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6.1 - 1st Imam [Second Ma’soom] – Imam Ali (‘A), The Guide Of The Prophet (S)

M. Would The Prophet (S) Leave His People To Their Own Fates?

The Prophet (S), as the last and foremost Messenger of God, bore the final and complete message that complemented the religion of God and the works of former Prophets (‘a) and [he] was thus the seal of the Prophets (‘a). The reach of his worldwide message is not limited by time nor space and is for the whole of humanity to flourish to its highest potential. It must, thus, be kept in safe hands. Simply put, the importance and magnitude of this message require protection.

How can it then be imaginable that God, who has constantly sent His prophets (‘a) for the guidance of men, would just leave everything to its fate now? How could it be conceivable that the Prophet (S) who was so concerned about man's guidance and liberation and fought for this his entire life, would not be concerned with man’s destiny and how it would go after him? Logic cannot accept that such a large and vital mission would be left to its own fate upon the Prophet’s (S) passing. Nor is it in accordance with God to leave man without a guide. By virtue of His justice and wisdom and that the message has never been given without protectors [of the message]. Former prophets (‘a) have always passed the message on to their successors and next coming prophets (‘a).

One who has worked hard and strived for many years to achieve a long-term goal and succeeded in building the foundation for it will obviously be keen on its continued development and realization. This fact is logical and clearly seen within social structures. Neglection, in this context, would be irresponsible and unnatural. For example, imagine a manager, who for 20 years strived, and built up a large company, only to then leave it. Would it be feasible that he leaves without any plan, replacement or instructions to all the employees after him? In reality, such a thing would not happen especially when it is associated with an infallible Prophet (S) and a divine message.

Similarly, at the societal level, a company has a CEO and a Vice President while a government has ministers. Each position has its respective replacement. Likewise, a football team has a captain and a substitute ... The examples are many! All countries have a review system in their constitution that contains what action is taken in the event of the demise of a minister or head of state. If these leaders did not have substitutes to take over the rule when needed, chaos would prevail in their absence! More than that; society requires this in order for stability to prevail.

In reality, the principle is not only applicable to top positions. In all areas of responsibility, there is, and needs to be, an official substitute in case the person responsible becomes absent. Most people agree that the person who leaves a job or responsibility without a substitute plan is irresponsible and not concerned about the continued development and success of the establishment at hand. This is true regardless of the size of the establishment but in particular in large ones. How, then, would it be for a divinely chosen Prophet (S) who is responsible for the final message that concerns all of humanity? Not to mention, how would it be possible for God, the Wise, not to have a plan for this?

The Prophet (S) had to go through many adversities in order to establish the first Islamic state that would help the development and advancement of humanity. As such, he was most concerned about the wellbeing of humanity and that the divine path would be pursued all the way to the finish, even after his passing. It was the Prophet’s (S) personal affair to ensure the continued guidance and perfection of men. It goes against common sense that an infallible Prophet (S) would have ignored the question of succession.

Besides the divine command that the Prophet (S) received to announce his successor and the evidence and historical arguments that belong to this matter, there is a logical aspect to be considered. Would a Prophet (S) who fought and sacrificed for decades and then succeeded in transforming an entire society to leave everything just like that? When Prophet Musa (‘a) [Moses] went to Mount Toor [Sinai] for the meeting of God, for a limited period of thirty days, he did not leave the people to their own destiny. He appointed his brother Haroon (‘a) as his deputy and successor among the people. Is it then possible that the last Prophet (S) would leave the people to their own destiny for the coming future without deputies and successors?1

In fact, the Prophet (S), as the foremost leader in history, with the greatest and most important mission to pull all of humanity to the dock, would of course never leave the people to their fate. Hence, on God's order, the Prophet (S) chose Imam Ali (‘a) as his rightful successor to complete the path and reiterated this on several occasions. Thus, Imam Ali (‘a) is the first Imam (‘a) after the Prophet (S). On the basis of being the most qualified, which has repeatedly been proven throughout history.2

M1. What Were The Alternatives Of The Prophet (S)?

Some argue that the election of the Prophet's (S) successor was left to the people. They use God's command in the verse of ’consultation’ to strengthen their claim.

If we examine this more closely, there are two aspects to be considered. Firstly, whether God's command to consult others is applicable in the appointment of the Prophet's (S) successor? Based on the nature of the mission and the conditions for its success, it is clear that the message could not be delivered except in the guardianship of an infallible prophet (‘a) or Imam (‘a) chosen by God. Since Prophet Muhammad (S) was the last Prophet, it should have been a successor with the same qualities and qualifications that fulfilled the mission – namely an Imam (‘a). In addition to the historical evidence for Imam Ali's (‘a) qualification and selection, and in addition to the Prophet's (S) testimony of this [on God's order], was there anyone else who fulfilled these requirements?

Imam Ali (‘a) was, according to companions’ statements, the foremost among them and the one closest to the Prophet (S). How would it be acceptable for the foremost and most suitable to be put aside as a leader in favour of someone else who is not at that level? Is it not a given that a leader should be the one best qualified for the mission?

The second aspect to consider is the actions of the first caliphs in relation to the question at hand. As history testifies, the choice of the first caliph was made by a few. It took place in remoteness, while the public was in shock following the passing of the Prophet (S). This, while the second caliph was the choice of the first caliph and the selection of the third caliph, was decided by a closed council, under predetermined conditions, whose members had been chosen by the second caliph. The question then is how some claim that these elections were made through popular elections can? And the second question is: does the first and second caliph's actions, in choosing themselves, mean that they were more concerned about the fate of the people than God and the Prophet (S) himself?

There are some scholars, in other Islamic schools and denominations, who argue that the Prophet (S) left the choice of his successor to the people. However, according to the clear testimony in history, the first caliph appointed his successor himself, while the second caliph appointed a specific gathering to appoint his successor. Further questions arise in this context: which method is the right one? And if any of the latter methods are correct; did these caliphs know better than the Prophet (S)? Or were they more concerned about the continued success of the Islamic nation than the Prophet (S) was? Did they care more than the very Prophet (S) who, according to themselves, chose no successor? With his knowledge of society and its existing dangers, would the Prophet (S) leave the fate of Muslims to chance? And if the statement that the Prophet (S) did not choose a successor was true, why did the succeeding caliphs not follow their Prophet’s (S) method?

In summary, according to these schools' arguments, there were three options for the Prophet (S):

1. Not appointing a successor and leave the nation to its fate

2. Appointing a gathering of people to appoint the successor

3. Appointing the successor himself

It has already been established that the first option is not logical.3 The second and third options, which the first and second caliphs acted upon, are neither a choice nor a popular vote. Historically, there was no election where the entire Muslim nation voted for its leader. In addition, the second and third options were also not in accordance with the Prophet's (S) alleged act of leaving the election to the people. So how was it really done? And what did the Prophet's (S) preaching in Ghadir mean based on all this? Why did the Prophet (S) appoint Imam Ali (‘a) as his successor right from the beginning of his calling and emphasized this several times in all possible contexts repeatedly, right up to his farewell pilgrimage where he declared it open to all Muslims?4

N. God Has Promised To Preserve Religion Forever – How?

God has said in the Holy Qur’an:

“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an, and indeed, We will be its guardian.” (The Holy Qur’an, 15:9).

The words and verses of The Holy Qur’an, are completely preserved in their original condition. They have not been subject to any change or distortion. There is absolutely no doubt about this fact. Nonetheless, the Holy Qur’an, like other sacred scripts, has been the subject of interpretation throughout history. Some individuals and groups have, at times, emphasized parts of its message at the expense of other parts. So as to further their own perceptions and interests. These self-interpretations have led to many distorted lines of thought that deviated from the true interpretation5or ended in extremism that bears no resemblance to the Prophet's (S) merciful approach.6

Consequently, God's promise of the preservation of the Qur’an must involve not only the preservation of the scripture itself but also its message and interpretation. How? Could it have been for this purpose that God repeatedly emphasizes the Prophet (S) as the best example, and commands obedience to the Prophet (S) and equates obedience to His Prophet (S) with obedience to Himself?

In fact, the Prophet (S) can be described as a personification of the Qur’an's precepts and messages. The Prophet (S) and the Imams (‘a) after him are a manifestation of the Qur’an in human form, as they have knowledge of all its messages and apply them in practice. This explains the reason the Prophet (S) emphasized that the Qur’an and his Ahlul Al-Bayt (‘a) would never be separated. As the true interpretation of the Qur’an can never be obtained without the Prophet’s (S) and [after him] his Ahl Al-Bayt's (‘a) guidance.

The Holy Qur’an, And The Ahl Al-Bayt (‘A)

The Prophet said:

“I leave you two valuable things, if you hold on to BOTH you will not get lost after me. They are the book of God and my offspring, which is my Ahl Al-Bayt. The Merciful has informed me that these two should not be separated from each other until they come to me at the pool of paradise.”7

The Qur’an is the revealed word of God, and the Imams (‘a) are the ones who hold its complete message. No mankind will be without the guidance of one of these guides according to the testimony of the Qur’an. This means that the people of all eras, until the Day of Judgment, are under the guidance and protection of one of these Imams (‘a). Therefore, an obvious consequence is to search for and ask the question in every era: who is the Imam of our time?

How Does The Imam (‘A) Protect Religion?

It is vital that an infallible person, holding complete knowledge of God’s message, interprets the Qur’an for the people. In doing so, they save people from distorted interpretations.8

The Imams (‘a) protect religion by doing, among other things, the following:

• Showing and shedding light on the truth and justice for the people in its perfected entirety. This is because man's aql (intellect) lacks knowledge, overview and an overall picture on many issues. In addition, human beings can make mistakes because of deficiencies in moral aspects or when the judgment is influenced by other factors such as incorrect knowledge, self-interest, etc.

• Protecting the Prophet's (S) message from distortion.

• Exposing the hypocrites, that is, the false individuals who appear in a religious garment and use lies and manipulation to spread corruption in the name of religion.9

• Resisting the ignorant interpretations of the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet (S). The motive behind distorted interpretations are not necessarily vicious; ignorant people can sometimes make defective interpretations based on ignorance.10

O. Imam Ali (‘A), Raised By The Prophet (S)

Imam Ali’s (‘A) Miraculous Birth Inside The Ka’ba

Imam Ali (‘a) was born on the 13th of the month of Rajab in Mecca in 600 AD. He was miraculously born inside the Holy Ka'ba. Symbolizing the high position he held with God, as no one else was ever born in Ka'ba, neither before nor after him. Prior to Imam Ali’s (‘a) birth, his mother Fatimah bint Asad (r.a.) went to towards the holy precinct of Ka'ba. Once there, she experienced labour pain while praying. As she lifted her head after prayer, she witnessed a miracle; one of the Ka'ba's walls opened up for her. People nearby were astonished as they saw Imam Ali's (‘a) mother go into the Ka’ba and the wall was closed after her. Following the happening, nobody could enter the Ka'ba. All attempts to open the door to the Ka'ba were unsuccessful.

Soon the news of this miraculous event spread throughout Mecca. Fatimah bint Asad (r.a.) was inside the Ka'ba for three days. When the fourth day arrived, the Ka'ba's wall miraculously opened and she stepped out with her infant in her arms. Imam Ali (‘a) had not yet opened his eyes. Prophet Muhammad (S) was eager to see and carry the newborn child. As Imam Ali (‘a) came into the Prophet's (S) arms, he opened his eyes for the first time. The first thing his eyes were blessed with was the sight of the Prophet's (S) blessed face. From that moment, Imam Ali (‘a) was in the Prophet's (S) company. He grew from childhood with a strong and close relationship with the Prophet (S).

Imam Ali (‘A) Moves Into The Home Of The Prophet (S) At The Age Of Six

The Prophet's (S) uncle and Imam Ali's (‘a) father, Abu Talib (r.a.), had a large family in which the Prophet (S) himself had grown up in. Famine hit Mecca when Imam Ali (‘a) was about six years of age. From that time, the Prophet (S) took Imam Ali (‘a) to his own house. He took care of him and raised him as a loving father. The moral of the Prophet (S) was widely known, and he raised Imam Ali (‘a) as well to hold deep fear of God, piousness and noble values.

Imam Ali (‘a) has said in this regard:

“I was with him when he was at home or when travelling just like a young camel which follows his mother. Every day he taught me something new from his conduct to follow. Every year he went to the cave Hira, and only I could see him. At that time, there was no Muslim in any house except the Prophet’s (S) and Khadija’s (r.a.) house, and I was the third of them. I could see the light of revelation and feel the prophecy.”11

The First Man To Accept Islam

As a young man, Imam Ali (‘a) worshipped God together with the Prophet (S). When the Prophet (S) received the first revelation, Imam Ali (‘a) was the first man to believe in him and pay witness to the Prophet’s (S) prophecy and message. Therefore, Imam Ali (‘a) was the first of the Prophet’s (S) companions to adopt Islam. He became a Muslim at the early age of 10.

