Abubakrah and his Hadith on Women and Leadership (3): Reflections and Questions

By Aliyu A. Suleiman, Nasir Bello and Fatuhu Mustapha

“Well, that all the Sahaba are regarded with high esteem by Sunnis is an undeniable fact. That Sunnis try to avoid saying things that will appear to tarnish the image of the Sahaba is also a fact.

Then Mal. Ibraheem made an observation on why Hadith of Abi Bakratah was accepted despite been punished by Khalif Umar, a punishment that ought to make Abi Bakratah’s witness not acceptable forever as stated by Qur’an, except if he later repented. But is there any evidence to show that Abi Bakratah later withdrew his charges against Mughirah, indicating repentance, thereby making his witness acceptable, as laid out by Qur’an?”

“If we cannot provide evidence of repentance then the verdict of Qur’an that his witness shall never be accepted applies, just like Khalif Umar did not shy away from carrying out the punishment on him despite being a Sahabi of the Prophet (SAW). The Qur’an DID NOT differentiate between SINCERE and NON-SINCERE accuser, or between JUST and UNJUST accuser, in terms of the punishment or the witness rejection aspect of the verse. You see, Khalif Umar carried out what the first part of the verse said, then why did later scholars not uphold the second part of the verse? This is a valid question to ask!”

“If the answer is that generally “the Sahaba are considered to be just”, then it might be asked: did Khalif Umar not know that when he carried out the punishment on Abi Bakratah? Shouldn’t the Khalif, following this logic, have known that Abi Bakratah was sincere and just and wouldn’t lie, as such spare him the punishment? Did he do that? No. He carried out the punishment as prescribed by the Qur’an (even as it was reported that he disliked it – but still carried it out).”

 “I really failed to see how asking why the later scholars did not uphold the second part of the verse on Abi Bakratah, even after Khalif Umar carried out the first part of the verse, amounts to tarnishing the image of Abi Bakratah!”

“Although asking the above question is valid, I would rather not concentrate on “Isnad” of the Hadith but it’s “Matn”!”

If I say when B happens, A will happen, then B happened but A did not happen, will you need anyone to tell you that my statement is wrong?

“If a Hadith was reported in which the Prophet (SAW) said nations will not prosper under woman leadership, and women (not even a case of just one woman) led different nations in different parts of the world, yet the nation’s prospered and did not crumble, does one need to be told that such Hadith is weak? Would one rather accept the Hadith as authentic (in this unrestricted form, timeless and for all nations) and on the other hand portray our beloved Prophet as having said something that is wrong?”

“Are we not ridiculing the efforts of Imam Bukhari if we insist on maintaining this Hadith even when it is clear to us that it is weak based on its “Matn”? Will Imam Bukhari be happy with us if he were to return today, seeing how we are elevating him to the status of “infallibility”? How many Ahadith did he reject himself? THOUSANDS!”

“Imam Bukhari would have rejected this Hadith had it become obvious to him, as it is obvious to us now, that this Hadith (in its unrestricted form, timeless and for all nations) couldn’t have been uttered by our beloved Prophet. Imam Bukhari himself was reported by Dhahabi to have rejected a Hadith based on its “Matn” that said the signs of Qiyama would come after the year 200 AH. As Imam Bukhari was compiling his Ahadith after 200 AH, and the world did not come to an end, he rejected that Hadith because as he said “these two hundred years have passed, and there have been none of these signs”. It was obvious to him that the statement couldn’t have come from the Prophet. Both Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim rejected Ahadith based on the inconsistencies contained in their “Matn”. I honestly fail to see how upholding this Hadith amounts to upholding what Imam Bukhari upheld.”

“On the basis of “Matn”, Imam Bukhari can easily be excused for accepting this Hadith in his time even in the presence of story of Bilqees in the Qur’an. The story of Bilqees was in the past, while the Hadith was talking about future. But we are in the future now, and have witnessed history rendered this Hadith “Null and Void”. Must we continue to accept it and use it as basis for an injunction in our society?”
“If we will, surely Imam Bukhari wouldn’t have!
Allahu A’alam.” – Aliyu A. Suleiman

“Thank you so very much brother lamido for your scholarly submission, and thank you Mal. Ibraheem A. Waziri for creating the room for such an important discourse.”

“I am pretty sure we are learning and I equally want to thank our respected brother Mal. Baban Takko for his contribution in the ongoing discourse. “

“Brother lamido’s submission in my view has adequately analysed the issue of Authenticity of the hadith that seems to be the center of the debate on women leadership. What I hope to do, is to pose some questions that I think those who has a contrary opinion from what Mal. Lamido presented will further ask.”

“My stand is more of seeing the hadith as authentic but context specific, and I have made an elaborate submission through my answers to Mal. Aliyu A Suleman ‘s questions on the subject.”


“1.Given the technical nature of issue at stake are we supposed to be more concern on the who is making the argument or the substance of the argument? Does Dr. Marnisi’ s outlook really matter here?”

“2.Is the argument that marnisi is the originator of the issue really valid, given Khaled aboul fadl ‘s submission on the matter quoting ibnul jawzi and zahabi etc in his book “Speaking in God’s name””?

“3.How do we explain the application of Q24:4 should we accept the argument that serving as a witness in such situations is the same as doing Ijtihad? Is the ijtihad tagging peculiar to Abu bakrah(RA) , meaning making exception from what seems to be a general rule because he is a sahabi and our believe is that they are all just?”

“4.Given Umar’s thoroughness and particularly on issues like this, won’t it be worrisome to insinuate that the Abu bakrah and co were punished for a mistake of assuming somebody’s wife to be a different person? Does it mean that the matter was not investigated well enough by Umar to the extend of establishing that the lady seen was the accused wife?”

“5.How do we reconcile the argument that Abu Bakrah has refused to withdraw and repent until his death even when his co – witness Nafi and shubal did repented with the claim of ijtihad? Why will the others repent and withdrew if what they did was considered by them as ijtihad?”

“6.Given the inherent fallible nature of human beings how do we explain the humanest of the companions? Are we not taking the other extreme as against our shiate brothers regarding the status of sahaba by literary projecting them as infallible?” –  Nasir Bello

“I am still not convince that Malam Ibraheem A. Waziri your view is wrong. What Babantakko did is just stereotyping the whole argument from one angle. I dunno what you mean by saying he gives attention to detail. All he cleverly encourage you is to narrow your thinking faculty to one particular angle and ignore the facts on ground. First and foremost Bukhari cannot ‘be fallible no matter what. He is bound to make mistakes, if any mistake is found in his collection of Hadiths, I believe is an honest mistake.”
“Having said the above; I wish you will ask him to explain to us; how come the same Ababakarin who joined the troupe of Aisha during waqt Al Jamal forget the Hadith only to remember when he abandon her camp. How can Buhari exonerated himself when he refused to collect Hadith from someone who fooled goat and turn to collect Hadith from someone who even qur’an directed his witness won’t be accepted ever?” – Fatuhu Mustapha