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S vs S Videos
Origin of Shiism
Exposing Shia's Beliefs
Shia's Imams
Sermon of the Gulf
Fallacy of Shiism
Alawi Sect
Khomeini Views
Khomeini - British Agent
Shia converts to Islam
Ahmad Al-Katib
Ali Isa Mallah
Shia Videos: Arabic
Shia view of Sunnis
Quran's Distortion
Shia & Hadith
Refutation of Shiism
Shiism & Hatred
Ghadir Khumm
Rulings on Shiites
Answering Shiism
Who Killed Al-Hussain
Women in Shiism
Shia's Rituals
Shia vs Companions
Succession of Rulership
Shia: Prophet's Wives
Shia & Monotheism
Nahj ul Balagha





Succession of the Rulership/Leadership of Muslims after the death of Prophet Mohammad


1. Did the Companions ever think as to who will succeed the Messenger of Allah for their leadership, especially during his last illness?

There are, indeed, few narrations with authentic link of transmitters, that indicate there was such a thinking. Among these Ahadith is that of Ibn Abbas [ra]:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Abbas: Ali bin Abi Talib came out of the house of Allah's Messenger during his fatal illness. The people asked, "O Abul Hasan (i.e. Ali)! How is the health of Allah's Messenger this morning?" 'Ali replied, "He has recovered with the Grace of Allah." Al-Abbas bin 'Abdul Muttalib held him by the hand and said to him, "In three days, you, by Allah, will be ruled (by somebody else ), And by Allah, I feel that Allah's Messenger will die from this ailment of his, for I know how the faces of the offspring of 'Abdul Muttalib look at the time of their death. So let us go to Allah's Messenger and ask him who will take over the Caliphate. If it is given to us we will know as to it, and if it is given to somebody else, we will inform him so that he may tell the new ruler to take care of us." Ali said, "By Allah, if we asked Allah's Messenger for it (i.e. the Caliphate) and he denied it us, the people will never give us after that. And by Allah, I will not ask Allah's Messenger for it." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 728; Musnad al-Imam Ahmad vol.4, Narration 2374 & vol.5, Narration 229 )


There is another Hadith attributed to Ali [ra] with a good Isnaad (chain of transmitters) saying:

"It was said: O Messenger of Allah, Who should be installed as a leader after you? He said: If you install Abu Bakr, you will find him honest, ascetic in this life and desirious of the Hereafter. If you install Omar, you will find him strong, honest, fearing in Allah no one is to blame. If you install Ali, and I don't think you will, you will find him guided, guiding you to the straight path." (Musnad al-Imam Ahmad: vol.2, narration 859 )

This, as Dr. Saloos wrote, indicates that the question of succession existed during the life of the Messenger of Allah [saw], but the dispute did not erupt until later on, after he [saw] moved to his final abode, which ended in the meeting, known as "Meeting of As-Saqeefah", with the election of Abu Bakr As-Sadiq [ra]. The second Caliph, Prince of Believers, Omar [ra] told us what took place in that meeting:

Ibn 'Abbas narrated that Omar Bin Al-Khattab, while he was serving as a Caliph, once said in a speech:
".... (O people!) I have been informed that a speaker amongst you says, 'By Allah, if 'Umar should die, I will give the pledge of allegiance to such-and-such person.' One should not deceive oneself by saying that the pledge of allegiance given to Abu Bakr was given at spur of the moment and it was successful. No doubt, it was like that, but Allah saved (the people) from its evil, and there is none among you who has the qualities of Abu Bakr. Remember that whoever gives the pledge of allegiance to anybody among you without consulting the other Muslims, neither that person, nor the person to whom the pledge of allegiance was given, are to be supported, lest they both should be killed. And no doubt after the death of the Prophet, we were informed that the Ansar disagreed with us and gathered in the shed of Bani Sa'da. 'Ali and Zubair and whoever was with them, opposed us, while the emigrants gathered with Abu Bakr. I said to Abu Bakr, 'Let's go to these Ansari brothers of ours.' So we set out seeking them, and when we approached them, two pious men of theirs met us and informed us of the final decision of the Ansar, and said, 'O group of Muhajirin (emigrants) ! Where are you going?' We replied, 'We are going to these Ansari brothers of ours.' They said to us, 'You shouldn't go near them. Carry out whatever we have already decided.' I said, 'By Allah, we will go to them.' And so we proceeded until we reached them at the shed of Bani Sa'da. Behold! There was a man sitting amongst them and wrapped in something. I asked, 'Who is that man?' They said, 'He is Sa'd bin 'Ubada.' I asked, 'What is wrong with him?' They said, 'He is sick.' After we sat for a while, the Ansar's speaker said, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,' and praising Allah as He deserved, he added, 'To proceed, we are Allah's Ansar (helpers) and the majority of the Muslim army, while you, the emigrants, are a small group and some people among you came with the intention of preventing us from practicing this matter (of caliphate) and depriving us of it.' When the speaker had finished, I intended to speak as I had prepared a speech which I liked and which I wanted to deliver in the presence of Abu Bakr, and I used to avoid provoking him. So, when I wanted to speak, Abu Bakr said, 'Wait a while.' I disliked to make him angry. So Abu Bakr himself gave a speech, and he was wiser and more patient than I. By Allah, he never missed a sentence that I liked in my own prepared speech, but he said the like of it or better than it spontaneously. After a pause he said, 'O Ansar! You deserve all (the qualities that you have attributed to yourselves, but this question (of Caliphate) is only for the Quraish as they are the best of the Arabs as regards descent and home, and I am pleased to suggest that you choose either of these two men, so take the oath of allegiance to either of them as you wish. And then Abu Bakr held my hand and Abu Ubada bin Abdullah's hand who was sitting amongst us. I hated nothing of what he had said except that proposal, for by Allah, I would rather have my neck chopped off as expiator for a sin than become the ruler of a nation, one of whose members is Abu Bakr, unless at the time of my death my own-self suggests something I don't feel at present.' And then, one of the Ansar said, 'I am the pillar on which the camel with a skin disease (eczema) rubs itself to satisfy the itching (i.e., I am a noble), and I am as a high class palm tree! O' Quraish, there should be one ruler from us and one from you.' Then, there was a hue and cry among the gathering and their voices rose so that I was afraid there might be great disagreement, so I said, 'O' Abu Bakr! Hold your hand out.' He held his hand out and I pledged allegiance to him, and then all the emigrants gave the Pledge of allegiance and so did the Ansar afterwards. And so we became victorious over Sa'd bin Ubada (whom Al-Ansar wanted to make a ruler). One of the Ansar said, 'You have killed Sa'd bin Ubada.' I replied, 'Allah has killed Sa'd bin Ubada.' Umar added, "By Allah, apart from the great tragedy that had happened to us (i.e. the death of the Prophet), there was no greater problem than the allegiance pledged to Abu Bakr because we were afraid that if we left the people, they might give the Pledge of allegiance after us to one of their men, in which case, we would have given them our consent for something against our real wish, or would have opposed them and caused great trouble. So if any person gives the Pledge of allegiance to somebody (to become a Caliph) without consulting the other Muslims, then the one he has selected should not be granted allegiance, lest both of them should be killed." (Sahih al-Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 82, Number 817, also in al-Musnad: vol.1, Narration 391 )


So based on what Caliph Omar [ra] said, we learn:

(1) There was no dispute as to the obligation to install a Caliph succeeding the Messenger of Allah (Prophet Mohammad) s.a.w.

(2) The Khilafah must remain within Quraish. The Ansaar [ra] did not accept it initially, but soon after they rushed to pledge the allegiance to a Qurashi, save Sa'd bin Ubadah [ra], he did not give his pledge. There are many Sahih Traditions that testify to what Abu Bakr As-Siddiq [ra] said, reported in Sahih al-Bukhari:

Ibn 'Umar narrated:
Allah's Messenger (Prophet Mohammad) said, "This matter (khilafah) will remain with Quraish even if only two of them were still existing." (Sahih al-Bukhari: Volume 9, Book 89, Number 254)

Similar narrations are also quoted by Imam Muslim in his Sahih, and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal in his al-Musnad.

(3) No man shall become a Caliph but by Bay'ah (pledge of allegiance): "so I said, 'O Abu Bakr! Hold your hand out.' He held his hand out and I pledged allegiance to him, and then all the emigrants gave the Pledge of allegiance and so did the Ansar afterwards".

Therefore, if the pledge was given, its fulfillment becomes obligatory. This is why he said: " we were afraid that if we left the people, they might give the Pledge of allegiance after us to one of their men, in which case we would have given them our consent for something against our real wish, or would have opposed them and caused a great trouble ".

It was also reported that the Messenger of Allah [saw] said:

Narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri:
The Messenger of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: When oath of allegiance has been taken for two caliphs, kill the one for whom the oath was taken later.

Sahih Muslim: Book 19, Number 4568

The Messenger [saw] was also reported as saying:

Narrated Arfajah: I have heard the Messenger of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) say: Different evils will make their appearance in the near future. Anyone who tries to disrupt the affairs of this Ummah while they are united you should strike him with the sword whoever he be. (If remonstrance does not prevail with him and he does not desist from his disruptive activities, he is to be killed).

