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Sayyiduna ‘Umar and the hypocrite who was not pleased with the decision of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)

Question

Is the following incident authentic and suitable to quote?

Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallahu ‘anhuma) mentions that a hypocrite by the name of Bishr once had an argument with a Jew. In order to resolve the argument, the Jew suggested that they resort to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) who would preside over their case and decide who was in the right. The hypocrite, on the other hand, suggested that they take the case to Ka’b ibn Ashraf, a Jewish leader. They eventually took the case to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) who passed judgement in favour of the Jew against the hypocrite. The hypocrite was unhappy with the decision and took the Jew to ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) for a “second opinion”. The Jew said to ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu), “Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has already decided the case but he is not pleased with the decision of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).” ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) asked the hypocrite, “Is that so?” When he replied in the affirmative, ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) instructed them to stay where they were and that he would be with them soon. He then entered and brought his sword. As he emerged, he struck the neck of the hypocrite killing him. He then declared, “This is the decision I make for the one who is unhappy with the decision made by Allah Ta’ala and His Rasul (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).” It was on this occasion that the verse “Have you not seen those who claim that they believed in what was revealed to you and what was revealed before you? They want to take their disputes to the Taghut (i.e. Ka’b bin Ashraf), while they were ordered to reject him. Shaytan wants to mislead them to a remote wrong way” (Surah An Nisa, verse: 60) was revealed. According to some narrations, Jibril came down and said, “Umar has differentiated between truth and falsehood”

 

Answer

The Mufassirun have cited various narrations which explain the reason for revelation of the verse in question (Surah An Nisa, verse: 60). Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) has declared a much shorter version of this incident which has no mention of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) as authentic (sahih).

(Fathul Bari, under Hadith: 2360)

 

‘Allamah Baghawi and ‘Allamah Qurtubi (rahimahumallah) have cited the lengthy incident as in your question. The version quoted by ‘Allamah Qurtubi has a slight addition which states that  they first went to Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radiyallahu ‘anhu) and he too passed judgement in favour of the Jew. The hypocrite was still unhappy and then went to Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu).

(Tafsir Baghawi and Tafsir Qurtubi, Surah An Nisa, verse: 60)

 

Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) has declared the chain of narrators of the incident in question as weak. He further states that although weak, it is supported by similar corroborating narrations and thus gains strength.

(Fathul Bari, under Hadith: 2360)

 

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.

 

Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala

 

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

 

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar