The military detachment of Usamah
Content:
The incident and its Analysis
Pretexts to justify the behavior of the companions and their refutation

Few days before his demise, the prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) appointed the 18 or 20 years old, Usamah ibn Zayd ibn Haritha, as the commander in chief of a military detachement that was to be sent to al-Sham (Syria) to fight the roman army. Most of His companions were ordered to join the expedition, except Ali Ibn Abi Talib and others from Banu Hashim. However, Abu Bakr, Umar Ibn Khattab, Abu Obaydah, Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas, Talha, Zubayr, Khalid bin al-Walid, and many others were ordered to join this expedition under the leadership of the young Usama.

This historical fact brings to light the following point: If Abu Bakr, followed by Umar, then Uthman were the best of the people after the prophet, would the prophet have ordered them to be in this army under the leadership of the much younger Usama! In this army, all three had to obey their commander, just like they obeyed the prophet when he was the commander in the other battles. Here again, History is playing its crucial role. People have fabricated narrations and attributed them to the prophet so they can make Abu Bakr the best of the people after the prophet, but historical records have refuted such silly and ludicrous claims. And it is not only history, but many authentic Hadith refute such lies, the most important one being Hadith al-Thaqalayn. Moreover, have you realized that Ali was not part of this army! That is because not only is he superior to all companions, but also because the prophet had a divine reason for not sending him as well, as it will be clear.

I need to diverge a bit. Did the prophet ever send an army where Ali was under the commandment of any companion?? The answer is NO. Ali was always under the leadership of the prophet, but never under the leadership of any companion. When the prophet sent the military attachments to Yemen, one under the leadership of Khalid ibn Walid and the other one under the leadership of Ali, did not the prophet say that if both groups meet, Ali would be the commander?? That is because Ali is superior to all of them. Get it?? Who was the hero of Khaybar? Who was its standard-bearer and whom Allah and His Prophet loved and who loved Allah and his prophet? Was it not the brave Ali ibn Abi Talib, who then defeated the Jews at Khaybar, after the failures of Abu Bakr and Umar? The story is well known. Who was the hero of al-Khandaq? Was it not Ali who defeated A'amr ibn A'abd Wudd, when none of the companions dared to take his challenge, not Abu Bakr, not Umar and certainly not Uthman? A'amr ibn A'abd Wudd challenged the Muslims to a duel and no one dared to take the challenge except Ali. What about the battle of Badr, who was the hero in this battle? Was it not Ali?? What about Uhud? Who fled from the battlefield and who stayed close the prophet to protect him from the enemy?? Did not Ali and few true believers stay around the prophet to defend him while everyone else, including Umar and Abu Bakr, ran away in confusion?? The fact is that in every battle, Ali was the hero and showed superiority over all the companions. He fought with great confidence and heroism, he never fled the battlefield and he always accomplished great acheivements because he was a true believer and never feared anyone but Allah. Did Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman show any of that in any battle??? Is it not Ali who slept in the bed of the prophet when the Quraish conspired to kill the prophet, a sacrifice Allah praised in the Quran? Read your History books and find me a battle in which any of the three accomplished anything as significant or anything at all?? All these show that Ali is much superior than all the companions. Again, not only History proves the superiority of Ali over all companions, but the authentic prophetic Hadith. Let's now get back to the original topic.

The prophet intended and insisted to send this army immediately. In fact, this was the first time the prophet forced most of the companions to join an expedition, at a time he was very sick. but he was faced with disobedient resistance from a group of the companions who were asked to be part of expedition. The senior companions refused to be under the command of a youngster, son of a freed slave who had little military experience. They were questioning the wisdom of the prophet for chosing such a young man to lead them in the campaign, just like they once questioned the prophet's wisdom when he appointed the father of Usamah, Zayd ibn Harith, as the commander of the same army. The companions were also reluctant of leaving Medinah to fight the Romans because of the unhealthy state of the prophet. They argued among themselves that it would be unsafe to leave the prophet in this situation, but it was okay for them to disobey his orders and criticize his decisions.

