Umar’s favours to Mo’awiya
Source: Al-Nass Wal-Ijtihad, Text and Interpretation
By: Allama Abdul Husayn Sharafuddin al-Musawi
Umar let Mo’awiya, who had been appointed by Umar as the wali of Sham, free to the full to do whatever he liked, to behave as his deviant mind led him, to rule however he wished. He lived at ease indifferent to anything other than what he chose to himself unlike what Umar had admired of his emirs.
Once Umar saw Mo’awiya in Sham surrounded with splendor like that of Kasra (the emperor of Persia) and wearing highly brocaded cloths that the nature of Umar disliked and hated but he did not say to him then except: “I neither order you nor I forbid you”. He gave him permission and option to do whatever he liked and so he ravaged left and right and there was no one daring to stand against his vanity and corruption. One of the fruits of this seed that Umar had grown in Mo’awiya was his transgression against Imam ‘Ali (as) in Siffeen and after that was what he did against Imam Hasan (as) in Sabaat.
Since then the Umayyads had seized the wealth of Allah, enslaved His people and taken the religion of Allah as a means to achieve their greed and tendencies. We are Allah’s and to Him we shall return and those who do wrong will come to know by what a (great) reverse they will be overturned!
His illegal order
He often ordered of some things against the Shari’ah and then he gave up after being reminded.
First: Muhammad bin Mukhallad al-Attar mentioned in his Fawa’id: 238 “Once Umar has ordered a pregnant women to be stoned. Ma’ath bin Jabal denied that and said to Umar: “If you have an evidence against her, you have no evidence against the one in her abdomen.” Umar annulled his judgment and said: “Women have become unable to beget one like Ma’ath. Were it not for Ma’ath, Umar would perish.”
Second: al-Hakim mentioned in his Mustadrak 239 that Ibn Abbas had said: “Once a mad pregnant woman was brought to Umar and he decided to stone her. Ali said to him: “Have you not known that obligations are not imposed on three: a mad one until he becomes sane, a child until he becomes adult and a sleeping one until he awakes?” Then Umar set the woman free.”
This woman was different from that woman. That one, about whom Ma’ath reminded the caliph, was not mad and the caliph could stone her but after giving birth to her child and then the caliph would have to ensure the nursing of the child after stoning his mother but as for the second woman, Umar could not stone her at all because she was mad.
The judge of the judges Abdul Jabbar in his book al-Mughni had a long speech about stoning a pregnant woman and this was a point of argument between him and Sharif al-Murtadha in his book ash-Shafi. Ibn Abul Hadeed mentioned the arguments of both of them in Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol. 3 pp.150-152.
Third: Ahmad bin Hanbal mentioned in his Musnad 240 that Abu Dhabyan al-Janbi had said: “One day a woman, who had committed adultery, was brought to Umar, who ordered her to be stoned. Ali took the woman away from Umar’s men and prevented them from stoning her. They went back to Umar telling him that Ali bin Abu Talib had prevented them from carrying out the order of the caliph Umar. Umar said: “He (Ali) did not do that unless he knew something!” He sent for Ali. Ali came to Umar, who was somehow angry.
He said to Ali: “Why did you prevent these men from executing my order?” Ali said: “Have you not heard the Prophet (S) saying: “Three ones are free from being considered as sinful; a sleeping one until he awakes, a child until he becomes adult and a mad one until he becomes sane”?” He said: “Yes, I have.” Ali said: “This woman is mad. The adulterer might have committed the sin with her while she was mad.” Umar said: “I do not know!” Ali said: “I also do not know!” Umar set the woman free and he did not stone her.” 241
Fourth: Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned in his book at-Turuq al-Hakamiyya fee as-Siyasa ash-Shar’iyya (the wise ways in legal politics) that once a woman had been brought to Umar and she confessed that she had committed adultery. Umar ordered the woman to be stoned. Ali asked him to delay his order a little that she might have an excuse which might save her from the punishment.
He asked the woman: “What has led you to commit adultery?” She said: “There was a herdsman with me (in the pasture) who had water and milk among his camels but I had not. I became thirsty and I asked him for some water or milk. He refused to give me unless I would (give him my self). I refused to submit to him for three times but when I became too thirsty and I thought that I was about to die, I submitted to him and he gave me some water.” Ali said: “Allah is great! “..but whoever is driven to necessity, not desiring nor exceeding the limit, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful” (Qur’an 16:115).
