Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Continuing on with 9:40

إِلَّا تَنصُرُوهُ فَقَدْ نَصَرَهُ اللَّهُ إِذْ أَخْرَجَهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِي الْغَارِ إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا ۖ فَأَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَيَّدَهُ بِجُنُودٍ لَّمْ تَرَوْهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا السُّفْلَىٰ ۗ وَكَلِمَةُ اللَّهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيَا ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

If you do not aid the Prophet – Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” And Allah sent down his tranquillity upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah – that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.

(9:40 / Sahih International)

We will specifically look at the following part of the ayah:

فَأَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَيْهِ

…And Allah sent down His tranquillity upon him…

Who was His tranquility (سَكِينَتَهُ) sent down upon?

Interestingly, there is a difference of opinions on who Allah (swt) sent his tranquillity down upon. There are three main opinions.

  1. Sent down only upon Abu Bakr
  2. Sent down upon only the Prophet (sawa)
  3. Sent down upon both the Prophet (sawa) & Abu Bakr

Many of the ‘Sunni’ scholars are either neutral or believe that it was sent down upon the Messenger (sawa). For example, ibn al-Jawzy (Sunni) provides a summary of the three possibilities and remains neutral. He says:

in the [suffix] “h” of “Alayhi” (making it a 3rd person masculine singular object pronoun) there are three opinions. The first is that it returns to Abu Bakr, and this was according to Ali bin abi Taleb(1), ibn Abbas, and Habib bin abi Thabit. The proof used of those who took this stance was that the Prophet (sawa) was already in tranquility. The second opinion is that the pronoun returns to the Prophet (sawa), and this was the opinion of Maqaatil. The third opinion is that the (singular) pronoun is has the meaning of a duality, and this is suggests that Allah sent down His tranquillity upon them both, and it was sufficient to iterate the remembrance of only one of them rather than both of them, similar to the words of Allah (swt): “Allah, as well as His Messenger, has a greater right that they should please Him” (9:62 / Shakir), ibn al-Anbaari had this opinion.(2)

As for the the third opinion – that the (singular) pronoun “him” is has the meaning of a duality “them” – this is a very weak argument. This opinion is only taken by a minority, and goes against the linguistics and the Qur’an and context in general. The proof that ibn al-Jawzy used that suggests the Qur’an uses this style of language was the ayah: Allah, as well as His Messenger, has a greater right that they should please Him (9:62 / Shakir). This comparison is not fitting or appropriate to make. Allah (swt) only uses this style to emphasize Tawheed (Oneness of Allah). Allamah Tabataba’i (Shia) says about this ayah:

From the manners of Tawheed in the ayah “Allah, as well as His Messenger, has a greater right that they should please Him” (9:62 / Shakir) he has made the pronoun singular and did not say: “Allah, as well as His Messenger, have a greater right that they should please them“, to preserve the high status of the Most High in not having one being equal to Him. The like of this right attribution that are shared with the Most High, for Allah it is in his essence, and his self, and for others it is only through following or display such as the obligation of pleasure, honour, obedience among other things, or attribures such as knowledge, life, giving life, giving death among other things.

This manner has also been adopted in many places where the Prophet (sawa) was partnered with others from his ummah in some affairs, where the Prophet (sawa) was singled out, such as: “on the day on which Allah will not abase the Prophet and those who believe with him” (66:8 / Shakir) and “ But Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers” (48:26 / Sahih International) and “The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and the believers” (2:285) among other ayahs.(3)

As we can see from the above Allah (swt) separates Himself from others, and also separates the Prophet (sawa) from his ummah, due to their rank and honour. Therefore, we cannot simply suggest that when Allah (swt) said: “And Allah sent down His tranquillity upon him” that He included Abu Bakr along with the Prophet (sawa) when the singular form was used.

In fact, Sheikh al-Mufeed (ra) used a similar argument to this in his analysis of the ayah 9:40. In the dream in which inspired him with his refutations, he stated that the part: “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” He said:

“As for the assurance that ‘Allah is with us’, the pronoun ‘us’ was used by the Prophet for himself The use of plural pronoun for oneself is a sign of ones elevated status. Allah says: Indeed, We are the One who has revealed the Quran, and We will most surely preserve it.’ (Al-Hijr, 15:9). And again: ‘We are the One who gives life and ordains death, and We are the inheritor'(al-Hijr, 15:23).(4)

Of course, we have not used this argument at all in Part 3 of our argument regarding “Allah is with us”, as we believe that this style and manner of plurality pronoun in the place of a singular pronoun, is something reserved in the Qur’an for Allah (swt). However, if we accept the argument of ibn Jawzy of the singular of “him” in “And Allah sent down His tranquillity upon him” means plural, inclusive of Abu Bakr, where the only examples of this is seen in the Qur’an exclusively for Allah (swt) himself – then the argument of Sheikh al-Mufeed will be just as valid, if not more-so, since it is used commonly in modern Arabic today.

On the other hand, ibn Katheer (Sunni) explains that the tranquility being sent down upon the Prophet (sawa) is the popular opinion and that the arguments positing that it was sent down upon Abu Bakr are weak. He says:

{And Allah sent down His tranquillity upon him} meaning, His (Allah) support and aid is upon him, meaning upon the Messenger [of Allah] in the popular opinion. [However], it is said that it was sent upon Abu Bakr; and it is narrated from ibn Abbas and others, where they said: “Because tranquility does not lack in the Messenger.” [However] this [argument] does not object to the renewal of tranquility specifically for this situation, which is why [Allah] said [in continuing the ayah]: {and supported him with angels you did not see}, meaning the angels, {and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah – that is the highest.}(5)

Ibn Katheer here confirms that because the words “And Allah sent down His tranquillity upon him” are followed by “and supported him with angels you did not see” that the “him” must be referring to the Prophet (sawa). This is because the one who is aided by angels is the Prophet (sawa), as ibn al-Jawzy confirms, saying: “{And aided him} meaning the Prophet (sawa) without any doubt or objections (i.e. consensus).” Thus, the apparent of the ayah suggests the one whom tranquility was sent down upon from Allah (swt) is the Prophet (sawa) without a doubt.

Further to what ibn Katheer has stated above in rejection of the hadith of ibn Abbas (Because tranquility does not lack in the Messenger.), we find this clashes directly with many ayahs of the Qur’an such as the following:

ثُمَّ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَنزَلَ جُنُودًا لَّمْ تَرَوْهَا وَعَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ

Then Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers and sent down soldiers angels whom you did not see and punished those who disbelieved. And that is the recompense of the disbelievers. (9:26 / Sahih International)

إِذْ جَعَلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْحَمِيَّةَ حَمِيَّةَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ فَأَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَلْزَمَهُمْ كَلِمَةَ التَّقْوَىٰ وَكَانُوا أَحَقَّ بِهَا وَأَهْلَهَا ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا

When those who disbelieved had put into their hearts chauvinism – the chauvinism of the time of ignorance. But Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers and imposed upon them the word of righteousness, and they were more deserving of it and worthy of it. And ever is Allah , of all things, Knowing. (48:26 / Sahih International)

These ayahs show that the Messenger (sawa) has has tranquility sent down upon more than once, refuting the idea that because he has/was in a state of tranquility that it cannot be renewed.

Returning to 9:40 and looking at the whole ayah, we find that each pronoun generally returns back to the Prophet (sawa):
If you do not aid the Prophet – Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” And Allah sent down His tranquillity upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah – that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. (9:40 / Sahih International)

To say the “him” underlined above goes back to Abu Bakr is extremely far fetched and has no basis. This is especially emphasized when you look at the context of the ayah (and surah) and how Allah (swt) is completely focusing upon the support of Himself for the Prophet (sawa).

As for the Shia, without a shadow of doubt, the one whom Allah (swt) sent down his tranquility upon was the Prophet (sawa). This is clear in the school of thought of the ahlulbayt (as), according to the many traditions, hadiths and the exegesis of the Shia scholars.

al-Fakhr al-Razi, a famous Sunni Scholar, held the opinion that it was sent down upon Abu Bakr and provided a long analysis providing many reasons as to why. We will look at his arguments and and then refute them in totality.

Opinion of al-Fakhr al-Razi

al-Fakh al-Razi insists the pronoun returns to Abu Bakr. He says:

As for His (Allah’s) statement {And Allah sent down His tranquillity upon him}, whoever has said that the pronoun of “Alayhi” (upon him) refers to the Messenger, this opinion is void from many angles.

  1. The pronoun is obliged to return to the nearest person mentioned, and the nearest person mentioned in this ayah is Abu Bakr, because the Most High said {and he said to his companion} and the understanding of this is when Muhammad said to his companion Abu Bakr ‘Do not grieve’, and upon this understanding, the nearest previously mentioned person was Abu Bakr – so the pronoun must return back to him.
  2. Grief and fear was with Abu Bakr, and not with the Messenger (sawa), for his (sawa) heart was already content and tranquil from the promise of Allah (swt) that he will aid him against al-Quraish. When he (the Prophet) said to Abu Bakr “Do not grieve” he was calm, and tranquility was sent upon Abu Bakr so that is the reason his fear subsided, and he (Abu Bakr) was more in need of it (tranquility and subsiding of fear, because he was afraid) than the Prophet (sawa), since before this incident his (sawa) heart was tranquil and determined.
  3. If what was meant by the sending down of tranquility to be upon the Messenger, it must be said that the Messenger was afraid prior to this, and if this was the case he would not have had the capability to say to Abu Bakr {Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us}. If one is afraid how is he able to subside the fear from the heart of another person? If the truth is with what they say (that it came down upon the Prophet) then it should have been stated as: “So Allah sent down His tranquility upon him, so he said to his companion ‘Do not grieve‘” – And this is not a possibility, rather it was mentioned first that he (sawa) said to his companion “Do not grievethen it was mentioned the sending down of tranquility. We have learnt that the statement {And Allah sent down His tranquillity upon him} was after the Prophet had tranquility in his own heart. Since the situation is like this then the tranquility must have been sent upon Abu Bakr.

And if it is said: The pronoun in {And Allah sent down His tranquillity upon him} must be referring to the tranquility being sent upon the heart of the Messenger, and the proof of this is that the pairing of the pronoun in the following statement {and supported him with angels you did not see} and this is not fitting for anyone but the Messenger, and the coupling obligates the pairing of the pronoun “Alayhi” (upon him), so if it is established one pronoun refers to the Messenger, it obliges that the other coupled pronoun also refers to the Messenger.

I (al-Razi) say: This argument is weak, because His statement {and supported him with angels you did not see} is a a reference to the incident of [the battle of] Badr and it is coupled with the (earlier) words {Allah has already aided him} and the understanding of the ayah is that If you do not aid the Prophet – Allah has already aided him in the event of the cave and he said to his companion, “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” And Allah sent down His tranquillity upon him and supported him with angels you did not see in the event of Badr. If the situation is described like this, then this argument becomes void.(6)

Response to al-Razi

We will respond to al-Razi’s false tafseer one point at a time.

Point 1 – He says: “the pronoun is obliged to return to the nearest person mentioned.”

Reply: This is a completely absurd statement, especially from one who considers himself a mufassir of the Qur’an. There are many times where the Qur’an has gone against this “principle” that al-Razi posits.

He suggests the following:

إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا ۖ فَأَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَيْهِ

[…] when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” And Allah sent down His tranquillity upon him […] (9:40 / Sahih International)

Since the last mentioned person (other than Allah) was his companion then the next pronoun must return to him, and not the Prophet.

