Did Ali (a.s.) disobey Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in the Hudaibiyya event ?

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With regards the Hudaibiyya peace treaty the opponents and critics of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) level the following allegation against him (a.s.):

In the peace treaty of Hudaibiyya, Ali (a.s.) being the secretary (Katib) of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was instructed by him (s.a.w.a.) to erase his name at which Ali (a.s.) objected: What should I erase your name, O Messenger of God?!

Ali (a.s.) has violated the order of Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.a.) to erase what he wrote.

Although the Shiites gather a lot of evidence and violations of others, including companions and wives, they ignore the fact that Ali (a.s.) has also fallen to such a violation.

So how can the Shias claim infallibility for him (a.s.). How can they claim he is Ameerul Momineen when he should have known the wisdom and rationale behind the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) instruction to erase the name, since the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) only orders what is in the interest of the Muslims?


The accusation that Ali (a.s.) he disobeyed an order of Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.a.) only surfaced dozens of years after the peace treaty of Hudaibiyya. It may have emerged late in the Umayyad rule, i.e. after the death of Marwan Ibn Hakam and Miswar Ibn Makhramah and Anas, and others. That is because these narrators of the Hudaibiyya event have correctly narrated this event showing Ali (a.s.) in a positive light with or without taking his name. In their view the incident of Hudaibiyya is straightforward, i.e. without reference to the alleged disobedience of Ali (a.s.) to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) instruction.

We have rebutted this allegation in a NINE-point reply:

  1. Perfection of Ali (a.s.) well-known in Muslim nation

Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) declares in his famous sermon:
Those companions of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) who were the defenders (of divine message) know that I never disobeyed Allah or His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) at all, and by virtue of the courage with which Allah honoured me I supported him (s.a.w.a.) with my life on occasions when even the brave turned away and feet remained behind.

  • Nahjul Balagha Sermon 197
  • Ghorar al-Hekam no 86
  • Behar al-Anwar v 37 p 109
  • Shar Nahj al-Balagha v 10 p 179

This is a categorical declaration by Ali (a.s.) acknowledged by all Muslims that he never disobeyed Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) even for the blink of an eye. Ibn Abil Hadeed Mutazali, the Muslim scholar, while documenting the objections of various companions against the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) prophethood writes regarding this sermon of Ali (a.s.):

This report (sermon) is correct ‘Sahih’, no doubt in it, all the people have narrated it.

  • Shar Nahj al-Balagha v 10 p 180

Add to this the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) emphatic report on Ali’s (a.s.) rightfulness and infallibility:
The truth is with Ali and Ali is with the truth, the truth turns where Ali turns.

  • Dalail al-Sidq v 2 p 303
  • Shar Nahj al-Balagha v 18 p 72
  • Abaqat al-Anwar v 2 p 324
  • Al-Mustadrak ala al-Sahihain v 3 p 119
  • Majma al-Zawaid v 7 p 234
  1. Ali’s (a.s.) complete obedience to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)

In all commands and prohibitions Ali’s (a.s.) obedience to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was rooted in humility and superior to all the companions.

Ali (a.s.) himself says:
I am a slave from the humble slaves of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.).

  • Tarikh al-Omam wa al-Muluk v 3 p 291
  • Al-Tauheed p 174
  1. Ali (a.s.) never upset Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)

Ibn Abbas narrates from Umar about Ali (a.s.)

Our companion i.e. Ali (a.s.), I certainly never saw him change (in faith) or ever anger the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) during his companionship with him (s.a.w.a.).

  • Shar Nahj al-Balagha v 12 p 50-51
  • Muntakhab Kanz al-Ummal v 5 p 229
  • Hayat al-Sahabah v 3 p 249
  1. Enemies never raised the Hudaibiyya objection in Ali’s (a.s.) lifetime

Ali (a.s.) had many enemies, some of whom even waged battle with him. Even if the smallest opportunity to slander Ali (a.s.) had presented itself, they would have grabbed it willingly to defame him (a.s.) for disobeying the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). However, we find no such report from them.