These companions have stubbornly decided to disobey the orders of the prophet, which is a major sin condemned by the Quran:

Quran 5:92
Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and beware (of evil): if ye do turn back, know ye that it is Our Messenger's duty to proclaim (the message) in the clearest manner.
وَأَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَاحْذَرُواْ فَإِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّمَا عَلَى رَسُولِنَا الْبَلاَغُ الْمُبِينُ

Quran 24:54
Say: Obey Allah and obey the Messenger; but if you turn back, then on him rests that which is imposed on him and on you rests that which is imposed on you; and if you obey him, you are on the right way; and nothing rests on the Messenger but clear delivering (of the message).
قُلْ أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ فَإِن تَوَلَّوا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْهِ مَا حُمِّلَ وَعَلَيْكُم مَّا حُمِّلْتُمْ وَإِن تُطِيعُوهُ تَهْتَدُوا وَمَا عَلَى الرَّسُولِ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ

Quran 47:33
O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and do not make your deeds of no effect.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَلَا تُبْطِلُوا أَعْمَالَكُمْ

They have disobeyed the prophet during his serious illness!! What human being in the right mind would do such a thing!!! The prophet was so angry at them that he cursed any one who did not join the expedition. Indeed, neither His anger nor His curse shook them. They lost respect to the prophet as He was nearing death and turned back on their heels before his demise. They did not fear God for their transgression. They not only angered the prophet, but they angered Allah as well and made their deeds vain. Do they not know that whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he surely strays off a manifest straying

These were the same people who raised the same questions when the father of Usamah was at the head of his army. They were repeating the same mistakes! Those were a group of the companions of the prophet. The companions who did not hesitate to disobey, doubt and question the actions and decisions of the prophet, the City of Knowledge.

He kept ordering them to follow Usamah to the camp. Some of the companions followed Usamah to the camp, while others stubbornly kept travelling between the military camp and the city. They persisted in their desobedience to the prophet, who was fighting the last few days of his life. Some returned from the camp to enquire about the state of the prophet and others did not go to the camp at all. Were they showing love for the prophet by staying around? By disobeing his orders? Did they forget who Muhammad was??? Did they forget they were dealing with the apostle of Allah (SWT)? Some reports say that the prophet said "Allah has cursed whoever stays behind from the army of Usama".

The state of prophet Muhammad was getting worse. I quote from al-Murajaat:

"On the 12th of Rabi`ul-Awwal, Usamah left his temporary quarters at al-Jurf and visited the Prophet (pbuh) who ordered him to start his mission immediately, saying: "Tomorrow, by the blessing of Allah, the Exalted One, leave early in the morning," so he bade him farewell and left for the camp. Accompanied by `Umar and Abu `Ubaydah, he went back again to see the Prophet. The three men reached the Prophet who was breathing his last. He died, may my life and those of the world be sacrificed for his sake, on the same day, and the army returned to Medina and considered cancelling the campaign altogether."

They discussed this matter with Abu Bakr, pressuring him a great deal to endorse their idea of cancellation, in spite of witnessing all the emphasis the Prophet (pbuh) had placed on rushing the mission, having heard his statement stressing that they should expedite sending the troops in a way too fast to allow the enemy to know about it, spending so much effort raising the army personally, appointing Usamah to take charge of it, and tying its flag with his own hands, saying: "Tomorrow, by the blessing of Allah, the Exalted One, leave early in the morning," till he died, as you have come to know. Had it not been for the newly appointed successor of the Prophet (pbuh), they would have all decided to cancel the campaign and untie the flag's knot, but the caliph [Abu Bakr] refused to do so, and when they saw him determined to carry on the mission, `Umer approached him and requested him on behalf of the Ansar to depose Usamah from the post of the army's leader and appoint someone else.

The new caliph [Abu Bakr] refused to yield to their pressure to remove Usamah from his post. He leaped and took `Umer by the beard saying: "May your mother lose you, and may she be deprived of you as a son! He has been appointed by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and you still ask me to depose him?!"

The incident and its Analysis
Below are some relevant traditions reporting the incident. On Few days before his demise, the prophet angrily ascended the pulpit to address those who refused to accept Usamah as their leader and to join his expedition.

Here is the story as reported by ibn Sa'ad in his Tabaqat al-Kubra:

It was a Monday and 4 nights were left before the month of Safar expired, in year 11 Hijra. The prophet ordered the people to prepare for a battle against the Romans. The next day (Tuesday) the prophet called upon Usama and told him: "Go to where your father was killed. I have put an army under your commandment...". On Wednesday, the pain of the prophet got worse. On Thursday, the prophet told Usama: "Battle in the name of Allah and fight whoever disbelieves in Allah..." There was no one left from the Muhajireens and Ansars but was assigned to that army, including Abu Bakr, Umar, Abu U'ubaydah, Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas, Sae'id ibn Zayd, Qatada ibn al-Nu'uman and Salamat ibn Aslam. Some people spoke and said: "The prophet is making this young boy the commander of the Muhajireens!" The prophet got furious, so he ascended his Minbar and told the people: "Some of you people are criticizing my appointement of Usama as your commander, you have already criticized the leadership of his father before. By Allah they are both competent for it. Usama is one of the most beloved persons to me so I entrust you to treat him well." Then he stepped down from the Minbar and went into his house, and that was Saturday, the first of Rabi'i Awwal. The Muslims assigned to the army came to say goodbye to the prophet and headed to Jofr where the army gathered. The pain of the prophet continued to get worse and said: "Rush to the army of Usama". On Sunday, the suffering of the prophet worsened. Usama left the camp to revisit the prophet...Then Usama returned the camp. The Monday came and the prophet told Usama: "Go and proceed, supported by the blessings of Allah." Then Usama said: "I am proceeding with the blessing of Allah." Usama returned to the camp and ordered the people to depart. Then he received a messenger sent by Umm Ayman who informed him that the prophet was dying and asked him to come to Medina. So Usama went back to the prophet's house with Umar and Abu Ubayda, while the prophet was nearing death...The prophet passed away and the army returned to Medina...
قالوا: لما كان يوم الإثنين لأربع ليال بقين من صفر سنة إحدى عشر من مهاجر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم، أمر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم، الناس بالتهيؤ لغزو الروم، فلما كان من الغد دعا أسامة بن زيد فقال: سر الى موضع مقتل أبيك فأوطئهم الخيل فقد وليتك هذا الجيش فأغر صباحا على أهل أُبْني وحرق عليهم وأسرع السير تسبق الأخبار، فإن ظفرك الله فأقلل اللبث فيهم وخذ معك الأدلاء وقدم العيون والطلائع أمامك، فلما كان يوم الأربعاء بدئ برسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم فحم وصدع، فلما أصبح يوم الخميس عقد لأسامة لواءً بيده ثم قال: اغز بسم الله في سبيل الله فقاتل من كفر بالله، فخرج بلوائه معقوداً فدفعه إلى بريدة بن الخصيب الأسلمي وعسكر بالجرف فلم يبق أحد من وجوه الأولين والأنصار إلا انتدب في تلك الغزوة فيهم أبوبكر وعمر بن الخطاب و أبوعبيدة بن الجراح وسعد بن أبي وقاص وسعيد بن زيد وقتادة بن النعمان وسلمة بن الأسلم بن حريش، فتكلم (قوم)! وقالوا:
يستعمل هذا الغلام على المهاجرين الأولين فغضب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم، غضباً شديداً فخرج وقد عصب على رأسه عصابة وعليه قطيفة، فصعد المنبر فحمد الله وأثنى عليه ثم قال: أما بعد أيها الناس فما مقالة بلغتني عن بعضكم في تأميري أسامة، ولئن طعنتم في إمارتي أسامة لقد طعنتم في إمارتي أباه من قبله، وأيم الله إن كان للإمارة لخليقاً وإنّ إبنه لخليق للإمارة، وإن كان لمن أحب الناس إلي، وإنهما لميخلان لكل خير، واستوصوا به خيرا فإنه من خياركم، ثم نزل فدخل بيته، وذلك يوم السبت لعشر خلون من ربيع الأول، وجاء المسلمون الذين يخرجون مع أسامة يودّعون رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم، ويمضون إلى العسكر بالجرف، وثقل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم، فجعل يقول: أنفذوا بعث أسامة، فلما كان يوم الأحد اشتد برسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم، وجعه فدخل أسامة من معسكره والنبي مغمور، وهو اليوم الذى لدوّه فيه، فطأطأ أسامة فقبله ورسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم لا يتكلم فجعل يرفع يديه الى السماء ثم يضعها على أسامة، قال: فعرفت أنه يدعو لي، ورجع أسامة إلى معسكره ثم دخل يوم الإثنين وأصبح رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم مفيقاً، صلوات الله عليه وبركاته، فقال له: أغد على بركة الله، فودّعه أسامة وخرج إلى معسكره فأمر الناس بالرحيل فبينما هو يريد الركوب إذا رسول أمه أم أيمن قد جاء يقول: إن رسول الله يموت، فأقبل وأقبل معه عمر وأبو عبيدة فانتهوا إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم وهو يموت فتوفى صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم صلاة يحبها ويرضاها، حين زاغت الشمس يوم الإثنين لإثنتي عشرة ليلة خلت من شهر ربيع الأول، ودخـل المسلمون الذين عسكروا بالـجرف إلى المدينة ودخل بريدة بن الحصيب بلـواء أسامـة معقوداً حتى أتى به باب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم فغرزه عنده...