For the sake of brevity, we will provide one example which is strikingly similar to 9:40:

فَهَزَمُوهُم بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَقَتَلَ دَاوُودُ جَالُوتَ وَآتَاهُ اللَّهُ الْمُلْكَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَعَلَّمَهُ مِمَّا يَشَاءُ

So they defeated them by permission of Allah , and David killed Goliath, and Allah gave him the kingship and prophethood and taught him from that which He willed. […] (2:251 / Sahih International)

Here we see he last mentioned person (other than Allah) was Goliath (or in Arabic, Jaloot), however then the next pronoun does NOT return to him, but in fact to David (or in Arabic, Dawood).

This clearly proves al-Razi’s statement as false, when he said “the pronoun is obliged to return to the nearest person mentioned.”

He also later contradicts his own words where he states and supported him with angels you did not see refers back to the Prophet (sawa), despite the nearest person mentioned was the same as the previous statement!

Point 2 – He says: “He (Abu Bakr) was more in need of it (tranquility and subsiding of fear, because he was afraid) than the Prophet (sawa), for that before this incident his (sawa) heart was tranquil and determined.”

Reply: Firstly, al-Razi has not looked at the other ayahs which also do not give any suggestion that the Prophet (sawa) was in fear, or in huzn (grief) or distressed.

For example:

إِذْ جَعَلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْحَمِيَّةَ حَمِيَّةَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ فَأَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَلْزَمَهُمْ كَلِمَةَ التَّقْوَىٰ وَكَانُوا أَحَقَّ بِهَا وَأَهْلَهَا ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا

When those who disbelieved had put into their hearts chauvinism – the chauvinism of the time of ignorance. But Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers and imposed upon them the word of righteousness, and they were more deserving of it and worthy of it. And ever is Allah , of all things, Knowing. (48:26 / Sahih International)

ibn Katheer (Sunni) says about this ayah: (When those who disbelieved had put into their hearts chauvinism – the chauvinism of the time of ignorance.) when they refused to write (in the treaty document of Hudaybiyyah), `In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,’ and, `These are the terms agreed on by Muhammad, Allah’s Messenger.’ (7)

We find this incident is the incident of Hudaybiyyah:

Narrated Al-Bara bin `Azib:
When Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) concluded a peace treaty with the people of Hudaibiya, `Ali bin Abu Talib wrote the document and he mentioned in it, “Muhammad, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) .” The pagans said, “Don’t write: ‘Muhammad, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)’, for if you were an apostle we would not fight with you.” Allah’s Apostle asked `Ali to rub it out, but `Ali said, “I will not be the person to rub it out.” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) rubbed it out and made peace with them on the condition that the Prophet (ﷺ) and his companions would enter Mecca and stay there for three days, and that they would enter with their weapons in cases.
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ بَشَّارٍ، حَدَّثَنَا غُنْدَرٌ، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ أَبِي إِسْحَاقَ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ الْبَرَاءَ بْنَ عَازِبٍ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ لَمَّا صَالَحَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَهْلَ الْحُدَيْبِيَةِ كَتَبَ عَلِيٌّ بَيْنَهُمْ كِتَابًا فَكَتَبَ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏.‏ فَقَالَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ لاَ تَكْتُبْ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ، لَوْ كُنْتَ رَسُولاً لَمْ نُقَاتِلْكَ‏.‏ فَقَالَ لِعَلِيٍّ ‏ “‏ امْحُهُ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَقَالَ عَلِيٌّ مَا أَنَا بِالَّذِي أَمْحَاهُ‏.‏ فَمَحَاهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِيَدِهِ، وَصَالَحَهُمْ عَلَى أَنْ يَدْخُلَ هُوَ وَأَصْحَابُهُ ثَلاَثَةَ أَيَّامٍ، وَلاَ يَدْخُلُوهَا إِلاَّ بِجُلُبَّانِ السِّلاَحِ، فَسَأَلُوهُ مَا جُلُبَّانُ السِّلاَحِ فَقَالَ الْقِرَابُ بِمَا فِيهِ‏.‏

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 2698

Link: http://sunnah.com/bukhari/53/8

This hadith is found multiple times in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. See here.

This ayah shows that the tranquility was sent down upon both the Prophet (sawa) and the believers at the conclusion of the incident of Hudaybiyyah. There is no hint that the Prophet (sawa) had any fear or in huzn (grief) at this point in time, and after the completion of the treaty we find that Allah (swt) mentioned in the ayah: But Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers (48:4).

In fact, in the following ayah we can confirm this even further:

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ السَّكِينَةَ فِي قُلُوبِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لِيَزْدَادُوا إِيمَانًا مَّعَ إِيمَانِهِمْ ۗ وَلِلَّهِ جُنُودُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا

It is He who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the believers that they would increase in faith along with their [present] faith. And to Allah belong the soldiers of the heavens and the earth, and ever is Allah Knowing and Wise. (48:4 / Sahih International)

ibn Katheer (Sunni) says about this ayah: (It is He who sent down As-Sakinah), meaning, tranquility. Qatadah commented, “Grace into the hearts of the believers”, that is, the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, on the Day of Al-Hudaybiyyah. The companions were they, who accepted the call of Allah and His Messenger and obeyed the decisions of Allah and His Messenger. When their hearts felt content with acceptance and were at peace, Allah increased their faith, joining it to the faith they already had.(8)

Here we find no proof from the contexts of the ayahs, nor upon any reliable hadiths within both Shia or ‘Sunni’s’, that the Prophet (sawa) was in despair/grief/fear. In fact, we only find that some companions were having this feeling. For example, the following ‘Sunni’ Hadith’s:

It has been narrated on the authority of Anas b. Malik who said:
When they (Companions of the Holy Prophet) were overwhelmed with grief and distress on his return from Hudaybiyya where he had slaughtered his sacrificial beasts (not being allowed to proceed to Mecca), the Qur’anic verse: Inna fatahna… laka fathan mobinan to fauzan ‘aziman, (Surah 48), was revealed to him. (At this) he said: On me has descended a verse that is dearer to me than the whole world.
وَحَدَّثَنَا نَصْرُ بْنُ عَلِيٍّ الْجَهْضَمِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا خَالِدُ بْنُ الْحَارِثِ، حَدَّثَنَا سَعِيدُ بْنُ أَبِي، عَرُوبَةَ عَنْ قَتَادَةَ، أَنَّ أَنَسَ بْنَ مَالِكٍ، حَدَّثَهُمْ قَالَ لَمَّا نَزَلَتْ ‏{‏ إِنَّا فَتَحْنَا لَكَ فَتْحًا مُبِينًا * لِيَغْفِرَ لَكَ اللَّهُ‏}‏ إِلَى قَوْلِهِ ‏{‏ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا‏}‏ مَرْجِعَهُ مِنَ الْحُدَيْبِيَةِ وَهُمْ يُخَالِطُهُمُ الْحُزْنُ وَالْكَآبَةُ وَقَدْ نَحَرَ الْهَدْىَ بِالْحُدَيْبِيَةِ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ لَقَدْ أُنْزِلَتْ عَلَىَّ آيَةٌ هِيَ أَحَبُّ إِلَىَّ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا جَمِيعًا ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Reference: Sahih Muslim 1786 a

Link: http://sunnah.com/muslim/32/119

Some important notes about this hadith:

  1. The ‘Sunni’ translator of this hadith has stated that this was specific to the “Companions of the Holy Prophet” and not the Prophet (sawa) himself.
  2. It seems that the companions were still “overwhelmed with grief (huzn) and distress” after the incident of Hudaybiyyah. Then Surah al-Fath (48) was revelead and either atthe point of revelation or after the revelation of Surah al-Fath (Surah 48), their grief and distress was removed. The same surah that has the following ayahs describing the events of Hudaybiyyah, specifically: “But Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers” (48:26) and It is He who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the believers.” (48:4)
  3. Considering the above – It is apparent tranquility must have been sent down at or after the revelation of Surah al-Fath.
  4. The other possibility is that tranquility was sent down before the revelation of Surah al-Fath, but many of the companions (such as Anas b. Malik) were not considered to be of the “believers” in which Allah (swt) stated: “But Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers” (48:26) andIt is He who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the believers.” (48:4). Of course, most ‘Sunni’s’ will reject this possibility and take the possibility above, since it goes against the essence of the view of the Companions of the Prophet (sawa).

Now, keeping the above in mind, we look at another hadith:

Narrated Habib bin Abi Thabit:
I went to Abu Wail to ask him (about those who had rebelled against `Ali). On that Abu Wail said, “We were at Siffin (a city on the bank of the Euphrates, the place where me battle took place between `Ali and Muawiya) A man said, “Will you be on the side of those who are called to consult Allah’s Book (to settle the dispute)?” `Ali said, ‘Yes (I agree that we should settle the matter in the light of the Qur’an).” ‘ Some people objected to `Ali’s agreement and wanted to fight. On that Sahl bin Hunaif said, ‘Blame yourselves! I remember how, on the day of Al-Hudaibiya (i.e. the peace treaty between the Prophet (ﷺ) and the Quraish pagans), if we had been allowed to choose fighting, we would have fought (the pagans). At that time `Umar came (to the Prophet) and said, “Aren’t we on the right (path) and they (pagans) in the wrong? Won’t our killed persons go to Paradise, and theirs in the Fire?” The Prophet replied, “Yes.” `Umar further said, “Then why should we let our religion be degraded and return before Allah has settled the matter between us?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “O the son of Al-Khattab! No doubt, I am Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and Allah will never neglect me.” So `Umar left the place angrily and he was so impatient that he went to Abu Bakr and said, “O Abu Bakr! Aren’t we on the right (path) and they (pagans) on the wrong?” Abu Bakr said, “O the son of Al-Khattab! He is Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), and Allah will never neglect him.” Then Sura Al-Fath (The Victory) was revealed.”
حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ إِسْحَاقَ السُّلَمِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا يَعْلَى، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ بْنُ سِيَاهٍ، عَنْ حَبِيبِ بْنِ أَبِي ثَابِتٍ، قَالَ أَتَيْتُ أَبَا وَائِلٍ أَسْأَلُهُ فَقَالَ كُنَّا بِصِفِّينَ فَقَالَ رَجُلٌ أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يُدْعَوْنَ إِلَى كِتَابِ اللَّهِ‏.‏ فَقَالَ عَلِيٌّ نَعَمْ‏.‏ فَقَالَ سَهْلُ بْنُ حُنَيْفٍ اتَّهِمُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ فَلَقَدْ رَأَيْتُنَا يَوْمَ الْحُدَيْبِيَةِ ـ يَعْنِي الصُّلْحَ الَّذِي كَانَ بَيْنَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ ـ وَلَوْ نَرَى قِتَالاً لَقَاتَلْنَا، فَجَاءَ عُمَرُ فَقَالَ أَلَسْنَا عَلَى الْحَقِّ وَهُمْ عَلَى الْبَاطِلِ أَلَيْسَ قَتْلاَنَا فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَقَتْلاَهُمْ فِي النَّارِ قَالَ ‏”‏ بَلَى ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ فَفِيمَ أُعْطِي الدَّنِيَّةَ فِي دِينِنَا، وَنَرْجِعُ وَلَمَّا يَحْكُمِ اللَّهُ بَيْنَنَا‏.‏ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ يَا ابْنَ الْخَطَّابِ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَلَنْ يُضَيِّعَنِي اللَّهُ أَبَدًا ‏”‏‏.‏ فَرَجَعَ مُتَغَيِّظًا، فَلَمْ يَصْبِرْ حَتَّى جَاءَ أَبَا بَكْرٍ فَقَالَ يَا أَبَا بَكْرٍ أَلَسْنَا عَلَى الْحَقِّ وَهُمْ عَلَى الْبَاطِلِ قَالَ يَا ابْنَ الْخَطَّابِ إِنَّهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَلَنْ يُضَيِّعَهُ اللَّهُ أَبَدًا‏.‏ فَنَزَلَتْ سُورَةُ الْفَتْحِ‏.‏