  1. The many Hudaibiyya reports fail to pin anything on Ali (a.s.)

On referring to the reports on the Hudaibiyya incident, we find reports that contradict the abovementioned report of Ali (a.s.) disobeying Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

Some of the reports are on these lines:

  • Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) sought Ali (a.s.) to record his words in the peace treaty of Hudaibiyya. Suhail Ibn Amr turned to Ali (a.s.) objecting to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) statement. Some of the Muslims prevailed and insisted that Ali (a.s.) not write the words of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) with some even pinning his hand down to stop him.
  • Suhail Ibn Amr objected to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.): Had we consented to him (s.a.w.a.) being Allah’s Messenger, we would not have waged war with him, erase it i.e. Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) is Allah’s Messenger. Ali (a.s.) retorted: By Allah, he (s.a.w.a.) is Allah’s Messenger. By Allah, I will not erase it despite your insistence.

Hence Ali (a.s.) opposed Sohail Ibn Amr’s order to erase the name (and not that of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)). Then the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) placed his hand on Ali’s (a.s.) hand to erase the writing and in this way defended Ali’s (a.s.) aggression in front of the enemy.

Reports on these lines by Ibn Habban can be referred to in:

    • Al-Thiqaat v 1 p 300-301,
    • also refer Al-Kafi v 8 p 269 report from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) which is on similar lines,
    • Behar al-Anwar v 20, p 368,
    • Al-Iktefa of Al-Kalai v 2 p 240,
    • Tarikh Ibn al-Wardi v 1 p 166,
    • Hayat al-Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) p 373 of Haykal.

According to Al-Yaqoobi’s report Ali (a.s.) narrates:

  1. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) himself erased the ‘objectionable’ words and ordered me: Write down Muhammad Ibn Abdullah

And he (s.a.w.a.) said: Surely my name and my father’s name will never be erased from prophethood.

    • Tarikh al-Yaqoobi v 2 p 189
    • Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah v 8 p 277-281

In the report by Al-Zohri, there is no mention of Ali’s (a.s.) refusal to erase:

  1. When Sohail objected to the text of the treaty, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) instructed: Write down instead Muhammad Ibn Abdullah and Suhail Ibn Amr…
    • Tarikh al-Omam wa al-Muluk v 5 p 634
    • Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah v 4 p 168
    • Ansaab al-Ashraaf v 1 p 349-350
    • Seerah al-Nabawiyyah of Ibn Hisham v 3 p 331-332
    • Seerah al-Nabawiyyah of Ibn Kathir v 3 p 320-321
    • Al-Mustadrak ala al-Sahihain v 3 p 153

In the report of Ibn Abbas (Al-Horooriyyah):

  1. When Sohail Ibn Amr objected to the text of the treaty, Prophet (s.a.w.a.) himself erased it, and said: O Ali! Write down…
    • Al-Riyaz al-Nazarah v 2 p 227
    • Ehqaq al-Haqq v 8 p 522
    • Musnad Ahmed v 1 p 342
    • Khasais Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) of Nesai p 148
  1. Similarly, the report by Anas Ibn Malik (a.s.) makes no mention of Ali’s (a.s.) refusal to comply with Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) instruction.
  1. Likewise, Marwan Ibn al-Hakam and Al-Miswar Ibn Makhramah despite being from the enemies of Ali (a.s.) did not record Ali’s (a.s.) refusal to erase the text in their narration on the Hudaibiyya event. Rather they record that the Muslims objected to the erasure by declaring: By Allah (we will not do it), we will write ‘In the Name of Allah, the all-Beneficent, the all-Merciful’.