Character

Imam Ali (‘a) was a reflection of the Prophet (S) in his character, morality, justice, wisdom, patience, courage, kindness and eloquence. The Prophet (S) loved Imam Ali (‘a), just as Imam Ali (‘a) loved the Prophet (S). He was constantly ready to defend and protect the Prophet (S) from any harm and all aggressors. Imam Ali (‘a) was also the companion who, at the command of the Prophet (S), was allowed to write down the revealed Qur’anic verses. Historical events, as well as the Prophet's (S) companions, testify that Imam Ali (‘a) was the Prophet's (S) closest companion and one who had both great talent and excellent intelligence, and obeyed the Prophet (S) wholeheartedly.

The Prophet (S) has said in this regard:

“Whoever wants to see [Prophet] Adam (‘a) in his knowledge, and [Prophet] Nooh (‘a) in his taqwa (piety) and determination, and [Prophet] Ibrahim (‘a) in his forbearance, and [Prophet] Musa (‘a) in his worship and intelligence and [Prophet] Isa (‘a) in his religious devotion should look at Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a).”12

Imam Ali’s (‘A) Position In Relation To The Prophet (S)

Historically, it is clear that Imam Ali's (‘a) position in relation to the Prophet (S) is very special and unique. The support that Imam Ali (‘a) gave the Prophet (S) cannot be compared to anyone else's. No words are sufficient enough to accurately describe Imam Ali's (‘a) greatness and closeness to the Prophet (S).

What follows is a selection of narrations whereby the Prophet (S) himself testifies to Imam Ali's (‘a) position. He describes it with speaking parables to obedient ears, waking hearts and truth-seeking souls.

Hadith Manzila (The Position)

Hadith Manzila (The Position) – Imam Ali’s (‘a) position in relation to the Prophet (S) is equated with the position of Prophet Haroon’s (‘a) to Prophet Musa (‘a)

In an authentic narration that has been quoted in most credible Sunni and Shi’a sources, the Prophet (S) equates Imam Ali’s (‘a) position in relation to himself, to Prophet Haroon’s (‘a) in relation to Prophet Musa (‘a). In connection with a battle in which the Prophet (S) commanded Imam Ali (‘a) to remain in Medina, the Prophet (S) said:

“Ali, are you not pleased to be to me as Haroon was to Musa, except that there is no prophet after me.”

To understand this hadith, it is necessary to answer the natural follow-up question: How was the position of Prophet Haroon (‘a) in relation to Prophet Musa (‘a)?

It is a historically known fact that Prophet Haroon (‘a) was Prophet Musa’s (‘a) brother, his closest companion, accomplice, and his deputy in his absence. Prophet Haroon (‘a) was the one whom God bestowed to Prophet Musa (‘a) in response to Musa’s (‘a) prayer for a supporter and a helper. The difference was that Prophet Haroon (‘a) was also chosen by God to be a prophet. In this narration, the Prophet (S) emphasizes that Imam Ali (‘a) has exactly the same position with the exception that he is not a prophet. This was when the Prophet (S) was the last Messenger who came with the final message, and there would be no more prophets after him who received wahy (revelation). On the other hand, there would be deputies and successors who would complete the Prophet’s (S) path as it continues after him. They carry on the mission in society until the goal is achieved. Therefore, Imam Ali (‘a) was for the Prophet (S) as Haroon (‘a) was for Prophet Musa (‘a), apart from the position of the prophecy. This meaning is clear in the Holy Qur’an, which describes Haroon’s (‘a) position in relation to Prophet Musa (‘a):

“‘And appoint for me a minister from my family’” (The Holy Qur’an, 20:29).

“Aaron, my brother.” (The Holy Qur’an, 20:30).

“Increase through him my strength.” (The Holy Qur’an, 20:31).

“And let him share my task.” (The Holy Qur’an, 20:32).

“That we may exalt You much.” (The Holy Qur’an, 20:33).

“And remember You much.” (The Holy Qur’an, 20:34).

“Indeed, You are of us ever Seeing.” (The Holy Qur’an, 20:35).

“[God] said, ‘You have been granted your request, O Moses.’” (The Holy Qur’an, 20:36)

Furthermore, Haroon’s (‘a) [position as] a representative also is made clear by Prophet Musa (‘a) in the following verses in the Qur’an:

“And We made an appointment with Moses for thirty nights and perfected them by [the addition of] ten; so the term of his Lord was completed as forty nights. And Moses said to his brother Aaron, “Take my place among my people, do right [by them], and do not follow the way of the corrupters.” (The Holy Qur’an, 7:142).

“[God] said, “We will strengthen your arm through your brother and grant you both supremacy so they will not reach you. [It will be] through Our signs; you and those who follow you will be predominant.” (The Holy Qur’an, 28:35).

Hadith Bab Madinat Al-’Ilm

Hadith bab madinat Al-’ilm (The gate to the city of knowledge) – The Prophet (S) is the city of knowledge, and Imam Ali (‘a) is its gate

The Prophet (S) has also equated Imam Ali (‘a) as a gate that must be passed in order to gain the Prophet’s (S) understanding and knowledge. In an authentic narration, the Prophet (S) has said:

“I am the city of knowledge and ‘Ali is its gate.”13

The hadith shows that Imam Ali's (‘a) knowledge derives from the Prophet's (S). It also shows that the Prophet (S) was Imam Ali's (‘a) sole teacher and that Imam Ali (‘a) was the Prophet's (S) most prominent disciple and follower. Furthermore, the hadith is a proof of Imam Ali's (‘a) superior position in religious leadership.14It also attests to the high status of his knowledge. By stating that the road to the Prophet (S) goes via Imam Ali (‘a), the Imam (‘a) constitutes the link and entrance. As such, he holds the most knowledge of Islam, The Holy Qur’an, and the Prophet’s (S) course of action.

Imam Ali’s (‘a) unique position can also be confirmed in the following narration where the Prophet (S) clearly states that no one knows his reality except Imam Ali (‘a) and God:

“No one knows God except Ali and me, no one knows Ali except God and me, and no one knows me except God and Ali.”15

The narrations and the historical depictions of Imam Ali (‘a)are many. Another one that can be mentioned regarding follow Imam Ali (‘a), is the following narration where the Prophet (S) has said:

“Ali is the best and wisest of you, and he is the one with the best judgment among you. To reject what he says is to reject what I say, and to reject what I say means to deny God’s command.”16

O1. From The Verse ‘Warn Your Closest Relatives’ To Ghadir

The Prophet (S) appointed Imam Ali (‘a) as his successor firstly in connection with the revelation of the verse ‘warn your closest relatives’. Lastly, in the event of Ghadir Khumm, shortly before his passing.17 Between these two events, the Prophet (S) has, on many occasions, repeated the appointment of Imam Ali (‘a) as successor. The history is filled with the Prophet's (S) constant proclamation and determination of Imam Ali's (‘a) position. The Prophet (S) used every opportunity he could to recall Imam Ali's (‘a) position as a successor.

The major and critical events of Islam have one thing in common: Imam Ali (‘a). He was the key person and the main support to the Prophet (S). There are many stories that confirm this. Below are some events no one denies had a crucial role in Islam. All are mentioned by prominent narrators in both Sunni and Shiite sources. Since some of these have already been mentioned in detail before, they are presented below in short lines. They are an overall overview of Imam Ali’s (‘a) role:

• Brought up by the Prophet (S)

• The first to answer the Prophet’s (S) call and accept Islam

• The verse “warn your nearest family” (26:214) - Imam Ali (‘a) is publicly appointed as the Prophet’s (S) brother, deputy and successor at the first public call to Islam

• The first and foremost one who recorded God’s revealed word to the Prophet (S)

• The sacrifice during the night for the Prophet’s (S) hijra to Medina (2:207)

• The brotherhood between Muhajirin and Ansar – Imam Ali (‘a) and prophets (S) brotherhood

• Tathir verses (33:33)

• All doors to the mosque are closed except Imam Ali’s (‘a) and Fatimah’s (‘a) door

• The Mubahala verse (3:61)

• The Ulo-l-amr verse (4:59)

• Battle of Badr – Imam Ali’s (‘a) prominent role and victory

• Battle of Uhud – Imam Ali (‘a) stops and defends the Prophet (S)

• The Battle of Ahzab

• Battle of Khaybar – Imam Ali (‘a) succeeds when no one else succeeds

• Battle of Tabouk – Imam Ali’s (‘a) position to Prophet (S) as Haroon (‘a) to Musa (‘a)

• The conveying of surah Al-Bara’at to the idol worshipers in Mecca

• Surah Al-Insan – the Abrar- verse (76: 5–9)

• Alms in rokoo’ (5:55)18

• The hadith of Bab Madinat Al-’ilm (The gate to the city of knowledge)

• Fath (opening of) Mecca and bearing of Islam’s banner

• Destroying the idols

• Ghadir Khumm (5:67) – Imam Ali (‘a) officially announced as the Prophet’s (S) successor

    • The verse about the completion of religion [5:3]

    • The person who asked for punishment for not being able to tolerate [70:1]19

• The last will of the Prophet (S) and ‘call upon my habib (beloved) and brother.’20

• The Prophet’s (S) kafn (ritual washing and winding of the deceased) and burial

Did You Know?

Sunni and Shi’a Muslims acknowledge the speech in Ghadir as undeniably authentic. So, there is no doubt that the Prophet (S) stayed in Ghadir Khumm, had everyone gathered and held that sermon.

The difference, however, is how some Sunni scholars interpret the Arabic word "mawla" (master), where the Prophet (S) in his speech says ‘God is my mawla, and I am the mawla of believers, and for whom I am mawla, Ali is also his mawla”.

They claim that the meaning of the word mawla is a friend. Although tens of thousands of people waited for several hours under the hot sun, some Sunnis believe that the Prophet (S) only wanted to tell the public that Imam Ali (‘a) was everyone’s friend. The people also had to wait for everyone who had not arrived and call back those who had passed on. They were also ordered to spread the message to all who were not present and to future generations. In addition, the whole event took place during the last pilgrimage of the Prophet (S) where he was commanded by God to proclaim something new. The question is: is it reasonable for the Prophet (S) to carry out all these preparations only to inform the people that Ali (‘a) is their friend?

What, then, was the new thing to be proclaimed when everything else mentioned in the speech was already known to the Muslims? Did the Muslims not already know that Ali (‘a) is the friend of the Prophet (S)? Then how is the subsequent ceremony explained, in which people pledged allegiance to Imam Ali (‘a)? Or the narration of Thaqalayn (the two valuable things) that the Prophet (S) also mentions, and then emphasizes the importance of clinging to the Qur’an and Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a) that must never be separated from each other?

P. After The Prophet (S)

Before The Passing Of The Prophet (S) – The Prophet (S) Asks To Write Down Something Important

Towards the end of his life, the Prophet (S) gathered a large army, under the leadership of Usama, to venture out to meet the threats of the Romans. The Prophet (S) commanded all companions, except for a few, to join the army. He was careful to emphasize that the leading [companions] among the Muhajirin and Ansar were also included in the order and had to leave Medina with the army. However, several of these personalities renounced and defied the Prophet's (S) order by staying in Medina or turned round from the journey. Among the excuses were that they could not follow Usama because of his young age and that the Prophet's (S) condition had deteriorated, so they needed to stay in order to help.

Consequently, several of them were present when the Prophet’s (S) condition deteriorated and he, while lying in his sickbed, asked for a piece of skin and ink to write down something so that the people would never go astray after him. Then Omar Ibn Al-Khattab said:

“The disease has overwhelmed him, and he is delirious. The Holy Qur’an, is sufficient for us!”21

A quarrel arose among the people present. There was a division between two parties - those who wanted to give the Prophet (S) what he asked for and those who refused. The Prophet (S), who saw this became upset, refrained from writing and went to the mosque instead. Imam Ali (‘a) and Fadhl Ibn Al-Abbas, who was the cousin of the Prophet (S), carried him there while his feet were dragging on the ground. In the mosque, the Prophet (S) gave a speech where he once again said:

“I leave two great and valuable things among you; The Holy Qur’an, and my Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a). If you stick to them, you will never go astray.”

The Prophet (S) once again reminded the people of these words, which he had preached to them on so many occasions before. He warned the people time and time again to not be divided after him. It has also been reported that the Prophet (S) turned his face to his followers who had gathered around his bed and said:

“My death is approaching, and I leave two valuable things among you; the first is the Qur’an and the second is my Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a).”

Then he raised Imam Ali’s (‘a) hand and said:

“Ali (‘a) abides by the Qur’an, and the Qur’an will never be separated from him.”

Finally, the Prophet (S) called Imam Ali (‘a) and whispered to him for a while until he passed away and his blessed soul left his blessed body while his blessed head was on the knees of Imam Ali (‘a). Imam Ali (‘a) was the one who performed the rituals for the Prophet (S) after his passing as the Prophet (S) had wished.22

Two Paths After The Prophet (S)

Saqifa

While Imam Ali (‘a) performed the burial rituals of the Prophet (S), a crowd gathered in Saqifa and disputed the issue of the Prophet’s (S) successor. Saqifa was a place that belonged to the Jewish tribe Bani Sa'eda in Medina. First, some of the Ansar had gathered there as they feared that the Muhajirin would not follow the Prophet's (S) choice of Imam Ali (‘a). They wanted to stay ahead of possible events and secure themselves.

