin and that all his good doings had come to nothing because of this sin. His saying showed clearly that he feared that Allah would not forgive him for ever after that sin and so he wished he had not become a Muslim before that day in order to be included by the Prophet’s saying: “(Believing in) Islam forgives all the sins committed before.”
It is a sufficient evidence that shows the dignity of the people of “there is no god but Allah” and the protection of their blood.
Al-Bukhari mentioned in his Sahih that a man had said to the Prophet (S): “O Messenger of Allah, fear Allah!” The Prophet (S) said: “Woe unto you! Am I not the worthiest among all the people of the earth of fearing Allah?” Khalid (bin al-Waleed) said: “O Messenger of Allah, do you allow me to kill him?” The Prophet (S) said: “No, he may offer prayers.” 124
In al-Bukhari and Muslim’s Sahihs there is a tradition narrated by Ibn Umar that the Prophet (S) has said in Mina while he was pointing at the Kaaba: “Do you know what country is this?” His companions said: “Allah and His Messenger are more aware.” He said: “This is a prohibited country.” Then he said: “Do you know what day is this?” They said: “Allah and His Messenger are more aware.” He said: “It is a prohibited day. Do you know what month is this?” They said: “Allah and His Messenger are more aware.” He said: “It is a prohibited month. Allah has prohibited your blood, your monies and your honor like the prohibition of this day in this month in this country.”
The Sihah and books of Hadith are full of such traditions, whose contents are clear to the Muslims. According to these traditions fighting a Muslim just because he has hesitated in paying the zakat to the imam is prohibited especially if his hesitation is due to his doubting about the real imam as what has happened among some tribes when the Prophet (S) has left to the better world. A great sedition has happened at that time and its evils spread everywhere. Many Muslims apostatized. The Muhajireen and the Ansar disagreed about the matter of the caliphate. Each of them had two opinions and the Ansar might have three opinions.
During this sedition and evils Abu Bakr was paid homage as the caliph and his homage was as a slip that Allah had protected the Muslims from its evil as Umar had said! It was naturally at that time that people might doubt about the legality of such homage and the unanimous agreement on it while people were in disagreement. In fact the state at that time was much worse than what had been mentioned. So there was no blame on those, who had doubted the caliphate of Abu Bakr, when they did not submitted to him concerning the matter of zakat and other things until they would become certain that he was the legal caliph after the Prophet (S).
The day of al-Bitah or the day of Malik bin Nuwayra
It was the day of al-Bitah or the day of Malik bin Nuwayra and his people and what they had got from Khalid bin al-Waleed. Khalid was the absolute leader of the armies at that time so he ordered as he liked and he judged as he wished. He was satisfied with killing the believers but he exceeded in mutilation, capturing women and violating what Allah had prohibited of monies, honor and legal verdicts. He committed sins and evils that had never happened even in the pre-Islamic times.
Who was Malik?
Malik bin Nuwayra bin Hamza bin Shaddad bin Abd bin Tha’laba bin Yarboo’ at-Tameemi al-Yarboo’iy was the top of honor for Bani Tameem and the peak of glory for Bani Yarboo’. He was one of the famous notables among the Arabs and an example of magnanimity, generosity, courage and valor in all their meanings. He was like the kings. When he became a Muslim, all the people of his tribe became Muslims. The Prophet (S) had entrusted him with the charities of his people because he had great confidence and trust in him.
What was Malik’s crime?
Malik’s crime, according to Abu Bakr’s thought, was his situation concerning the matter of zakat and other religious obligations. Malik was looking for his legal duty according what Allah and His Messenger had legislated.
He did not intend, out of his situation, to cause a separation among the Muslims, to cause sedition or to cause a fight. He was surprised by the raid led by Khalid bin al-Waleed at the beginning of Abu Bakr’s caliphate where disagreement was still burning about the caliphate. Ahlul Bayt (as) and their followers had their own opinion and Abu Bakr, Umar, Abu Ubayda, Salim and their followers had their own opinion.
The Ansar, who had protected and supported the Prophet (S), were defeated especially their chief Sa’d bin Ubada, who had sworn if he had assistants, he would fight against Abu Bakr and his party but he withdrew from political life and he did not participate in those people’s occasions until he died lonely in Hawran. Add to that the disasters that were caused (by the ruling party) around the houses, about which Allah had said: “O you who believe! do not enter the houses of the Prophet unless permission is given to you” (Qur’an 33:53)
and the distresses that were caused to the Prophet’s daughter Fatima (sa) just because she asked for her inheritance, donation and khums although she faced them with clear evidences, besides many other matters that the Qur'an had warned of.
