Abu Bakr’s Caliphate in the View of Ali

Although Ali (a.s.) did not oppose the Caliphate of Abu Bakr by taking up arms and by which the Bani Hashim family also remained quiet, neither Ali (a.s.) was pleased with this Caliphate nor Bani Hashim. The dissatisfaction of Ali (a.s.) is clear from his sermon in Nahjul Balagha. Ibn Abil Hadid, a well- known scholastic theologian and scholar of Ahlul Sunnat, who was not from Shia sect, has written the commentary of this sermon.

Which educated person is unfamiliar with the Shiqshiqya Sermon and its commentators? A few statements of the sermon are presented below:

“Beware! By Allah! The son of Abu Qahafa (Abu Bakr) dressed himself with it (the Caliphate) and he certainly knew that my position in relation to it is the same as the position of the axis in relation to the hand-mill. The floodwater flows down from me and the bird cannot fly up to me. I put a curtain against the Caliphate and kept myself detached from it. Then I began to think whether I should assault or endure calmly the blinding darkness of tribulation, wherein the grown up are feebled and the young grow old and the true believer acts under strain, till he meets Allah (on his death). I found that endurance thereon was wiser. So I adopted patience, although there was pricking in the eye and suffocation (of mortification) in the throats. I watched the plundering of my inheritance till the first one went his way.”

Indeed, the above words are insignificant for others; but for the followers of Ali (a.s.), they have in store, innumerable causes of sorrow. Apparently, it seems from the above statements that Ali (a.s.) considered the Caliphate of Abu Bakr forcible and illegal, and he considered himself absolutely fit for Caliphate. But keeping in mind the exigencies of the time, he did not confront Abu Bakr.

He remained patient. In his words, the Caliphate of Abu Bakr was painful for him, while he considered it a right of his, inherited from the Holy Prophet (S). Those who consider Ali (a.s.) true, may decide for themselves how the above statements are. And what effect they have on our feelings? The writer has no intention of misleading the people. The Almighty Allah has bestowed human beings with bounties of sight, hearing and intellect. If in spite of these favors, one remains deaf and mute, the Almighty is not to be blamed. The person himself is responsible if he does not prefer to derive any benefits from them.