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari (USC-MSA web (English) reference) Vol. 6, Book 60, Hadith 367; Arabic reference: Book 65, Hadith 4844

Link: http://sunnah.com/urn/181810

This is also found in Bukhari and Muslim with slight variations. For example:

[…] Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, ‘O Ibn Al- Khattab! I am the Messenger of Allah and Allah will never degrade me. Then `Umar went to Abu Bakr and told him the same as he had told the Prophet. On that Abu Bakr said (to `Umar). ‘He is the Messenger of Allah and Allah will never degrade him.’ Then Surat-al-Fath (i.e. Victory) was revealed and Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) recited it to the end in front of `Umar. On that `Umar asked, ‘O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Was it (i.e. the Hudaibiya Treaty) a victory?’ Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Yes”.

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 3182

Link: http://sunnah.com/bukhari/58/24

He said: Son of Khattab, I am the Messenger of Allah. Allah will never ruin me. (The narrator said): Umar went away, but he could not contain himself with rage. So he approached Abu Bakr and said: ‘Abu Bakr, aren’t we fighting for truth and they for falsehood? He replied: Yes. He asked: Aren’t those killed from our side in Paradise and those killed from their side in the Fire? He replied: Why not? He (then) said: Why should we then disgrace our religion and return while God has not yet decided the issue between them and ourselves? Abu Bakr said: Son of Khattab, verily, he is the Messenger of Allah, and Allah will never ruin him. (The narrator continued): At this (a Sura of) the Qur’an (giving glad tidings of the victory, al-Fath) was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). He sent for Umar and made him read it. He asked: Is (this truce) a victory? He (the Messenger of Allah) replied: Yes. At this Umar was pleased, and returned.

Reference: Sahih Muslim 1785 a

Link: http://sunnah.com/muslim/32/115

Some important notes about these hadith:

  1. If we accept that tranquility came down before the revelation of Surah al-Fath, then this would make many companions, especially Umar bin al-Khattab, of those who do not have any Imaan (Faith), since Allah (swt) stated that after the incident of Hudaybiyyah: “But Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers” (48:26) andIt is He who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the believers.” (48:4) – while Umar was filled with rage and anger, while other companions were filled with grieve and distress.
  2. The above will be rejected by ‘Sunni’s’ and will claim that tranquility came down with/after Surah al-Fath (48) was revealed and thus the likes of Umar bin al-Khattab found tranquility – as the hadith explains he was previously filled with “rage” and after the Surah was revealed he was “pleased”.
  3. If tranquility was sent down upon the Prophet (sawa) and believers with/after the revelation of Surah al-Fath, we find the Prophet (sawa) was already in a state of tranquility. His statement to Umar: “The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “O the son of Al-Khattab! No doubt, I am Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and Allah will never neglect me.” This is strikingly similar to his statement he said to Abu Bakr in the cave: “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.”, or according to the authentic hadith found in Bukhari: “O Abu Bakr, Shut up! (For we are) two and Allah is the Third of us.”

Thus, if the Prophet (sawa) was already tranquil, while companions were not – then tranquility came down with the revelation of Surah al-Fath – and the companions then became tranquil, while Allah (swt) says that tranquility also descended on the Prophet (sawa), it is clear that the Prophet (sawa) does not need to be in grief, distress, or fear to be on the recieving end of the tranquilty.

Furthermore, we look at the battle of Hunayn:

لَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ فِي مَوَاطِنَ كَثِيرَةٍ ۙ وَيَوْمَ حُنَيْنٍ ۙ إِذْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ كَثْرَتُكُمْ فَلَمْ تُغْنِ عَنكُمْ شَيْئًا وَضَاقَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْأَرْضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتْ ثُمَّ وَلَّيْتُم مُّدْبِرِينَ ثُمَّ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَنزَلَ جُنُودًا لَّمْ تَرَوْهَا وَعَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ

Allah has already given you victory in many regions and [even] on the day of Hunayn, when your great number pleased you, but it did not avail you at all, and the earth was confining for you with its vastness; then you turned back, fleeing. Then Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers and sent down soldiers angels whom you did not see and punished those who disbelieved. And that is the recompense of the disbelievers. (9:25-26 / Sahih International)

Ibn Kathir (Sunni) says in his tafseer of this ayah: Ibn Jurayj reported from Mujahid that this was the first Ayah of Bara’ah in which Allah, the Exalted, reminds the believers how He favored and blessed them by giving them victory in many battles with His Messenger. Allah mentioned that victory comes from Him, by His aid and decree, not because of their numbers or adequate supplies, whether the triumphs are few or many. On the day of Hunayn, the Muslims were proud because of their large number, which did not avail them in the least; they retreated and fled from battle. Only a few of them remained with the Messenger of Allah Allah then sent down His aid and support to His Messenger and the believers who remained with him, so that they were aware that victory is from Allah alone and through His aid, even if the victorious were few. Many a small group overcame a larger opposition by Allah’s leave, and Allah is ever with those who are patient.(10)

Here we see that many of the companions fled the battle field in fear. Only a few believers remained along with the Prophet (sawa) and did not flee. Then Allah (swt) sent down his tranquility upon the Prophet (sawa) and the believers that remained with him. Remember, al-Razi said: “He (Abu Bakr) was more in need of it (tranquility and subsiding of fear, because he was afraid) than the Prophet (sawa), for that before this incident his (sawa) heart was tranquil and determined.” If we apply this principle, shouldn’t the companions that fled in fear be more deserving than the Prophet (sawa) and the believers that stood firm and did not flee? Of course, the Qur’an is clear that those who fled were not deserving of this tranquility while the Prophet (sawa) and the believers who did not flee, who were patient, and firm in belief, were the ones who received it.