Hence it was naturally for a man like Malik, who had a high position among his people, to look for the one, who would carry out the will of Allah and who would lead the people to the truth. Malik waited in order to see the true man, who was qualified to replace the Prophet (S), and then he would pay him the zakat so that he would achieve his covenant with Allah. The ruling party had to give him enough time to look for the ambiguous truth at that confused time. They had not to surprise him with those disasters for he was not among those, who had denied the zakat, nor was he among those, who had separated between the prayer and zakat, nor was he among those who had permitted fighting Abu Bakr or other Muslims.
This was the truth of the situation of Malik and his companions; leading to it his advise to his people to keep to Islam and not to stand against Khalid. He ordered his people to separate in order not to clash with the army of Khalid and he forbade them from gathering in one place so that Khalid and his army might think that they were camping to be ready to fight. 125
Khalid’s advance towards al-Bitah
When Khalid finished his battles against Bani Asad and Ghatafan, he decided to move towards al-Bitah to meet Malik and his people but Malik had withdrawn from al-Bitah and had ordered his people to separate here and there - as we have said before - for he was looking forward to peace in order to protect Islam at that critical time. When the Ansar knew that Khalid would go to fight Malik and his people, they refused to go with him and they said: “This is not the order of the caliph. The caliph has ordered that when we finish fighting al-Buzakha we are to camp until he will write to us again.”
Khalid said: “The caliph has not entrusted you with anything. He has ordered me to go on. I am the emir and the orders come to me. If no book or order comes to me, I will find any opportunity to seize and then I will inform the caliph. If we face something that the caliph has not sent his order about, we will decide the best to do. Malik bin Nuwayra is in view of us and I will go to face him with my men.” 126 Then he went with his men towards al-Bitah but when they arrived there, they did not find anyone. 127
Killing Malik and his people
When they did not find any one of Malik’s people in al-Bitah, Khalid sent his brigades to follow after them. They came back with Malik and some of his people. They were put in prison and then they were killed in a bad way which we will detail later on.
At-Tabari mentioned a tradition narrated by Abu Qatada al-Ansari, who was one of the leaders of the brigades of Khalid’s army. He said: “When we found Malik and his companions and it was night, they took their weapons and got ready. We said: “We are Muslims.” They said: “We are Muslims too.” We said: “Then why have you got your weapons ready?” They said to us: “And why have you got your weapons ready?” We said: “If you are as you say then put your weapons down.” Then we offered prayer and they offered prayer.”
But after the prayer they (Khalid’s soldiers) hastened to seize the weapons of Malik and his companions and then they tied Malik and his companions and drove them as captives to Khalid. Among them was Malik’s wife Layla bint al-Minhal Umm Tameem, who was (as Professor Abbas Mahmood al-Aqqad said in his book Abqariyatu Umar according to the historians) one of the most beautiful women among the Arabs especially her eyes and legs. It was said that no one had seen more beautiful than her eyes and legs.
Therefore Khalid was attracted by her beauty while he was debating with Malik while she was beside him.
Khalid said to Malik: “I will kill you.” Malik said: “Has your master (Abu Bakr) ordered you of this?” Khalid said: “By Allah, I will kill you.”
Abdullah bin Umar and Abu Qatada al-Ansari were present then. They talked with Khalid about this matter but he rejected their talks. Then Malik said: “O Khalid, send us to Abu Bakr and he will decide what to do to us. You have sent to him other than us whose guilt is greater than ours.” Abdullah bin Umar and Abu Qatada insisted on Khalid to send Malik and his companions to the caliph but Khalid refused and said: “Let Allah not forgive me if I do not kill him.”
Khalid asked Dhirar bin al-Azwar al-Asadi to kill Malik. Malik turned towards his wife and said to Khalid: “It is she who has killed me!” Khalid said: “It is Allah Who has killed you because you have apostatized from Islam.” Malik said: “I am still on Islam.” Khalid said to Dhirar: “Kill him!” Dhirar killed Malik. Khalid arrested Malik’s wife and married her in that very night.
Khalid ordered his companions to put the captives (Malik’s people) in prison. It was very cold. In a dark night Khalid’s caller called out: “Warm your prisoners!” According to the dialect of Kinana this was a metonymy to mean killing and so all the prisoners were killed.