The Ansar’s fear rose, not least, as a result of the events that preceded the Prophet's (S) departure. Including the apparent defiance of the Prophet's (S) orders regarding Usama's army. Statements of the kind; “Prophecy and leadership cannot be gathered in the same household [aimed at Bani Hashim and specifically Imam Ali (‘a)]” were heard being said by prominent personalities of Muhajirin.

Additionally, the Ansar feared they would be afflicted by a revenge campaign. They were the first to support the Prophet (S) and fought against Quraysh, the tribe that many of the Muhajirin belonged to. Consequently, the majority of those killed in those battles were related to the Muhajirin. Ansar feared that pre-Islamic traditions of revenge would revive after the passing of the Prophet (S). Although the Prophet (S) had worked hard to eradicate blind fanatical traditions such as revenge campaigns and kinship feuds, they were deeply rooted in Jahiliyyah (the era of ignorance - the pre-Islamic era), and traces of them still remained with some.

When Ansar came to Saqifa, Saadat Ibn Ubada, the tribal leader of Al-Khazraj, who was one of the great tribes that made up Ansar, emphasized:

“The gathering of Ansar, you have had the advantage and privilege of responding to the Prophet Muhammad’s (S) calling and living with him. This is an advantage that not all Arabs have had. For ten years he invited the people to the path of the One God… The Prophet (S) passed away while he was still pleased with you and your actions; therefore, you should hold onto it [the caliphate] since it belongs to you and not them…

The news of the gathering reached Abu Bakr and Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, who immediately rushed there and surprised Ansar while they were giving advice on who should be appointed to take over the governance. Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, who was known for his temper, wanted to attack Ansar physically but was calmed down by Abu Bakr who said:

“We, the Muhajirin, were the first to embrace Islam, we have the noblest and chivalrous descent, and we are closest to the Messenger of God [in kinship] ... We are emirs and you are viziers ... Therefore, do not envy your brothers from Muhajirin who have been blessed with this position. That is why I appoint one of these two men [Omar Ibn Al-Khattab and Abu Ubayda] as leaders over you for the caliphate.”

Like Sa’d Abu Bakr ignored the Prophet’s (S) appointment of Imam Ali (‘a) as his successor. But Omar Ibn Al-Khattab instead proposed Abu Bakr as a leader, and after he himself pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr, he got the attending Ansar and Muhajirin to pledge allegiance to him. All this took place while the Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a) and most of the Prophets (S) prominent companions were occupied with the burial of the Prophet (S).

The question that arises here is whether the arguments presented by these few attending of Ansar and Muhajirin, to justify what they did in Saqifa, is legitimate? The speaker from Ansar said that their support for the Prophet (S) and his [the Prophets (S)] contentment with them qualified them for leadership. The speaker from Muhajirin instead had the Prophet’s (S) kinship as the main argument for qualifying for leadership. In addition to the obvious fact that the Prophet (S) already appointed the leader, if we instead assume that these two merits decided who would become the leader: was there someone other than Imam Ali (‘a) who, without any competition, surpassed everyone else in both the Prophet’s (S) contentment and close kinship with the Prophet (S)?

Did You Know?

The great achievement of the Prophet (S) in revolutionizing a nation in only twenty-three years is nothing more than a miracle. With his good morals and piety, he inspired the hearts and spread light and hope to the world. The Prophet (S) had managed to breathe new life into a society imprisoned by intolerant customs. It was a society characterized by idolatry, tribal feuds and revenge campaigns. Bloody wars took place, girls were buried alive, and the oppression of the rich and powerful had no limits. With the efforts of the Prophet (S) and trust in God, society was transformed into a place where monotheism, piety, justice and brotherhood had been highlighted. Help reached the poor and the orphans. Women gained dignity in society and sacrifice in God’s way become a habit for everyone. Despite this enormous achievement, not all the customs of ignorance had been eradicated. The traces of these customs remained among some of those who grew up and spent the majority of their lives in the pre-Islamic era.

The Islamic nation was yet another young plant that needed to be cared for to reach its goal. At the same time, since the beginning of the Prophet’s (S) governance in Medina, there were internal enemies. The Holy Qur’an, called these enemies for munafqin (hypocrites). In their exterior, they appeared to be Muslims while in reality, they were conspiring against the Muslims. The Prophet (S) tried to prepare the people for his passing, but the event was still shocking to many. After his passing, the hypocrites saw the chance to sabotage, and the external enemies made society more fragile for internal turbulence. These events were predictable. That in itself is another reason why the Prophet (S) would impossibly have left the Muslim community without a leader who could steer [society] in the right direction.

Therefore, what would happen after the Prophet (S), was of great importance and crucial to the future of Islam. The foundation that the Prophet (S) had laid needed to be protected and continued to be built on. In order to pave the way to ultimate success while countering enemy attacks and supporting society not to fall back into its old ways. Who other than the most devout and closely related to the Prophet (S), that is, the most righteous and competent man, could fulfil this extremely important and decisive mission?

When Imam Ali (‘a) was deprived of his proper position, the horrific tragedies that the Islamic nation would suffer in the future began, and which left its stains until this day. The Imams (‘a) of the Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a) ruled in accordance with the Prophet's (S) wisdom and true values. If they were given a chance to rule, the Islamic nation would have reached levels of justice which undoubtedly would have secured humanity until today. This justice was seen during Imam Ali's (‘a) governance and stands as an exemplary model for all of humanity until today. Instead, a gradual decline began, which the Islamic world is still suffering from. The incident in Saqifa marked the beginning of divisions within the Muslim nation and became the basis for horrific consequences.

These events paved the way for future tyrannical rulers such as Mu'awiya and Yazid to reach the supreme stage of power. These tyrants committed massacres under the governance of Bani Umayya, which continued with Bani Marwan and Bani Abbas. The equivalents to these tyrants are today's monarchies who rule with extreme interpretations of religion. They are the ones who terrorist groups, like Da'esh, leans back on for support. Islamic leadership was hijacked and distorted into an inherited monarchy under the title of the ‘caliphate’. The standards of Muslim society were distorted and weakened at the expense of the true Islamic values that the Prophet (S) had founded. This continued to the critical degree that Mu'awiya was able to appoint his drunkard and irresponsible son Yazid as the caliph of the Muslims without the majority of the Muslim community protesting!

It was from this beginning of unjustified leadership and unjust distribution of positions of power and wealth that one Yazid could come to power. He executed the massacre of Ashura in Karbala and brutally murdered the Prophet's (S) grandson Imam Al-Husayn (‘a), just fifty years after the passing of the Prophet (S). Moreover, all the tragedies, injustices and corruption that not only the Muslim nation but the whole world today continue to suffer from are a consequence of unjustified leadership.23

Ahl Al-Bayt (‘A) And Several Other Prominent Companions Were Not Involved In Saqifa’s Decision

The great personalities of Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a) and other prominent followers were not involved in the decision that would affect the entire Islamic nation. When the news reached the Prophet’s (S) uncle, Al-Abbas, he went to Imam Ali (‘a) and said to him:

“My nephew, give me your hand so that I may pledge allegiance to you and so that people may see that the Prophet’s (S) uncle has sworn allegiance to God’s Messenger’s cousin.”

Imam Ali (‘a) asked his uncle:

“Who more desires the caliphate?”24

Imam Ali (‘a) was occupied with washing and burying the Prophet (S) and was not aware of what had happened.

Imam Ali (‘A) Refuses To Pledge Allegiance To Abu Bakr

Imam Ali (‘a) did not pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr for the obvious reason that leadership was of God's decree. Leadership rightly belonged to the Imam (‘a) as he was the one who could lead society and the people in the right direction. Otherwise, a position of power for worldly purposes was not of value to Imam Ali (‘a), and the position in itself meant nothing to him.25 This was demonstrated when Abu Sufyan went to Imam Ali (‘a) and offered to pledge allegiance to him and support him militarily. Abu Sufyan had been an enemy of Islam and saw an opportunity to cause divisions and weaken Islamic rule. Imam Ali (‘a) firmly refused because he knew about Abu Sufyan's intentions.26

The Attack On Imam Ali’s (‘A) House

One of the most astonishing events in the history of Islam is when it was decided that allegiance to Abu Bakr should be taken from Imam Ali (‘a) forcibly. A crowd was sent to bring Imam Ali (‘a), by any means, to pledge allegiance. It ended in Fatimah's (‘a) and Imam Ali's (‘a) house being attacked. This house was so deeply loved and respected by the Prophet (S) that he stopped daily at its door and greeted his household Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a).27

When the threats escalated and the situation worsened, some of those who were in the lead escalated and threatened to burn down the house as if they did not know that Fatimah (‘a) was inside the house?! This fact, which everyone already knew, caused some in the crowd to retreat, while the one leading the attack roared that it does not matter. The house would be burnt down regardless of who was in it unless the oath of allegiance was given to Abu Bakr. Fatimah (‘a) herself had walked to the door to answer the threatening crowd, and her voice was heard behind the door. Despite this, one of the men set fire to the door and kicked it in. Fatimah az-Zahra’'s (‘a) cry for her father, the Prophet (S) echoed when she was crushed between the door and the wall. History witnessed how the Prophet's (S) daughter's house was mercilessly stormed in front of her son, Imam Al-Hasan (‘a).28

Imam Ali (‘a), whose strength on the battlefield was known and frightened even the bravest Arabs, had, as the last point, been urged and commanded by the Prophet (S) to be patient about the events that would occur after the Prophet’s (S) demise. Imam Ali (‘a) was chained and removed from his house in front of Fatimah az-Zahra’’s (‘a) eyes.

When Imam Ali (‘a) was brought in front of Abu Bakr, and Omar Ibn Khattab told him to pledge allegiance, Imam Ali (‘a) replied:

“Indeed, I am more worthy of the caliphate than you. I will not pledge allegiance to you; rather, it is you who will pledge allegiance to me. You took the Caliphate from Ansar and used the kinship with the Prophet (S) as an argument and claimed that you are more worthy of the Caliphate because in kinship you are closer to the Prophet (S). Yet you ignore Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a) who are the closest to the Prophet (S). So, I argue with you with the same qualification and traits that you used against Ansar. If you fear God do justice to us and accept for us what Ansar accepted for you; otherwise, you will consciously oppress and wrong yourself.”29

Imam Ali (‘a) used kinship solely for the reason that Abu Bakr and Omar had used that argument in Saqifa, and no one could deny that Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a) was closer to the Prophet (S) than anyone else; both in kinship and from all other aspects. But in the end, it was not kinship that made Imam Ali (‘a) the worthy successor. It was the fact that he was chosen by God through the Prophet (S). He held the complete knowledge and qualification to shoulder this extremely vital responsibility.

Omar Ibn Khattab could not argue against Imam Ali’s (‘a) striking words and replied:

“You will not be left alone until you pledge allegiance.”

Imam Ali (‘a) replied:

“Omar, milk the milk of which you get the half of; today you strengthen his cause so tomorrow he may give it back to you.”

Furthermore, arguments were put forth that Imam Ali (‘a) was too young!30 He was advised to hand over the caliphate to the elders now and, being closest to the Prophet (S) and had merited that no one else could measure up to or deny, regain governorship later if he was still alive. But the choice of leadership and governance was not Imam Ali’s (‘a) to give away. It was God’s choice. Imam Ali (‘a) could not negotiate something that God had chosen, nor close his eyes to the consequences that would befall the people if such a thing were to be done. Therefore, Imam (‘a) tried to awaken the people and speak to their rationality until the very last moment:

“O people of Muhajirin! Do not underestimate Prophet Muhammad ’s (S) right to authority among believers and do not move this right from his house and household to your own, and do not remove his household from his right and position among the people. By God, we are the Prophet’s household that is most worthy of succeeding him. Is not among us the reader [and interpreter] of the Book of God and the confidant of His religion and the conversant of the Prophet’s (S) sunnah and the one who can lead and carry this mission to its goal? By God, this person is from us. Do not follow the desire of the self because then you will be led away from haqq (right and truth) …”31

The Imam (‘a) spoke to deaf ears.

