Respected Dr. Sahib:
I have a question: This verse—the traditionists say--was revealed just before Hudaybiyah treaty was concluded. According to the reports, Hadhrat Uthman was sent to Makkah to negotiate with the pagans to secure permission to perform Umrah for the Prophet and his 1500 companions. When Uthman did not return, everybody--including the Prophet (s)--thought that he was martyred by the pagans. This rumor--or premonition--infuriated everyone and they united behind the Prophet to 'TAKE REVENGE' for Uthman's (presumed) murder. This unity was achieved by the familiar 'bayah' protocol--the Prophet holding out his hand and everyone placing their hand on top of his---with God’s hand being on the very top (as is literally interpreted). This resolve turned out to be unnecessary because Uthman did show up safe and sound they realized that it was all a misunderstanding. Now I can imagine the Prophet and his companions having the misunderstanding or misinformation but I cannot imagine God not knowing the facts!!! That tells me that the whole story in the backdrop of the “asbab an-nuzool” is a fabrication---and not a very smart one because it makes God (God-forbid) unsure of facts. Another unbelievable thing is that those Companions who (reportedly) would not even let a single drop of Prophet’s wudu water fall to the ground without catching it in the middle---would vehemently refuse to obey him when he commanded them to remove their ‘ihraam’ and make the sacrifice!!! This story does not match up with the ayah. Also, do we really need a story to understand this verse?