Khalid had ordered the executioners of his men to kill the prisoners when they heard this call. This was a trick used by Khalid to show that he was not responsible for this crime but it was obvious to Abu Qatada and his likes of the acute people. It was unknown just for the ordinary people, who had been deceived by the powerful rulers and their prevailing policies.
This is the truth behind the event that has happened between Khalid and Malik. Whoever studies carefully what has been mentioned by the historians about the event of al-Bitah, will find this truth clearly.
Let not the contradicting sayings scattering here and there keep you away from the truth; those sayings which have been woven by the personal tendencies and the flattery to the caliph and to the general leader of his armies in order to justify their mistakes.
We studied this event carefully and we did not find except a clear evidence showing that the caliph tried to distort the truth due to his loyalty in his love to Khalid and in defending him.
Allah is the witness over all!
The anger of Abu Qatada and Umar
Professor Haykal says in his book as-Siddeeq Abu Bakr: 128 “Abu Qatada al-Ansari became too angry at the crime of Khalid when he killed Malik and married his wife. Abu Qatada left Khalid and went to Medina deciding that he would never be under the leadership of Khalid at all. Mutammim bin Nuwayra, Malik’s brother, went with him. When they arrived at Medina, Abu Qatada, who was still too angry, went to Abu Bakr and told him of what Khalid had done to Malik and his wife. He added that he had sworn by Allah not to be under the leadership of Khalid at all. But Abu Bakr was too pleased with Khalid and his victories and he became displeased with Abu Qatada. In fact he denied all what Abu Qatada said about the sword of Islam (Khalid)!”
Professor Haykal adds: “Do you think that Abu Bakr’s anger frightened Abu Qatada and made him keep silent? Certainly not! His revolt against Khalid was too violent; therefore he went to Umar bin al-Khattab and told him all the story and showed him Khalid as the man, whose tendencies prevailed over his duties and who ignored the orders of Allah in order to satisfy himself. Umar confirmed Abu Qatada’s opinion and participated with him in criticizing Khalid.
Umar went to Abu Bakr and he was too angry at what Khalid had done. He asked Abu Bakr to depose Khalid. Umar said to Abu Bakr that Khalid’s sword had committed a sin and the caliph had to punish Khalid. But Abu Bakr would not have punished any of his officials! 129 Therefore Abu Bakr said when Umar insisted on him many times to punish Khalid: “O Umar, let him alone. He interpreted but he mistook. Do not blame him any more!” But Umar was not satisfied with this answer and he did not refrain from asking to punish Khalid. When Abu Bakr became unable to bear the insistence of Umar, he said to him: “O Umar, no! I would not have to sheathe a sword that Allah has unsheathed against the unbelievers.”
Professor Haykal adds: “But Umar found that Khalid’s doing was abominable and so his conscience was displeased. How, then, would he keep silent and let Khalid at ease feeling as if he had not committed any sin or crime? Umar had to repeat his request to Abu Bakr and to mention to him frankly that the enemy of Allah had killed a Muslim man transgressively and committed adultery with his wife and it was not fair at all not to be punished for his crime.
Before the fiery anger of Umar, Abu Bakr could not but to send for Khalid and ask about what he had done. Khalid came to Medina. He came into the mosque with his war material wearing a garment, whose iron parts were rusty, and inserting some arrows into his turban. When Umar saw him coming into the mosque, he hastened to him, pulled the arrows out of his turban, destroyed them and said to him: “You have killed a Muslim man and committed adultery with his wife. By Allah, I will stone you until you die.” Khalid kept silent and did not apologize.
He came to Abu Bakr and told him the story of Malik and his hesitation (in paying the zakat). Khalid justified his doing with some excuses and Abu Bakr excused him and forgave him but he blamed him for marrying a woman, whose husband’s blood had not dried yet. The Arabs hated sleeping with women during the wars and considered that as disgrace.”
I say: Islam prohibits marrying a woman, whose husband has died, until she finishes her iddah. 130 If a man gets married to a woman during her iddah, she will be prohibited for him forever. If we suppose that Khalid has considered Malik’s wife as a captive, also getting married to a captive woman is not permissible except after the legal absolution131 whereas Khalid had killed Malik and married his wife in the same night.
Professor Haykal adds: “Umar did not change his opinion a bit about what Khalid had committed. When Abu Bakr died and Umar became the caliph, the first thing he did was sending a letter to Sham announcing the death of Abu Bakr and with it there was a book having a decree of deposing Khalid from the emirate of the army.”