The questions regarded the events following the passing of the Prophet (S) and about the arguments that were made regarding the takeover of the caliphate. There is no doubt about the sincerity and exalted personality of Imam Ali (‘a), nor his knowledge and wisdom, something that his friends as well as his enemies, then and now, agree upon. Nor is it possible to deny the historical fact that some chose to disregard the Prophet’s (S) proclamations on numerous occasions such as Ghadir Khumm, where he is more than one way proclaimed God’s will and ordained people to follow Imam Ali (‘a). So, on what grounds was a blind-eye turned to Imam Ali’s (‘a) status as a chosen Imam? And his accomplishments depending on Islam and its Prophet (S) since the beginning? On what grounds was the choice made to disregard Imam Ali (‘a) as the leading companion of Prophet (S), according to God’s and Prophet’s (S) own testimony, and the first to believe in him and the strongest in adhering to this belief? Why was the fact that Imam Ali (‘a) was the most God-fearing believer and worthy among them, and the solution to all the impossible missions in which they themselves failed, ignored? How could you turn a blind eye to all the qualifications that distinguished Imam Ali (‘a) and not even respect the fact that Imam Ali (‘a) was the Prophet’s (S) closest kinship, which according to them was decisive merit? Because if it was about kinship; who was closer to the Prophet (S) than Imam Ali (‘a)? If it was about qualification and merit; who was more qualified and had more merits than Imam Ali (‘a)? If it was about being a pioneer and having an early entrance to Islam; who was the one who believed the Prophet (S) first other than Imam Ali (‘a)?

Who did it that had been raised by the Prophet (S) himself since childhood and most resemble the Prophet (S) in morals and lifestyle? Who had followed the Prophet (S) through thick and thin and was the one who believed the Prophet (S) in all situations during all difficult and decisive missions? Who had time and time again shown an example of steadfast devotion, morals, wisdom, strength and endurance? Who was it that, in the Prophet’s (S) first open calling among his immediate family, had been the only one to stand in confession and support for the Prophet (S)? Who stood up in support of the Prophet (S) and God’s message when all the other ‘elders’ denied? Who risked his life and slept in the Prophet’s (S) bed at night when the enemies had planned to assassinate the Prophet (S)? Who had settled the battles of Badr, Khandaq and Khaybar and went all the way to death during the battle of Uhud in his defence of the Prophet’s (S) life when everyone else abandoned the Messenger of God and fled away to save their own lives, including the first caliphs? Who had the Prophet (S) brought with him to Mubahala and called his ‘nafs’ (me)? To whom had the Prophet (S) said ‘you are to me as Haroon was to Musa’? About whom was the verses of Ulo-l-amr and alms in rokoo’ sent down? Who had the Prophet (S) called ‘the gate of the city of knowledge’ and commanded all who wanted to reach the city to go through its gate? Who, on God’s order, had the Prophet (S) sent alone to Mecca to announce God’s distancing from the idolaters with the revelation of surah Bara’at? About whom had the Prophet (S) said: ‘Ali is with the truth, and the truth is with Ali’, and to companions who demanded never to go astray, ‘if the whole world goes to one valley, and Ali (‘a) to another, go after Ali (‘a)’? About who the Prophet (S) had proclaimed in Ghadir Khumm ‘verily he whom I am a leader over, Ali is his leader, and he is Ali, my brother and my confidant, and his following is from God the Honored the Praised which He sent over me’? And about the one which the Prophet (S) had stated of: ‘God is my master, and I am the master of believers; O’ people! Of whomsoever I am a master, Ali is his master; My Lord! Befriend anyone who befriends him and make enmity towards anyone who makes enmity towards him and love whoever loves him and abhor whoever abhors him and assist whoever assists him and abandon whoever abandons him and turn haqq (right and truth) with him wherever he turns’?32

Can something like age, outweigh all these qualifications? Can a few people’s views on the caliphate weigh more than God’s opinion? What happened to the Prophet’s authority over the believers? Why did people reject the words of the Prophet (S) when they knew that he was not speaking out of his self-interest and that his will was that of God’s?33

Why Did Imam Ali (‘A) Refuse To Pledge Allegiance?

The answer to this question goes back to the meaning of the word Imamah (divinely chosen leadership and guardianship) and the status of an Imam (‘a) as a comprehensive leader for the people of his time but also as a leader and guiding light for humanity throughout the ages. In other words, an Imam is, by definition, an Imam regardless of circumstances, and therefore continues to bear the divine responsibility and continues to lead and bring humanity to their creational purpose even if it does not happen in the long run. An Imam always acts on the basis of bringing people to God and guiding them to salvation and taqwa (piety) with righteous behaviour as a tool. They also guide people by giving divine insight and knowledge. Since the goal is the evolving and happiness of the people, this leadership also means to highlight this development alongside the prevailing capacity and the will of the people. In other words, humanity’s understanding of an Imam’s position, and the will to then obey the Imam, is a condition that needs to be achieved.34

Consequently, the leadership of an Imam is greater than just political power and far away from dictatorial terror. Rather, leadership is a responsibility chosen by God for the most suitable and should be fulfilled in God’s way in the best possible way. The definition of a leader from an Islamic perspective is, therefore, completely different from today’s general definition. In Islam, a leader is the one who, through his taqwa (piety) and knowledge, is highly qualified to lead a group of people to the goal. In other words, this leader lacks a personal interest in power and sees governance only as a means of leading people to true happiness, to their creational purpose. Hence, an Imam seeks to bring man to life and evoke their inherent goodness35 so that they, by their own will, bring forth the necessary conditions for each other at the individual and societal level.

That being said, the governorship was not a post that Imam Ali (‘a) could give or renounce. Rather, the governorship was a means by which the Imam (‘a) would perform his duty in following the Prophet’s (S) path and leading the people after the Prophet (S). In order to fulfil this duty, it included, holding the governorship with its accompanying aids, including the associated reach and impact in society. The governorship is, therefore, a very important means of guiding society and the people towards their goal. This is apart from the fact that the entirety of society’s sight is constantly focused on the leader’s approach. The leader takes the lead as the leader of the community and in practice, directs and leads it. In other words, the leader becomes a standard for what applies in society, and is decisive for its values ​​and future both through his personal behaviour and through the soft and hard tools of power, including the media and introduced laws. Leadership has such a central role in Islam that only one who is highly qualified from all aspects should be the leader. This not the least in terms of spiritual and moral purity as well as expertise; something whose weight and value is clearly evident today in the absence of righteous leaders and with today’s corrupt rulers who are ravaging the world in pursuit of their own interests and who completely ignore the masses.

These consequences, and other aspects besides this, were evident to Imam Ali (‘a) and as a divinely chosen leader, he was obliged to do everything he could to guide and warn the people. But when the will of the people broke, the Imam (‘a) found himself in a position where he had two choices; either to make an uprising or to be patient and to fulfil the leadership’s mission in other ways.36 An uprising, along with a few followers who remained faithful to the Prophet’s (S) demand to hold on to Imam Ali (‘a) and the Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a), would risk the continuation of the prophetic line and weaken the Muslim community. This would give inner and external enemies a chance they have long been waiting for. With such a move, the lives of the remaining companions would be put at risk, especially the Prophet’s (S) family and the subsequent leaders Imam Al-Hasan (‘a) and Imam Al-Husayn (‘a). This would, at the critical and early-stage that Islam then found itself in, lead to true Islam being threatened, and the narrated versions of Islam to remain. Consequently, the protection and preservation of the prophetic line and the people, had the highest priority on the basis of the prevailing circumstances, even if it were to be achieved at the expense of the official governorship.

Therefore, Imam Ali (‘a) was patient and chose the lesser of two evils. But this choice did not in any way imply negligence to the fate of men; on the contrary, the Imam (‘a) continued on the Prophet’s (S) line, but the battle took on a new form. Important to understand in this context is that leadership is a position that cannot be taken away from an Imam (‘a) even if the governance is taken away from him, or if his leadership is not officially recognized. In other words, the Imam (‘a) was not the governing caliph when the caliphate was taken away from him, but he continued to hold the position of Imamah and with this, the leadership over humanity as his assigned responsibility by God. When the caliphate was removed from the Imam (‘a), he continued to act with the same aim, however, taking into account what had occurred and on the basis of the prevailing conditions.

One question that may arise is why the Imam (‘a) not just accepted the situation but instead refrained from pledging oaths of allegiance? The answer to this question becomes clear if one reflects on how such acceptance would have been interpreted by the people, and what the Imam’s (‘a) refusal instead led to and the traces it has left until today. Had the Imam (‘a) accepted the outcome of Saqifa at that point and refrained from his refusal to pledge allegiance, stories of a popular majority election and elected leaders had been established as a reality. In addition, acceptance would be propagated as official support for what had happened in Saqifa. With his refusal to pledge allegiance, despite all the great sacrifices it entailed, the Imam (‘a) separated his course from the course of the others for all eternity.

At the same time, the violations and reality of the others were exposed, as well as its willingness to go far in those violations to achieve its goals. In other words, Imam Ali’s (‘a) and a number of other companions’ refusal to pledge allegiance, especially Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a), became a clear light that killed the myth that caliphs can be elected. Anyone searching for the truth, between the depicted lines of history, can witness this. Anyone who states that everything was peace and joy and that the transition of leadership from the Prophet (S) to the first caliph went smoothly denies all logic and historically confirmed facts.37 Imam Ali’s (‘a) stance on this issue does not even have to be proved to those who have studied and been given an overview of history.

Why Did The Imam (‘A) Not Take Up Arms?

Imam Ali (‘a) had based on his position as Imam and leader, the responsibility to safeguard the Prophet’s (S) message and the best interest of the people. In the prevailing circumstances, it was not for anyone’s best to regain control with weapons. The last command of the Prophet (S) to the Imam (‘a) was to undertake sabr (patience and endurance) and the fact that the foundation of Islam was in danger with the internal and external enemies on hand, were all contributing factors to the Imam’s (‘a) choice.

Given that the Muslim community was already shaken by the passing of the Prophet (S), the situation could not endure more pressure, especially in the form of an internal war. The hitherto hidden intentions that had found their chance to come to the surface had shown that they could go as far as to attack the Prophet’s (S) daughter to get their will through. In addition, Imam Ali (‘a) did not have enough companions to achieve a definite victory and could not take up arms for that reason. A civil war could have been the downfall of Islam as the enemies were eagerly waiting to attack and destroy the religion. The purpose of Imam Ali’s (‘a) leadership was to strengthen and protect Islam. It is therefore obvious that he would not perform anything that would weaken and possibly destroy Islam.

A state of ‘a thorn in the eye and a bone caught in the throat.’

The Imam (‘a) has later described the situation, in particular in the following words:

“... so [when the caliphate was taken over] [I] lowered [it] a curtain [disregarded it], and turned to it my back, and was immersed contemplating between advancing [assaulting] with a cut hand [in the absence of a companion], or undertaking sabr (patience and endurance) in the blinding darkness, [a situation] in which the grown-up is made feeble, and the young grow old, and grieves [endeavours] the true believer until he meets his Lord; so I certainly saw that sabr (patience and endurance) over this was wiser, so I adopted sabr although [it was like I had] a thorn in the eye, and suffocation in the throat [a bone stuck], my inheritance is robbed [plundered]… “38

Did You Know?

Imam Ali (‘a) has, in a logical and beautiful way, taught us how each situation and era require a certain strategy of action depending on the circumstances. He has also taught us that one should always have its goal in mind. In connection with the description of the circumstances of his time, the Imam (‘a) has spoken of how a battle without the support and faithful companions as well as favourable conditions had only caused misery for ordinary people, without the goal being achieved. During the prevailing situation, it became best for Islam and the people that the battle should be conducted in a different form than in an open war. But when circumstances allow and/or the chance to achieve the goal exists, then an uprising is a duty. This is the exact difference between Imam Ali’s (‘a) choice not to claim his right by engaging in a battle after the Prophet’s (S) passing and the fighting that came later under his governorship. This is also the difference in the conduct of the various Imams (‘a), for example, Imam Al-Husayn (‘a) made an uprising against Yazid (LA) while Imam Al-Hasan (‘a) eventually agreed to set up a peace agreement with Mu’awiya. The preservation of Islam and human guidance is the common denominator on which all Imams (‘a) different conducts were based on. In other words, they followed the same line. The fact that the outcome was different was due to what needed to be done at each time, taking into account the conditions and circumstances of that time, but with the same goal in mind.

These circumstances do not always have to be the number of followers or a complete military victory39, but rather the purpose should be achieved by justified methods. Therefore, Imam Ali (‘a) emphasizes that reason and logic require that circumstances before an uprising are favourable in order to lead to success and that those who seek truth and fight for justice must not act according to fleeting emotions but must have patience and plan their moves well with thought and trust in God.

A Cut Off Caliphate After The Prophet (S) – Historical View

A new caliphate was decided on, doomed to be filled with mistakes and its harvest was an Umayyad lineage40, whom only after twenty-seven years took over the rule. A rule-based on brutal murders and oppressing Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a). Among those murders was mainly the murder of Imam Al-Husayn (‘a), his family members and companions. The Prophet (S) had warned about this earlier and God had revealed a Qur’anic verse, where the Umayyad lineage was named ‘the cursed tree’. This was in connection with the Prophet’s (S) dream where he saw them coming into power.41

In other words, the Prophet (S) had specifically warned about the dangers; however, the first caliphs still gave away power to the Umayyad lineage. 42 This corrupt seed watered in Saqifa had grown to a corrupt tree with rotten fruits, causing everything it makes in contact with to rot. The blood of Imam Al-Husayn (‘a) stopped this ravage and became an eternally lit torch, distinguishing the lineage of Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a) from that of the Umayyad’s. The martyrdom of the Imams (‘a) had such an effect that it shook the Umayyad dynasty and prevented them from continuing to rule officially. Later, when the Abbasids took over from the Umayyads, they continued a rule lasting hundreds of years. They were also brutal against Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a), however below the surface, and assassinated the appointed Imams (‘a) living during their reign; all except the twelfth and final Imam, Imam Al-Mahdi (‘aj). Till this very day, the Islamic ummah is hurt due to the division and disunity. What as left behind was war, poverty, corruption and ignorance, but also Muslim countries invaded by superpowers.

