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Umar Ibn Al-Khattab and the Sahabah

By: Sayyid Ali Al-Shahristani
Muslims believe that a caliph must enjoy two authorities:
(1) Political Capacity: A caliph must enjoy experience in the management of the ummah’s affairs in both states of war and peace, protecting the frontiers of the Islamic State, confronting the enemies of the religion, and subjecting them to the Islamic laws as well as the other secondary affairs, such as organizing the economic affairs, covering the requirements of the needy and the like.
(2) Scientific Capacity: A caliph must be capable of issuing verdicts according to the rulings of the Holy Qur'ān and the heritage of the Holy Prophet. During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, people used to receive rulings directly from the Holy Prophet to whom they referred in any new question. In the caliphs’ reigns, they should refer to the caliphs for learning the laws and the innovated affairs. Furthermore, most of them did not reside in Makkah or al-Madīnah and thus they should receive the religious knowledge from the companions of the Holy Prophet. Hence, the majority of Muslims should have received their religious directives from the caliph and their retinue taking into consideration the big difference between a caliph and the Holy Prophet.
During the Holy Prophet’s lifetime, people considered him as legislator for he, in the word of the Holy Qur'ān, never speaks out of desire.[311]Accordingly, the Holy Prophet’s instructions were so authoritative that none had the right to violate or disobey since their source was the Divine Revelation.
A caliph does not enjoy the authority of the Holy Prophet or a legislative role as regards the religious laws;[312] rather he is regarded as no more than a reporter from the Holy Prophet.
Having realized this fact, Abū-Bakr and `Umar, in the beginning, used to convey the religious laws as exactly as found in the Holy Qur'ān and Sunnah. When they had to face an ambiguous issue, they would refer it to the grand Sahābah asking them whether they had heard from the Holy Prophet something in this regard. Then, they would convey the ruling to those involved in the issue. Let us now cite examples on this information:
(A) Maymūn ibn Mahrān is reported to have said, “When an issue is presented before Abū-Bakr, he used to refer to the Holy Qur'ān first. If he found the answer, he would say it lest he would look in the Holy Sunnah. If he would not find the answer, he would ask people whether they had heard something in this regard from the Holy Prophet. One of them would say what he had heard from the Holy Prophet about the issue. When he could not find anything related, he would gather the most experienced ones and consult them. When they agree on a definite ruling, he would pass it.”[313]
(B) Mālik, Abū-Dāwūd, Ibn Mājah, al-Dārimiy and others have reported that Abū-Bakr, once, said to a grandmother who came asking for her share of an inheritance, “In the Holy Qur'ān, I could not find anything related to your case. Also, I could not find anything in the Holy Sunnah. You should now wait until I consult people.” Al-Mughīrah said, “When such a case was submitted before him, the Holy Prophet decided to give the one-sixth of an inheritance.” “Does anyone else have anything in this respect?” asked Abū-Bakr. Muhammad ibn Muslimah al-Ansāriy stood and confirmed al-Mughīrah’s claim. Thus, Abū-Bakr accepted.[314]
Like Abū-Bakr, `Umar used to ask the Sahābah on such issues and then judge.
(C) On the authority of al-Salamiy, al-Bayhaqiy narrated that `Umar consulted the people whether he would sentence to stoning punishment the lady who committed adultery with a shepherd who refused to give her water, while she was extremely thirsty, unless she would allow him to sleep with her.
(Imam) `Alī answered, “This lady was compelled; therefore I see that you should release her.” Following `Alī’s verdict, `Umar did.[315]
(D) `Umar asked Abū-Wāqid al-Laythiy about the Sūrahs that the Holy Prophet used to recite in the Prayer of the Feast (Salāt al-Īdayn). “The Holy Prophet used to recite Sūrah of Qāf (No. 50) and Sūrah of Iqtarabat (al-Qamar 54),” answered Abū-Wāqid.[316]
(E) On the authority of Sa`īd ibn al-Musayyab, al-Hākim reported that while `Umar ibn al-Khattāb was reciting the Holy Qur'ān, he passed by the holy verse,
“Those who believe and do not mix up their faith with iniquity.” [Holy Qur’ān: 6/82]
He summoned Ubayy ibn Ka`b and asked, “Are we excluded from this verse because none of us has ever committed iniquity?” Ubayy answered, “Iniquity in this verse stands for polytheism as is proven by the holy verse,