Professor Haykal says: “The historians agreed unanimously that Umar had remained on his situation towards Khalid concerning the matter of killing Malik and marrying his wife and this situation had had its effect on the caliph when he had deposed Khalid.”
How strange it is!
How strange and odd it was that during the reign of Abu Bakr all that blood, honor and properties were wasted in vain! Allah’s sacred rites were violated and His penalties were annulled. Khalid was not deposed in spite of all what he had committed! He kept on his extravagancy until the caliph died but when Umar became the caliph, he deposed him immediately.
Abu Bakr’s opinion about the criminals on the day of al-Bitah was the first of the opinions that contradicted the Qur'an and the Sunna. He preferred benefit to obeying Allah.
Stating an opinion
Professor Haykal says in his book as-Siddeeq Abu Bakr when talking about Abu Bakr’s opinion and excuse: “Abu Bakr thought that the situation was more dangerous than to regard such things.132 Was there any importance of killing a man or a group of men due to a mistake in interpretation or even without a mistake where dangers surrounded all the state and the revolts had broken out throughout the Arab countries?133
He said: “This leader, who was accused of being mistaken,134 was one of the greatest powers, by which disasters and dangers were repelled. 135 What was the problem in marrying a woman unlike the traditions of the Arabs if it was done by a conqueror, who had conquered countries and consequently had captive women who would be his possession?”136
Professor Haykal adds: “If we apply the Shari’ah, then we have not to criticize the great personalities like Khalid 137 especially if that will harm the state and expose it to dangers”. 138
“The Muslims were in need to the sword of Khalid. They were in need of Khalid on the day when Abu Bakr sent for him and scolded him more than their need of him before. Musaylama the Liar with forty thousand men revolted in Yamama near al-Bitah and their revolt was the worst against Islam and the Muslims.139 Was it possible to let the Muslim armies be defeated by Musaylama and the religion of Allah be struck with many dangers just for the murder of Malik bin Nuwayra or for the sake of beautiful Layla who had captivated Khalid? 140
Khalid was the sign of Allah and his sword was the sword of Allah. It was the policy of Abu Bakr when he sent for Khalid to be satisfied with scolding 141 him and to order him at the same time to move with his army towards al-Yamama to meet Musaylama and his men”.
Professor Haykal says: “When Abu Bakr ordered Khalid at that time to go to fight Musaylama, he might want to show the people of Medina, especially those who had adopted Umar’s opinion, that Khalid was the qualified man who would defeat the difficulties and that he (Abu Bakr) had thrown him into a hell which would swallow him and that would be the punishment for what he had committed with Layla and her husband Malik 142 or victory would purify him and then he would come back to the Muslims as triumphant and so he would calm their fears and then his doing committed in al-Bitah would be unmentionable thing beside his victory”.
“Yamama has tested and purified Khalid 143 even if not long after that he married a young girl as he had done with Layla while the Muslims’ bloods were not dried yet nor were the bloods of Musaylama’s followers. Abu Bakr scolded him for this doing more than he had scolded him for his doing with Layla before. 144” 145
Professor Haykal has showed clearly that Abu Bakr had preferred the benefits to the acting according to the verdicts of Allah and His Messenger. Such was the opinion of many of the virtuous scholars of al-Azhar University about Abu Bakr. They themselves told me of that when I had met them in al-Azhar University in 1392 A.H. and later.
But Umar, even he himself had gone too far in interpreting the divine verdicts according to his own opinion, did not agree with Abu Bakr when he had forgiven Khalid. Professor Haykal declares Umar’s opinion in details when saying: “Umar was the exact example of Justice. He thought that Khalid had killed a man transgressively and committed adultery with his wife before she had finished her iddah and so Khalid could never remain as the leader of the army lest he would commit another sin like that and then he would defame the Muslims and dishonor their position among the Arabs. Khalid could never be left without punishment for what he had committed with Layla.
“If it was as Abu Bakr said that Khalid interpreted the verdict but he mistook in his interpretation when he killed Malik, which Umar did not accept at all, then Khalid would be punished for the sin he had committed with Layla. Even if Khalid was the sword of Allah and he was the victorious leader, this would not be an excuse to protect him from being punished or to justify his crimes.