Al-Bayhaqi mentioned in his Sunan that Abu Abdurrahman as-Sulami had said: “Once a woman had become too thirsty. She passed by a shepherd and asked him for some water but he refused to give her unless she would let him make love with her. She submitted to him. Umar consult the people about stoning her. Ali said: “She was obliged to do that and I think that she is to be set free.” Umar set her free.” 242
Fifth: Ibn al-Qayyim said: 243 “Another woman was brought to Umar and she confessed and confirmed that she had committed adultery. Ali was present then. He said: “She talks as if she has not known that it (adultery) is impermissible.” He did not punish her.”
Ibn al-Qayyim added: “This is accurate insight.”
Sixth: Ahmad Ameen said in his book Fajr al-Islam: 244 “A case was offered to Umar that a man had been killed by his father’s wife and her lover. Umar hesitated to kill two persons for one. Ali said to him: “If a group of people participate in a theft, will you cut the hands of all of them?” Umar said: “Yes, I will.” Ali said: “It is the same here.” He did as Ali said to him and he wrote to his official: “Kill them both! If all the people of Sana’a participated in killing him, I would kill them all.”
Seventh: Ibn Abul Hadeed said: “Once Umar sent for a woman to ask her about something. She was pregnant and because of fearing him, she miscarried of her fetus. He asked the great companions to give him a fatwa about this matter. They said to him: “You are not to be blamed because you are discipliner.” Ali said to him: “If they wanted to compliment you, they have cheated you and if this was their opinion after trying their best, they have mistaken. You have to free a (believing) slave (as a penance).” Umar and the companions referred to Ali’s opinion.” 245
Eighth: Umar was confused what to do to a man from the first Muhajireen, who had fought in the battle of Badr. He was Qudama bin Madh’oon. One day he was brought to Umar after drinking wine. Umar decided to whip him. He said to Umar: “Why will you whip me? The Book of Allah is between me and you.” Umar said: “Where is it in the Book of Allah that I should not whip you?”
He said: “Allah says in His Book: “On those who believe and do good there is no blame for what they eat, when they are careful (of their duty) and believe and do good deeds, then they are careful (of their duty) and believe, then they are careful (of their duty) and do good (to others), and Allah loves those who do good (to others)” (Qur’an 5:93).
“I am from among (those who believe and do good). I have attended with the Prophet (S) in Badr, al-Hudaybiya, al-Khandaq and other events”. Umar did not know how to reply. He said to his companions: “Let any of you reply to him!” Ibn Abbas said: “These verses have been revealed as an excuse for the deceased Muslims and as a reminder to the remaining believers because Allah says: “O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper” (Qur’an 5:90)
Then he recited the other verse among which was: “..they are careful (of their duty) and believe and do good deeds, then they are careful (of their duty) and believe, then they are careful (of their duty) and do good”.
He added: “Allah has prohibited drinking wine, then would he, who drank wine after it has been prohibited, be pious and God-fearing?” Umar said: “You are right. Then what do you see?” Ali gave a fatwa to whip Qudama eighty whips. The penalty of a winer has become such since that day.246
Ninth: Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned in his book at-Turuq al-Hakamiyya, p.27 a case of a woman, who had loved a young man from the Ansar but when he did not respond to her, she played a trick. She took an egg and poured its albumen on her dress and between her thighs and then she came to Umar crying. She said to him: “This (young) man has raped me and disgraced me among my family and this is the sign of what he has committed with me.” Umar asked some women and they said that there was some sperm on her cloths and body.
Then Umar wanted to punish the young man, who was crying for help and saying: “O Ameerul Mo'mineen, make sure of the matter! By Allah, I have not committed any sin. I have never intended to do anything to her. She tried to seduce me to yield to her but I refused.” Ali was present. Umar asked him: “O Abul Hasan, what do you think about them?” Ali looked at the woman’s cloth and he asked for boiling water. He poured the hot water over the dress and the white became solid. He took it, smelt it and tasted it and he found that it had the taste of egg. He scolded the woman and she confessed the truth.
Tenth: Ibn al-Qayyim in his book at-Turuq al-Hakamiyya247 mentioned that two men from Quraysh had paid one hundred dinars to a woman as deposit and they said to her: “Do not give back the money to any one of us if the other is not with him.” After a year one of them came and said to the woman: “My friend died and I want the money.” She refused to give him the money and said: “You both have said to me not to give the money to any of you if the other was with him. I will not give it to you.” He asked her relatives and neighbors to intercede with her until she agreed to repay him the money.
After another year the second man came to her and asked her to give him the money back. She said to him: “Your friend has come to me and he pretended that you had died and I gave him the money.” They went to Umar to judge on their case. Umar wanted to judge against the woman. She asked him to send them to Ali bin Abu Talib to judge on their case.
