When it comes to the question of Unity, many use the proof that Imam Ali (as) supported and helped advise the first three caliphs.

1. Imam Ali (as) fought wars under Abu Bakr (as well as give bay’ah).
2. Imam Ali (as) was adviser for Umar.
3. Imam Ali (as) sent his sons (Hassan and Hussain (as)) to defend Uthman at his house.

If Imam Ali (as) “hated” the first three usurpers, why would he help them? Was it for unity? Is all of this True or are they Myths?



Many have misunderstood the reasoning behind Imam Ali’s (as) advice, or support in wars to the first two usurpers. There is no indication that his advice or support was for the benefit of anyone other than the oppressed and the sanctity and salvation of Islam.

Firstly, let us look at the advise he provided Umar.

Was Imam Ali (as) an adviser for Umar?

When it comes to advice, often incorrect rulings were made by the three usurping oppressors, and Imam Ali (as) was obliged to speak out for the sake of Justice.

There is absolutely no doubt that the best of judges among the Muslims after the demise of the Prophet (sawa) was Imam Ali (as). This fact could not be hidden by the propaganda machines and survives in the literature of the Mukhalafeen.

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said: “We used to say that the best judge among the people of Madinah was ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him.”

Source: Mustadrak `Ala Al-Sahihain, Al-Haakim, Volume 3, Page 145, Hadith #4656 (See Image)

Grading: Al-Haakim says “This hadith is sahih upon the standard of the two Shaykhs (Bukhari & Muslim) but we do not find it in their books”

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Narrated Ibn `Abbas:
`Umar said, “Our best Qur’an reciter is Ubai and our best judge is `Ali; and in spite of this, we leave some of the statements of Ubai because Ubai says, ‘I do not leave anything that I have heard from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) while Allah: “Whatever verse (Revelations) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten but We bring a better one or similar to it.” (2.106)

حَدَّثَنَا عَمْرُو بْنُ عَلِيٍّ، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى، حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، عَنْ حَبِيبٍ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَيْرٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ عُمَرُ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ أَقْرَؤُنَا أُبَىٌّ، وَأَقْضَانَا عَلِيٌّ، وَإِنَّا لَنَدَعُ مِنْ قَوْلِ أُبَىٍّ، وَذَاكَ أَنَّ أُبَيًّا يَقُولُ لاَ أَدَعُ شَيْئًا سَمِعْتُهُ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَقَدْ قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى ‏{‏مَا نَنْسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نَنْسَأْهَا‏}‏

Source: Sahih Bukhari
USC-MSA web (English) reference: Vol. 6, Book 60, Hadith 8
Arabic reference: Book 65, Hadith 4481
Link: http://sunnah.com/urn/41630

All this, of course, solidified by the Du’a of the Prophet (sawa) and Ali (as) proclaiming he never had doubts about his decision making:

Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) sent me to the Yemen as judge, and I asked: Messenger of Allah, are you sending me when I am young and have no knowledge of the duties of a judge? He (The Prophet (sawa)) replied: Allah will guide your heart and keep your tongue true. When two litigants sit in front of you, do not decide till you hear what the other has to say as you heard what the first had to say; for it is best that you should have a clear idea of the best decision. He (Ali) said: I had been a judge (for long); or he said (the narrator is doubtful): I have no doubts about a decision afterwards.

حَدَّثَنَا عَمْرُو بْنُ عَوْنٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنَا شَرِيكٌ، عَنْ سِمَاكٍ، عَنْ حَنَشٍ، عَنْ عَلِيٍّ، عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ قَالَ بَعَثَنِي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِلَى الْيَمَنِ قَاضِيًا فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ تُرْسِلُنِي وَأَنَا حَدِيثُ السِّنِّ وَلاَ عِلْمَ لِي بِالْقَضَاءِ فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَيَهْدِي قَلْبَكَ وَيُثَبِّتُ لِسَانَكَ فَإِذَا جَلَسَ بَيْنَ يَدَيْكَ الْخَصْمَانِ فَلاَ تَقْضِيَنَّ حَتَّى تَسْمَعَ مِنَ الآخَرِ كَمَا سَمِعْتَ مِنَ الأَوَّلِ فَإِنَّهُ أَحْرَى أَنْ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكَ الْقَضَاءُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَمَا زِلْتُ قَاضِيًا أَوْ مَا شَكَكْتُ فِي قَضَاءٍ بَعْدُ ‏.‏

Grade: Hasan (Al-Albani)      حسن   (الألباني)     حكم
Reference: Sunan Abi Dawud 3582
In-book reference: Book 25, Hadith 12
English translation: Book 24, Hadith 3575
Link: http://sunnah.com/abudawud/25/12

Time and time again, we find Imam Ali (as) protecting the oppressed. We find in the literature of the Mukhalifeen, how Imam Ali (as) would go about correcting the poor oppressive judgements of the usurpers.