“If it was so, then Khalid and every one like Khalid would be free to commit any crime and sin as they liked without being punished and this would be the worst example of the Muslims who had to submit to the Book of Allah absolutely. Therefore Umar insisted on Abu Bakr to punish Khalid until Abu Bakr sent for Khalid and scolded him.”
This is the very speech of Professor Haykal about Umar’s opinion and evidence about the matter of Khalid quoted from his book As-Siddeeq Abu Bakr, p.151.
Professor al-Aqqad, after mentioning the contradictory sayings about the murder of Malik to defend Khalid, says: “Out of all these sayings we have to consider the true and indisputable one among them. It was not clear or decisive that Malik bin Nuwayra had to be killed.146 Malik was worthier to be sent to the caliph than the chiefs of Fazara tribe and others, whom Khalid had sent to Abu Bakr to judge how to deal with, after the battle of al-Buzakha. Khalid got married to Malik’s wife and took her with him to Yamama after meeting the caliph. 147
After these facts, the truth obliges us to say that the event of al-Bitah was a page in Khalid’s history. It would be better for him if this page would have been omitted and not mentioned with any of the justifications at all.” 148
We end our speech about this subject with reference to those who have written about Malik concerning his position among the Arabs and among the Muslims and concerning the calamity that has afflicted Malik and his people on the day of al-Bitah. Here are some of the books that have detailed the matter of Malik; Tareekh al-Umam wal Mulook by Muhammad bin Jareer at-Tabari, Jamharat an-Nasab by Ibnul Kalbi, al-Kamil by Ibnul Atheer, Kitab ar-Riddah wal Futooh by Sayf bin Umar, al-Muwaffaqiyyat by az-Zubayr bin Bakar, al-Aghani by Abu Faraj al-Isfahani, ad-Dala’il by Thabit bin Qassim, Nuzhat al-Manadhir by Ibn Shuhna, al-Mukhtasar by Abul Fida’, Sharh Nahjul Balagha by Ibn Abul Hadeed and other books of history and biographies.
The judge Ibn Khillikan said in his book Wafiyyatul A’yan when mentioning the biography of Wuthayma bin Musa bin al-Furat al-Washsha’ al-Farisi: “Malik bin Nuwayra was a noble man who accompanied the kings. Malik was mentioned in the proverbs; it was said: “No pasture like sa’dan,149 no water like (that of) Sada’150 and no youth like Malik.” He was a knight, a poet and an obeyed notable man among his people. He was somehow proud. He had a great group of companions. He was called al-Jafool.151
He came to the Prophet (S) among the Arabs who had come to declare their faith in Islam. He became a Muslim and the Prophet (S) entrusted him with the zakat of his tribe…his situation with Khalid bin al-Waleed on the day of al-Bitah had been detailed. There had been a long argument between them. Khalid said to Malik: “I am going to kill you.” Malik said: “Has your friend (Abu Bakr) ordered you to do that?” Khalid said: “By Allah, I will kill you.”
Abdullah bin Umar and Abu Qatada were present then. They mediated to solve the problem but Khalid paid no attention to their speech. Malik said to Khalid: “Send us to Abu Bakr and he will decide what to do with us for you have sent other than us whose guilt was greater than ours.” Khalid said: “Let Allah not forgive me if I do not kill you.” He asked Dhirar bin al-Azwar to behead Malik. Malik turned to his wife Umm Tameem and then said to Khaild: “It is she who has killed me!” Malik’s wife was very beautiful. Khalid said to Malik: “Allah has killed you because you have apostatized from Islam.” Malik said: “I am still on Islam.” Khalid said to Dhirar: “Behead him!” He cut his head and made it as an andiron under a pot.”
Ibnul Kalbi said in his book Jamharat an-Nasab: “Malik was killed on the day of al-Bitah and Khalid captured his (Malik’s) wife and married her. About this matter the poet Abu Zuhayr as-Sa’di had composed a poem.”
After that Ibn Khillikan mentioned Umar’s revolt against Khalid and his saying to Abu Bakr: “Khalid has committed adultery and you have to stone him.” Abu Bakr said: “I do not stone him. He interpreted (the verdict) but he mistook.” Umar said: “He has killed a Muslim man and you have to kill him for that killed one.” Abu Bakr said: “I do not kill him for that one because he interpreted but he mistook.” Umar said: “Then depose him!” Abu Bakr said: “I will not sheathe a sword that Allah has unsheathed against them.”
Ibn Khillikan mentioned more details about the matter. He said that Mutammim bin Nuwayra, Malik’s brother, stood beside Abu Bakr leaning on his bow and began reciting his poem: “The best one you have killed O you son of al-Azwar, When the wind wept behind the houses.