Let's summarize the keypoints from the story of ibn Sa'ad:

  1. The prophet ordered the Ansars and Muhajireens to prepare for the battle against the Romans.
  2. The prophet appointed the young Usama ibn Zayd ibn Harith as the commander of the army over all the participants.
  3. Among those requested to join Usama's army were Abu Bakr, Umar, Abu U'ubaydah, Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas, Sae'id ibn Zayd, Qatada ibn al-Nu'uman and Salamat ibn Aslam
  4. Some of the companions criticized the prophet's appointment of Usama's as their commander.
  5. Their criticism severely angered the prophet who reminded them that they did the same when Zayd ibn Harith was appointed as the commander of his army that led the battle of al-Mu'ta. He also added that Usama was competent for this responsibility.
  6. The prophet repeatedly ordered Usama and his army to proceed to the battlefield.
  7. Umm Ayman sent a messenger to Usama to come to Medina because the prophet was dying.
  8. Usama, Umar and Abu Ubayda headed back to Medina.
  9. The prophet died and the army returned to Medina.
Ibn Athir reported the following story in his book al-Kamil Fil Tarikh. Ibn Athir said that the hypocrites criticized the prophet's choice of Usama as the commander of the army:
في محرم من هذه السنة بعث النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم بعثاً إلى الشام وأميرهم أسامة بن زيد مولاه وأمره أن يوطئ الخيل تخوم البلقاء والداروم من أرض فلسطين فتكلم المنافقون في إمارته وقالوا: أمر غلاماً على جلة المهاجرين والأنصار، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم ( إن تطعنوا في إمارته فقد طعنتم في إمارة أبيه من قبل، وإنه لخليق للإمارة، وكان أبوه خليقاً لها ) وأوعب مع أسامة المهاجرون الأولون منهم أبوبكـر، وعمر، فبينما الناس على ذلك ابتدأ برسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم مرضه

Let's summarize the keypoints from the story of Ibn Athir:

  1. The prophet sent an army to al-Sham with Usama ibn Zayd as their commander.
  2. The hypocrites criticized the Usama's appointment as the commander of the army. They said that the prophet appointed a kid as a commander over the Muhajireens and Ansars.
  3. The prophet responded to their criticism: "You object to the command of Usama b. Zaid as you had objected before to the command of his father. By Allah he is competent for this just like his father."
  4. Among the people from the early Muhajireens who were assigned to the army are Abu Bakr and Umar.
Let's now look at the story reported by al-Halabi in his Sirah. The story starts as the one reported by ibn Sa'ad. So I am starting the report from where the difference starts:
...وقالوا يستعمل هذا الغلام على المهاجرين الأولين والأنصار أي لأن سن أسامة رضي الله تعالى عنه كان ثمان عشرة وقيل تسع عشرة سنة وقيل سبع عشرة سنة....وجاء المسلمون الذين يخرجون مع أسامة يودعون رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم ويخرجون إلى العسكر بالجرف وثقل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم فجعل يقول أرسلوا بعث أسامة أي واستثنى صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم أبابكر وأمره بالصلاة بالناس...

Let's summarize the keypoints from the story of al-Halabi. The story is almost the same as the one reported by ibn Sa'ad except for the following details:

  1. Those who criticized the appointment of Usama was because of his young age.
  2. The prophet called upon Abu Bakr, who was part of the army, to come and lead the congregational prayers.
al-Waqidi in al-Maghazi and al-Tabari in his Tarikh have both reported similar stories except for the part where the prophet called Abu Bakr to lead the congregational prayer.

ibn Sayid al-Nass in his book U'uyun al-Athar, ibn Athir in his al-Kamel and al-Waqidi in al-Maghazi have also reported similar story:

قالوا: لما كان يوم الاثنين لأربع ليال بقين من صفر سنة إحدى عشرة مهاجرة، أمر رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وسلم) الناس بالتهيؤ لغزو الروم، فلما كان من الغد دعا أسامة بن زيد فقال: سر إلى موضع مقتل أبيك، فأوطئهم الخيل، فقد وليتك هذا الجيش فاغز صباحا على أهل أبني، وحرق عليهم، وأسرع السير تسبق الأخبار، فإن ظفرك الله فأقل اللبث فيهم، وخذ معك الأدلاء، وقدم العيون والطلائع معك، فلما كان يوم الأربعاء بدئ برسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) وجعه فحم، وصدع، فلما أصبح يوم الخميس، عقد لأسامة لواء بيده ثم قال:
اغز بسم الله، وفي سبيل الله، فقاتل من كفر بالله. فخرج بلوائه معقودا فدفعه إلى بريدة بن الحصيب الأسلمي، وعسكر بالجرف، فلم يبق أحد من وجوه المهاجرين والأنصار إلا انتدب في تلك الغزوة منهم:
أبو بكر، وعمر بن الخطاب، وأبو عبيدة بن الجراح، وسعد بن أبي وقاص، وسعيد بن زيد، وقتادة بن النعمان، وسلمة بن أسلم بن جريس. فتكلم قوم وقالوا:
يستعمل هذا الغلام على المهاجرين الأولين.

ibn Sa'ad reported in his Tabaqat that the prophet, while he was sick, sent an army including Abu Bakr and Umar, under the leadership of Usama ibn Zayd. But some people criticized the leadership of Usama because of his young age. When the prophet heard that, he ascended his Minbar and said: "Some of you people are criticizing Usama's leadership, you have already criticized the leadership of his father before. By Allah they are both competent for it. Usama is one of the most beloved persons to me so I entrust you to treat him well."