“Ali b. Abi Talib passed by a lunatic woman from so-and-so tribe, and she had committed adultery. ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭab ordered that she be stoned to death. So, ‘Ali returned her and said to ‘Umar, “O Amir al-Muminin! Do you want to stone this (woman)?” He (‘Umar) replied, “Yes”. He (‘Ali) said, “Do you remember that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: ‘The pen has been lifted about three people: the mentally ill, the person sleeping until he wakes up, and the child until he becomes an adolescent.” He (‘Umar) responded, “You have said the truth”. So, he freed her (i.e. the lunatic woman)”

Source: Mustadrak `Ala Al-Sahihain, Al-Haakim, Volume 1, Page 389, Hadith #949 (See Image)

Grading: Al-Haakim says “This hadith is sahih upon the standard of the two Shaykhs (Bukhari & Muslim) but we do not find it in their books”; al-Dhahabi (d. 748 H) concurs: “Sahih upon the standard of both of them”

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In Sunan Abu Dawud (One of the “Sahih Sittah” books of the Mukhalafeen) we find a more detailed (and disturbing) version:

Narrated Ali ibn Abu Talib:
Ibn Abbas said: A lunatic woman who had committed adultery was brought to Umar. He consulted the people and ordered that she should be stoned.
Ali ibn AbuTalib passed by and said: What is the matter with this (woman)? They said: This is a lunatic woman belonging to a certain family. She has committed adultery. Umar has given orders that she should be stoned.
He (Ali) said: Take her back. He (Ali) then came to him (Umar) and said: Commander of the Faithful, do you not know that there are three people whose actions are not recorded: a lunatic till he is restored to reason, a sleeper till he awakes, and a boy till he reaches puberty?
He (Umar) said: Yes. He (Ali) then asked: Why is it that this woman is being stoned?
He (Umar) said: There is nothing. He (Ali) then said: Let her go. He (Umar) let her go and began to utter: Allah is most great.

حَدَّثَنَا عُثْمَانُ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا جَرِيرٌ، عَنِ الأَعْمَشِ، عَنْ أَبِي ظَبْيَانَ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ أُتِيَ عُمَرُ بِمَجْنُونَةٍ قَدْ زَنَتْ فَاسْتَشَارَ فِيهَا أُنَاسًا فَأَمَرَ بِهَا عُمَرُ أَنْ تُرْجَمَ فَمُرَّ بِهَا عَلَى عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ رِضْوَانُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ فَقَالَ مَا شَأْنُ هَذِهِ قَالُوا مَجْنُونَةُ بَنِي فُلاَنٍ زَنَتْ فَأَمَرَ بِهَا عُمَرُ أَنْ تُرْجَمَ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَقَالَ ارْجِعُوا بِهَا ثُمَّ أَتَاهُ فَقَالَ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَمَا عَلِمْتَ أَنَّ الْقَلَمَ قَدْ رُفِعَ عَنْ ثَلاَثَةٍ عَنِ الْمَجْنُونِ حَتَّى يَبْرَأَ وَعَنِ النَّائِمِ حَتَّى يَسْتَيْقِظَ وَعَنِ الصَّبِيِّ حَتَّى يَعْقِلَ قَالَ بَلَى ‏.‏ قَالَ فَمَا بَالُ هَذِهِ تُرْجَمُ قَالَ لاَ شَىْءَ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَأَرْسِلْهَا ‏.‏ قَالَ فَأَرْسَلَهَا ‏.‏ قَالَ فَجَعَلَ يُكَبِّرُ ‏.‏

Grade: Sahih (Al-Albani)      صحيح   (الألباني)     حكم
Reference     : Sunan Abi Dawud 4399
In-book reference: Book 40, Hadith 49
English translation: Book 39, Hadith 4385
Link: http://sunnah.com/abudawud/40/49

When we now turn to Shia Hadiths, we find a similar story. Imam Ali (as) intervenes when he sees injustice and oppression.