Had the orders of the Holy Prophet (S) been followed, then Imam Ali (‘a) would have been the first caliph and would have founded a society based on justice; something he tried to implement when he came to rule. However, a quarter of a century of corruption and abuse of the system had left deep wounds on the body of the Islamic nation. The Muslims were now far from the pure spirit that prevailed during the time of the Holy Prophet (S). According to the true nature of Islam, and under the leadership of the Holy Prophet (S), moral principles were the ones valued most high, and the majority of the Muslims had the pleasure of God the next, eternal, life insight. They were all simple living lives and used to share the little they had. While facing an enemy that was usually clearly visible and needed to be face upfront on the battlefield, they had managed to cut their ties of worldly and material life. However, when the Holy Prophet (S) passed away, the events regarding the rule of the nation had overshadowed society with an aggressive and unreasonable spirit that steadily came to be coloured by materialistic values, this as a result of selfishness and corruption. Now, people were looking after themselves, many trying to get as close to the top as they could in order to gain riches and important positions of power. The people, equality and the brotherhood, had been forgotten, instead of a controlling elite, using traditional values from the time of Jahiliyyah, such as kinship and riches, was revived.

Imam Ali (‘a) was to continue the line of the Holy Prophet (S) and continue his mission regarding the guidance of mankind, and thereafter the succeeding eleven Imams (‘a) continued that path. Instead, Imam Ali (‘a) got the chance to rule after three caliphs who had left behind a torn and weakened nation, with discord and divided groups around every corner. Instead of having the possibility of guiding resources for the betterment of society, the Imam (‘a) had to spend his rule in civil war after the civil war.

Despite all this, God never abandoned the honest and truth-seeking souls, and His message is still intact. Through the struggle of the twelve Imams (‘a), where they sacrificed all they had for the purpose of maintaining God's message until the Day of Judgment, the light of the divine message kept glowing for the continued guidance of mankind.

Q. The First Three Caliphs

Following Saqifa, the three caliphs came to take charge of the caliphate until it reached Imam Ali (‘a). Each one of them came to change the teachings of the Holy Prophet (S), leaving their prints on society. Time went on; the effects of this came to be more and more evident. By studying their personalities and actions, together with important events taking place during their time at power, one gets an overview of the Muslim societies’ development during the subsequent years. As a matter of fact, this historical period of twenty-five years, counting from the passing of the Holy Prophet (S), has played a crucial role in the destiny of the Islamic nation until today. These twenty-five years constitute an important piece of the puzzle that would help the informed to understand the events that came to affect and haunt the history of Islam during the following years. Among them, the brutal murder of the grandson of the Holy Prophet (S), Imam Al-Husayn (‘a).

Q1. Abu Bakr’s Caliphate – The First Caliph

The events following the passing of the Holy Prophet (S) resulted in Abu Bakr emerging from Saqifa as the first caliph before the people. Some noticeable events occurring during his caliphate are:

• The murder of Malik Ibn Nuwaira

• Confiscation of the property “Fadak” from Fatimah (‘a)

• The expedition of the army of Usama

• The attack on the house of Imam Ali (‘a) and Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a)43

• War and expansion – the war on Persia and Sham

• The appointment of Omar as his successor

The Murder Of Malik Ibn Nuwaira

Malik Ibn Nuwaira was one of the good companions of the Holy Prophet (S). He was his representative and had in the mission to collect the zakat (religious taxes) from his tribe, to distribute it among the needy and to the send whatever was left to Madinah. After the Holy Prophets (S) passing Malik waited with sending the taxes back until he had received information about how the new rule had been established. This mas saw as an act of resistance by Abu Bakr, so he sent a troop, led by Khalid Ibn Walid, to punish Malik.

Abu Bakr explained that anyone who did not intend on paying tax to the caliphate was an apostate, no matter if they were Muslims and practising their religious duties. History recalls Khalid Ibn Walid cold-bloodedly killing Malik due to his resistance. On the same day, Khalid Ibn Walid had intercourse with the widow of Malik. In that way, Khalid was not just guilty of killing an innocent man and a fellow Muslim; he also broke a clear prohibition when he fornicated with the widow of Malik.44

Abi Qatada had accompanied Khalid from Madinah. He was so shocked by this event that he refused to associate with the troop any further and immediately returned. Abi Qatada testified that he himself heard the call to prayer and how the tribe of Malik had exclaimed in being Muslim, but that Khalid and his troops, despite this, massacred them, pillaged their homes and took their women and children as prisoners of war. However, Abu Bakr protected Khalid, who according to him, had misjudged the situation and refused to punish him. The expression ‘making a misjudgment’ was coined and came to have disastrous consequences. Under this phrase, many bloody mistakes have been excused until today.45

Confiscation Of The Property Fadak From Fatimah (‘A)

Fadak was a piece of land that the Holy Prophet (S) had left his daughter Fatimah (‘a) as a gift, and which Abu Bakr confiscated.

One of the first things he did, already at the start of his caliphate, was to confiscate this piece of land called Fadak. According to historical facts, the Holy Prophet (S) had left this property to his daughter after the battle of Khaybar.46 In other words, Fadak belonged to Fatimah (‘a) and had been in her possession for a long time, way before the passing of the Holy Prophet (S). However, Abu Bakr ordered it to be seized and presented a narration that until this day, he is the only to have told. Abu Bakr said that he had heard the Holy Prophet say that prophets (‘a) don’t leave heritage and that which they own is for charity and belongs to the people. With this claim, he justified the seizing of Fadak.

Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a) said that it was not even heritage but a gift that she had received, upon which Abu Bakr demanded that she should prove here ownership of Fadak by bringing witnesses. This, in spite of the law, clearly stating that he was the one who had to prove his claim. Fatimah (‘a) had owned the property for many years and everyone knew she was the owner. Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a) still brought Imam Ali (‘a), Imam Al-Hasan (‘a), Imam Al-Husayn (‘a) and Umm Ayman47 as witnesses. Abu Bakr dismissed their testimonies, despite their distinguished personalities, and would not accept them as witnesses. Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a), who had grown up in the prophetic household and possessed complete knowledge of the words of God and of the Holy Prophet (S), could through her insight clearly see the connection between the confiscation of Fadak and the caliphate, rose up and held an eloquent and powerful speech before the people of the mosque.48 In her speech, she stood up for the rights of Imam Ali (‘a) using powerful terms, among them many examples from the Holy Qur’an, and refuting the empty allegations regarding the claim that prophets don’t leave an inheritance.49

S’Adalahy, Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a) spoke to insusceptible hearts. After these events, Fatimah az-Zahra’ refused to speak with Abu Bakr and Omar, who had assisted Abu Bakr in this act. She was angry with them until her martyrdom. She (‘a) expressed here discontent and let them know that she would complain before the Holy Prophet (S) regarding their oppressive behaviour.

Aisha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, has narrated regarding the events of Fadak:

“Fatimah, the daughter of the Holy Prophet, sent someone to Abu Bakr asking for Fadak. But Abu Bakr refused to return anything to Fatimah who was angry with him and did not speak with him until her death. She lived a couple of months after the Prophet and when she died, her husband Ali, buried her at night, and Abu Bakr was not to attend.”50

All this took place shortly after the passing of the Holy Prophet (S) despite the fact that Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a) was his loving daughter, and reflected his high moral standards and his wisdom. He had always stressed her high standing. On several occasions, he had emphasized that Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a) was a part of the Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a) and that she was one of the five of the Ashab Al-Kisa’. He had also made it clear that she had a unique position. There are ahadith where she is described as the mistress of all the women of the world. This has been narrated numerous times, among them, Aisha has narrated that the Holy Prophet (S) has said to Fatimah (‘a):

“Are you not pleased that you are the mistress of all the women of paradise and the mistress of all the believing women?”51

Aisha has also said:

“I have never seen someone more truth-telling than Fatimah, except her father.”52

It has also been narrated that the Holy Prophet (S) has said:

“Fatimah is a part of me; whoever angers her angers me, and he who angers me angers God.”

“God is angry when Fatimah is angry, and he is satisfied when she is satisfied.”53

It is also clear that Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a) left this life while being angry with these people. Fatimah (‘a) also clarified it when she said:

“I take God and the angles as my witnesses that I am not pleased with you; on the contrary, you have angered me. When I face the Prophet, I will complain about you two [Abu Bakr and Omar].”54

Fatimah (‘a) also made this clear in action as she refused to talk to them and forbade them from participating in her funeral. As her martyrdom, as a result of the attack on the home of Imam Ali (‘a) leading to her injuries, was approaching, she asked Imam Ali (‘a) to bury her, in secret, in the middle of the night. She (‘a) did not want any of the oppressors to participate in her funeral, neither did she want them of even knowing the location of her grave and it remains unknown until this day, serving as eternal proof of the oppression against her.

Why Insist On Fadak And Displease Fatimah (‘A)?

Fadak was a piece of land with high agricultural output and would have given Imam Ali (‘a) and Fatimah (‘a) fine economic conditions, and would have helped them to resist the oppression and spread the truth. This would have been a danger for the outcome of Saqifa and the caliph and his associate’s positions. An economic blockade would lower the risk of it and was one of the reasons behind the confiscation of Fadak. The risk of displeasing the daughter of the Holy Prophet (S), whose place among the Muslims was known, was also serious but if they would not have taken it if something greater was not on the line and the people involved did not feel threatened.

The question is why Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a) insisted on regaining Fadak. Were a piece of land and its economic revenues that important to her? She, who had lived her life as the simplest of people and who hadn’t used the revenues from Fadak for herself. Her (‘a) and her husband's (‘a) lives were simple even after the living conditions of the people had been raised during the rule and leadership of the Holy Prophet (S) in Madinah. They had always been role models in zuhd (asceticism) and in giving to the needy. Therefore, they had never been interested in Fadak for personal reasons. So, what made Fatimah (‘a) take such a stand regarding Fadak?

Her insisting on Fadak was far more than an economic question. Fadak would have generated better economic conditions in order to spread the truth among the people. This, as the people who were in tight economic positions, would not have time for releasing their minds and to think about the most important questions in society. In other words, the one who continuously has to be concerned and occupied with economic solutions, won’t have much time to spare for political involvement, nailing down corrupt leaders, fighting for justice and spending time and resources for the betterment of society, not to think about the development of the soul and spending interest in the destiny of mankind. Economic downfall has been used throughout history by the rich elite in order to create economic dependency and to force the majority of society to fold and stay quite before the injustices of the few.55

Furthermore, ownership of Fadak was the right of Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a), and when a right is being robbed from one, it is a duty to, in a wise and just way, to demand it be given back. Beyond the given, that you can’t claim other's possessions, is that demanding of one’s rights are necessary to stop oppressors and injustice. If not, one is paving the way for more and far worse atrocities in the society of the perpetrator, when consequences are lacking. The result of this action will be either of the two; the perpetrator will be slapped down and return the asset or he will refuse and continue the breaching of other's rights. In the second scenario, the demanding of the right itself will clear the oppression that had been committed and it will expose the true face of the oppressor, even if that right is not taken back. Man, inherently despises oppression and is willing to reject oppressors and at the same time, the mere knowledge of someone being oppressed has an innate awakening effect that compels man into wanting to stand up for justice.

The matter of Fadak was far greater than Fadak itself and had several deeper and long-term aspects and consequences. Had the people acted on Fatimah’s (‘a) sermon on Fadak, the following right to reclaim would have been the rule and caliphate of Imam Ali (‘a).