“And when Luqmān said to his son while he admonished him: O my son! Do not associate aught with Allah; most surely, polytheism is a grievous iniquity. [Holy Qur’ān: 31/13]”[317]
(F) `Umar ordered to apply the sentence of whipping to one of the first Muhājirūn because he had had strong drink. The man objected saying, “You should not sentence me to whipping penalty; I can prove it in the Holy Book of Allah (the Qur'ān).”
“How is that?” asked `Umar.
“Almighty Allah says in the Holy Qur'ān,
‘On those who believe and do deeds of righteousness there is no blame for what they ate, when they guard themselves from evil, and believe, and do deeds of righteousness,(or) again, guard themselves from evil and believe,(or) again, guard themselves from evil and do good. For Allah loveth those who do good.’ [Holy Qur’ān: 5/93]
I am one of those who believed, did deeds of righteousness, then guarded themselves from evil and believed and did deeds of righteousness. I participated with the Holy Prophet in the battles of Badr, al-Khandaq, and the Truce of al-Hudaybiyah as well as other campaigns.”
`Umar asked the attendants for an answer; therefore `Abdullāh ibn `Abbās said, “The verse that you have cited as your excuse carried excuses for the deeds that were done in the pre-Islamic era and also carried arguments against the coming generations. This is because Almighty Allah says elsewhere,
‘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[Holy Qur’ān: 5/90]’
This holy verse carried a clear-cut prohibition of drinking strong drink.”
Having been convinced by `Abdullāh’s refutation of the claim, `Umar said, “You have told the truth! Now, what do you think this man should undergo?”
(Imam) `Alī answered, “We see that because this man drank strong drink, he has raved; and because he has raved, he forged fabrications (against Almighty Allah); and the sentence of him who forges fabrications is to undergo eighty whips.” `Umar thus ordered to sentence the man to eighty whips as punishment.[318]
The aforementioned narrations, as well as many others that have not been mentioned for fear of lengthiness, prove clearly that neither Abū-Bakr not did `Umar claim full knowledge with all the religious laws that were said by the Holy Prophet or that they, and none else, were versed in the Hadīth; rather they, like the majority of the Sahābah, did not go through many issues of the religious legislation. On this account, the exaggerated claim that they were the most acquainted with the Hadīth and the most knowledgeable in the issues of the religious knowledge and laws has been based upon a purely extreme emotional, not rational, situation that is far away from the historical reality. Moreover, the majority of the reports that narrated or confirmed such claim are exposed to suspicion and uncertainty. One of such fake reports has been the following: Imam `Alī is reported to have said, “We were telling each other that an angel was talking on behalf of `Umar!”[319]
`Abdullāh ibn Mas`ūd is reported to have said, “If the knowledge of `Umar is put in a scale of a balance and the knowledge of all the peoples in the other, the scale of Umar’s knowledge will certainly incline!”[320]
The Holy Prophet is reported to have said, “Had there been a prophet to come after me, `Umar would have certainly been that prophet!”[321] And, “In the past nations, there were individuals communicated by the angels. If this occurs to my nation, `Umar will certainly be the one communicated by the angels!”[322]
The likes of such exaggerated superstitions are too many. Similarly, too many are the motives and reasons beyond them.
One of the clear-cut issue is that had Abū-Bakr and `Umar enjoyed special knowledge in this respect, they would have directly given out religious verdicts without need for consulting the Sahābah in matters they ignored, no contradiction would have ever occurred in their opinions and verdicts, they would not have withdrawn many of their verdicts in view of the reports and opinions of the other Sahābah and `Umar would not have come to a point where he declared openly, ‘All people are more knowledgeable than `Umar,’[323] and ‘Even women in boudoirs are more knowledgeable than `Umar!’[324]
In conclusion, the recognition of the religious laws among the first generation of Islam was not attained except through pure compliance with the laws issued by Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet. This fact was known by everyone during that period of the Islamic history. Similarly, neither Abū-Bakr and `Umar nor did any of the other Sahābah have the right to adopt their personal opinions in issues judged by clear-cut texts of the Holy Qur'ān and Sunnah. Nevertheless, they committed a breach of the Holy Prophet’s orders on certain occasions when they adopted their personal views and violated the sacred texts.
