Author: Aamir Hussaini
Can we not establish that who was right while discussing the events occurred after the martyrdom of Usman ibn Affan?
Was Caliphate of Ali Ibn Abi Talib a bad design devised by the killers of Usman Ibn Affan?
Was the Umayyad rulership a legitimate rule?
Ghamidi’s reply to the first question is “No”, “Yes” in reply to the second question and then “yes” in reply to the third question.
Can we call Ghamidi a moderate un-biased, non-partisan and non-sectarian scholar?
Before considering these issues, we need to understand the process of making meta-narrative on the history of early Islam under the rule of Banu Umayya.
The Umayyads after establishing their tyrant rule in Syria, Hijaz, Iraq and other centers of the early Muslim state patronaged a number of such Narrators (of the hadith and history) who rearranged and often distorted the events occurred in the period, which they called the period of “Fitnah-tul-Kubra” a term borrowed from those companions of the Holy Prophet who remained isolated from the election of Ali Ibn Abi Talib as the Fourth Caliph, and from the Battles of The Camel and the Siffin. Prominent non-partisan companions were Sa’ad bin Abi Waqas and Abdullah bin Umar. Abu Mosa Asha’ari was preaching the people of Kufa his non-partisan idea, therefore he didn’t participate in the Battle of Camel, before arrival of Ali Ibne Abi Talib’s delegation in Kufa, he was the governor of Kufa and in that period he made his best effort to convince the people of Kufa not to go to help the Ali Ibn Abi Talib’s armies in the Battle of the Camel.
Abdullah bin Umar and Sa’ad bin Abi Waqas were two such companions who really took the non-partisan position but some others like Saeed bin Al-Ass and some other elite from Bnu Umayyad’s sections although didn’t take part in the wars of the Camel and the Siffin, their hearts were inclined to Muawiyah bin Abi Sufiyan and after martyrdom of Ali Ibn Abi Talib and withdrawal of Imam Hasan from the caliphate, they joined the Banu Umayya as their supporters.
The Banu Umayyad patronaged the Saleh bin Kesan, Zuhri from Medina city, Saif bin Umar, Aamir bin Sharaheel Al-Sha’abi , Awana bin Al-Hakam from Kufa. These five persons are those who crafted and spread such narrations which supported directly or indirectly the narrative of the history related to the period of Fitnah-tul-Kubra.
Basic points of the meta-narrative of the history imposed on the masses by the Banu Umayyad were:
Election of Ali Ibn Talib as Caliph was designed by the rebellion mob which mainly consisted of those Kufi people who were later called Kufi Shias of Ali led by Malik Al-Ashtar, Hakeem bin Jablah, Hujar bin Adi and others.
It was the Kufi mob led by Malik Al-Ashtar who had brought certain companions of the Holy Prophet while dragging them under the shadow of their swords from their houses to the Mosque of the Prophet including Talah and Zubyer.
The Kufi mob under the command of Malik-Al-Ashtar warned the Mohajir and Ansar Sahabah either they accept Ali Ibn Abi Talib as the Caliph or be ready to be slaughtered. So, election of Ali Ibn Abi Talib was not with free consensus of the majority of Mohajir and Ansar Sahabah living in Medina at that time, and the majority of the Ahle-Medina was not ready to accept Ali Ibn Abi Talib as the Caliph of the Muslim Ummah. The Consensus of Ahle-Medina on Caliphate only occurred in the cases of Abu Bakar, Umar and Usman. So according to the pro-Umayyad meta-narrative on the history spread by five early narrators of that period was that caliphate of Ali Ibn Abi Talib was a disputed and defected thing.
We see Al-Sha’abi convincing his disciples from Mecca to Medina and from Kufa to Basra that only four companions from those who had taken part in the War at the place of Badar against the Infidels of Mecca, who indulged into Fitnnah-tul-Kubra through taking part in the wars of the Camel. Sha’abi, Saleh bin Kesan, Muhammad bin Shehab Zuhri and Saif bin Umar are those pioneers of the narrators who described such narrations which makes the election of Ali Ibn Abi Talib suspected and thus provides direct or indirect support of the stance of Muawiyah Ibn Abu Sufiyan against the claim of Ali Ibn Abi Talib of being legitimate Caliph as other three were.
