Why Ali Did Not Take Up Arms Against The Caliphs?
Ahlul Sunnat say that when the Messenger of Allah (S) passed away, why Ali (a.s.) did not take up arms against Abu Bakr? This proves that Ali (a.s.) approved of the Caliphate of Abu Bakr. The reply is that Ali (a.s.) definitely did not consider the Caliphate of Abu Bakr to be valid, but he obeyed the advice of the Holy Prophet (S) as seen from the book of Anwarul Nomania.
The tradition of Sulaym bin Qays Hilali is present therein which says: Someone asked Ali (a.s.) why he did not fight the Bani Teem, Bani Adi and Bani Umayyah because they had usurped Caliphate? Ali (a.s.) replied: “The Messenger of Allah (S) had told me: ‘Till you do not find supporters, you must refrain from Jihad.’”
Then he said: “When Moosa (a.s.) went to meet God, on Mt. Toor leaving in his place, his brother Haroon, as his Caliph and successor, Bani Israel started worshipping the calf against the commands of Haroon. At that time, Haroon decided to refrain from Jihad while Haroon was a Prophet and Jihad was permitted according to the scripture of Moosa (a.s.). Thus, when the Messenger of Allah (S) departed from the world, some people were attracted by Abu Bakr and paid allegiance to him and I was busy in the shrouding and burial of the Messenger of Allah (S). And after this, I was collecting and arranging the verses of the Holy Quran.”
We should know that Haroon and Ali (a.s.) refrained from Jihad due to hidden wisdom. If Haroon (a.s.) had started Jihad, Bani Israel would have been destroyed. In the same way, if Ali (a.s.) had taken up arms against Abu Bakr, the religion of the Messenger of Allah (S), which was in a nascent stage, would have become extinct very soon.
The calf worship of Bani Israel and turning away from the Imam of time by the people of Medina, both are very similar incidents. Indeed, there is no limit to the eloquence of Ali (a.s.). Why should it not be so? All those who are familiar, know the eloquence of Ali (a.s.). It is correct to say that the speech of the Master is the Master of speech. The speech of the Infallible is the speech of Allah and the speech of Allah is not in need of being praised by mortals.
In the same book of Anwarul Nomania, a person asked Imam Reza (a.s.) why Ali (a.s.) did not fight his enemies for 25 years though he did perform Jihad during his Caliphate? Imam Reza (a.s.) said: “Ali (a.s.) followed in the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah (S) in avoiding armed conflicts. After becoming the Prophet, the Messenger of Allah (S) did not fight the infidels during 13 years of his stay in Mecca and first 18 months in Medina. The reason was that for such a long time, he had very few helpers and supporters. But his refraining from Jihad for such a long time did not make his prophethood invalid. In the same way, the Imamate of Ali (a.s.) was not affected, if he did not take up arms.”
We should know that the action of Prophet and Imam is according to divine Knowledge. The past, present and future; all are exposed on the Prophet and the Imam (a.s.). After the passing away of the Holy Prophet (S) there was such a shortage of friends and helpers for Ali (a.s.) that only four companions of the Prophet were on his side: Miqdad, Ammar, Salman and Abu Dharr. On the other hand, most companions of the Prophet became aloof from him and were in support of the three Caliphs.