ذكر كاتب الواقدي تحت عنوان: " ذكر ما قاله رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وسلم) في مرضه لأسامة بن زيد رحمه الله ". عن ابن عمر أن النبي (صلى الله عليه وسلم) بعث سرية فيهم أبو بكر وعمر واستعمل عليهم أسامة بن زيد فكان الناس طعنوا فيه - أي في صغره - فبلغ ذلك رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وسلم) فصعد المنبر فحمد الله وأثني عليه وقال: إن الناس قد طعنوا في إمارة أسامة وقد كانوا قد طعنوا في إمارة أبيه من قبله وإنهما لخليقان لها وإنه لمن أحب الناس إلي ألا فأوصيكم بأسامة خيرا؟؟ ".

Ibn Hajar al-A'asqalani wrote in his book Fat-hul Barri and said that Abu Bakr, Umar, Ubaydallah, Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas, Sae'id, Qatada ibn Nu'uman and Salama ibn Aslam were among those who were assigned to the army, and some people criticized the prophet's appointment of Usama:

كان تجهيز أسامة يوم السبت قبل موت النبي صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلّم بيومين... فبدأ برسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم وجعه في اليوم الثالث، فعقد لأسامة لواء بيده، فأخذه أسامة فدفعه إلى بريدة وعسكر بالجرب، وكان ممن انتدب مع أسامة كبار المهاجرين والأنصار منهم أبوبكر وعمر وأبو عبيدة وسعد وسعيد وقتادة بن النعمان وسلمة بن أسلم، فتكلم في ذلك قوم... ثم اشتد برسول الله وجعه فقال: أنفذوا بعث أسامة.
وقد روي ذلك عن الواقدي وابن سعد وابن إسحاق وابن الجوزي وابن عساكر...

In the same book, ibn Hajar al-A'asqalani wrote that al-Waqidi, ibn Sa'ad, ibn Ishaq, ibn Jawzi, ibn A'asakir and many others have reported that Abu Bakr was called to join the expedition.

al-Muttaqi al-Hindi added some details to his report:

قبل وفاة النبي بيومين فقط، وعاد النبي وقعد على فراش الموت ثانية، فلما ثقل جعل يقول: جهزوا جيش أسامة، أنفذوا جيش أسامة، أرسلوا بعث أسامة وكرر ذلك مرات متعددة وهم متثاقلون

Here are few more details from al-Muttaqi al-Hindi:

  1. The prophet repeatedly said while on his deathbed: "Prepare the army of Usama, join his army and send his army.
  2. But the participants slackened!
"Ahmed ibn Ishaq ibn Salih has narrated a tradition to us from Ahmed ibn Siyar from Sa`d ibn Kathir al-Ansari whose men quote `Abdullah ibn `Abdul-Rahman saying that when the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) fell sick shortly before his death, he appointed Usamah ibn Zayd ibn Harithah to take charge in leading an army most of which were men from the Muhajirün and the Ansar. Among them were: Abu Bakr, `Umer, Abu `Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah, `Abdul-Rahmn ibn `Awf, Talhah, and al-Zubayr, and ordered him to invade Mu'ta, where his father Zayd had been murdered, and to invade the valley of Palestine.

Usamah slackened, and so did the rest of the army, and the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, though sick, kept emphasizing that the army must rush there, till Usamah said to him: `O Messenger of Allah! Would you permit me to stay for a few days till Allah Almighty heals you?' He answered: `Go and proceed, supported by the blessings of Allah.' He said: `O Messenger of Allah! If I proceed while you are sick like that, I will be going with a heart swollen with pain.' He (pbuh) said: `Proceed towards victory in good health.' Usamah persisted: `But I hate to keep asking the travellers about your condition.' He said: `Proceed to carry out my orders,' then he, peace be upon him and his progeny, fainted. Usamah left and prepared to proceed. When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) regained his consciousness, he immediately inquired about Usamah, and he was told that he and his men were preparing to proceed, whereupon he kept repeating: `Carry out Usamah's mission; the curse of Allah be upon whoever dodges its draft.'