The Deployment Of Usama’s Army

Usama's army was the one assembled by the Prophet (S), in his last days, to fight the Roman attacks in Sham. This took place barely a few months after Ghadir Khumm and close to the Prophet’s (S) passing. History reveals that the Prophet (S) commanded all prominent personalities above all Muhajirin and even Ansar to accompany Usama's army immediately. The Prophet (S) insisted that the army should leave Medina as soon as possible. He did not accept anyone's excuse not to go with the army. Especially those who said they did not follow along because the Prophet's (S) health had deteriorated. The Prophet (S) cursed those who refused to obey this order. Nevertheless, there were some who continued to defy the Prophet (S).56

Usama's army was never deployed during the Prophet's (S) lifetime. But after the events in Saqifa, and just over a month after the Prophet (S) passed away, the army moved towards Sham at Abu Bakr's order. In this way, the majority of Muhajirin and Ansar had to leave Medina. Abu Bakr asked Omar to stay and help him.57

War And Expansion – War Against Persia And Sham

After the government's internal state was under control, attention turned to Sham, Iraq and on to Persia. The Roman Empire was a threat from the West. While the Persian Empire in the East, ruled by the Sasanians, was extremely weakened. Soon, an army was sent to Iraq and Persia under Khalid Ibn Walid's command, and the Sasanian governance and stronghold fell one by one. Several clashes also took place in Sham, and the Roman Empire's threats were eliminated.58

Abu Bakr Appoints His Successor

After more than two years of governance, Abu Bakr fell ill and, on his deathbed, he appointed Omar as his successor. Abu Bakr is said to have become unconscious several times, but his will was still written down patiently by Uthman. Abu Bakr reasoned that he feared the fate of the Muslims and the unity of amic governance. It was, according to him, for this reason, he appointed Omar.59

The question is, was the Prophet (S) not worried about the Muslims, the fate of humanity, the unity of the Islamic governance and the spread of the divine message to the people? Would the Prophet (S), who was most concerned about the continued guidance of men and sacrificed most for this purpose, neglect this question while others did not? Would he not have secured the message by appointing a successor? How can it be claimed that the Prophet (S) left the people to their fate without a further plan when the aim of his mission had not yet been fully achieved?

Q2. Omar’s Caliphate – The Second Caliph

The closest accomplice of the first caliph came to occupy the position of the second caliph. In a narrative depiction, Imam Ali (‘a) describes Abu Bakr’s transfer of the caliphate to Omar as follows:

“It is strange that during his lifetime he [the first caliph] declared himself unfit for the caliphate yet, he confirmed it for the other one after his death. No doubt, these two shared its udders strictly among themselves. This one [the second caliph] put the caliphate in a tough enclosure where the utterance was haughty and the touch was rough. Mistakes were in plenty and so also the excuses therefore. One [who was] in contact with it was like the rider of an unruly camel. If he pulled up its rein, the very nostril would be slit, but if he let it loose, he would be thrown. Consequently, by God, people got involved in recklessness, wickedness, unsteadiness and deviation [from the straight path].”60

The caliphate of the second caliph continued the path of the first caliph in many aspects. Albeit some changes were introduced. Some notable events in connection to Omar's caliphate, are:

• War and expansion are continued

• The Umayyad family comes into governance

• Prominent personalities of the Prophet’s (S) companions are kept at a distance from the office of the caliphate and are forbidden from narrating the Prophet’s (S) ahadith and from leaving Medina without the permission of the caliph

• Insufficient knowledge of Islamic law and calling upon Imam Ali (‘a) for advice on difficult issues

• Modification of the Prophet’s (S) sunnah (the Prophet’s (S) traditional customs and practices in both words and actions)

• The choice of a successor – a predetermined assembly council with given conditions

The Umayyad Family Comes Into Power

After the capture of Mecca, the Prophet (S) had taken into account the reputation of Abu Sufyan among the people and did not degrade it, despite everything Abu Sufyan had done to oppose Islam. The Prophet (S) had been keen to keep Abu Sufyan and the Umayyad family at a distance from the governance and warned of the danger they posed.61 In spite of the Prophet's (S) warnings, the second caliph Omar opened the door for the Umayyad family to enter the ranks of governance. He handed over the Sham Province to Abu Sufyan's elder son, Yazid Ibn Abu Sufyan, and made him the regent. To afterwards transfer rule over the province to Mu'awiya Ibn Abu Sufyan; this came to affect the entire future of the Islamic nation. Through this position, Mu'awiya gained a foothold in governance. He was granted the opportunity to fulfil his power ambitions, and to exercise his inherited vindictiveness for his family's losses in their self-initiated war against the Prophet (S). Sham became the site from which he and his family would conduct conspiracies and wars against Imam Ali (‘a) and the Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a).

Omar was known to be very tough on all his regents and governors. He demanded that they live simply and was quick to punish them when they complained about their lifestyles. This was applied for everyone except one person – Mu'awiya. It was widely known that Mu'awiya lived with an imperial splendour in Damascus and surrounded himself with exaggerated luxuries and riches in a royal palace. It was a way of life that Omar did not tolerate for himself or any of his regents, with the exception of Mu'awiya who strangely enjoyed all freedom.62

The Prophet’s (S) Companions – Kept In Tin The Distance From The Political Arena And Forbidden To Recite Ahadith Or Leave Medina Without The Permission Of The Caliph

With the empire's expansion, more offices were added to the governance. There was a need for commanders in the front end as well as regents across different areas. Many prominent personalities of the Prophet's (S) early companions, not the least among Muhajirin and Ansar, were commanded to remain in Medina. They were not allowed to leave the city without permission from the caliph. This approach was so conspicuous that the caliph was questioned regarding it by different people at different times. Among the reasons given by the caliph was that the companions had served sufficiently during the Prophet's (S) time and he did not want them to be entangled in the government offices. Thus, influential companions, who held differing standpoints were stopped from spreading to different cities. This also prevented the spread of the Prophet's (S) ahadith63, which was justified by stating that it prevented the spread of insurgency and corruption. 64

Insufficient Knowledge Of Islamic Law And Imam Ali’s (‘A) Advice On Difficult Issues

‘If it was not for Ali, Omar would perish’, is a well-known statement by the second caliph. It is said on numerous occasions, in various contexts, where he was faced with difficult issues and cases, not least regarding issuances of verdicts. Many of the cases are depicted in history. One of the best-known cases is of a woman accused of fornication. She was brought before Omar's court on the grounds that she had given birth to a child 6 months after she entered into marriage. She denied the accusation, and there was no evidence to support it. In spite of this, she was convicted. Imam Ali (‘a) opposed the verdict with support from Qur’anic verses and a logical evaluation that could not be disputed.65 This was one of the occasions whereby the caliph spoke the famous sentence.

It is also stated that the second caliph sought refuge with God from meeting a question or problem that Abu Al-Hasan, Imam Ali (‘a), was not present to solve.66

Change In The Sunnah Of The Prophet (S)

According to God's testimony in the Holy Qur’an, the Prophet (S) never spoke out of self-interest. Everything he said and did was based on divine revelation. Thus, the acts and words of the Prophet (S), in addition to the words of God directly sent to him, were nonetheless a precept and edict to follow. God emphasized this point in the Qur’an by presenting the Prophet (S) as an example to emulate and follow. In addition, He equates obedience to His Prophet (S) with obedience to Himself.67 Thus, the words and actions of the Prophet (S) came to be called the Prophet’s (S) sunnah. It painted a practical exemplification of religion and its true implementation. In spite of this, it is historically known that during the second caliphate, Omar changed sunnah. He introduced changes or innovations on several issues where the Prophet's (S) sunnah had established something else, some of which are as follow:

• That only the utterance of the word ‘divorce’, three times at one and the same time, was sufficient for divorce.68

• Praying the tarawih prayer69

    • The Prophet (S) did not allow mustahab (recommended) prayers, unlike wajib (obligatory) daily prayers, to be offered as a congregational prayer, which the other caliph changed.

    • Praying mustahab (recommended) prayers in congregation. Omar himself acknowledged that this was an innovation on his part.

    • To pray with closed hands and to pronounce “amin” in prayer.70

• Azan (call for prayer)71

    • Saying the phrase “prayer is better than sleep” in azan (call for prayer).

    • Not to utter ‘hayya’ ala kheir Al-’amal’ (hurry to the best of action) in azan.

    • Changing the distribution of Bayt Al-Mal (Treasury House)

The Appointment Of A Successor

After more than ten years as a caliph, Omar found himself on his deathbed. He thus appointed a council of six people to choose the next caliph among themselves. These were Uthman, Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Owf, Talha, Zubayr, Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas and Imam Ali (‘a). This council was accompanied by specific instructions on how to select the caliph and the consequences for the various alternatives.

Omar decided that if five people in the council agreed on a candidate, the sixth person who opposed their election would be killed. If four reached consensuses, the two on the opposite side would be killed. On the other hand, should there be three on each side, the side on which Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Owf was on would have the decisive word. Subsequently, the candidate would finally be approved by Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Owf. This, while the other three on the opposite side, would be killed. The caliph would only be chosen from those people whom Omar himself had elected to the council and no other outsiders could be elected. In addition, the council had three days to come to an election and was not allowed to leave the council until the election was decided. The place where the council would gather had to be besieged, and if they failed to agree after three days, everyone would be killed!72

By examining the conditions of this closed council, who were included in it and its binding instructions, it becomes clear that this assembly council was anything but a genuine election; let alone a popular vote. The choice of these personalities was in itself remarkable in that neither Talha, Zubayr, Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Owf nor Saadat Ibn Abi Waqqaswas personalities that could hold the position of the next caliph. Neither did any of them distinguish themselves over the others so that they could easily agree who among them should become caliph. Their kinship and alliances with each other enabled them, at best, to come to terms two and two. In this way, none of these would get enough votes to be appointed as caliph. The choice was thus between Imam Ali (‘a) and Uthman; and Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Owf, who had a crucial role, would never accept Imam Ali (‘a) as a caliph. The only one left to choose and could be their escape from a given death was thus Uthman. It has been narrated that when Omar was asked who he considered to succeed him as a caliph, he had replied Uthman.73

Abdullah Ibn Abbas Ibn Abdul-Muttalib, the cousin of both the Prophet (S) and Imam Ali (‘a), realized the scheme at hand when he heard that Omar had given Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Owf the crucial role. He thus advised Imam Ali (‘a) against participating. But Imam Ali (‘a) considered it best to participate and, with logical reasoning, put forward his claim on his right as governor. Furthermore, the Imam (‘a) did not want to leave room for anyone to claim later that his right would have been given to him if he had participated, nor be accused of division. In addition, Omar's placement of Imam Ali (‘a) in the assembly council meant the appointment of the Imam (‘a) as a candidate for the caliphate and the governorship; at least seemingly. This contradicted the claim that prophecy and leadership were not gathered in the same household, as the first and second caliph had alleged in connection with Saqifa. They used it as an argument against Imam Ali (‘a) when he was forced to pledge allegiance

After three days of deliberation, it became Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Owf who would have the deciding vote. Abd ar-Rahman turned to Imam Ali (‘a) and asked something he knew the Imam (‘a) would never accept:

“If we give you governorship over the Muslims, can you promise to act in accordance with God’s book, the Prophet’s (S) sunnah and the previous caliphs, Abu Bakr’s and Omar’s approach?”

Of course, Imam Ali (‘a) could not accept this because the previous caliphs had neither followed the Prophet’s (S) command nor fully ruled in accordance with the Prophet’s (S) sunnah. Therefore, Imam Ali’s (‘a) reply was incomplete honesty:

“I will act in accordance with the Book of God and the Prophet’s (S) sunnah. As for the previous caliphate of Abu Bakr and Omar, I have my own judgment that I will use.”

Then Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Owf turned to Uthman and asked the same question. Uthman accepted right away, and this is exactly what Abd ar-Rahman wanted to hear to declare that the caliph has been chosen.74

After this, Imam Ali (‘a) said to Abd ar-Rahman:

“This is not the first time that you have deprived the heirs and children of the Prophet (S) their right through betrayal. For this, you will be held accountable by God. But as for me, it is better to rely on God who alone is fair and merciful.”75

Did You Know?

Imam Ali (‘a) could have become a caliph if he had agreed to follow Abu Bakr and Omar’s sunnah. Some also suggested that the Imam (‘a) could seemingly have agreed to this in order to do what he thought was right after having been given the governorship. In other words, they suggested that the Imam (‘a) ought to have given an ‘innocent lie’ to break his promise then. Those did not understand the position of the Imamah and considered that it was all about the caliphate and the rule of the people. But the Imam’s (‘a) position and his honesty were yet again demonstrated when he lost the caliphate because he never compromised on what was right and truthful. He did not consider Abu Bakr and Omar to be righteous successors to the Prophet (S) and therefore refused to follow them. With this position, Imam Ali (‘a) showed that the leadership for which God had chosen him, was about upholding truth and justice, like the Prophet (S), did. The Imam (‘a) could therefore not go against these principles, which were the purpose of his leadership; This was a great lesson that showed that even a sacred goal must be achieved through truthful means and through its proper path. In other words, Islamic morality dictates that both the goal and the path to it, need to be truthful.

With his standpoint, the Imam (‘a) painted a clear line of Ahl Al-Bayt’s (‘a) morality and showed for all eternity that the goal is as important as the means used to reach it. The Imam (‘a) established for the followers of Ali’s (‘a) morality that a goal that is haqq (truth) could not be achieved at the expense of haqq. The goal, the means used, and the approach must be truthful. This was shown by the Imam (‘a) many times, even during his upcoming governorship. One example is when the enemy closed the Imam’s (‘a) and his soldiers’ way to water during a war. When Imam Ali (‘a) then took over the road leading to the water, he did not do the same, but the opponents were allowed to drink freely from the water and then continue to battle.