Referring to a necessarily obvious fact, Ibn Hazm says, “The Holy Prophet, at issuing a verdict or a judgment, did not summon all the inhabitants of al-Madīnah to inform them; rather it was sufficient in his view that the attendants listened to that judgment and they would certainly convey it to the others whom, after that, would not be allowed to claim unfamiliarity with that judgment. Obviously, some of the Sahābah used to interpret a Hadīth—that reached his hearing—in such an inaccurate way that it would lose its actual purport. In addition, some of them confessed that they were unaware of many religious laws. In this connection, Abū-Hurayrah declared,
“The Muhājirūn, my brethren, were always engaged in making deals in marts; and the Ansār, my brethren too, were engaged by guarding their fortunes.”[325]
It has thus been obvious that the exaggerated picture in which `Umar was given such special and unattainable rank was the product of an inordinate emotion that is rejected and denounced by `Umar himself. To make it more obvious, let us cite the following reports about the Sahābah’s relationship with `Umar.
Notes:
[311] The Holy Qur'ān reads, “Nor does he speak out of desire. 53:3”
[312] Ibn Hazm: al-Ihkām fi Usūl al-Ahkām 1:11 and Dr. Muhammad Sallām Madkūr: Manāhij al-Ijtihād fī’l-Islam et al.
[313] Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyyah: A’lām al-Muwaqqi’īn 1:62; al-Bayhaqiy: al-Sunan al-Kubrā 10:114.
[314] Mālik ibn Anas: al-Muwatta' 2:513 H. 4; Sunan Abī-Dāwūd 3:121 H. 2894; Sunan Ibn Mājah 2:909 H. 2724; Sunan al-Dārimiy 2:359.
[315] Al-Bayhaqiy: al-Sunan al-Kubrā 8:236; al-Tabariy: al-Riyād al-Nadirah 3,4:163-164 and Dhakhā’ir al-`Uqbā; Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyyah: al-Turuq al-Hikamiyyah.
[316] Mālik ibn Ansa: al-Muwatta’ 1:180; Sahīh Muslim 2:607, H. 14; Sunan Abī-Dāwūd 1:30 H. 1154; Sunan al-Tirmidhiy 2:23 H. 532; al-Bayhaqiy: al-Sunan al-Kubrā 3:294; Sunan Ibn Mājah 1:408 H. 1282; Sunan al-Nassā’iy 3:183 H. 184 (with little difference).
[317] Al-Hākim al-Nīsāpūriy: al-Mustadrak `Ala’l-Sahīhayn 3:305.
[318] Al-Hākim al-Nīsāpūry: al-Mustadrak `Ala’l-Sahīhayn 4:376; Sunan al-Dāraqutniy 3:166 H. 245; al-Bayhaqiy: al-Sunan al-Kubrā 8:320; Sunan al-Nassā'iy 3:252 H. 5288. In addition to al-Hākim, al-Dhahbiy, in Talkhīs, decides this narration as authentic.
[319] Tārīkh Wasīt 1:167; Min Hadīth Khaythama 1:42; Abū-Na`īm: Hilyat al-Awliyā’ 1:42; Muhibb al-Dīn al-Tabariy: al-Riyād al-Nadirah 1:376. Al-Tabariy, in al-Mu`jam al-Awsat 7:18 H. 6726, has recorded this narration on the authority of Abū-Sa`īd al-Khidriy who reported the Holy Prophet as saying, “Among the nation of each and every Prophet that Almighty Allah sent, there must be one addressed by the angels (directly). If there is such an individual among my nation, he must be `Umar.” The Holy Prophet was asked how one can be addressed by the angels. He answered, “The angels talk on behalf of him.” Al-Haythamiy, in Mujma` al-Zawā'id 9:69, added, “One of the reporter of this narration is Abū-Sa`d, the slave of al-Hasan al-Basiry, whom I cannot tell. Yet, the others are trustworthy.”
[320] Al-Madkhal Ilā’l-Sunan al-Kubrā 1:126 H. 70; Ibn `Abd al-Barr: al-Tamhīd 3:198; al-Hakīm al-Nīsāpūriy: al-Mustadrak `Alā’l-Sahīhayn 3:92 H. 4497; Jamāl al-Dīn al-Muzziy: Tahdhīb al-Kamāl 21:325 No. 4255; Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyyah: A’lām al-Muwaqqi’īn 1:20; Dr. Ruwas Qal`achiy: Fiqh `Abdullāh ibn Mas`ūd, the Introduction.
[321] Sunan al-Tirmidhiy 5:619 H. 3686; al-Hākim al-Nīsāpūriy: al-Mustadrak `Ala’l-Sahīhayn 3:92 H. 1279; al-Tabariy: al-Riyād al-Nadirah 2:287; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal 4:154; Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalāniy: Fath al-Bāri fī Sharh Sahīh al-Bukhāriy 7:51.
[322] Sahīh al-Bukhāriy 3:1279 H. 3282, 3:1349 H. 3486; Sahīh Muslim 4:1864 H. 2398; Sunan al-Tirmidhiy 5:285 H. 3776; al-Hākim al-Nīsāpūriy: al-Mustadrak `Ala’l-Sahīhayn 3:86; al-Tabariy: al-Riyād al-Nadirah 2:287; Sunan al-Nassā'iy 5:39 H. 8119.
[323] Al-Zamakhshariy: Tafsir al-Kashshāf 3:573; Ibn Abi’l-Hadīd: Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah 1:182; al-Jāmi` li’Ahkām al-Qur'ān 14:277; al-Suyūtiy: al-Durr al-Manthūr 5:229; Ibn Hazm: al-Ihkām fi Usūl al-Ahkām 2:253.
[324] Ibn Abi’l-Hadīd: Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah 1:128.
[325] Ibn Hazm: al-Ihkām fi Usūl al-Ahkām 1:153. The narration is also recorded in Sahīh Muslim 4:1940 H. 2492; al-Isfahāniy: Dalā'il al-Nubuwwah 1:86 H. 78; Al-Dhahbiy: Siyar A’lām al-Nubalā’ 2:595.