Usamah finally left the city, the flag above his head, surrounded by the companions, till he reached Jurf. In his company were Abu Bakr, `Umer, and most of the Muhajirün and the Ansar such as Asid ibn Hadr, Bashir ibn Sa`d, and many other dignitaries. Then he received a messenger sent by Umm Ayman who informed him to go ahead and enter the city because the Prophet (pbuh) was dying. He immediately left for Medina with the standard still in his hand. Having reached the Prophet's residence, he planted it at the door just when the Prophet (pbuh) had died."

...أن أسامة قد جاء رسول الله وقد ثقل عليه المرض فاستأذنه أسامة ليمكث حتى يشفى رسول الله، فقال الرسول: (أخرج وسر على بركة الله) فقال أسامة: (إن خرجت وأنت على هذه الحالة خرجت وفي قلبي قرحة) وقال الرسول: (سر على النصر والعافية) فقال أسامة: يا رسول الله إني أكره أن أسائل عنك الركبان فقال النبي: (أنفذ لما أمرتك به)...ثم أغمي على الرسول، وقام أسامة فتجهز للخروج، فلما أفاق الرسول سأل عن بعث أسامة وجعل يقول: (انفذوا بعث أسامة، لعن الله من تخلف عن بعث أسامة، وكرر الرسول ذلك، فخرج أسامة واللواء على رأسه والصحابة بين يديه)...
References:
     Abu Bakr Ahmed ibn `Abdul-Aziz al-Jawhari in his book Al-Saqifa
     Shahristani's book Al-Milal wal Nihal

Narrated Ibn Umar: Allah's Apostle appointed Usama bin Zaid as the commander of some people. Those people criticized his leadership. The Prophet said, "If you speak ill of his leadership, you have already spoken ill of his father's leadership before. By Allah, he deserved to be a Commander, and he was one of the most beloved persons to me and now this (i.e. Usama) is one of the most beloved persons to me after him.
References:
     Sahih Bukhari: Volume 5, Book 59, #552, Book: al-Maghaazi; Page 886, #4250 (arabic version)

Narrated Salim's father: The Prophet appointed Usama as the commander of the troops (to be sent to Syria). The Muslims spoke about Usama (unfavorably ). The Prophet said, " I have been informed that you spoke about Usama. (Let it be known that) he is the most beloved of all people to me.
References:
     Sahih Bukhari: Volume 5, Book 59, #744, Book: al-Maghaazi; Page 928, #4468, (Arabic version)

Narrated Abdullah bin 'Umar: Allah's Apostle sent troops and appointed Usama bin Zaid as their commander. The people criticized his leadership. Allah's Apostle got up and said, "If you (people) are criticizing his (i.e. Usama's) leadership you used to criticize the leadership of his father before. By Allah, he (i.e. Zaid) deserved the leadership indeed, and he used to be one of the most beloved persons to me, and now this (i.e. his son, Usama) is one of the most beloved persons to me after him.
References:
     Sahih Bukhari: Volume 5, Book 59, #745, Book: al-Maghaazi; Page 886, #4469 (Arabic version)

Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Allah's Apostle sent an army detachment and made Usama bin Zaid its commander. Some people criticized (spoke badly of) Usama's leadership. So Allah's Apostle got up saying, "If you people are criticizing Usama's leadership, you have already criticized the leadership of his father before. But Wa-aimullah (i.e., By Allah), he (i.e. Zaid) deserved the leadership, and he was one of the most beloved persons to me; and now this (his son Usama) is one of the dearest persons to me after him."
References:
     Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 78, #623, Book: al-Iman wal nuthoor; Page 1404, #6627 (Arabic version)

Ibn 'Umar reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) sent an expedition and appointed Usama b. Zaid as its chief. The people objected to his command, whereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) stood up and said: You object to his command and before this you objected to the command of his father (Zaid). By Allah, he was fit as the commander and he was one of the dearest of persons to me and after him, behold! this one (Usama) is one of the dearest of persons to me.
References:
     Sahih Muslim, Book 031, #5958, Chapter 10, Book: Kitab Fada'il al-Sahabah; Page 947, #(2426)-63 (Arabic version)

Salim reported on the authority of his father that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said on the pulpit: You object to the command of Usima b. Zaid as you had objected before to the command of his father (Zaid). By Allah, he was most competent for it and, by Allah, he was dearest to me amongst people and, by Allah, the same is the case with Usama b. Zaid. He is most dear to me after him and I advise you to treat him well for he is pious amongst you.
References:
     Sahih Muslim, Book 031, #5959, Chapter 10, Book: Kitab Fada'il al-Sahabah; Page 947, #(2426)-64 (Arabic version)

Few days remained before his demise when he ordered the Mahajireens and Ansars to head to al-Sham under the commandment of the young Usama, to fight the Romans. Among those in the army were Abu Bakr and Umar, and Usama was their commander. The prophet repeatedly insisted that they leave as soon as possible. Bear in mind that the Ahlul Bayt, and in particular Ali was not part of this army. Why would the prophet send most of his companions away to fight a battle when he is just about to die, and insisted that the leave as soon as possible? Why did he not want any of the prominent companions from the Mahajireens and Ansars to be around when he dies?