Secondly, there is no issues with Allah (swt) increasing tranquility upon tranquility. This is one of the blessings of Allah (swt). For example, Allah (swt) increases faith upon faith, light upon light, guidance upon guidance etc. In fact, in the same ayah regarding tranquility we see Allah (swt) says he increases the faith of those who already have faith:

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ السَّكِينَةَ فِي قُلُوبِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لِيَزْدَادُوا إِيمَانًا مَّعَ إِيمَانِهِمْ ۗ وَلِلَّهِ جُنُودُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا

It is He who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the believers that they would increase in faith along with their [present] faith. And to Allah belong the soldiers of the heavens and the earth, and ever is Allah Knowing and Wise. (48:4 / Sahih International)

in other ayahs we see increase of guidance:

وَالَّذِينَ اهْتَدَوْا زَادَهُمْ هُدًى وَآتَاهُمْ تَقْوَاهُمْ

And those who are guided – He increases them in guidance and gives them their righteousness. (47:17 / Sahih International)

on the other side we see Allah (swt) also increases in a negative sense, where the requirement must be the presence of it in the first place:

فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَهُمُ اللَّهُ مَرَضًا ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْذِبُونَ

In their hearts is disease, so Allah has increased their disease; and for them is a painful punishment because they [habitually] used to lie. (2:10 / Sahih International)

وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَتْهُمْ رِجْسًا إِلَىٰ رِجْسِهِمْ وَمَاتُوا وَهُمْ كَافِرُونَ

But as for those in whose hearts is disease, it has [only] increased them in evil [in addition] to their evil. And they will have died while they are disbelievers. (9:125 / Sahih International)

So to say that Abu Bakr had more right, or was in need of tranquility more-so than the Prophet (sawa) is a fallacy, for indeed at times there is a minimum requirement of something to be eligible for Allah (swt) to give it, or increase it. Abu Bakr lacked any patience and thus, potentially, was below the minimum threshold required to receive this tranquility in which the Prophet (sawa) was certainly deserving of it.

Thirdly, there are many hadiths that show that there is no need for fear or grief to be able to receive the tranquility from Allah (swt) which is a blessing. For example a ‘Sunni’ hadith:

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah and Abu Sa’eed bore witness that the Prophet(ﷺ) said:
“No people sit in a gathering remembering Allah, But the angels surround them, mercy covers them, tranquility descends upon them and Allah remembers them before those who are with Him.”
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ آدَمَ، عَنْ عَمَّارِ بْنِ رُزَيْقٍ، عَنْ أَبِي إِسْحَاقَ، عَنِ الأَغَرِّ أَبِي مُسْلِمٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، وَأَبِي، سَعِيدٍ يَشْهَدَانِ بِهِ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَا جَلَسَ قَوْمٌ مَجْلِسًا يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ فِيهِ إِلاَّ حَفَّتْهُمُ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ وَتَغَشَّتْهُمُ الرَّحْمَةُ وَتَنَزَّلَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ السَّكِينَةُ وَذَكَرَهُمُ اللَّهُ فِيمَنْ عِنْدَهُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Reference: Sunan Ibn Majah 3791

Grade: Sahih (Darussalam)

Link: http://sunnah.com/ibnmajah/33/136

Here we see that by the Prophet (sawa) remembering Allah (swt), and reminding Abu Bakr that He (swt) is the third in the cave (while Abu Bakr had forgotten Him), this was enough for tranquility to descend upon the Prophet (sawa).

Fourthly, it is suggested that one of the requirements that tranquility be sent down upon you is that you have already a level of imaan (faith/belief) to be eligible to recieve it. This seems to have been lacking in Abu Bakr. This will be explained later.

Finally, according to ‘Sunni’ Hadiths and mufassareen, the companions of the Prophet (sawa) believed al-Sakeenah meant something other than what al-Razi has described. The companion ibn Abbas says that al-Sakeenah is/means al-Rahmah (Mercy),(8)(10) and Qatadah said it is/means Grace,(8) Imam Ali (as) says it is a Spirit sent down with a face similar to man etc.(10) If this is the meaning of tranquility, there would be no need for fear or grief to be on the receiving end of this from Allah (swt), and would certainly be fitting to descend upon the Prophet (sawa) without the prerequisite of fear or grief.

Point 3 – He says: “If what was meant by the sending down of tranquility to be upon the Messenger, it must be said that the Messenger was afraid prior to this, and if this was the case he would not have had the capability to say to Abu Bakr {Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us}. If one is afraid how is he able to subside the fear from the heart of another person?”

Reply: This has been sufficiently refuted in the previous part, in that there is no necessity or proof that the Prophet (sawa) was afraid or in grief. However, we will add one more point. Looking at the situation and hadiths of both the Shia and the ‘Sunni’s’ we find that it may have been possible that the Prophet (sawa) was afraid because of the consequences of Abu Bakr’s actions. If we look at the following hadith we mentioned in Part 3:

Narrated Abu Bakr: I was with the Prophet (ﷺ) in the Cave. When I raised my head, I saw the feet of the people. I said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! If some of them should look down, they will see us.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “O Abu Bakr, Shut up! (For we are) two and Allah is the Third of us.”
حَدَّثَنَا مُوسَى بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، حَدَّثَنَا هَمَّامٌ، عَنْ ثَابِتٍ، عَنْ أَنَسٍ، عَنْ أَبِي بَكْرٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ كُنْتُ مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي الْغَارِ فَرَفَعْتُ رَأْسِي، فَإِذَا أَنَا بِأَقْدَامِ الْقَوْمِ، فَقُلْتُ يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ، لَوْ أَنَّ بَعْضَهُمْ طَأْطَأَ بَصَرَهُ رَآنَا‏.‏ قَالَ ‏ “‏ اسْكُتْ يَا أَبَا بَكْرٍ، اثْنَانِ اللَّهُ ثَالِثُهُمَا ‏”‏‏

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 3922; In-book reference: Book 63, Hadith 148; USC-MSA web (English) reference: Vol. 5, Book 58, Hadith 259 (deprecated numbering scheme)

Link: http://sunnah.com/bukhari/63/148

It is possible that the Prophet (sawa) was afraid the sounds of crying and complaints of Abu Bakr would lead to the Polytheists hearing them inside the cave. Thus, the Prophet (sawa) told Abu Bakr to be quiet, or to shut up, so that they would not be exposed. If this is the case, there is no issues with the Prophet (sawa) having the composure to say this to Abu Bakr. The fear the Prophet (sawa) had was different to the fear of Abu Bakr, which stemmed from his lack of understanding that Allah (swt) supports his Messenger (sawa) always – while the Prophet (sawa) was more concerned with the actions of Abu Bakr exposing them.

