Hadith of the pen and paper
Muḥammad - (محمد)
- This is a sub-article to the Succession to Muhammad.
The Hadith of the pen and paper is a famous Hadith in Islam about an event when the Islamic prophet Muhammad was prevented from writing out his will. The hadith is referenced in both Shi'a and Sunni traditions.
Shi'as also refer to it as "The Calamity of Thursday" (Arabic Raziyat Yawm al-Khamis)
Muhammad became ill in the year 632 and his health took a serious turn on a Thursday. It is reported that Muhammad asked for writing materials to write a statement that would prevent the Muslim nation from going astray forever. The first person to reply was Umar, answering that there was no need for the statement, arguing that Muhammad was ill and that the Muslims had Alkitaab "Hasabuna Kitaab Allah (Book of Allah is sufficient for us)".
Sunni view 
Sunni Muslims refer to this episode as the "Event of Thursday". It is generally seen as a minor event and a test by Muhammad of his "Companions". The Companions are considered to have chosen to do the right thing and passed the test, having remained free from criticism by Muhammad for the rest of the days he remained with them. Further Sunni's say it was not a matter of disobedience but rather it was Umar’s Ijtihad in that situation. This period (from Thursday to Monday) during which Muhammad remained with the Companions after this incident was also not utilized to make a will - which, Sunnis argue, confirms that it was not an important document to be written but rather a simple test to know whether the Ummah is aware of the message of the Qur'an. The following passage is cited as evidence: "This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." (5:3).
Some other arguments Sunnis use to support their view include:
- If Muhammad had been ordered by God to write down something, then no one could have prevented him from this- not even Umar. This goes by the Muslim reasoning that God’s message cannot be silenced or withheld by the antagonism of anyone. However, the fact that Muhammad did not end up writing something down (neither then nor during the future days) only proves that the thing which was supposed to be written was already known to the Sahaba and Muhammad was aware of this, so he did not take the matter any further.
- The accusation that Umar prevented Muhammad from writing down what he willed due to Umar’s fear that it would contain orders of obedience to Ali, is nothing more than an unproven assumption and conjecture driven by ones predetermined feelings towards Umar.
- The obvious, visible and immediate interpretation of Umar’s behavior is that he acted solely out of concern for the health and condition of Muhammad (as he saw most fit) due to his love and concern for Muhammad, by not having Muhammad burden himself during his present predicament of ill health. Likewise, other Sahaba who were present followed the same opinion as Umar.
- The Sahaba differed even among themselves in their reaction to the request of Muhammad for a pen and paper i.e. they were not united in their opposition to Muhammad writing something down during his illness. Some Sahaba opposed Muhammad’s request, while others agreed with it. Therefore, there was no conspiracy (on behalf of the Sahaba) to “deny” Ali his “right” to succeed Muhammad. Instead, the Sahaba were acting upon their own sincere assessments of the situation of Muhammad.
- Muhammad's condition improved for a time after this incidence and had it been important he would have had it written down then.
Shi'a view 
|رزية يوم الخميس|
|Raziyat Yawm al-Khamis|
|The Calamity of Thursday|
This event is the source of much controversy between Shi'as and Sunnis.
- Shi'as point out that obedience to Muhammad was required from every Muslim at all times. The Qur'an order Muslims regarding the Prophet, “Whatever he gives you, take it” (59:7). Therefore it was not the place of anyone to take matters into their own hands.
- The idea that Umar disobeyed Muhammad out of love is nothing more than an unproven assumption and conjecture driven by ones predetermined feelings towards Umar.
- They refer back to the events of Ghadir and Dawat dhul Ashira which show that Muhammad had already nominated Ali as his successor. On the day of Ghadir, after Muhammad had announced, "Whosoever's master I am, this Ali is his master," the verse of the Qur'an was revealed "This day I have perfected for you your religion."
- Umar ibn Al-Khattab claimed the Qur'an was sufficient guidance, despite the well-known tradition that the Prophet would be leaving two weighty things, not one. These being The Holy Quran, and The Ahlul Bayt (The progeny of Muhammad)
- Muhammad's own words were that if they followed what he wished to write down, no one would go astray, hence it was a matter of grave importance.
- Umar ibn Al-Khattab had spoken against Muhammad on other occasions including the treaty of Hudaybiyah.
- Both the first and second caliphs were able to implement their wills despite being in great pain. Abu Bakr had fainted during dictating his will; and Umar ibn Khattab had multiple stab wounds, yet both considered it necessary to give details regarding their successor.
- Shias do not claim that all sahaba were part of a conspiracy. Only three muhajiroon were present in the hut of Saqifah. The fact that there was mixed views on Muhammad's deathbed regarding writing his will, shows that Ibn al-Khattab's opinion was not necessarily the best.
- If Ibn al-Khattab's intervention was designed to save Muhammad any trouble or anxiety, it failed. An argument arose, Muhammad grew angry and sent away. The Prophet only ever displayed righteous and appropriate anger.
- Ibn al-Khattab spoke about Muhammad in an irreverent manner, when he said, "He is delirious" (yahjura).
- There is no record of Umar ibn al-Khattab apologising for his behaviour, despite the fact that Muhammad lived for three days. If it was done in private, it would not have been appropriate, because his outburst was in public.
- The matter was indeed known to everyone due to the Prophet asserting the station of Ali ibn Abi Talib at every stage throughout his 23 year mission. Ali ibn Abi Talib himself asserted his right, and did not give allegiance for a full six months after the demise of Muhammad to the first caliph.
See also 
- Sahih Bukhari, 70.573
- Sahih al-Bukhari, 7:70:573
- Sahih Muslim, 013:4015
- Regarding Omar's Refusal to Give the Prophet a Pen to Write his Will!!!
- Sheikh Dimashqiah on Umar's role in the "Hadith of the pen and paper"
- http://www.al-islam.org/guided/16.html - from Then i was Guided, chapter "The Calamity of Thursday"