This narration with names of Marwan and/or Miswar or without naming them explicitly has been recorded by:

    • Sahih al-Bukhari v 2 78-79
    • Al-Musannif of al-Sanai v 5 p 337
    • Musnad Ahmed v 2 p 268, v 4 p 325-330
    • Al-Durr al-Manthoor v 6 p 77
    • Tarikh al-Islam of Zahabi p 370-371
    • Tafseer al-Quran al-Azeem v 4 p 198-200
    • Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah v 4 p 175
    • Mukhtasar Tafseer Ibn Kathir p 351-352
    • Al-Seerah al-Nabawiyyah of Ibn Kathir v 3 p 333
    • Sunan al-Kubra v 9 220-227
    • Dalail al-Nabuwwah v 4 p 104, 146-147
    • Sahih Ibn Hibban v 11 p 222-223

Ibn Abil Hadeed al-Mutazali records from Ali (a.s.) that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

  1. O Ali! Surely I am Allah’s Messenger and I am Muhammad Ibn Abdullah. My prophethood can never be erased based on a document (no matter what is written). So, write and erase whatever they want. Soon, the same will transpire with you (in Siffeen) and you will be oppressed.
      • Sharh Nahj al-Balagha v 2 p 232
      • Also refer Yanabi al-Mawaddah p 159

In another report Sohail prevents Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) from writing thus:

  1. Had we taken you as a prophet we would not have oppressed you. Write what we acknowledge about you. Write – From Muhammad Ibn Abdullah…
  • Musnad Ahmed v 4 p 86-87
  • Majma al-Zawaid v 6 p 145
  • Mukhtasar Tafseer Ibn Kathir p 348
  • Tafseer al-Quran al-Azeem v 4 p 192
  • Al-Durr al-Manthoor v 6 p 78
  1. The Muslims prevented Ali (a.s.) from erasing

 Al-Waqidi records a lengthy narration in which Sohail Ibn Amr first objects to the Bismillah by saying that we do not acknowledge your God as al-Rahman, so erase it. The Muslims protest vehemently at this. To break the impasse Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) says – Instead write ‘With Your Name, or O Allah…

At this juncture the following verse was revealed:

قُلِ ادْعُواْ اللّهَ أَوِ ادْعُواْ الرَّحْمَـنَ أَيًّا مَّا تَدْعُواْ فَلَهُ الأَسْمَاء الْحُسْنَى وَلاَ تَجْهَرْ بِصَلاَتِكَ وَلاَ تُخَافِتْ بِهَا وَابْتَغِ بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ سَبِيلاً

Say: Call upon Allah or call upon, the Beneficent God; whichever you call upon, He has the best names; and do not utter your prayer with a very raised voice nor be silent with regard to it, and seek a way between these. (Surah Bani Israel (17): 110)

Then Sohail objected to Muhammad, Allah’s Messenger by saying if we had acknowledged you as such, we would not have opposed you.

At this Muslims protested even more vehemently than earlier. Companions like Usaid ibn Huzair and Saad Ibn Ubadah threatened to draw swords.

To break the deadlock, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said – Write – ‘With Your Name, or O Allah, these are the terms of Muhammad Ibn Abdullah and Sohail Ibn Amr…’

    • Al-Maghazi of al-Waqidi v 2 p 610-611
    • Also see Sobol al-Huda wa al-Rashad v 5 p 54
    • Ghayah al-Bayan fi Tafseer al-Quran v 6 p 58-59

Another report states that when Sohail Ibn Amr objected, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) instructed Ali (a.s.) – Write whatever they wish..

This was upsetting for the believers so much that they tried to stop it by manhandling. Then Allah sent down tranquillity (Sakinah) on the believers, so they became dignified and forbearing with the treaty terms and receptive of what they had rejected at first.

    • Ruh al-Maani v 9 p 50
    • Al-Kashhaf of Zamakhshari v 3 p 542

In another report, Sohail Ibn Amr objected to ‘In the Name of Allah, the all-Beneficent, the all-Merciful’ from Muhammad, Allah’s Messenger..’

Matters reached a stage where Muslims were ready to wage battle over this objection.

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) intervened to settle the matter by instructing Allah to change it to – ‘With Your Name, O Allah, from Muhammad Ibn Abdullah…’

He (s.a.w.a.) said: Surely my name and my father’s name will never be erased from prophethood.