What is the big deal?

Some may wonder, why is it so important to understand upon whom the tranquility was sent down upon? Well, the simple answer is that if it was not sent down upon Abu Bakr, then his imaan (belief) comes into question. Allamah al-Majlisi (Shia) says:

It is clear that in this ayah in which the opponents (‘Sunni’s’) use as proof of the merit of Abu Bakr, is in fact proof of the weakness of his imaan (belief) and his yaqeen (certainty) and the many troubles he gave the Prophet (saw) while he accompanied him. . The ayah makes clear and apparent that he was afraid, and the reason for this was none other than his weakness in his imaan. The effects of this fear and cowardice, would have been harmful to him [The Prophet] (sawa) and and a scare for him, if it were not for the tranquility that was sent down upon him (sawa) by Allah,.

This ayah also points to an apparent proof against his imaan, because Allah, the Most High, always adds “the believers” whenever he mentions the descending of traqnuility upon the Messenger (sawa), like in Surah al-Tawhbah in the story of Hunain Then Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers and they (the believers) are the ones who stood firm along with the Commander of the Faithful under the banner. That day 80 men did not run away with those who ran away, and it has been established via both parties (Shia/’Sunni’) that Abu Bakr and Umar were not of those who stood firm, and were of those who fled. In Surah al-Fath He (swt) also said: “But Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers” (48:26), so the apparent is that the singling out of the Messenger (sawa) here (in 9:40) with the descending of tranquility shows that he (Abu Bakr) did not have any imaan. It is also clear for any person with intellect, that it is not permissible for the pronoun (of “him”) to refer to Abu Bakr, because the pronoun before this and after this refers to the Prophet (sawa) without question or objections (i.e. consensus). They are the pronouns {If you do not aid the Prophet – Allah has already aided him} and {had driven him out} and {his companion} and what He said after {and supported him} so how does one change whom the pronouns refer to other than him (the Prophet)? (11)

Others contend that for one to be eligible to recieve tranquility, there needs to be some level of imaan present in them due to the ayah:

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ السَّكِينَةَ فِي قُلُوبِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لِيَزْدَادُوا إِيمَانًا مَّعَ إِيمَانِهِمْ ۗ وَلِلَّهِ جُنُودُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا

It is He who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the believers that they would increase in faith along with their [present] faith. And to Allah belong the soldiers of the heavens and the earth, and ever is Allah Knowing and Wise. (48:4 / Sahih International)

If Abu Bakr was forbidden to receive this tranquility, it suggests there was a lack of imaan within Abu Bakr. This is why he was not eligible to receive this tranquility and Allah (swt) emphasizes that al-Sakeenah was only sent down upon the Prophet (sawa).

Argument of al-Ma’mun

Once al-Ma’mun gained some knowledge through Imam al-Ridha (as) and debated some of the non-Shia’s about this ayah:

[al-Ma’mun said]: Tell me, upon whom did God send down peace in the following Words of the Sublime God,‘…then Allah sent down His peace upon him…’” (9:40) Ishaq replied, “To Abi Bakr since the Prophet (sawa) did not need any peace. The Prophet (sawa) was not afraid.” He said, “Let me know about the Words of the Honorable the Exalted, ‘Allah has already given you victory in many regions and [even] on the day of Hunayn, when your great number pleased you, but it did not avail you at all, and the earth was confining for you with its vastness; then you turned back, fleeing. Then Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers…’”(9:25-26) Al-Ma’mun asked, “Do you know who is meant by the believers to whom the Sublime God refers in this verse?” I said, “I do not know.” Al-Ma’mun said, “On the day of the Battle of Hunayn the people fled from the battlefield. Only seven people from the Hashemites stayed with the Prophet of God (sawa). They consisted of Ali (as) who fought with his sword, Abbas who held the horse-strap for the Prophet of God (sawa), and five others who surrounded the Prophet (sawa) fearing that the pagans might strike him (sawa) with their weapons, until the Blessed the Sublime God granted victory to His Messenger (sawa). Therefore, the reference to the believers in this verse is to Ali (as) and those of the Hashemites who stayed there. Then who is nobler? The one (Ali (as)) who was with the Prophet (sawa) and peace descended upon him and the Prophet (sawa), or the one (Abu Bakr) who was with the Prophet (s) in the cave, but was not deserving enough for peace to be descended upon? O Ishaq! Which one is nobler? The one (Abu Bakr) who was in the cave with the Prophet (sawa) or the one (Ali (as)) who slept in the Prophet’s (sawa) bed sacrificing himself to allow the Prophet (sawa) to complete his Emigration. In fact, the Blessed the Sublime God ordered His Prophet (sawa) to order Ali (as) to sleep in the Prophet’s (sawa) bed, so that the Prophet’s (sawa) life would be saved. Ali (as) asked, “O the Prophet of GOD! Will you be saved this way?” The Prophet (s) said, “Yes.” Then Ali (as) said, “I hear and obey.”