Sahih Muslim: Book 19, Number 4565

(4) If the fulfillment of the pledge is mandatory and obligatory, then there is no pledge without consulting the Muslims: " So if any person gives the Pledge of allegiance to somebody (to become a Caliph) without consulting the other Muslims, then the one he has selected should not be granted allegiance, lest both of them should be killed."

This is due to the concept of "Shura" (consulting) in Islam which is the very fundamental of governing and is based on two pillars: Justice, 4:58 ...And when ye judge between people that ye judge with justice.. and Consultation: 42:38 ..[W]ho (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation..

(5) That the Bay'ah to Abu Bakr [ra] took place so fast and sudden, and without prearrangement, due to his status: " there is none among you who has the qualities of Abu Bakr." and "for by Allah, I would rather have my neck chopped off as expiator for a sin than become the ruler of a nation, one of whose members is Abu Bakr ".

Based on the said observations, the Jamhoor (majority) sat conditions to assume the Rightly Guided Khilafa: viz a viz to a man who is Just, from Quraish, by way of Bay'ah and Consultation.

As to the Ansaar, never after this event, did history inform us of any attempt on their part to assume the Khilafah.


2. Is it true that Ali [ra] did not pledge his allegiance to Abu Bakr [ra]?

It is believed, by some, that Ali [ra] did not give his pledge because he believed that he has the preference and priority to assume the succession of the leadership of Muslims more than anybody else. However; to their disappointment, we find several references support the belief that he was of the opinion that such a matter should not have been decided without his participation in the process, and with his concurrence that Abu Bakr [ra] is the best and that he does not deny Abu Bakr's right to lead the Ummah.

Narrated by Aisha:

" Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet sent someone to Abu Bakr (when he was a caliph), asking for her inheritance of what Allah's Messenger had left of the property bestowed on him by Allah from the Fai (i.e. booty gained without fighting) in Medina, and Fadak, and what remained of the Khumus of the Khaibar booty. On that, Abu Bakr said, "Allah's Apostle said, "Our property is not inherited. Whatever we leave, is Sadaqa, but the family of (the Prophet) Muhammad can eat of this property.' By Allah, I will not make any change in the state of the Sadaqa of Allah's Messenger and will leave it as it was during the lifetime of Allah's Apostle, and will dispose of it as Allah's Messenger used to do." So Abu Bakr refused to give anything of that to Fatima. So she became angry with Abu Bakr and kept away from him, and did not task to him till she died. She remained alive for six months after the death of the Prophet. When she died, her husband 'Ali, buried her at night without informing Abu Bakr and he said the funeral prayer by himself. When Fatima was alive, the people used to respect 'Ali much, but after her death, 'Ali noticed a change in the people's attitude towards him. So Ali sought reconciliation with Abu Bakr and gave him an oath of allegiance. 'Ali had not given the oath of allegiance during those months (i.e. the period between the Prophet's death and Fatima's death). 'Ali sent someone to Abu Bakr saying, "Come to us, but let nobody come with you," as he disliked that 'Umar should come, 'Umar said (to Abu Bakr), "No, by Allah, you shall not enter upon them alone " Abu Bakr said, "What do you think they will do to me? By Allah, I will go to them' So Abu Bakr entered upon them, and then 'Ali uttered Tashahhud and said (to Abu Bakr), "We know well your superiority and what Allah has given you, and we are not jealous of the good what Allah has bestowed upon you, but you did not consult us in the question of the rule and we thought that we have got a right in it because of our close relationship to Allah's Messenger ." Thereupon, Abu Bakr's eyes flowed with tears. And when Abu Bakr spoke, he said, "By Him in Whose Hand my soul is to keep good relations with the relatives of Allah's Messenger is dearer to me than to keep good relations with my own relatives. But as for the trouble which arose between me and you about his property, I will do my best to spend it according to what is good, and will not leave any rule or regulation which I saw Allah's Messenger following, in disposing of it, but I will follow." On that 'Ali said to Abu Bakr, "I promise to give you the oath of allegiance in this afternoon." So when Abu Bakr had offered the Zuhr prayer, he ascended the pulpit and uttered the Tashahhud and then mentioned the story of 'Ali and his failure to give the oath of allegiance, and excused him, accepting what excuses he had offered; Then, Ali (got up) and praying (to Allah) for forgiveness, he uttered Tashahhud, praised Abu Bakr's right, and said, that he had not done what he had done because of jealousy of Abu Bakr or as a protest of what Allah had favored him with. Ali added, "But we used to consider that we too had some right in this affair (of rulership & succession) and that he (i.e. Abu Bakr) did not consult us in this matter, and therefore caused us to feel sorry." On that all the Muslims became happy and said, "You have done the right thing." The Muslims then became friendly with 'Ali as he returned to what the people had done (i.e. giving the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr)." (Sahih al-Bukhari: Volume 5, Book 59, Number 546, see also 5/57/60 )




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