There is no dispute that both Abu Bakr and Umar oppressed Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them) and turned back upon their heels, but why did such evil men choose to accept Islam? Islam was a religion in its infancy; it had no real power, and its followers were prosecuted at every turn. What could they gain from proclaiming the Islamic faith, or assisting it?
How do we reply to those who make this argument?
In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and damn their enemies.
In his series, ’How Islam was Curropted’, Shiekh Yasser al-Habib responds to this argument, stating that these individuals proclaimed Islam out of greed after they realised the possibility of securing power and influence for themselves. They had heard from Jewish and Christian priests that a Prophet named ‘Muhammad’ (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) shall appear in Makkah, having such and such characteristics, and is going to overcome the Arab and the Persians alike. They lept at the opportunity, not because they believed in Islam, but because they hoped to succeed him in leadership and possess lands.
In fact, this is the answer given by our Leader, the Imam, the Master of the Age (peace be upon him). He was asked that question, and he replied: ‘They accepted Islam out of greed, and that is because they used to accompany the Jews and were told of the emergence of Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) and how he shall prevail over the Arabs from the Torah, and the Holy Books, and the epics of the story of Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family). They (the Jews) used to tell them: ‘His dominion over the Arabs is similar to the dominion of Nebuchadnezzar over the sons of Isra’il, except that he (Muhammad) claims to be a Prophet; however he is no Prophet at all. Thereupon, when the matter of Allah’s Messenger became visible (known), they assisted him on the testimony of ‘There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’ out of greed, hoping that they might possess ownership over a certain piece of land through his leadership if he were to prevail, his goal accomplished, and his reign secured.’
Additionally, the Sheikh has said the following in a previous reply to a related question:
If they (‘Sunnis’) doubt the fact that Abu Bakr was in contact with Jewish and Christian priests because it is narrated in our sources; we offer evidence from their own sources, which narrate that Abu Bakr was travelling with a trade convoy – in which the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) was present – towards Syria. As soon as it stopped, the Prophet sat beneath the shadow of a palm tree, and Abu Bakr went to a priest to ask him about religion. The priest asked: ‘Who is that man in the shadow of the palm tree?’ Abu Bakr said: ‘That is Muhammad, son of Abdullah, son of Abdul-Muttalib.’ Thereupon the priest said: ‘By Allah, he is a Prophet!’ No one has taken refuge in its shadow after Isa, son of Maryam, except for Muhammad, the Prophet of Allah!’ Certainty and faith fell into the heart of Abu Bakr. And when the Messenger of Allah was given Prophethood while he was 40 years old, and Abu Bakr was 38 years old, he accepted Islam and believed in the Messenger of Allah.’
The Office of Sheikh al-Habib