The Umayyad dynasty’s first powerful monarch Abdul Malik bin Murwan bought a person from the Iraqi Arab tribe Banu Hamadan , whose majority members remained loyal to Ali Ibn Abi Talib and Ale-Muhammad, that person was Aamir bin Sharaheel Alsha’abi Al-hamadani Al-Kufi , who discredited the all pioneers of Kufi Shias even from his tribe Al-Hamadan, while he fabricated a large numbers of such narrations which proved them killers of Usman bin Abi Affan ,even such faction who not only betrayed Ali Ibn Abi Talib and others members of Ale Muhammad but enemies of Mohajir and Ansar Sahabah of Medina. Banu Umayyad established a group of experts on Asaneed/Chains of narrators led by Al-Sha’abi, Saleh bin Kesan who had rejected the pioneers of Kufi Shias/followers of Ale Muhammad not only as “True Narrators of Ahadiths” but as reliable narrators of the primary history of early Islam.
We see Sha’abi rejecting the Ahle-Qurra of the Kufa as reliable source of history and Ahadiths including Hujar bin Adi (senior companion of the Holy Prophet), Mukhanif bin Saleem, Malik Al-Ashtar, Adi bin Hatam and prominent Kufi personalities who had belonged to such Iraqi Arab tribes who had cooperated with Ali Ibne Abi Talib. Thus all Akhbars(Reports and Narrations) which revealed the positions taken by Ali Ibne Abi Talib, Muhammad bin Hanafia , Abdullah bin Abbas, majority of Mohajir and Ansar Sahabah living in Medina, Kufa, and Basra at that time of Fitnah-tul-Kubra were rejected by the bought narrators like Saleh bin Kesan, Zuhri and Al-Sha’abi etc.
Later Abu Mukhanif, Nasar bin Muzzahim Al-Manqri were discredited as un-reliable source of the history of early Islam because they had compiled all narrations related to Election of Imam Ali as Caliph, of the battle of the Camel, of the Siffin, of the all revolts against the Banu Umayyad dynasty, of the great tragedy of Karbala, atrocities of Banu Umayyad on the followers of Ali Ibne Abi Talib.
In modern times, we face some religious scholars who claim to be non-partisan and non-sectarian, neither inclined to the party of Alids, nor to Banu Umayyad while they are on the side of the people who were sold-out in the rule of Banu Umayyad.
One of tacit such pro-Umayyad cleric is Javed Ahmad Ghamdi. His one video has gone viral on social media in which first he classifies the early Islamic history into two groups:
History based on established facts and other on non-established facts.
He tells us that Election of three Caliphs was with consensus of the People of Medina including Mohajir and Ansar Sahabah (R.A). But election of Ali as Caliph with consensus of the People of the Medina including majority of Mohajir and Ansar Sahabah is not the established fact of the history. He says that occupation of whole Medina even on Mosque of the Holy Prophet by the miscreants who were killed Usman Bin Affan is another established fact of the history. Then he says that election of Ali Ibn Abi Talib as Caliph was a defected process and then Ali Ibn Abi Talib failed in establishing the writ of his government in the Islamic cities. So, he puts the question mark on the legitimacy of the rule of Ali Ibn Abi Talib. He says that rule of Moawiah and of other monarchs of Banu Umayyad were legitimate periods because they all established writ of their governments, no matter how they had established their writ. He ignores or consciously does not mention the level of oppression and tyranny which the Umayyads had used to establish their rule.
Ghamidi provides excuses for the rebellion of the people of Syria and their governor Muawiya against the Caliphate of Ali Ibn Abi Talib, while accepting the position taken by Umayyad against the Ali Ibn Talib’s rule. He becomes apologetic in defense of the rule of Banu Umayyad. When he takes apologetic view about rule of Yazid he never presents the disagreement of the people of Medina with Yazid, he ignores oppression and tyranny imposed on the people of Medina, of Mecca, of Kufa and Basra. He escapes from condemning Yazid over killing of Imam Hussain and others in Karbala. But he tries to save Yazid from the responsibility of what happened in the Karbala.
In fact, we see him representative of the rulers’ history of Islam manufactured by sell-out narrators mentioned above and he provides legitimacy for rule of tyrants just due to their established write, no matter how many people were killed during the so-called established writs.
In Ghamdi’s position, we find no sympathy for the wretched of the earth, the poor people and he never shows any solidarity with movements of the people against the tyrant rule of the Umayyads.