“I heard a boy in al-Madinah saying, ‘O best of judges, judge between me and my mother.’ ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab asked, ‘O boy, why do you pray against your mother?’ He replied, ‘O `Amir al-Mu’minin, she bore me in her womb for nine months and breastfed me until I began to move, learn to distinguish between good and bad, right and left. She then expelled me and disowned me as if she did not know me at all.’ ‘Umar asked, ‘Where is your mother?’ He replied, ‘She is in Saqifah (meeting place) of banu so and so.’ ‘Umar commanded to bring her to him. They brought her before him with her four brothers and forty people who took an oath that she did not know the boy. The boy is an oppressive and aggressive boy who wants to disgrace her in her tribe, that she is a girl from Quraysh who has not married anyone and that she still has the seal of the Lord, on her. ‘Umar then asked the boy, ‘What do you say?’ He replied, ‘O `Amir al-Mu’minin, by Allah she is my mother who bore me for nine months in her womb, breastfed me for two years. When I began to move, learned what is good and what is bad and which is my right and my left she expelled me, disowned me and thought that she did not know me.’ ‘Umar then asked her, ‘What does the boy say?’ She replied, ‘O `Amir al-Mu’minin, I swear by the One who is hidden in light, no eye can see Him and by the right of Muhammad and his progeny, that I do not know him and I do not know to which people does he belong except that he is a boy whose claim disgraces me in my tribe. I am a girl from Quraysh and I am not yet married. I still have the seal (virginity) from my Lord on me.’ ‘Umar asked, ‘Do you have witnesses?’ She replied, ‘Yes, these people are my witnesses.’ Forty people came forward and took oath before ‘Umar that the boy’s claim was false, that he wanted to disgrace her in her tribe, that she is a girl from Quraysh who is not married yet and that she still has the seal (virginity) from the Lord on her.’ ‘Umar then ordered the boy to be jailed so that he can examine the witnesses if they are balanced then subject the boy to the penalty applicable to a falsely accuser. As they took the boy to jail `Amir al-Mu’minin, Ali, ‘Alayhi al-Salam, met them on the way and the boy cried, ‘O son of the uncle of the Messenger of Allah, O Allah, grant compensation to Muhammad and his family worthy of their services to Your cause, I am an oppressed boy.’ He repeated the words of ‘Umar and said that ‘Umar has commanded to imprison him. Ali, ‘Alayhi al-Salam, then told them to return him back to ‘Umar. When they returned, ‘Umar said, ‘I commanded you to jail him but you have brought him back to me.’ They replied, ‘O `Amir al-Mu’minin, Ali ibn abu Talib has told us to return him back to you and we have heard you saying, “Do not disobey Ali ibn abu Talib, ‘Alayhi al-Salam.”’ At this time Ali, ‘Alayhi al-Salam, arrived and asked to bring the mother of the boy before him. She was then brought before Ali, ‘Alayhi al-Salam. Ali, ‘Alayhi al-Salam, asked, ‘What do you say, O boy?’ He repeated his words. Ali ‘Alayhi al-Salam, then asked ‘Umar, ‘Do you allow me to judge among them?’ ‘Umar replied, ‘Allah is free of all defects, how will I not allow you when I heard the Messenger of Allah, O Allah, grant compensation to Muhammad and his family worthy of their services to Your cause, saying, “The most knowledgeable among you is Ali ibn abu Talib.”’ Ali, ‘Alayhi al-Salam, then asked the woman, ‘Do you have witnesses?’ She replied, ‘Yes,’ and forty swearing men came forward who presented the testimony that they had done before. Ali, ‘Alayhi al-Salam, said, ‘Today I will judge with a judgment that will be acceptable to the Lord from above the throne in the way my beloved, the Messenger of Allah, O Allah, grant compensation to Muhammad and his family worthy of their services to Your cause, has taught me.’ Ali, ‘Alayhi al-Salam, then asked her, ‘Do you have a guardian?’ She replied, ‘Yes, these are my brothers.’ He (the Imam) then asked her brothers, ‘Can I command your sister?’ They replied, ‘Yes, O son of the uncle of Muhammad, O Allah, grant compensation to Muhammad and his family worthy of their services to Your cause, your command on us and on our sister is obligatory.’ Ali, ‘Alayhi al-Salam, said, ‘I hereby appoint Allah as witness and all the Muslims present that I pronounce this boy and this girl as wife and husband for a mahr (dower) of four hundred dirham which is payable from my assets. O Qanbar, bring for us the dirhams.’ Qanbar then brought the dirhams. He placed in the hand of the boy and said, ‘Take it, place it in the lap of your woman, and do not come back to us without signs of being married, after Ghusl (bath)’ The boy took the dirhams and placed them in the lap of the woman, then asked her to stand up. The woman cried, ‘It is the fire, it is the fire. O son of the uncle of Muhammad, why do you give me in marriage to my own son, this one? This by Allah is my son. My brothers gave me in marriage to a Hajin (ignoble) man from whom I gave birth to this boy. When he grew up, they commanded me to disown and expel him. This by Allah is my son, and my heart burns for my son in regret.’ She then took the hand of the boy and left and ‘Umar said aloud, ‘Woe is you O ‘Umar, if it were not for Ali, ‘Umar would have perished.’

Sanad: Ali ibn Muhammad has narrated from Ibrahim ibn Ishaq al-Ahmar who has said that narrated to me ‘Isa ibn Yusuf ibn Muhammad a relative of Sa‘id al-`Amraniy who has said that narrated to him Suwayd ibn Sa‘id from ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Ahmad al-Farsiy from Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn abu Layla’ from ‘Aytham ibn Jamil from Zuhayr from abu Ishaq al-Sabi‘iy from Asem ibn Hamzah al-Saluliy who has said the above hadith.

Source: Furu’ Al-Kafi, Volume 7, Hadith #14287 (See Image)

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Of course these words “if Ali would have not been present ‘Umar would have been destroyed” (لو لا علی لهلک عمر) is found in many books of both the khaasa (Shia) and the Aammah (Non-Shia). For more information on this statement see following article.

We see clearly that Imam Ali (as) defended the rights of the oppressed and only spoke out for the sake of Justice.

Did Imam Ali (as) fight in wars under the rule of Abu Bakr?

Another tale that the Mukhalafeen use is the idea that Imam Ali (as) supported Abu Bakr by fighting in the wars. This is far from the truth.

Firstly, again there is no doubt of the ferocity of Imam Ali (as) on the battle field.

“…’Ali chanted in reply: I am the one whose mother named him Haidar, (And am) like a lion of the forest with a terror-striking countenance. I give my opponents the measure of sandara in exchange for sa’ (i. e. return their attack with one that is much more fierce)…”

Reference: Sahih Muslim 1807 a
In-book reference: Book 32, Hadith 160
USC-MSA web (English) reference: Book 19, Hadith 4450
(deprecated numbering scheme)
Link: http://sunnah.com/muslim/32/160

Imam Ali (as) was the savior at Badr, Uhud, Khaybar, Khandaq…. but what happened after the Prophets (sawa) demise? we see Ali (as) the warrior no longer take part in any of the expeditions! Of course, why should he follow the commands of tyrants?!

The only war Ali (as) took part in was ONE of the Ridda wars, where the apostates attacked Medina – the Capital City of the Muslim Ummah.

Even still, this does not by any means suggest he supported the usurped caliphate of Abu Bakr.

Imam Ali (as) said:

“By Allah! It never crossed my mind that after the Holy Prophet (S) the Arabs would take away this thing from the people of his House and would deprive us of our established right after his death. The thing which made me observe silence was the oath of allegiance taken by the people to Abu Bakr. For this reason I kept aloof until I felt that the conditions had assumed such a shape that the people were inclined to deviate from Islam and were endeavouring to destroy the religion of Muhammad (S)!

I therefore feared that if I did not lend support to Islam and the Muslims there was a real danger of Islam becoming extinct. And it is evident that it was a much greater and a much heavier calamity for me than being deprived of ruler ship and Caliphate. This is so because ruler ship is something transitory and nothing can be found in it except temporary delight, and its sight is just like a deceptive mirage or like a piece of cloud which appears in the atmosphere and passes away soon. For this reason I rose at the proper time so that falsehood was subdued and the structure of the faith became firm!

Source: Biography of Ammar ibn Yasir by Sadruddin Sharafuddin al-Amili

Link: http://www.al-islam.org/ammar-ibn-yasir-a-companion-of-the-prophet-sadruddin-sharafuddin-al-amili/chapter-11-day-yamama

This is a general rule to all Muslims, that defending Islam, and defensive Jihad – EVEN UNDER TYRANT RULER – is an obligation upon us.