Have you invited him by Allah and then you betrayed him?
If he has invited you with a pact, He will never betray you.”
He made a sign to Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr said: “By Allah, I have neither invited him nor have I betrayed him.” Then Mutammim bin Nuwayra recited the rest of his poem. He wept and collapsed from his bow to the ground.
Ibn Khillikan talked too much about Malik’s qualities such as his courage, generosity, zeal and high position among his people.
Among the historians, who had talked about Malik in their books, was Abul Fadhl Ahmad bin Ali famous as Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani. He said in the first part of his book al-Isaba fee Tamyeez as-Sahaba152: “His name was Malik bin Nuwayra bin Hamza bin Shaddad bin Abd Tha’laba bin Yarboo’ at-Tameemi al-Yarboo’iy. He was surnamed as al-Jafool. Al-Marzabani said that Malik was a noble poet, a great knight and one of the honored notables among his people in the pre-Islamic period. He was a companion of the kings. The Prophet (S) had entrusted him with the zakat of his people. When the Prophet (S) died, he stopped taking the zakat153 and he spread (the zakat that had been already in his hand) among his people.154 He recited: I said: Take back your monies.
I am not afraid nor expecting what tomorrow will bring.155
If a right one will undertake the religion, We will obey156 and say: the religion is that of Muhammad.”
Malik and his companions were killed. He was mutilated. His wife was raped. The verdicts of Allah were annulled. His sanctity was violated. The cause behind all that was that they (Abu Bakr, Khalid and their likes) had interpreted the divine verdicts according to their own opinion and they had been mistaken. We are Allah’s and to Him we shall return!
121. As-Siddeeq by Ahmad Hasanayn Haykal, p.104.
122. We shall explain this matter later on inshallah.
123. Vol.2 p.324.
124. This tradition has been mentioned by Ahmad in his Musnad, vol. p.4 and by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani in his book al-Isaba when talking about Sarhooq the hypocrite that he was brought to be killed. The Prophet (S) said: “Does he offer prayers?” It was said: “When people see him (it means when he thinks that people may see him during the time of prayers, he offers prayers).” The Prophet (S) said: “I have been prohibited killing the prayers (ones who offer prayer).” Ath-Thahabi in his Mizan, when talking about the biography of Aamir bin Abdullah bin Yasar, mentioned a tradition narrated by Anas who said: “Once a man was mentioned to the Prophet (S) and it was said that he had been the head of the hypocrites. When people mentioned many bad things about him, the Prophet (S) allowed them to kill him and then he asked: “Does he offer prayers?” The companions said: “Yes, when people see him.” The Prophet (S) said: “I have been prohibited from killing those who offer prayers.”
Would that Khalid bin al-Waleed had regarded the prayer of Malik bin Nuwayra and refrained from killing him when Abdullah bin Umar and Abu Qatada al-Ansari had witnessed that Malik had offered Fajr (dawn) prayer with them! But Khalid had been charmed by Malik’s beautiful wife as his contemporary, the poet Abu Zuhayr as-Sa’di had said in his poem: Khalid killed him aggressively just for his wife. He had desired her before that.
125. All that has been mentioned by Professor Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal in his book As-Siddeeq Abu Bakr, p.144. Professor Mahmood Abbas al-Aqqad in his book Abqariyat Khalid, p.131 said when talking about Malik’s situation: “It was not a situation of obstinacy or being ready to fight.” But Professor al-Aqqad has been mistaken when he has interpreted Malik’s verses of poetry into other than their real meaning.
126. As-Siddeeq Abu Bakr by Professor Haykal, p.143 and Abqariyatu Umar by Professor al-Aqqad, p.267. You see here through this dialogue that the caliph had not ordered the army to attack Malik but Khalid claimed that the caliph had entrusted him especially with the order of the attack and according to this the caliph had used trick to show the people that he was not responsible for the crimes that had been committed on the day of al-Bitah but it was Khalid who was responsible for that and then he would protect Khalid by justifying his doing by saying that he had interpreted the verdict but he had mistaken. This event showed that Abu Bakr was too skilful in politics.
127. The historians agreed upon that when Khalid occupied al-Bitah with his army, he did not find anyone of its people. That was because Malik had separated his people here and there and had ordered them not to fight against Khalid and his army. He had advised his people to keep to Islam and to remain separated until Allah would regather them. Refer to As-Siddeeq Abu Bakr by Haykal, p.144.