    • Tarikh al-Yaqoobi v 2 p 54

In another report it is Umar Ibn Khattab who was upset with Sohail Ibn Amr’s demand to erase the objection portion and initially refuses to comply with the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) wishes even when he (s.a.w.a.) is satisfied with the revised draft of the treaty.

    • Majma al-Zawaid v 6 p 146 from Al-Bazzar
  1. Ali (a.s.) objected to Suhail Ibn Amr NOT Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)

The skeptics allege that Ali (a.s.) objected to the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) instruction to erase the text. Reports disprove this allegation revealing that Ali (a.s.) only objected to Sohail’s instruction to erase the text and complied with the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) counter instruction.

Ali (a.s.) relates the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) instructed me: Show him (the revised text) and I showed him (Sohail).

The Holy Prophet informed: Soon, the same will transpire with you (in Siffeen) and you will be oppressed.

    • Khasais of Nesai p 149
    • Ehqaq al-Haqq v 8 p 419

In another report, it is likewise clear that Ali (a.s.) refused to comply with Suhail’s demand for the revised text and he (a.s.) never disobeyed the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) intervened and informed Ali (a.s.) that he would one day face a similar demand under duress, Ali (a.s.) complied with the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) instruction.

    • Al-Amali of Shaikh Tusi (r.a.) p 190-191
    • Behar al-Anwar v 33 p 316
  1. Double game of Ali’s (a.s.) critics

What is clear from an analysis of the Hudaibiyya reports is that the critics and opponents of Ali (a.s.) have pursued a double game. They know that the Hudaibiyya treaty is a high-profile event as it is referenced in the Noble Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet (s.a.w.a.). It is another feather in Ali’s (a.s.) cap and another merit in his list of boundless merits.

First, they attempt at depriving Ali (a.s.) of any virtue from the Hudaibiyya event by omitting his name altogether from the report as Marwan Ibn Hakam and Miswar Ibn Makhramah have done out of enmity.

Then in some reports, they go as far as to attribute the Hudaibiyya treaty representation to Usman Ibn Affan (Bani Umayyah) instead of Ali (a.s.)! (Al-Musannif of Al-Sanai v 5 p 343)

Or they attribute it to Muhammad Ibn Muslimah. (Fath al-Baari v 5 p 252)

And in the reports where they mention Ali’s (a.s.) as the secretary of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), they malign him by attributing disobedience to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) command.

  1. Secret behind the lies of Hudaibiyya

 The lies and misinformation on Hudaibiyya is no coincidence. It’s a careful strategy to achieve four outcomes:

  1. To protect Muawiyah’s reputation because his side insisted on erasing the words Ameerul Momineen from the arbitration clause in Siffeen, a prophecy made by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in the Hudaibiyya event. By distorting the Hudaibiyya event, they want to remove any negative connotation for Muawiyah in Siffeen as he is compared with the infidels of Hudaibiyya who likewise insisted on erasing Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) title.
  2. To deprive Ali (a.s.) of any excellence from representing Muslims in the Hudaibiyya event, which can be a point in his favour regards caliphate of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). They achieved this by omitting his name from some reports.
  3. To show Ali (a.s.) in a poor light by alleging that he disobeyed the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
  4. To show that inevitably it was Abu Bakr alone from among all companions, who had no objection to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in the Hudaibiyya treaty.

Ahmed Ibn Zaini Dahlan, Muslim scholar and historian (d 1886 AD) records:
We do not have a single person who was pleased with all that with which the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was pleased. By this his lofty position became evident. And it is possible that Allah revealed to his heart, and briefed him on some of those secrets, which resulted from this treaty (of Hudaibiyya). And the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) also informed him. And this is a reality due to which the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) declared: Allah never filled my heart with a thing, but He also filled Abu Bakr’s heart! (Al-Seerah al-Nabawiyyah of Dahlan v 2 p 43)

Of course, the enemy failed in this misinformation campaign as we have shown from several reports on the Hudaibiyya incident from their own books and observations by their own scholars that redeem Ali (a.s.) from all allegations and lies.

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