`Umar And The Sahābah

(1) Mu`Ādh Ibn Jabal
(A) A man complained to `Umar ibn al-Khattāb that after he had been away from his wife for two years, he found her pregnant. `Umar consulted people whether he would sentence her to the punishment of stoning. Mu`ādh ibn Jabal said, “If she is guilty, the fetus in her womb is not. You should leave her until she gives birth. `Umar did and the woman gave birth of a baby whose father avowed for the similarity between them. Commenting on the matter, `Umar said, “Women are too inadequate to give birth of one like Mu`ādh. Without Mu`ādh, `Umar would have perished.”[326]
(B) `Umar decided to sentence a retaliation punishment against a Muslim who had broken the head of a Dhimmi (a non-Muslim enjoying the protection of the Islamic state). Mu`ādh intruded, “As much as I know, you are not allowed to decided such according to a report from the Holy Prophet.” `Umar therefore gave the Dhimmi one dīnār[327] as recompense, and he accepted it.[328]

(2) Zayd Ibn Thābit
(A) Mujāhid narrated that when he was in Syria, `Umar decided to sentence the retaliation punishment to a Muslim who had killed a Dhimmi. But Zayd intruded, “You should not make your slave retaliate upon your brother!” `Umar therefore decided that the Muslim would undergo blood money.[329]
(B) Makhūl narrated that `Abādah ibn al-Sāmit, once, asked a non-Muslim Bedouin to guard his riding animal while he would offer a prayer in the holy Mosque of Jerusalem. The man rejected and `Abādah, out of rage, hit him on the head. The man complained before `Umar who decided to sentence retaliation punishment to `Abādah who claimed that his temper was so bad that he could not control himself. Yet, Zayd ibn Thābit intruded, “You should not allow your slave to retaliate upon your brother.” Hence, `Umar decided that `Abādah would undergo blood money.[330]
(C) Zayd ibn Thābit narrated that `Umar, once, visited him… and said, “I visited you to counsel me about the share of a grandfather from his grandson’s inheritance. Zayd apologized because he had known nothing about the matter. Once again, `Umar visited Zayd for the same matter. As he insisted, Zayd decided to write down his opinion. He also cited the following example, “This issue is like a tree that grew up on one trunk, which, later on, produced a branch. That branch also produced another. The trunk thus supplies the first branch with water. If the first branch is cut, water will directly go to the second branch and if the second is cut, the water will directly go to the first.” `Umar recited this before people and decided to depend upon Zayd’s verdict.[331]