“I once asked abu al-Hassan al-Rida’, ‘Alayhi al-Salam, ‘I pray to Allah to keep my soul in service for your cause, one of followers had heard that a man gives away sword and horse for the cause of Allah. He went to that man and took the two items but he did not know the rules. His companions met him and told him that working in the way (of Allah) with these people is not permissible and they commanded them to return the items.’ He (the Imam) said, ‘He should do so.’ The man said, ‘He searched for the man but did not find him. It was said that the man has left.’ He (the Imam) said, ‘He should serve as a guard but he must not fight.’ The man then asked, ‘Should he serve as a guard in Qazwin, al-Daylam and ‘Asqalan?’ He (the Imam) said, ‘No, unless there is fear for the (offspring of) other Muslims.’ The man then asked, ‘Do you say that if Romans entered the lands of the Muslims, they should not stop them?’ He (the Imam) said, ‘It is to be on their guard but not fighting. However, if the center of al-Islam and Muslims is feared for, then one must fight. In such case his fighting is for his own sake and not for the authority (the king).’ The narrator has said that he then asked, ‘If the enemy comes to the place where he serves as a guard then what should he do?’ He (the Imam) said, ‘He fights for the center of al-Islam but not for these people. It is because in the wear and tear of al-Islam is wear and tear of the religion of Muhammad, O Allah, grant compensation to Muhammad and his family worthy of their services to Your cause.’”

Sanad: Ali ibn Ibrahim and Muhammad ibn ‘Isa have narrated from Yunus who has said the above hadith.

Source: Furu’ Al-Kafi, Volume 5, Hadith #8180

Grading: Allamah Majlisi says it is Sahih/Authentic (صحيح) [Mira’at Al-Uqool, Volume 18, Page 346 (See Image)]

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As for giving the Oath Of Allegiance (Bay’ah), Imam Ali (as) did not willingly give this. We find in Sahih Bukhari, narrated from Aisha, that Imam Ali (as) abstained from giving any form of allegiance (willingly or unwillingly) for six months (click here for hadith). In Kitab Sulaym bin Qays Al-Hilali we see the manner the bay’ah was given:

Umar said: “O Ali, stand up and pay allegiance.” He (a.s) asked: “If I do not do it?” He (Umar) replied: “By God, this time we will kill you.” Ali (a.s) presented his argument three times, then without opening his palm he stretched his hand. Abu Bakr put his hand on it and was happy with that.

Source: Kitab Sulaym bin Qays Al-Hilali, Page 157-158 (See Image)

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For more information on why Imam Ali (as) see following article: http://purifiedhousehold.com/2014/11/19/why-imam-ali-as-did-not-rise-up/

Did Imam Ali (as) send his sons to defend the house of Uthman?

Again, another Myth. This story is not found in the books of the Shia, and was only a concoction of the Ummayad (la) propaganda machine.

We quote Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi:

“Some historians have claimed that Imam al-Hasan defended Uthman on the Day of the House (youm al-daar) according to his father’s order, and that he showed extreme courage in this respect, to the extent that he was stained with his blood. Without doubt this is among the things fabricated by the Umayyads. That is because Imam al-Hasan (a.s) and the rest of the righteous Muhajireen and of the Ansar isolated themselves from Uthman; rather they were among those who harbored malice against him. None was present to defend him except the Umayyads and some opportunists. If Uthman had had any popular base in the society, the revolutionists would not have been able to kill him.

All the companions of the Prophet deserted him. None of them hurried to help and support him; rather they glorified the revolt against him and urged the revolutionists. According to these attitudes, how was it possible for Imam al-Hasan to violate the unanimous resolution and go to defend Uthman?

Anyway al-Amini, a researcher, has falsified such a report and regarded it as among the fabricated ones.”

Source: THE LIFE OF IMAM AL-HASAN AL-MUJTABA, Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi, [حياة الإمام الحسن بن علي عليهما السلام دراسة وتحليل –  باقر شريف القرشي , Page 279-280, (See Image)]

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Conclusion

We find the only time Imam Ali (as) would “support” the usurpers was for the sake of Justice, and preservation of Al-Islam.

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves” (4:135)

Despite being a difficult task for Mola Ali (as) we know it was for the benefit of Al-Islam, and he was not interested in the “cheap” Caliphate that was worse less than his own torn shoe. Imam Ali (as) was always the Mola of the believers – whether it was recognized by the hypocrites or not.