The Incident of Delivering the Initial Verses of Surah Taubah

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لَمَّا نَزَلَ بَراءَةٌ مِنَ اللهِ وَ رَسُولِهِ إِلَى تِسْعِ آيَاتٍ أَنْفَذَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّي اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ آلِهٖ أَبَا بَكْرٍ إِلَى مَكَّةَ لِأَدَائِهَا فَنَزَلَ جَبْرَئِيلُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ فَقَالَ إِنَّهُ لَا يُؤَدِّيهَا إِلَّا أَنْتَ أَوْ رَجُلٌ مِنْكَ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّي اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ آلِهٖ لِأَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ارْكَبْ نَاقَتِيَ الْعَضْبَاءَ وَ الْحَقْ أَبَا بَكْرٍ وَ خُذْ بَرَاءَةَ مِنْ يَدِهِ قَالَ وَ لَمَّا رَجَعَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّي اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ آلِهٖ جَزِعَ وَ قَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ إِنَّكَ أَهَّلْتَنِي لِأَمْرٍ طَالَتِ الْأَعْنَاقُ فِيهِ فَلَمَّا تَوَجَّهْتُ لَهُ رَدَدْتَنِي عَنْهُ فَقَالَ الْأَمِينُ هَبَطَ إِلَيَّ عَنِ اللهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ أَنَّهُ لَا يُؤَدِّي عَنْكَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ أَوْ رَجُلٌ مِنْكَ وَ عَلِيٌّ مِنِّي وَ لَا يُؤَدِّي عَنِّي إِلَّا عَلِيٌّ

When the first nine verses of the blessed Chapter of Bara’ah (Taubah) were revealed, the Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny) handed them to Abu Bakr to convey these verses to the polytheists of Makkah. The archangel Jibraeel (peace be on him) descended and revealed, ‘None will convey these verses except you or a man from you’. The Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny) ordered Ameer al-Momineen (peace be on him), ‘Ride my camel al-Adhbaa, catch up with Abu Bakr and take back the Surah Bara’ah from his hand’. When Abu Bakr returned to the Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny), he complained, ‘O Messenger of Allah! You considered me eligible for a task which others longed for. When I left, you asked me to return. He (peace be on him and his progeny replied, ‘The Trustworthey (Jibraeel) descended upon me from Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – that none shall convey these verses except you or a man from you. And Ali is from me. None shall convey on my behalf except Ali.

References:

1.    Several scholars of Ahle Tasannun like al-Tabari in his Tarikh and Tafseer, al-Balaadheri, al-Tirmidhi in his Sunan, al-Waaqedi, al-Sha’bi, al-Suddi, al-Tha’labi, al-Waahedi, al-Quradhi, al-Qushairi, al-Sam’aani, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in his Musnad, Ibn Battah, etc. have recorded this narration.

2.    Kashf al-Yaqeen, p. 172

3.    Al-Irshad, vol. 1, p. 65

4.    Manaaqeb-o-Aale Abi Talib (peace be on them), vol. 2, p. 126   

Notes:

1)    The words of the narration are self-explanatory i.e. Ali is from the Holy Prophet (peace be on them both and their progeny) and vice-versa.

2)    The moot question here is: Allah, Jibraeel, Holy Prophet and Ali were all knowing the Unseen. Then why did the Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny) give the verses to Abu Bakr in the very first place? The answer is clear: Had the Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny) straight away given the verses to Ali (peace be on him), it would have simply passed off as one of his several excellences. But using this method, not only the excellence of Ali (peace be on him) was manifested for one and all, even Abu Bakr was shown his place so that tomorrow he cannot make any tall and false claims for his superiority. When he is not even eligible to convey a few verses to the polytheists, how can he claim to be the caliph of the Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny)?

The importance of this incident can be gauged by the people recording it. Even after this if someone accepts him to be the successor of the Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny), then we can’t do anything but pity the intellect of such a person.

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