(3) Abū-‘Ubaydah Ibn Al-Jarrāh
`Umar ibn `Abd al-`Azīz narrated that `Umar decided to kill the Muslim individual who had killed a Dhimmi in Syria when he was there. Objecting to him, Abū-`Ubaydah said, “You are not allowed to do this.” “Why am I not allowed to do it?” asked `Umar. “Is it lawful to kill a master as retaliation for his having killed his slave?” Abū-`Ubaydah asked. `Umar could not find a reply; he therefore decided that the Muslim should undergo one thousand dīnārs as blood money.[332]

(4) Hudhayfah Ibn Al-Yamān
One morning, `Umar met Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamān and greeted him. Hudhayfah said, “How do you expect me to be! Indeed, I dislike the right, love the temptation, testify the existence of a thing that I have not seen, learn by heart what has not been created, offer the prayer without ablution, and possess on this earth that which is not possessed by Almighty Allah in the Heavens.”
On hearing this reply, `Umar became so enraged that he left hastily as he decided to harm Hudhayfah for such saying. On his way, he passed by `Alī ibn Abī-Tālib who noticed his rage and thus asked, “What for are you so enraged, `Umar?”
“As I greeted Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamān, he said to me that he dislikes the right,” said `Umar.
“This is true,” said `Alī, “the man dislikes death, which is right!”
“He also said that he liked temptation!” added `Umar.
“This is true,” said `Alī, “the man liked his fortune and sons; and Almighty Allah says,
‘Your wealth and your children are only a temptation.’ [Holy Qur’ān: 64/15]”
“`Alī: he also claimed that he testified the existence of things that he had not seen!” added `Umar.
“This is also true,” said `Alī, “He testifies of Allah’s Oneness, the death, the Resurrection, the Judgment Day, Paradise, Hell, and the Path (al-Sirāt) while he had not seen any of these.”
“`Alī: he also said that he learnt by heart that which was not created!” added `Umar.
“This is also true,” said `Alī, “He has learnt by heart the Holy Book of Almighty Allah—the Qur'ān that is not created.”[333]
“He also claimed that he offered prayer without performing the ritual ablution!” said `Umar.
“This is also true,” said `Alī, “He prays to Almighty Allah to send blessings upon my cousin, the Messenger of Allah, without need for performing the ritual ablution. This is of course permissible.”
“Abu’l-Hasan: he said a more serious thing,” said `Umar.
“What was that?” asked `Alī.
“He said that he possesses on this earth what is not possessed by Almighty Allah in the heavens!” explained `Umar.
“This is also true,” said `Alī, “the man has a wife and sons on this earth while Almighty Allah is too Exalted to have a wife and sons.”
Pondering over the answers of `Alī, `Umar confessed, “Son of al-Khattāb would have perished were it not there `Alī ibn Abī-Tālib.”[334]

(5) `Abdullāh Ibn Mas`Ūd
Ibrāhīm al-Nakha`iy narrated that `Umar ibn al-Khattāb decided to sentence death penalty to a man who had murdered another premeditatedly although some of the victim’s heirs pardoned the murderer. `Abdullāh ibn Mas`ūd intruded, “The soul of the murderer was in the hand of all of the victim’s heirs, but when one of them allowed him to keep it, it was thus given life. This one cannot take his due unless the others do.”
“What do you think the judgment must be then?” asked `Umar.
“I think that you must decide that the murderer will undergo the blood money and then you can exempt him from the share of the heir who pardoned him.” `Umar then agreed to this judgment.[335]