First, the fact that Abu Bakr and Umar were under the command of the young Usama ibn Zayd means that Abu Bakr and Umar were not competent enough for this task. The prophet reminded those who criticized his appointment of Usama of having done the same when his father Zayd was appointed as the commander of his army in the battle of Mu'ta and that both, Zayd and his son were competent for this task. Therefore, neither Abu Bakr nor Umar, who were much older than Usama, were competent enough to assume this responsibility. How can they then be competent to be the caliphs and successors of the prophet??? As I have already said in the introduction, these two never showed bravery in any battle, and fled the battlefield during Uhud and Hunain. How could such people lead the Ummah of the prophet?? What merits do they have to be given such responsibility???

Second, the fact that Abu Bakr and Umar were in this army means that the prophet did not want any of them to be in Medina when he dies. That means he did not want any of them to have anything to do with his successorship. The fact is that the prophet wanted the transition of the caliphate to Ali to be as smooth as possible. The prophet officially appointed Ali as his successor at Ghadeer Khum and many of the Quraysh did not like that, although they congratulated him for it. They did not want the caliphate to remain with Bani Hashim and particularly with Ahlul Bayt. The prophet was well aware of their plots and intentions and wanted to prevent the usurpation of the caliphate from their rightful owners. Why else would the prophet empty Medina and leave most of the Bani Hashim, if not all, in it, and in particular the Ahlul Bayt, when was about to die? Why?

Assuming that the army had left. Who do you think the caliph would have been? Who was left in Medina? The fact that most of the companions were in that army to head out to al-Sham proves beyond doubt that the matter of the caliphate was not a matter for the people to decide on, but a matter for Allah to decide on and for His prophet to execute, which is exactly what happened at Ghadeer Khum. If this matter was for the people to decide on, then the most logical thing to do is for the prophet to supervise the appoinment of his successor to ensure that all happens according to the Islamic Law without any incident. But rather, he ordered them all to join Usama'a army.

al-Halabi reported in his story that the prophet called upon Abu Bakr from Usama's army to lead the congregational prayer. I have discussed this event in a different paper titled Did the Prophet order Abu Bakr to lead the prayer? The conclusion is that it was not the prophet who called Abu Bakr but Aisha. The prophet called Ali instead. The details of the paper explain why calling Abu Bakr to lead the prayers makes no sense at all. Please read the paper for more details, before you jump to any conclusion or call me a RAFIDHI, as many are quite good at it!

Why did not anyone name those who criticized the prophet's appointment of Usama. Were they truly none but the known hypocrites? Is it because of few hypocrites, the army failed to proceed to al-Sham?? Makes me wonder how many hypocrites were among the companions to have such an effect on the entire army! According to al-Muttaqi's report, the army slackened. Why??? That is precisely why they did not leave Medina as early as the prophet expected and that is why the prophet repeatedly and furiously told them to leave, and cursed those who did not join the army!

When the prophet died, the companions returned to Medina and never proceeded to al-Sham. They did not obey the orders of their dying prophet, which is a great calamity. When Abu Bakr usurped the caliphate, Umar asked Abu Bakr to remove Usama from the commandment of the army. But Abu Bakr refused, pulled him from the beard and said:

ثكلتك أمك وعدمتك يا بن الخطاب استعمله رسول الله وتأمرني أن أنزعه؟

So Umar was one of those who criticized the prophet's appointment of Usama as the commander of the army. If Umar did not do so during the lifetime of the prophet, why would he do so after his demise?? He maintained his criticism during the caliphate of Abu Bakr and it was rejected. This is not the first time that Umar behaved so disrespectfully towards the prophet. He did the same thing when the prophet desired to write a document that would save the Ummah from straying off the right path. Remember how Umar and his supporters disobeyed the prophet and accused him of being delusional??? The prophet was going to put in writing a document that will keep the believers on the right path and never stray off from it, but Umar rushed and said that the Quran was sufficient, as if the sayings of the prophet have no value or that he did not know what he was saying!! How dare he interrupt the prophet's action?? Does Mr. Umar know what is the best for the Ummah better than the prophet??? What a shame! What is more desappointing is that there are several Muslims who find justifications for his sinful and demeaning actions and value them! Anyway, their transgression angered the prophet who expelled them from the room. Don't you think the prophet had already figured out their evil conspiracy against Ahlul Bayt and particularly against the caliphate of Imam Ali???