Q3. Uthman’s Caliphate – The Third Caliph

Imam Ali (‘a) has said the following about Uthman’s caliphate:

“Until the third man of these people stood up with heaving breasts between his dung and fodder. With him his children of his grand-father, (Umayyah) also stood up swallowing up God’s wealth like a camel devouring the foliage of spring, till his rope broke down, his actions finished him, and his gluttony brought him down prostrate.”

Some notable events in connection with Uthman’s caliphate are:

The Umayyad family spread in the governance; they get key positions in the governance and in practice took over the entire rule.

Widespread corruption and overindulgence in luxury among a newly formed elite[social class]; something that had not been seen before.

The Umayyad Family Are Becoming Powerful

Uthman, who was closely related to the Umayyad family, distributed many of the nation's key positions to his relatives, who thus gained great power and influence in the government. This paved the way for them to influence everything - from the most important decisions in the government to set the societal norm to aspire; not least in terms of lifestyle. This influence left serious traces in society and manifested itself in the existence of a wealthy power elite who ruled over great wealth and key positions. The people were reduced to a mass whose chances of success depended on kinship and contacts or what services they could assist the elite with. The moral principles, moderation in lifestyle, the spirit of brotherhood, and the pursuit of God's satisfaction, which had dominated during the Prophet's (S) time, were replaced by self-interest and the pursuit of wealth, power, and otherworldly pleasures.

The climate hardened and thus, animosity and poverty arose. Everyone was looking to take on more power and fortune. These changes steered society further and further away from Islamic values and counteracted the Prophet's (S) grounded vision of humanity based on human equality and piety. The corruption became so widespread that the people themselves became tired and turned to Imam Ali (‘a).

Imam (‘a) had then been kept away from governorship for 25 years. The damage was already done. The Umayyad influencers had mutated the elite with an illusion of ownership to power. They made them accustomed to the large share in the fortune of the government. So, when the Imam (‘a) became caliph, they could not tolerate his justice. It was in this way that Mu'awiya Ibn Abu Sufyan, the one who on several occasions was openly cursed by the Prophet (S) and whose family was named as a threat, could stand up to Imam Ali (‘a) and claim the right to the governorship. With sly deceit, he could take over the caliphate.

It is stated that when Uthman became caliph, the joy of the Umayyad family knew no boundaries. Their chief, Abu Sufyan, joined a crowd of Bani Umayya to congratulate Uthman. Upon arrival, Abu Sufyan, who at this point had lost his sight, asked if everyone on the spot was from Bani Umayya. When he received an affirmative answer, he said:

“O Umayya’s children; stick around and throw around the caliphate between you like a ball, because with the one that Abu Sufyan pledges by, I have always wanted it for you and henceforth it should be inherited by your children.”76

The Umayyad Family Gets Key Positions

One of Uthman's doings was to dismiss the remaining followers of the Prophet's (S) companions, who were rulers and commanders during Abu Bakr's and Omar's caliphate. He replaced them with people from his own family. Under the rule of Uthman's family, ordinary people in various provinces of the Islamic nation lived under ever greater oppression, and dissatisfaction increased.

Many of the Prophet's (S) companions and prominent personalities made several attempts to make complaints about the current corruption of the third caliph but to no avail. Uthman, who had surrounded himself with his family, had handed over much of the decision-making to his son-in-law Marwan Ibn Al-Hakam. Marwan falsified news and judgments in accordance with his own insidious plans. In time, all the power was transferred to the Umayyad family, and corruption, of the like that had not been seen before, got a stronghold.77

Who Was Marwan Ibn Al-Hakam?

Marwan and his father, Al-Hakam, were two individuals whom the Prophet (S) had expelled from Medina. This in itself, shows the danger Marwan and his father posed. Uthman ignored this incident when he became caliph. He opposed the Prophet's (S) decision and allowed Al-Hakam and Marwan to return to Medina. More than that, Uthman also assigned Marwan the most important position at that time; namely to be the secretary of the caliph. In this way, all commandments and decisions, to and from the caliph, went through none other than Marwan Ibn Al-Hakam.

Al-Hakam and Marwan had been cursed by the Prophet (S), who in a dream had seen Bani Umayya’s offspring, including Al-Hakam, in the form of monkeys who took over the governance. Thereafter, the holy verse in the Qur’an, which called them the ‘cursed tree’ was revealed.78

“And [remember, O Muhammad], when We told you, “Indeed, your Lord has encompassed the people.” And We did not make the sight which We showed you except as a trial for the people, as was the accursed tree [mentioned] in the Qur’an. And We threaten them, but it increases them not except in great transgression.” (The Holy Qur’an, 17:60).

Mu’awiya Is Strengthened Even More

Mu'awiya was appointed commander of Sham by Abu Bakr. He was then appointed regent of Sham by Omar. Under Uthman, Mu'awiya was given more control over the entire Sham. Palestine and Homs Province also fell into Mu'awiya's rule, giving him the increased command and total control over the entire region's army. With this, Mu'awiya was given all the conditions and powers needed to strengthen his stronghold and consolidate his power.79

Widespread Corruption Not Previously Witnessed

The ruling elite's desire for power and their insatiable pursuit of wealth created a competition that made everyone, by whatever means, try to get a bigger share of the cake and get higher up the line of power. This initiated a corruption in the governance that spread and reached unimaginable levels. To such an extent that repression was widespread and the treasury's money was unjustly distributed among the ruling Umayyad family. It went so far that Zaid Ibn Arqam, one of the Prophet's (S) companions, who was in charge of the Treasury House, could neither tolerate what happened nor had the power to stop them and hence resigned from the role.80

The People No Longer Tolerated Corruption

The corruption in the higher ranks of society did not leave ordinary people in better condition. Many could not cope with seeing the corruption while they themselves were poor and fell victim to tyranny and oppression. Those who objected to the injustice were either silenced and played against each other. Or, if they had a strong family and could defend themselves, they were bribed with little wealth.

Several of the Prophet's (S) truthful companions, who could not tolerate what was happening to the Prophet's (S) ummah (community) and protested, suffered. They had to endure everything from denigration, false accusations, isolation to prison and exile.81 In this way, most opponents were played out or kept away from the political arena. Eventually, dissatisfaction grew, and more voices were raised from different parts of the nation. Several groups, including Kufa and Yemen, decided to send delegations to Medina and submit their complaints to the caliph to demand action. But instead of listening to the complaints and trying to solve the problems, Uthman dismissed them. This caused the protests to escalate but to no avail. When the situation began to fall out of control, Uthman’s action was to send a message to Mu’awiya, his governor in Syria, with the order to immediately send troops to Medina for the caliph’s help.

Mu’awiya Does Not Aid Uthman

Mu'awiya, who was well aware of the situation, had no intention of getting into the line of fire to help Uthman. He preferred not to go against the Prophet's (S) companions openly because he knew they were united in their opposition to Uthman. So, when Mu'awiya received Uthman's letter, he decided to wait and review the situation despite the caliph's direct orders. Thus taking full advantage of the situation for his own benefit. Mu'awiya had previously received enough power and force from Uthman to help him easily but did nothing.82

Uthman Asks Imam Ali (‘A) To Help

When Mu'awiya's help was delayed, and Uthman began to realize that Mu'awiya did not intend to come to his rescue, he turned to Imam Ali (‘a). In order for the Imam (‘a) to mediate between him and the dissatisfied crowds. Imam Ali (‘a) was the only one whom everyone had sufficient faith. All the groups in society trusted his words. With this, Uthman appealed for Imam Ali's (‘a) assistance and stated that he would accept whatever demands that would be made. Imam Ali (‘a), who never turned down anyone who asked for help, managed through hard efforts to hold back the groups that had prepared themselves to attack Uthman. He then worked on an agreement where Uthman would take action against corruption and punish the guilty and remove them from their positions.

The agreement that Uthman accepted became short-lived. Uthman broke all his promises as soon as the aggravated groups had left Medina. Imam Ali (‘a) had emphasized and constantly reminded Uthman of Marwan's danger, but Uthman did not take it seriously. Not only did Uthman not plan to fulfil his obligations, but he also went so far as to send secret messengers to his regents and ordered them to capture and imprison the leaders of the protests as soon as they returned to their hometowns. Some of these groups, who had left Medina with Uthman's promises and hopes for change, came across Uthman's letter, found out about his plans and returned.

This caused the atmosphere to become even more rebellious and difficult to control. At this stage, it was not even possible to trust the promises of the caliph and Uthman’s palace was besieged. Uthman, who was protecting his life and had no way out, again asked Imam Ali (‘a) for help. Imam Ali (‘a) was in no way satisfied with the prevailing situation, Uthman’s exercise of power or the direction in which society had been driven. But at the same time, the Imam (‘a) was looking for the people’s and society’s best interests. The Imam (‘a) did not want Uthman to be killed in protests as this would neither solve the problems nor improve the situation. Rather, it would put society in a more difficult position. This would lead to more division as well as open paths for other threats to enter. The Imam (‘a), as the Imam, was concerned with people’s best interests. He had previously chosen to warn Uthman about the consequences of his actions and tried to urge him to change his way of governing before it was too late. But Uthman had repeatedly rejected the Imam's (‘a) advice and did neither listen or accepted and later on, broke his promises. The strong influence that Uthman's family had on him, not least his son-in-law Marwan Ibn Al-Hakam, closed the road for rectification. Yet, Uthman knew that Imam Ali (‘a) was fair and respected by all and that the Imam (‘a) never refused to help and that he was the only one who could save him.

The Imam (‘a), who had previously mediated, asked Uthman on what grounds he would help him this time. Uthman, who had been left alone by his family, despite all the benefits he had given them, promised that this time he would carry out what Imam Ali (‘a) would advise him to do without failing to fulfil his promise. Imam Ali (‘a) reminded Uthman of all the occasions where he warned Uthman and advised him to dismiss Marwan Ibn Al-Hakam, Saeed Ibn Al-Aas, Ibn Amir and Mu’awiya as they were the foremost that was responsible for the misery of Uthman. Uthman, on the contrary, had always listened to these individuals and went against Imam Ali (‘a). Uthman promised that he would listen to Imam Ali (‘a) this time and go against these people.

In this way, Imam Ali (‘a) again spoke to the people and asked them to leave Uthman who had promised to correct his path, and dispelled the angry masses. Imam Ali (‘a) then called on Uthman to give a speech himself and assure everyone of his good intentions to counter the injustices in society. Uthman gave a speech about his true desire to improve. The people felt sorry for him and decided to give him another chance. But once again, Marwan managed to persuade him to abandon this promise. Imam Ali (‘a) again warned Uthman of Marwan’s danger and told him that he could now do nothing more for him.

The Murder Of Uthman

This became the final straw for the dissatisfied rebels, and Uthman was killed in his palace after a siege lasting 49 days. He was abandoned by the Umayyads and, above all, by Mu’awiya. Mu’awiya had the opportunity to help him but chose to refrain. The only one who did what he could and tried to ward off the murder of Uthman was Imam Ali (‘a). This, despite the fact that Uthman had taken his right to the governorship, always ignored his advice and failed to deliver on his promise to him and the people. Imam Ali (‘a) even sent his sons, Imam Al-Hasan (‘a) and Imam Al-Husayn (‘a), to bring water to Uthman when the rebels refused him water during the siege.83

People Rush To Imam Ali (‘A)

After the shocking events and the murder of Uthman, people rushed to Imam Ali's (‘a) house and refused to leave the place. They pleaded him to accept the position of caliph. The Muslim people had grown tired of the corruption and the troubled and unjust condition that the community was in. The words of the Prophet (S) in Ghadir was recalled. Imam Ali (‘a) was known for his righteousness, both during the time of the Prophet (S) and the three caliphs. He had eliminated dangers and prevented major injuries. The people saw Imam Ali (‘a) as the only one who could bring society back to its original ideal. The people had grown tired and wanted to return to the Islamic spirit that prevailed during the Prophet's (S) time. They believed that only Imam Ali (‘a) could put things right again.

For Imam Ali (‘a), the caliphate itself was not worth anything, and he never wanted it for materialistic purposes. At the same time, society had deviated from the Islamic spirit and during a quarter of a century distanced itself further and further away from what the Prophet (S) had built. Morality and values were no longer the same. New generations had been brought up according to principles and teachings void of the true Islamic spirit. Imam Ali (‘a) knew that the desire of the people was not matched with what they were prepared to do in their deeds and that the majority, especially the power elite, would not tolerate the Imam’s (‘a) justice. The Imam (‘a) knew that the majority was looking for a caliph and was not mature for the rule of an Imam. In other words, the complete knowledge and belief in the position of Imamah was insufficient and therefore lacked the insight and conviction required to hold on to and follow an Imam.84 Therefore, the Imam (‘a) refused the crowds’ request. But the people insisted, camped outside the Imam’s (‘a) house and refused to leave until the Imam (‘a) agreed to their request. This went on for several days. In the end, based on the will of the people and his duty to God and his people, Imam Ali (‘a) agreed to govern the Muslim community. He himself has described the circumstances:

“At that moment, nothing took me by surprise, but the crowd of people rushing to me. It advanced towards me from every side like the mane of the hyena so much so that Hasan and Husayn were getting crushed and both the ends of my shoulder garment were torn. They collected around me like a herd of sheep and goats… Behold, by Him who split the grain (to grow) and created living beings, if people had not come to supporters and me had not exhausted the argument and if there had been no pledge of God with the learned to the effect that they should not acquiesce in the gluttony of the oppressor and the hunger of the oppressed I would have cast the rope of caliphate on its own shoulders and would have given the last one the same treatment as the first one [of the three caliphs]. Then you would have seen that in my view, this world of yours is no better than the sneezing of a goat.”85

Imam Ali’s (‘A) Advice And Helping The Caliphs – Approval Of Their Caliphate?

