It should be clear that the religious differences between Shia and Sunni are not that their twelve Caliphs are different. Rather, it is that Ahlul Sunnat consider their Caliphs to be appointed by people, while Shias consider that vicegerency of the Holy Prophet (S) could never be from people. It has to be from Allah. This difference clearly shows that Caliphate from the side of the people is something, which has no interference of divine revelation and neither is infallibility a requirement of it.
On the other hand, Caliphate from the side of Allah is a spiritual affair, which could not be possible without Allah’s permission. Ahlul Sunnat consider Caliphate same as selection of Presidents in democratic governments. No one can say that the Presidents of America, Europe and France have been appointed by divine revelation. Everyone knows that the appointment of such people is from the public. On the basis of this, Ahlul Sunnat consider the Caliphate of their Twelve Caliphs to be based on election or consultation or force, and consider it valid for these reasons. Obviously, all these conditions have no spiritual aspect.
In brief, Ahlul Sunnat regard Caliphate in a way that when the Prophet passed away from the world, Abu Bakr became the Caliph by consensus. When he passed away, he nominated Umar as his successor and when Umar was on his deathbed, he left Caliphate at the discretion of Consultative Committee (Shura).
Uthman was appointed as Caliph through Shura Committee. It is not clear from any Sunni book, by which principle Ali (a.s.) became the Caliph. Anyway, when it was the time of Muawiyah’s Caliphate, he became the rightful Caliph by obtaining it through force.
Obviously, it is an unscrupulous method of Caliphate, so there could not any basis for it in revelation. Therefore, we should know that the Caliphate from the side of the people is the belief of Ahlul Sunnat in particular. And due to this belief, many scholars of the sect, like Allamah Nawawi, the commentator of Sahih Muslim and Allamah Ibn Hajar, author of Fathul Bari and Imam Razi, the writer of Nihayatul Uqool etc. do not believe that the Caliphates of the three Caliphs or other Caliphs are based on Quranic or traditional injunctions.
But there are some Sunni scholars who are not completely satisfied with this mundane way of selecting the Caliph. And even in the people of that time, there was no Sunni who could prefer to consider the Caliphate of Abu Bakr an independent result of consensus. The writer has tried his best to find out the beliefs of contemporary Sunni scholars and the result that he has obtained is that they all consider the Caliphate of Abu Bakr to be in the way as Shias believe in the divine sanction of the Imamate of Ali (a.s.).
Now the matter to be investigated is, is there any Quranic verse or prophetic tradition, according to which Abu Bakr or the Caliphs after him attained their posts? These Sunni scholars have tried to prove the Caliphate of Abu Bakr with the help of Quranic verses and prophetic traditions and Shias have refuted these dissertations. There is no scope in this book to discuss the arguments of the two sects. Its aim is centered around the tragedy of Karbala’.
This book has no relation to the arguments whether the Caliphate of the three Caliphs was right or not? The writer just had to show the relationship of this Caliphate with the tragedy of Karbala’, and this relationship has already been explained. The writer has not argued with all the traditions and verses that Ahlul Sunnat use to prove the Caliphate of the three Caliphs, but he will only discuss two verses in the following pages. One of the verses is considered by Ahlul Sunnat to be particularly the proof of the Caliphate of Abu Bakr and the second verse supports the Caliphate of the Rightful Caliphs. The readers are requested to study these verses and see if these verses in any way prove the Caliphate of the Caliphs?