(6) Ubayy Ibn Ka`b
(A) Al-Hasan al-Basriy narrated that when `Umar ibn al-Khattāb decided to distribute all the gold and silver that were in the Holy Ka`bah, Ubayy ibn Ka`b objected.
“What for do you object?” asked `Umar.
“Almighty Allah, through the Holy Prophet, has explained the expenditure of each and every fortune,” answered Ubayy.
“This is true,” confirmed `Umar.[336]
(B) Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah has reported that `Umar intended to seize the fortunes of the Holy Ka`bah claiming that it did not need them. He also intended to order the people of the Yemen to stop dying their clothes with the urination of camels and to forbid the Muslims from the Mut`at al-Hajj.[337]
Objecting to all of these, Ubayy ibn Ka`b said, “Although they needed the fortune of the Holy Ka`bah, neither the Holy Prophet nor did the Sahābah take it. Accordingly, you must not take it. The Holy Prophet and the Sahābah used to use the Yemeni clothes while they knew that they were dyed with the urination of camels. Yet, they did not warn people against using them. In the presence of the Holy Prophet, we practiced the Mut`at al-Hajj about the forbiddingness of which the Holy Qur'ān has not said anything.”[338]

(7) Al-Dahhāk Ibn Sufyān Al-Kilābiy
Sa`īd ibn al-Musayyab narrated that `Umar ibn al-Khattāb decided that the blood money in an issue of slaughter would be distributed among the victim’s kinsmen while the widow’s share is nothing. But when al-Dahhāk ibn Sufyān informed him that the Holy Prophet had ordered him to give the widow of Ashyam al-Dhabābiy a share of his blood money, `Umar retracted his decision.[339]

(8) Shaybah Ibn `Uthmān
Shafīq reported from Shaybah ibn `Uthmān that `Umar, once, sat down and decided to distribute all the fortunes of the Holy Ka`bah among the poor Muslims.
“You are not allowed to do so,” said Shaybah.
“What for?” asked `Umar.
“This is because neither the Holy Prophet nor did Abū-Bakr take anything of these fortunes although they need them more than you,” explained Shaybah.
On hearing this, `Umar left the place.[340]

(9) `Abdullāh Ibn `Abbās
Nāfi` ibn Jubayr narrated on the authority of `Abdullāh ibn `Abbās that he witnessed the event when a lady that had given birth of a child only six months after her marriage was brought before `Umar to judge. All the attendants disapproved of her but `Abdullāh said to `Umar, “Do not be unfair!”
“How is that?” asked `Umar.
`Abdullāh answered, “You should consider Almighty Allah’s sayings (in the Holy Qur'ān),
‘And the bearing of him and the weaning of him is thirty months.’ [Holy Qur’ān: 46/15]
and
‘Mothers shall suckle their children for two whole years.’ [Holy Qur’ān: 2/233]
As twenty four months is the period of the two whole years, six months remains for pregnancy as a minimum. Almighty Allah advances and delays the periods of pregnancy as He desires.” On hearing this answer, `Umar accepted it.[341]

(10) `Alī Ibn Abī-Tālib
(A) `Abdullāh ibn `Abbās narrated that `Umar, once, decided to sentence to stoning punishment an insane woman who had committed fornication. While she was led to the place where she would undergo the punishment, `Alī passed by her and asked about the matter, “This is so-and-so, the insane. `Umar decided to sentence her to stoning punishment after he had consulted people.”
`Alī asked them to take her back to `Umar. He then followed them and said to `Umar, “You should have known that the Messenger of Allah said that three categories of people are not condemned for any deed they would commit—these are the immature, the asleep, and the insane. This lady is insane. Perhaps, she committed this crime while she was in a brainstorm.”
`Umar thus released the lady and repeated saying ‘Allāhu Akbar’ as sign of his admiration of `Alī’s answer.[342]
(B) A young woman was fond of one of the Ansār’s youths but he did not respond to her. She therefore decided to resort to trickery; she took an egg, threw away its yolk, and poured the albumen on her dress and thighs. She then came towards `Umar screaming and claiming that she had been abused by that young man. `Umar intended to punish that young man as soon as some women, whom he had appointed to see the traces of the crime, confirmed the existence of sperms on the young woman’s dress and body. Defending himself, the young man began shouting at `Umar to be sure of the question since he had not done it although she had sought to seduce him but he rejected. When `Umar referred the question to (Imam) `Alī, he looked at the traces on the dress, asked for a boiling water, poured it on the dress, and then the albumen solidified. As he smelled and tasted it, he knew that it was the white of an egg; therefore he scolded the young woman and she confessed of everything.[343]