Umar sent them to Ali, who perceived that the two men had deceived the woman. He said to the man: “Have you not asked the woman not to repay the money to any of you unless the other one would be with him?” The man said: “Yes, we have.” Then Ali said to him: “Go and bring your friend and then the woman will give you the money; otherwise you have no right to ask her for anything.”
Eleventh: Ahmad bin Hanbal mentioned in his Musnad 248 a tradition narrated by Ibn Abbas that once Umar had been confused about the doubt in prayer (being uncertain how many rak’as one has offered). He asked his servant: “O boy, have you heard from the Prophet (S) or any of his companions if one became uncertain in his prayer, what he should do?” After a moment Abdurrahman bin Ouff came and asked Umar: “What is the matter with you?” Umar said: “I asked this boy if he had heard from the Prophet (S) or any of his companions if one doubted in his prayer what he should do.” Abdurrahman said: “I have heard the Prophet (S) saying: “If one of you becomes uncertain in his prayer…” Refer to this tradition; it has a fatwa from Abdurrahman which is opposite to what has been narrated from the Prophet (S) by the Shia.
The cases like these ones were many! They showed that Umar soon submitted to the truth in such matters since he recognized it and he submitted to whoever reminded him if he ignored; nevertheless he was too severe when determining his policies without paying any attention to anyone. He was too severe to his officials; whether to their bodies or their properties. He often confiscated some of their monies to the treasury and he often dealt with them with his stick severely!
He might burn down their houses over them as he had done to his emir of Kufa, Sa’d bin Abu Waqqass when he ordered to burn down his palace. Once again he beat Sa’d with his stick when Sa’d competed with people to reach him. Once again he (Umar) saw some people following Ubayy bin Ka’b in the street and then he raised his stick to hit Ubbay. Ubbay said to him: “O Ameerul Mo'mineen, fear Allah!” Umar said to him: “O Ibn Ka’b, what are these crowds behind you? Have you not known that it is conceit to the followed one and meanness to the followers?”
The darrah 249 of Umar was a whip of torment, which the great companions feared, until it was said that it was more frightening than the sword of al-Hajjaj.250
He had beaten Umm Farwa bint Abu Quhafa severely with his darrah when her brother Abu Bakr died and she with other women, at the head of whom was Aa’isha, began crying for him. He did pay no attention to her position that she was the aunt of Aa’isha and the sister of Abu Bakr. Hisham bin al-Waleed pulled her in a mean way to the street. Umar wanted to frighten the other women, who soon ran away here and there. How harshly he often behaved to achieve his policy without having any pity towards anyone and without fearing any end!
He had said to Imam ‘Ali (as) and his companions, who had refused to pay homage to Abu Bakr, when they were in the house of Fatima (sa): “I swear by Him, in Whose hand my soul is, either you come out to pay homage or I shall burn down the house over you.” The daughter of the Prophet (S) went out crying and shouting. When she saw what Umar and his men had done to Imam ‘Ali (as) and az-Zubayr, she said: “How soon you have attacked the family of the Messenger of Allah!”251
And many many of such political situations which were as Imam ‘Ali (as) had said when talking about entrusting Umar with the caliphate by Abu Bakr: “…he made it (the caliphate) in a harsh land, which was full of stumbles and which could not be avoided. A man in it was like a rider of a reluctant camel, if he tightened its noseband, he would tear its nose and if he loosened its noseband, it would insert him into difficulties. People were afflicted with confusion, fickleness and objection…” 252
238. Al-Isaba by Ibn Hajar, biography of Ma’ath bin Jabal.
239. Vol.4, p.389.
240. Vol.1, p.154.
241. Mustadrak of al-Hakim, vol.4 p.389, Talkees al-Mustadrak by ath-Thahabi. Al-Bukahri has summarized the tradition in his Sahih, vol.4 p.117 saying: “Ali said to Umar: “Have you not known that three are free from being considered as sinful; a mad one until he becomes sane, a child until he becomes adult and a sleeping one until he awakes.”
242. At-Turuq al-Hakamiyya fee as-Siyasa ash-Shar’iyya by Ibn al-Qayyim, p.53
243. Ibid., p.55.
244. p.285, quoted from the book A’lam al-Muwaqqi’een.
245. Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol.1, p.58.
246. Mustadrak of al-Hakim, vol.4 p.376, Talkhees al-Mustadrak by ath-Thahabi.
248. Vol. 1, p.190.
249. Darrah is a dry bunch of dates (after losing its fruits).
250. Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol. 1 p.60. Al-Hajjaj was a tyrant emir of the Umayyad state.
251. Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol. 1 p.134.
252. Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol. 1.