During the reign of Abu Bakr, the army left for al-Sham without Abu Bakr and Umar, contrary to the orders of the prophet! This was pure disobedience. Do you understand now what the plot was all about and why the prophet wanted them out of Medina as soon as possible??

Let me redraw a nice picture for you. The prophet knew what some of his companions were plotting. His Angel was telling him everything. Abu Bakr and Umar wanted the caliphate, despite the fact that the prophet had already appointed Ali as his successor at Ghadeer Khum (exactly what every prophet had done before dying). Aware of their plots, the prophet suddenly decided to send the vast majority of the Ansars and Muhajireens away from Medina in order to allow smooth transition of the caliphate. This way, Ali takes ownership of the successorship without any challenge from the greedy Quraish. However, Abu Bakr and Umar, along with their supporters did not like that. So they slackened and wasted time until the prophet died. When the prophet realized that some criticized his appointment of Usama as the commander of the army, he rebuked them and asked them to leave immediately. But they continued to slacken which drove the prophet furious and cursed anyone who did not obey his final orders. In the meantime, Aisha and Hafsa were working out their part of the plot. They sent after their respective fathers to come to her house. Aisha told her father to lead the prayer on behalf of the prophet, hopping that the prophet would die while Abu Bakr was leading the prayer. Remember that the prophet was seriously ill and was fainting a lot. But the Angel is still around! When the prophet realized what was happening, he pushed himself out with the help of Abbas and Ali to interrupt Abu Bakr's lead of the prayer and take it from him. The prophet was able to do so. The prophet dies and their plot is momentarily dismantled. In al-Saqifa, Abu Bakr managed the steal the caliphate with the help of Umar and Abu Ubayda. They got what they wanted. Abu Bakr gets it first, then passes it on to Umar before dying.

This becomes clear when you become aware of the Sunnah of the prophet about his true successor, about the historical records before and after the prophet, and also about the sermons of Ali in Nahjul Balagha.

Pretexts to justify the behavior of the companions and their refutation
It is amazing how some scholars strive to justify the actions of these disobedient companions, even when these actions are blatantly wrongful. The incident is irrefutable. So is the unaccepatble behavior of the companions, on their heads, Abu Bakr, who is himself pressured by Umar. It is obvious that some of the companions who were ordered by the prophet to join the army of Usamah, stubbornly disobeyed the prophet. They alleged to be worried about the serious state of the prophet. They certainly remembered that the prophet had already officially appointed Ali as his successor and the caliph of the Muslims (in Ghadeer Khum). They also figured out that the prophet planned to make this transition occur in a peaceful manner with no complication by sending this army away, because of the hostility that these disobedient companions bore towards Ali and his imamate.

Most scholars admit that some companions stayed behind Usamah's army who was camping at Jurf, refusing to leave dispite of the prophet's urging them to expedite. They also admit that these same companions continued to question the wisdom of the prophet for choosing the young Usamah as their commander, even after his speech, illustrated in the narrations above. They also admit that after the demise of the seal of prophets, these companions, headed by Umar, had requested Abu Bakr to appoint another commander for the army, thus replacing Usamah because they could not accept to be commanded by such a young boy. And Regardless of all these facts, scholars still sought justifications for these actions:

  1. They argue that companions acted in such a way for the safety of Islam. This justification is unaccepatable! They have disobeyed the orders of the prophet, an action that the Quran heavily condemns. Among these verses, there is:

    Quran 33:36
    It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.
    وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُّبِينًا

    Their disobedience is wrongful and sinful. The prophet knows best about the safety and interest of Islam, and not the companions. They have acted based of their personal views, ignoring the wisdom of the prophet. The prophet is their guidance and not the other way around. The wisdom of the prophet is not to be doubted and disputed. If they truly cared about the safety of Islam, then they should have listened to and obeyed the prophet without argument, just like the Quran ordered. The sad situation the Muslim nation (if there is one) is in today is a direct consequence of their wrongful acts and require no justifications!

  2. They argue that they were reluctant in joining the army of Usamah because he was too young to command. He was a youth among middle-aged and old men, who found it difficult to receive orders from Usamah. In fact, they resented receiving orders for a youth. Here again they chose follow their own views and disobey the prophet. This is not a justification! A true believer would not raise such an issue. A true believer has faith in the prophet's wisdom and decisions. A true believer would obey the prophet no matter how difficult these orders are or whether they conflict with his personal views. The believers among the elders who joined the army did not find it a problem to be under the command of Usamah. They complied and obeyed. But the others did not act similarly! If they raised an issue because of being put under the order of a youth in the army, then it is not surprising that they ignored, refused and rejected the appointment of Ali as their caliph! Recall that the same scenario took place with the father of Usamah and the prophet reminded them of that!