(11) `Abd Al-Rahmān Ibn `Awf
(A) `Abdullāh ibn `Abbās narrated that `Umar, once, asked him whether he had heard anything from the Holy Prophet or the Sahābah as regards the doubts of the prayers. Meanwhile, `Abd al-Rahmān ibn `Awf cam and asked about the question, “I heard the Messenger of Allah saying that if one doubts in the prayer… etc.”[344]
(B) Qatādah reported that `Umar, once, was asked about the ruling if a lady was divorced twice in the pre-Islamic era and then divorced once in Islam. As `Umar excused, `Abd al-Rahmān ibn `Awf said, “I have the solution. Divorce before Islam is ineffective.”[345]
Finally, even his wife corrected `Umar’s information and cancelled his verdict when he wanted to forbid rise in dowries.[346]
The aforementioned examples prove evidently that the accurate course that should have been followed by the Sahābah was the full compliance with the judgments of Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet and caliphs should have referred to the Holy Qur'ān and Sunnah in the issuance of verdicts. This fact seemed to be firmly present in the mentalities of the Sahābah who corrected for the caliph his errors depending upon the Holy Qur'ān and Sunnah. These events also confirm that `Umar did not claim special rank in the knowledge of the religious laws or having a distinctive mentality that enabled him to extract the religious laws in such an idiosyncratic manner that bespoke his unique mastermind due to which the Divine Revelation used to depend his opinion and reproach the Holy Prophet for not having acted upon `Umar’s opinions, and the Holy Prophet said, ‘the Right is following `Umar wherever he would go’[347] and `Umar carried the whole knowledge of the Holy Prophet as well as many alike fabrications that `Umar himself would have certainly denied had he heard them!
As has been previously demonstrated, `Umar’s compliance with the Sahābah’s opinions appertained to the religious laws, as well as the evidences that they used to infer from the Holy Qur'ān and Sunnah, proves that he, on the first days of his reign, did not argue with them on their verdicts and proofs; yet, he, later on, changed his trend by confirming his personal opinions. He thus granted the caliphs a distinctive feature due to which they alone have had the right to issue religious verdicts. This issue will be discussed in details shortly.
The previous discussion can be summarized in the following three points:
1) `Umar ibn al-Khattāb did not have full acquaintance with the Holy Qur'ān and the Holy Prophet’s instructions. Also, the Sahābah did not submit to his personal opinions.
2) The Holy Qur'ān and the Holy Sunnah are the one and only sources of the Islamic legislation and, in the conception of the Sahābah including `Umar himself, nothing can ever replace or be as important as them.
3) From the aforecited texts, we conclude that `Umar ibn al-Khattāb was about to be engaged in the most intense embarrassment, since it was not easy for the absolute ruler of the Islamic State to confess of his lack, in the field of knowledge, at all times, especially when we know that the majority of those who were experienced in the knowledge of the Holy Qur'ān and Sunnah did not agree with `Umar in principle, conceptions, and values. The coming discussions will demonstrate these facts more obviously.
Notes:
[326] Sunan al-Dāraqutniy 3:322 H. 281; al-Bayhaqiy: al-Sunan al-Kubrā 7:443 H. 15335; Musannaf `Abd al-Razzāq 7:354 H. 13454; Musannaf Ibn Abī-Shaybah 5:543 H. 28812; Al-Dhahbiy: Siyar A’lām al-Nubalā’ 1:452; al-Muzziy: Tahdhīb al-Kamāl 28:111;Ibn Abi’l-Hadīd: Sharh Nahj al-Balāghah 12:202; Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalāniy: Fath al-Bārī fī Sharh Sahīh al-Bukhāriy 12:120; al-Isābah fī Tamyīz al-Sahābah 3:427.
