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6950730/04/2011

Differentiating between ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Sarh and someone else who apostatised and claimed that he had distorted the revelation

Question: 168773

‘Abdullah ibn Abi Sarh is a controversial figure in the history of Islam, as he was one of the scribes who vote down the revelation, then he apostatized from Islam. Did he distort some of the verses of the Qur’an?

Praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah and his family.

Firstly: 

Many people mix up
two people who apostatized at the time of the Prophet (blessings and peace
of Allah be upon him). One of the reasons for that is that they both wrote
down the revelation and they both apostatized. But in fact they are two
different people. The first one is ‘Abdullah ibn Sa‘d ibn Abi Sarh, and the
second is a Christian man whose name is not known. The former apostatized
then came back to Islam during the conquest of Makkah; the latter remained
an apostate and died, and the earth rejected his body, and thus became a
sign for the people. The latter is the one who claimed that he used to
change words when he wrote down the revelation; that was not the noble
Sahaabi ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Sarh. 

Secondly: 

With regard to the
former, his name was ‘Abdullah ibn Sa‘d ibn Abi Sarh, Abu Yahya al-Qurashi
al-‘Aamiri, the brother through breast feeding of ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan. The
Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) had issued a death
warrant against him, but ‘Uthmaan asked for protection for him, and the
Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) granted him protection.
He became Muslim again and was a good Muslim. 

It was narrated
that Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqaas said: On the day of the conquest of Makkah, the
Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) granted safety
to the people except four people, two women whom he named, and Ibn Abi Sarh.
As for Ibn Abi Sarh, he hid with ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan, and when the
Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) called the
people to swear allegiance, ‘Uthmaan brought him and made him stand before
the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and said:
O Prophet of Allah, accept the allegiance of ‘Abdullah. He raised his head
and looked at him three times, each time refusing, then he accepted his oath
of allegiance after the third time. Then he turned to his Companions and
said: “Was there not among you any intelligent man who, when he saw me not
accepting his pledge, would get up and kill him?” They said: O Messenger of
Allah, we do not know what is in your mind; why did you not hint to us with
(a movement of) your eyes? He said: “It is not appropriate for a Prophet to
have treacherous eyes.” 

Narrated by
an-Nasaa’i (4067) and Abu Dawood (2683). Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in
Saheeh an-Nasaa’i. 

‘Uthmaan (may
Allah be pleased with him) appointed him as governor of Egypt, and he is the
one who led the battle of Dhaat as-Sawaari. He went on campaign in North
Africa and conquered many of its cities. He refrained from getting involved
in the turmoil between ‘Ali and Mu‘aawiyah (may Allah be pleased with them
both), then he went to ar-Ramlah in Palestine. One morning he said: O Allah,
let my last deed be Fajr prayer. He did wudoo’, then he prayed; he said the
salaam to his right, then when he was going to say the salaam to his left,
Allah took his soul. 

That was in 59
AH. 

Imam adh-Dhahabi
(may Allah have mercy on him) said concerning him: 

He never harmed
anybidy, and he did not do anything that he could be blamed for after the
conquest of Makkah. He was one of the wisest and most generous of men.

End quote from
Siyar A‘laam an-Nubala’, 3/34 

See also
al-Isti‘aab fi Ma‘rifat al-Ashaab by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, 3/52;
al-Isaabah fi Tamyeez as-Sahaabah, 4/110 

We have not come
across any report with a saheeh (sound) isnaad that says that ‘Abdullah ibn
Abi Sarh used to distort the revelation; rather in his story it says that
the Shaytaan caused him to slip. 

It was narrated
that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: ‘Abdullh ibn Sa’d ibn Abi’l-Sarh used to write for
the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). Then the
shaytaan caused him to slip and he joined the kuffaar. The Messenger of
Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) ordered that he be killed
on the day of the Conquest [of Makkah], but ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan sought
protection for him and the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah
be upon him) granted him protection.

Narrated by
an-Nasaa’i (4069) and Abu Dawood (4358); classed as hasan by al-Albaani in
Saheeh an-Nasaa’i. 

Thirdly: 

With regard to the
other man, he was a Christian, then he became Muslim, then he apostatized.
He used to say that he changed the words that the Prophet (blessings and
peace of Allah be upon him) dictated to him. Then Allah, may He be exalted,
destroyed him in a manner that served as a lesson to others who reviled the
Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and cast aspersions
upon his religion. 

It was narrated
that Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: There was a Christian man
who became Muslim and
read al-Baqarah and Aal ‘Imraan, and he used to write for the Messenger of
Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). He went back to being a
Christian, and he used to say: Muhammad does not know anything but what I
wrote for him. Allah caused him to die, and they buried him, then the next
morning the earth had thrown him out. They said: This is the doing of
Muhammad and his companions, because he ran away from them; they dug up our
companion and threw him (on the ground). So they dug a grave for him and
made it deep, but the next morning the earth had thrown him out. They said:
This is the doing of Muhammad and his companions, because he ran away from
them; they dug up our companion and threw him (on the ground). They dug
another hole for him and they made it as deep as they could in the ground,
but the next morning the earth had thrown him out. Thus they realised that
this was not something that people had done, so they left him unburied.

Shaykh al-Islam
Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

This accursed one
who fabricated lies against the Prophet

(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and said that he did not know
anything but what he wrote for him was subject to vengeance and shame from
Allah, as He caused him to be thrown out of the grave after he had been
buried, several times. This is something extraordinary which shows to
everyone that this was a punishment because of what he had said and that he
was a liar, because such things do not happen to most of the dead. 

It also shows that
this crime was more grievous than merely apostatising, because such things
do not happen to most apostates who die; Allah wrought vengeance for His
Messenger

(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) because of his slander and
insults against him, to support His religion to prevail and expose the lie
of the liar, because the people could not carry out the hadd punishment on
him.

End quote from
as-Saarim al-Maslool, 1/122 

Thus it becomes
clear that ‘Abdullah ibn Sa‘d ibn Abi Sarh (may Allah be pleased with him)
was innocent of that of which he was accused; he never made such a claim and
never said such words. Moreover, he repented after that, and he became
Muslim and was a good Muslim. 

And Allah knows
best.

Source

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