129. In doing so Abu Bakr behaved according to his own ijtihad and ignored the order of Allah when saying: “And We prescribed to them in it that life is for life…” (Qur'an, 5:45).
130. Woman’s prescribed waiting period after divorce or death of husband.
131. Legal absolution here means that a woman has to pass at least one menstruation to be sure that she is not pregnant from the previous husband.
132. This is an exaggeration. Yes, the situation was too dangerous but this did not lead to ignore what was possible for the sake of what was not possible. The possible thing, which was the least thing that must be done, at that time was to depose Khalid from his position and to appoint a qualified one like Umar, Abu Ubayda, Ma’ath bin Jabal, Sa’d or any other one and to put off the trial of Khalid until the circumstances would become suitable and then to be punished according to the legal verdicts.
133. This is an exaggeration too. His saying “due to a mistake in interpretation or even without a mistake” is just a fabrication. Malik’s faith in Islam was doubted neither by Khalid nor by Abu Bakr and marrying Malik’s wife while she was under her iddah deserved stoning according to the consensus of the Muslims. This was what Umar wanted to do if he could. His saying “was there any importance of killing a man or a group of men” shows indifference to killing whereas Allah says: “whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men” (Qur’an 5:32) and “And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell; he shall abide in it” (Qur’an 4:93) and “And they who do not call upon another god with Allah and do not slay the soul, which Allah has forbidden except in the requirements of justice, and (who) do not commit fornication and he who does this shall find a requital of sin. The punishment shall be doubled to him on the day of resurrection, and he shall abide therein in abasement” (Qur’an 25:68-69).
134. Khalid was really a killer and an adulterer. He intended to do prohibited things and he did not miss them. In fact he got them intendedly even after being forbidden by the caliph.
135. He could be replaced by any other qualified man as we have mentioned above.
136. I do not think that Professor Haykal believed in this saying and the sayings before and after it nor did Abu Bakr! I do not think that Professor Haykal is indifferent to the honors when saying: “What was the problem in marrying a woman unlike the traditions of the Arabs if it was done by a conqueror…” and I do not think that he allows every conqueror to do what Khalid has done! This may be allowed to a Muslim conqueror, who conquers a country of Muslims, who do not believe in Allah, and most surely that Malik and his people were among the believers “who keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and of the hereafter they are sure”.
137. Uttering such a word by one like Professor Haykal is something odd and astonishing. As long as you live, you see many wonders! How strange! Professor Haykal says that the legal verdicts do not allow criticizing great persons like Khalid whereas Allah has created the Paradise to every one, who obeys Him even if he is a black Abyssinian, and has created the Hell to every one, who disobeys Him even if he is a Qurayshi master. There is no flattery between Allah and any of His creatures; people are equal before Him. A noble man is low until the others’ right is taken from him and he is punished and a low man is honorable until his right is restored to him.
138. If carrying out the legal penalties causes dangers, then the penalties should be put off until the dangers disappear. But the caliph (Abu Bakr) did not put off executing the penalties nor did he wait for the dangers to disappear. Rather he forgave all those sins and crimes and became pleased to the full with those criminals.
139. This meaning has been repeated by Professor Haykal and here we say again that Khalid could be replaced with another leader and even if there was no one like Khalid, the orders of Allah could never be annulled for any reason. Executing the penalties could be put off but it could never be annulled at all. Abu Bakr behaved as if there were no crimes and no criminals!
140. Yes, Khalid had to be deposed and to be killed immediately according to the verdict of Allah. A killer must be killed and an adulterer, who has a wife, must be stoned. If there is danger in executing the penalties, they will be put off until the danger disappears. The penalties can never be annulled for ever. All the Muslims have agreed on this matter unanimously.
141. But Allah would not be satisfied with that! The legal verdicts that have determined to kill the killer and to stone the adulterer are clear but Abu Bakr interpreted them as he liked and he preferred his own opinion to those divine verdicts.
142. Let us ponder on what Professor Haykal says as he quotes Abu Bakr’s thoughts. Do you think that Abu Bakr and Haykal have ignored that an adulterer, who has a wife, must be punished by the Muslim ruler? Have they ignored that the punishment must be stoning especially and not to throw the adulterer into the hell of Yamama or other hells?
143. What purifies the sinners is returning to Allah by repenting and doing good deeds sincerely for the sake of Allah only. Allah says: “Save him who shall repent and believe and do right” (19:60).
144. This young girl might have had a husband and Khalid committed adultery with her as he had done with Layla; therefore Abu Bakr scolded him for that more than he had scolded him after his sin with Malik’s wife. If it had been not so, Abu Bakr would have not scolded him severely or in fact he would have not scolded him at all.
145. As-Siddeeq Abu Bakr, p.152.
146. In fact it was the impermissibility of killing Malik that was clear and decisive. This murder was one of the great sins that must lead the murderer to the legal punishment because Malik was a sincere Muslim with no doubt at all. This was a clear fact to every one who had known the truth of the event of al-Bitah and had known the secret behind the violent revolt of Umar, Abu Qatada and all the people of Medina against Khalid. The last thing that Malik had said was “I am on Islam”. Abu Bakr and Umar confessed that Malik was a Muslim when he died. Umar said to Abu Bakr: “Khalid has committed adultery and you have to stone him.” Abu Bakr said: “I will not stone him. He interpreted (the verdict) but he mistook.” Umar said: “He has killed a Muslim and you have to kill him.” Abu Bakr did not say to Umar that Khalid had killed an apostate but he said: “I will not kill him. He interpreted (the verdict) but he mistook.” This was a confession by Abu Bakr that Malik had been a Muslim; therefore Abu Bakr had paid the diyah (blood-money) to Malik’s family from the public treasury of the Muslims and he had considered the captives of Malik’s family as free people and so he had set them free besides that he had not accepted from Khalid his capturing them.
147. Suppose that when Khalid committed adultery with Malik’s wife, he was mistaken in his interpretation, then what was the excuse of Abu Bakr when he kept Khalid as the leader of his armies especially after meeting him and scolding him and what was the excuse of Abu Bakr when he kept Khalid in his position after taking Malik’s wife with him to Yamama committing adultery with her while he had a wife?
148. Abqariyyatu Khalid, p.134.
149. A kind of herbage.
150. A famous spring whose water was very pure and palatable.
151. Al-Jafool: the one who is always ready to help and aid the others; whenever he hears a call for help he hastens towards the caller.
152. At-Tabari mentioned Malik in his Mu’jam and said: “He is Malik bin Hamza at-Tameemi. The Prophet (S) has entrusted him with the zakat of Bani Yarboo’ after he and his brother Mutammim had become Muslims.
153. He stopped taking the zakat from his people after the Prophet (S) had gone to the better world because he wanted to be certain that the one who would be the caliph after the Prophet (S), would be the right one and then he would carry out his duty concerning the zakat. You will find that clearly in his poetry which we have mentioned herein with our comment.
154. He spread the zakat among the poor and needy people of his tribe because he had taken it from them as he had the guardianship over the zakat from the Prophet (S) when he was alive and so he thought that he had had the right to dispose of it according to its legal ways. Malik was known for his pity towards the orphans, the widows and the poor as it had been showed through the poem of his coeval poet as-Sa’di when saying: Who will be for the orphans and the widows after him? And who will be for the poor and needy people?
155. By this verse he meant that he had not committed any wrong or a sin (when he took the zakat or when he spread it again) that he might fear on the Day of Resurrection.
156. This verse has been mentioned with the phrase “we will obey” by al-Asqalani in his book al-Isaba, by Ibn Sa’d and by Alamul Huda ash-Shareef ar-Radhiy in his book “ash-Shafi’iy” who had mentioned other verses when saying: “When Malik knew that the Prophet (S) had died, he stopped taking zakat from his people and he said to them: “Wait until a guardian will undertake the rule after the Prophet (S) and then we will see what to do.” He indicated that in his poetry when saying: “Some men said: Malik has done right today. Some men said Malik has not done right.
I said: Let me alone. I have not done wrong.
I said: Take back your monies.
I am not afraid nor expecting what tomorrow will bring. Here are the monies. They are yours.
I will defend you what you fear with my soul, And I will achieve the truth as I say.
If a right one will undertake the religion, We will obey and say: the religion is that of Muhammad.”
But Professor Haykal in his book as-Siddeeq Abu Bakr and Professor al-Aqqad in his book Abqariyat Khalid have mentioned the verse with the phrase “we will refrain (or stop)”. I think that they have quoted the verse from someone of the historians who have taken sides against Malik to defend Khalid or Abu Bakr. Anyhow there is nothing in the verse showing apostasy or anything like that.