[327] A currency
[328] Al-Muttaqiy al-Hindiy: Kanz al-'Ummāl 15:97; Musannaf `Abd al-Razzāq 10:100 H. 18511.
[329] Al-Muttaqiy al-Hindiy: Kanz al-'Ummāl 15:97 H. 40242; Musannaf `Abd al-Razzāq 10:100 H. 18509.
[330] Al-Dhahbiy: Tadhkirat al-Huffādh 1:31 No. 16;al-Bayhaqiy: al-Sunan al-Kubrā 8:32; al-Muttaqiy al-Hindiy: Kanz al-'Ummāl 15:94 H. 40232;
[331] Sunan al-Dāraqutniy 4:93 H. 80; al-Bayhaqiy: al-Sunan al-Kubrā 6:247; Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalāniy: Fath al-Bāri fī Sharh Sahīh al-Bukhāriy 12:21.
[332] Al-Bayhaqiy: al-Sunan al-Kubrā 8:32; Al-Muttaqiy al-Hindiy: Kanz al-'Ummāl 15:94 H. 40234.
[333] The question whether the Qur'ān was created or was existent since eternity is one of the issues of disagreement between the Muslim theologians. For details, refer to books of Islamic theology.
[334] Ibn al-Sabbāgh al-Mālikiy: al-Fusūl al-Muhimmah 35; al-Kinjiy: Kifāyat al-Tālib 218-9.
[335] Al-Bayhaqiy: al-Sunan al-Kubrā 8:60; al-Shāfi`iy: Kitāb al-Umm 7:329; al-Shaybāniy: al-Hujjah 4:385. In al-Muttaqiy al-Hindiy: Kanz al-'Ummāl 11:33 H. 30513, there is another issue that occurred between `Umar and `Abdullāh ibn Mas`ūd. In the world of Ibn al-Qayyim (in I`lām al-Muwaqqi`īn 2:237, `Abdullāh ibn Mas`ūd disagreed with `Umar in more than one hundred issues.
[336] Al-Bayhaqiy: al-Sunan al-Kubrā 5:159; al-Tabariy: al-Riyād al-Nadirah 1-2:339; Musannaf `Abd al-Razzāq 5:88 H. 9084; al-Muttaqiy al-Hindiy: Kanz al-`Ummāl 14:100 H. 38052.
[337] For details on Mut`at al-Hajj, refer to the books of the Islamic laws.
[338] Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyya: Zād al-Ma’ād 2:208.
[339] Al-Shāfi`iy: Kitāb al-Umm 6:88; Sunan Abī-Dāwūd 3:129 H. 2927; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal 3:452; Sunan Ibn Mājah 2:883 H. 2642; Sunan al-Tirmidhiy 434; al-Bayhaqiy: al-Sunan al-Kubrā 8:134; Al-Khatīb al-Baghdādiy: Tārīkh Baghdad 8:343.
[340] Sunan Abī-Dāwūd 2:215 H. 2031; Sunan Ibn Mājah 2:104 H. 3116; al-Tabariy: al-Riyād al-Nadirah 1-2:339; al-Tabarāniy: al-Mu`jam al-Kabīr 7:300 H. 7195; Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalāniy: Fath al-Bāri fī Sharh Sahīh al-Bukhāriy 3:456; Sahīh al-Bukhāriy 2:578 H. 1517, 6:2655 H. 6847; al-Bayhaqiy: al-Sunan al-Kubrā 5:159 H. 9511; Musanaf Ibn Abī-Shaybah 6:466 H. 32976; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal 3:410.
[341] Musannaf `Abd al-Razzāq 7:352 H. 13449; al-Suyūtiy: al-Durr al-Manthūr 7:442; Fath al-Qadīr 5:19.
[342] Sunan Abī-Dāwūd 4:140 H. 4399, 4402; al-Hākim al-Nīsāpūriy: al-Mustadrak `Ala’l-Sahīhayn 2:68 H. 2351; al-Bayhaqiy: al-Sunan al-Kubrā 4:269, 8:264; Sunan al-Dāraqutniy 3:138 H. 173; Sunan al-Nassā'iy 4:324 H. 7347.
[343] Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyyah: al-Turuq al-Hikamiyyah 47 [as reported in al-`Āmiliy: al-Ghadīr 6].
[344] Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal 1:190; al-Bayhaqiy: al-Sunan al-Kubrā 2:332.
[345] Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal 3:482; Musannaf `Abd al-Razzāq 7:181 H. 16289.
[346] Al-Zamakhshariy: Tafsīr al-Kashshāf 1:258; Tafsīr al-Qur'ān al-`Adhīm 1:467; Tafsīr al-Qurtubiy 5:99; al-Suyūtiy: al-Durr al-Manthūr 2:446.
[347] Dr. Nādiah al-`Umariy: Ijtihād al-Rasūl 299.

Source:
The Prohibition of Recording the Hadith, Causes and Effects
A Glance at the Methodologies and Principles of the two Muslims Schools of Hadith
By: Sayyid Ali Al-Shahristani


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