6 – Misquotation of Shiblī al-Nu`mānī’s al-Fārūq


Published by SunniDefense © on June 15th, 2009

Answering-Ansar Article:
Saqifa; the debacle of Islamic Government (Revision: 1.1.0)

The Answering-Ansar website and its supporters try very hard to portray the first of the Muslims as the worst of the Muslims. In the article titled ‘Saqifa; the debacle of Islamic Government, the Answering-Ansar team has tried the same by “proving” that the Companions of Prophet Muĥammad (saws)—particularly Abū Bakr and `Umar (ra)—abandoned his funeral and engaged in other activities.

They emotionally write about this in the following words:

Quoting Answering-Ansar:

It is common for a person to become the subject of stern condemnation and ridicule of he fails to attend a friend or relatives funeral. It can lead to friendships ending and families becoming divided because we will all die one day and it is expected that those closely linked to the deceased will attend. Relatives frequently fly thousands of miles to reach a deceased loved one’s funeral. Compare this to men who were close associates of the Holy Prophet (saaws). Rather than remain close to him and participate in his funeral they departed from the very room where his body was laid to rest, entered the debate at Saqifa, never looking back, never asking for proceedings to be delayed until after the funeral, they preferred the lengthy discussion of who will lead the Ummah than the funeral of the Leader of mankind. We would ask our readers to spare some time to these points. Lest there remain any doubt over the events as described by us we will shall quote the words of the Hanafi scholar, Allamah Shibli Numani:

“It is apparently surprising that no sooner did the Prophet die than the struggle for Caliphate commenced and even the burial of the body of the Founder of Islam became a matter of secondary consideration in the quarrels that arose over the question of succession. Who can for a moment conceive the spectacle of the Prophet lying dead, while those who asserted their love and attachment towards him in his lifetime, without even waiting to look to his remains being suitably interred, were hurrying away to see that others did not secure the headship of the state for themselves!

It is still more surprising that this act is attributed to the persons (Abu Bakr and Omar) who are the brightest stars of the Islamic firmament and the unpleasantness of the act becomes still more poignant when it is remembered that those persons who were connected with the Prophet by ties of blood and kinsmanship (‘Ali and the Banu Hashim) were naturally affected by his death and the sad bereavement prostrated them with grief, which, coupled with their anxiety to perform the last offices to the dead, hardly left the room for ulterior considerations”.
 Al Farooq, by Allamah Shibli Numani, translated by Maulana Zafar Ali Khan Vol 1 p 85-86

In the end what transpired at the Saqifa is astounding, even to the casual observer. Even Shibli Numani, a die-hard defender of the institution, has written of the event with much astonishment based upon his pre-suppositions of the character of those involved at the Saqifa.

Saqifa; the debacle of Islamic Government, page 23

When an average Shī`ī or Sunnī reads this, the first impression he gets is that Shiblī al-Nu`mānī (d. 1332) concurred to all the views expressed by the Answering-Ansar team in his work al-Fārūq. This is what the Answering-Ansar team has portrayed too, as it is evident from the abovementioned quote. But the truth is that this is a clear misquote that misrepresents the true stance of al-Nu`mānī.

al-Nu`manī himself writes right after those quoted words:

ہم اس کو تسلیم کرتے ہیں کہ کتب حدیث وسیر سے بظاہر اسی قسم کا خیال پیدا ہوتا ہے لیکن در حقیقت ایسا نہیں ہے

“We admit that works on Tradition and Biography seemingly impress one’s mind with the same notion, but such is not the case if facts are inquired into.”

  • al-Farooq: The Life of Omar the Great (English), of Shibli Nu’mani, page 61 [Delhi]

This is the actual stance of al-Nu`mānī. There is no doubt that he wrote those words quoted by the Answering-Ansar team, but he did that to show an apparent picture derived from works on tradition and biography and then himself refuted it on the same instance by stating that “such is not the case if facts are inquired into.” The Answering-Ansar team, however, quoted only half of al-Nu`mānī’s comments and claimed that those words are “based on his pre-suppositions.”

As any unbiased person would agree, this is a clear misquote and misrepresentation of al-Nu`mānī’s view and its responsibility lies squarely at Answering-Ansar’s door.

What is amusing here is the fact that the scanned image of the reference provided by the Answering-Ansar team itself exposes this lie. Of course, there are not many places where one can find such dishonesty and unintelligence at the same time.

It is only Allah (swt) who gives success, and blessings and peace be upon the Seal of the Prophets, his Pure Progeny and his Noble Companions

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Works Cited

Sunnī texts:

  1. al-Fārūq(Urdu)

Shiblī al-Nu`mānī (d. 1332)

Dar al-Isha`at

Karachi, Pakistan

  1. al-Farooq: The Life of Omar the Great (English)

Shibli Nu’mani

Idara Isha’at-e-Diniyat

Delhi, India

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