Reference: `Uyoun Akhbaar al-Ridha, Volume 2, Pages 206-207, Chapter 45, Hadith #2.(12)

“And made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest”

On a side note, this part of the ayah within 9:40 also refers to Abu Bakr, according to a hadith in Tafseer al-Ayyashi. This hadith also confirms that the tranquility descended upon the Prophet (sawa):

`Abdullah bin Muhammad al-Hajjaal said: I was with abu al-Hassan al-Thaani [al-Ridha] (as) and with al-Hassan bin al-Jaham. Al-Hassan said to him: “They (non-Shia’s) use a proof against us in the statement of Allah, Blessed and High {as one of two, when they were in the cave}.” He [al-Ridha (as)] said: And what is (in favour) with them with that? By Allah, Allah has said “And Allah sent down his tranquillity upon his Messenger” and he (Allah) did not mention him (Abu Bakr) with goodness.” He (al-Hassan) said: “May my life be sacrificed for you, is this how you read it?” He (al-Ridha) replied: “This is its reading.” – al-Zurara said: Abu Ja`far [al-Baqir] (as) said: The tranquility was sent down upon the Messenger (sawa), do you not see that the tranquility surely was sent down upon the Messenger.” (When asked about) {And made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest} he [al-Baqir (as)] said: “This is the words that `Ateeq (Abu Bakr) spoke (in the cave).”

Reference: Tafseer al-Ayyashi, Volume 2, Page 94-95, Hadith #58.(13)

While according to Ali bin Ibrahim, in Tafseer al-Qummi, the words in the ayah “while the word of Allah – that is the highest.” is in reference to the words of the Messenger of Allah (sawa).(14)

Taking this into consideration, we find words Abu Bakr spoke, according to the hadiths of the ‘Sunni’s’, were “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! If some of them should look down, they will see us.”, which imply that they were about to be captured and killed. According to these hadiths, Allah (swt) refers to these words as the word of those who disbelieve. This is because Abu Bakr disbelieved in the support of Allah (swt) for his Messenger (sawa), which is why the Prophet (sawa) replied: “O Abu Bakr, be quiet! (For we are) two and Allah is the Third of us.” (See Part 3 for hadith). So the word of those who disbelieve (what Abu Bakr said) was made the lowest, while the word of Allah (what the Prophet replied to him) was made the highest – because ultimately, Allah (swt) was with the Prophet (sawa) and aided him (sawsa) in the cave. Thus the ayah explains: “If you do not aid the Prophet – Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” And Allah sent down his tranquillity upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah – that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.

Conclusion

From the beginning of Part 1 until now, we find absolutely no merit for Abu Bakr in this ayah. In fact, we find the opposite – where this ayah shows strong condemnation towards him. To begin with he was not invited to come with the Prophet (sawa) and was only taken by the Prophet (sawa) in fear that Abu Bakr would lead the Polytheists to him (Part 1), up until the ayah shows clearly the lack of imaan within Abu Bakr. The conclusion is best described by al-Sheikh al-Toosi in his tafseer. He says:

In this ayah there is no indication of any merit for Abu Bakr, because His (swt) words {as one of two} is simply information about the Prophet (sawa) leaving Makkah with one other person with him (sawa), and likewise His words {when they were in the cave} is information of them being inside the cave, and His words {and he said to his companion} has no praise in it either, because companionship does not increase merit as we can see Allah, the Most High, has said about the believer and disbeliever {His companion said to him while he was conversing with him, “Have you disbelieved in He who created you from dust and then from a sperm-drop and then proportioned you [as] a man?} and it is said an animal is named a companion to man, just as the statement of the poet or as it is said “the muslim man said to the other ‘I will send to you my Jewish companion'” and this does not indicate any merit. As for His (swt) words {Do not grieve} – if you do not accept these words was an admonition, then certainly it was not praise as it was a specific order to abstain from his fearfulness. His (swt) words {Surely Allah is with us} – It is said that it is meant “with” the Prophet (sawa). However, if it is said that it is meant that [Allah is with] Abu Bakr, it would not be a merit to him, because it is possible that the statement was said as an admonition, just as one would say to another if he sees him doing an evil action “Do not do this, indeed Allah is with us” i.e. he sees our actions, and knows our condition. As for the tranquility, we have already proven that it was sent down upon the Prophet (sawa) as well as proving that is aid by the Angels is exclusive to the Prophet (sawa), so we ask, where is the merit for the man if are not to be stubborn? Indeed we do not mention all this in slandering Abu Bakr, but rather we only (intended) to show that (the idea that) this ayah is proof of merit (for Abu Bakr) is not correct.(15)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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Footnotes

(1) According to fabricated ‘sunni’ hadiths they have stated that Ali (as) believed it referred to Abu Bakr, which is rejected by the standards of sciences of hadiths and the school of ahlulbayt (as).

(2) ibn al-Jawzy, Zaad al-Museer, 584

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(3) al-Tabataba’i, al-Mizan, Volume 9, Page 328

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(4) al-Mufeed, English Edition (https://www.al-islam.org/al-amali-dictations-shaykh-al-mufid/past-master-sheikh-al-mufid)

(5) ibn Katheer, Tafseer al-Qur’an al-`adheem, Volume 4, Page 155

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(6) al-Razi, Tafseer Fakhr al-Razi, Volume 16, Page 67-68

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(7) ibn Katheer, Tafseer al-Qur’an al-`adheem, Volume 7, Page 345

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(8) ibn Katheer, Tafseer al-Qur’an al-`adheem, Volume 7, Page 328

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(9) ibn Katheer, Tafseer al-Qur’an al-`adheem, Volume 4, Page 125

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(10) al-Suyooti, al-Durr al-Manthoor, Volume 3, Page 142

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(11) al-Majlisi, Mir’aat al-`Uqool, Volume 26, Pages 254-255

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(12) `Uyoun Akhbaar al-Ridha, Volume 2, Pages 206-207, Chapter 45, Hadith #2

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(13) Tafseer al-Ayyashi, Volume 2, Page 94-95, Hadith #58

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(14) Tafseer al-Qummi, Volume 1, Page 290

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(15) al-Toosi, al-Tibiyyaan fi Tafseer al-Quraan, Volume 5, Page 222-223

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