History portrays Imam Ali’s (‘a) advice to the caliphs on some occasions, and this is used by some as an argument for Imam’s (‘a) acceptance and approval of their caliphate. At the same time, it is alleged that the caliphs consulted with Imam Ali (‘a) on much, which indicates that everything was peaceful and joyful. However, a closer look at what these councils were about, in what contexts and under what circumstances they were given, as well as their frequency, make the reality clearer.

The advice requested from Imam Ali (‘a) was in three fields:

• Scientific and religious issues that were difficult to solve and which they had no answers for.

• Military issues, especially in critical situations where measures are taken would be crucial at the national level.

• Legal issues and in the issuance of religious opinions or judgments.

The circumstances under which Imam Ali (‘a) gave this advice:

• At the direct request of the caliphs, when they had been in difficult situations and positions or faced questions and concerns that they could not overcome.86

• When the Imam (‘a) was allowed to attend the gathering and was indirectly consulted, as one among others, after other present personalities spoke about their opinions.87

• When the Imam (‘a) witnessed a situation and had to intervene to correct a wrong judgment, prevent a right to be lost or that someone would be innocently punished.

The number of occasions that the Imam (‘a), directly and indirectly, was asked for advice in relation to the number of years the caliphs took power:

• Abu Bakr, for over two years and three months in power, consulted the Imam (‘a) circa fourteen times. Of which only four times was a direct inquiry, and on the remaining occasions either the Imam (‘a) witnessed the situation, others called for the Imam (‘a), or someone was sent to inquire indirectly.

• Omar, for over ten years and five months in power, consulted the Imam (‘a) about 85 times, of which only twenty-seven times was a direct inquiry while on more than forty occasions the Imam (‘a) witnessed the situation and had to intervene.

• Uthman, for over twelve years in power, consulted the Imam (‘a) about 8 times, of which only three were a direct request and on at least four occasions the Imam (‘a) witnessed the situation and had to intervene.88

Note that the meaning of Islamic leadership is not the same as deciding on others or imposing your personal opinions. Rather, it is about the one who is in all possible ways the most suitable to hold the final say. That is the one who is least concerned about pursuing his own interests, the one who has the highest self-control and knowledge, and the one who safeguards the best for all people. The Imam’s (‘a) position in the capacity of an Imam, makes it one of his foremost duties to protect the message and to safeguard people’s guidance.

Accordingly, the Imam (‘a) acted on the basis of his duty and gave advice and intervened where required and helped to correct or prevent injustice, or hinder greater dangers and losses from the people, religion and society as a whole. Of course, the Imam (‘a) was not always free to act on all issues that arose and was not given the space to advise in many regards. But wherever possible, he did not refrain from giving his advice, which was always for the good of humanity and society. Therefore, the question of leadership was never about a personal pursuit of power for Imam Ali (‘a) who always looked for people’s continued guidance in his dealings. In other words, Imam Ali (‘a) was an Imam, either with or without the caliphate, and his duties were equally clear, whether he ruled over the caliphate or not. Imam Ali (‘a) always acted in accordance with these principles.

This does not in any way mean that the Imam (‘a) for that matter accepted the caliph’s takeover of power or approved their approach or actions, and among the clear evidence for this is:

The Imam’s (‘a) refusal to pledge allegiance. His and Fatimah az-Zahra’’s (‘a) attempts to awaken the Prophet’s (S) companions. As well as, the fact that he brought his forth and spoke of his deprived right on numerous occasions, including in the second caliphate’s assembly council, and found in khutba Shaqshaqiyya in Nahjul Balagha.

The Imam’s (‘a) refusal to participate in the war of expansion despite his brilliant background on the battlefields and his famous bravery, which was shown both during the Prophet’s (S) time and during his own caliphate.

The refusal of the Imam (‘a) to agree to govern in accordance with the approach of the two previous caliphs, which Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Owf set as conditions in the assembly council.

From this, it is obvious that the Imam’s (‘a) advice to the caliphs coincided with the position of Imamah and the fulfilment of his duty as God’s chosen guide. This while the Imam’s (‘a) position on the previous caliphate was clear and obvious. And as such, his advice to the caliphs cannot, therefore, be interpreted as an approval of them.

  • 1. This is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an verse 7:142.
  • 2. Several events related to this have been dealt with in connection with the Prophet's (S) history; see I2 and further on. In connection with Imam Ali's (‘a) history, more aspects will be further elucidated; see O and further on.
  • 3. The discussion of why the choice of an ultimate guide with full mandate and powers, whose obedience is equated with God's obedience and subordinate, must be God's choice has been extensively discussed earlier in the book; see F and further on.
  • 4. Several of the Prophet's (S) proclamations have been dealt with in connection with the Prophet's (S) history, see I, and more will follow in conjunction with Imam Ali's (‘a) history, see O and further on.
  • 5. There are plenty of examples of schools of thought in history that encountered this, not the least during Imam Al-Sadiq's (‘a) era when discussions on religious issues formed a hot topic of debate in society.
  • 6. A contemporary example of such distorted thoughts and the danger they pose, was clearly visible with the terrorist group Da'esh [ISIS] and similar extremist groups. These groups, based on precisely such distorted ideologies, were backed by some great powers - everything from politics to weapons and money, power and the media - to reach extreme non-human abysmal and commit crimes not only against people but against all of humanity.
  • 7. The hadith, known as hadith Thaqalayn, forms part of the Prophet’s (S) sermon in Ghadir Khumm but is also an own hadith based on the Prophet’s (S) proclamations at other times. Hence the wording of the hadith may differ slightly, even if the message is the same in all narrated versions. The hadith has been discussed earlier in the book and references have been recorded, among other in Note 81, 82 and 142.
  • 8. The importance of God's selection regarding the ultimate guides and their 'isma (infallibility) has been extensively discussed earlier in the book; see F-F4.
  • 9. This can apply to everyone starting from the Umayyad and Abbasid tyrants, who took over the rule of the Islamic kingdom and committed many crimes using the title "Caliph of the Muslims". Today, the continuation of the same line can be seen in the royal families that have taken power in many Islamic countries. Even extremist groups and extremist individuals who throughout history have given the appearance of following the religion but in practice thwarted its true, are included in this category
  • 10. For more information on the topic of Imamah and the question with regards to the missions and tasks of the Imams (‘a), the seeker is referred to: lesson 4 of the book Imamah (2007) by Ayatullah Makarim Shirazi (HA); Swedish translation published by Den Väntades Vänner.
  • 11. Imam Ali (‘a) describes this in his speech which became known as Sermon Qase’a in Nahjul Balagha. This sermon’s numbering order is 234 but may differ depending on different translation editions.
  • 12. This hadith is quoted in many sources with similar wordings, including: Al-Manaqeb by Ibn Ahmad Al-Khawarizmi p. 83 hadith 70 and p. 311 hadith 309; Sharh Ibn Abil Hadid volume 2 p. 449; Tafsir Al-Kabir by Fakhr Razi where in the commentary interpretation of the Mubahala verse he confirms the authenticity of the hadith volume 2 p. 288; Fat’h Al-Mulk Al-’Ali bi Sihah Hadith-e-Bab-e-Madinat Al-Ilm by Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Siddeeq Al-Hasani Al-Maghribi where the hadith’s narrative chain goes back to the well-known and recognized narrator Ibn Abbas’s 34; Muhyiddin Al-Arabi from whom Al-Arif Al-Sha’rani has quoted in his book Al-Yawaqeet wa Al-Jawahir p. 172 heading 32. The Hadith is also quoted in Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and Sahih Al-Bayhaqi, as well as in Irshad Al-Qoloob (published 1412 AH) of Deylami volume 2 p. 363; Amali by Sheikh Al-Tusi (1416 AD) p. 416; Sharh Tajrid Al-templeteqad by Allamah Al-Hilli’s 221 et al.
  • 13. This is a well-known hadith that has been narrated by more than twenty of the recognized narrators among the Prophet (S) companions who are considered reliable even among Sunni Muslims. The Hadith is thus quoted in several sources including: Al-Mustadrak by Hakim Neyshaboori volume 3 p. 126; Al-Mustadrak's ala Al-Sahihayn volume s 3 p. 126; Al-Manaqeb by Ibn Ahmad Al-Khawarizmi p.91 retelling 84; Ansab Al-Ashraf volume 2 p. 124; Manaqeb Seyyedona Ali p. 25; Al-Ferdow's volume 1 p. 44; Tarikh Baghdad volume 2 p. 277 and volume 4 p. 348; Al-Lai Al-masnoo'a by Suyuti volume 1 p. 329; Asad Al-Ghaba volume 4 p. 22; and a similar hadith that is quoted, among other things. in Al-Jami 'as-Sahih by Tarmothi volume 5 p. 637 and volume 2 p. 214. In the book Al-Ghadir by allamah Amini, all of the Prophet's (S) most prominent hadiths about Imam Ali (‘a) are collected together with detailed source references which the seeker is referred to - this hadith is quoted in volume 6 p. 79.
  • 14. Religious leadership as an essential basis for leadership and the necessity of it has been extensively discussed earlier in the book. in connection with the topic "Three aspects of leadership"; see F1 and further on.
  • 15. One of the known ahadith indicating hidden depths. The Hadith has been quoted, among others, in Manaqeb Ibn Shar Ashoob volume 3 p. 268; Bihar Al-Anwar volume 40 p. 96; Rawdhat Al-Muttaqin by Al-Majlisi volume 13 p. 273; Mashareq Anwar Al-Yaqin by Hafedh Rajab’s 112;
  • 16. The number of similar ahadith with the same meaning is more than can be presented in this book.
  • 17. These historical events have been extensively described earlier in the book; see I2 and on.
  • 18. One of the known ahadith indicating hidden depths. The Hadith has been narrated, among others, in Manaqeb Ibn Shar Ashoob volume 3 p 268; Bihar Al-Anwar volume 40 s 96; Rawdhat Al-Muttaqin by Al-Majlisi volume 13 s 273; Mashareq Anwar Al-Yaqin by Hafedh Rajab’s 112.
  • 19. In Ghadir Khumm, after the Prophet (S) proclaimed the position of Imam Ali (‘a), a person came to the Prophet (S) and questioned whether God had commanded this or if it was the Prophet (S) own opinion. When the Prophet (S) replied that it was God’s order, the person replied that in such case he desires a penalty to be sent down on him instantly because he could not tolerate it. These verses were sent down in connection with this incident and the person’s punishment.
  • 20. In his last days, the Prophet (S) repeatedly asked that they presently call on his beloved and brother, whereupon a couple of his wives called their fathers. Their fathers had been ordered by the Prophet (S) to go to the border with Usama’s army, but had defied command and returned to Medina; see P. At the sight of them, the Prophet (S) turned away his face disappointed and repeated his opinion until another of those attending called on Imam Ali (‘a).
  • 21. This event has been narrated in several well-known historical accounts including Tabari in Tarikh Tabari while Allamah Al-Majlisi has narrated it in Bihar Al-Anwar volume 30 p. 7073 from i.a. Bukhari and Muslim. It is also narrated in Idhah by Neyshaboori p. 259 and in Irshad by Sheikh Mufid volume 1 p. 184. Ibn Abi Hadid Al-Mu'tazeli in Sharh Nahjul Balagha volume 12 p. 2021 also narrated a depiction from Tarikh Baghdad by Ahmad Ibn Abi Tahir Baghdadi Khorasani narrated by acclaimed narrator Ibn Abbas where Omar himself talks about this in a conversation.
  • 22. The events surrounding the passing of the Prophet (S) and his last days in life have been narrated in many historical books of narrations, some of which are: Tarikh Tabari volume 3 p. 196; Sahih Bukhari volume 6 p. 12; Sahih Muslim volume 4 p. 1904; Sahih Tirmithi volume 5 p. 361; and Irshad by Sheikh Mufid volume 1 p. 179–187; Amali by Sheikh Sadooq hadith 316 and p. 508–509 and p. 4547; Ihtijaj of Tabarsi volume 1 p. 89.
  • 23. The Muslim nation’s identity was hijacked and eroded to the extent that, although it had not passed long since the Prophet’s (S) time and many still remembered the Prophet’s (S) words and treatment of Imam Al-Husayn (‘a), some became willing to cold-bloodedly murder the Prophet’s (S) daughter’s son even though they still called themselves Muslims and followers of the same Prophet (S) and religion. The values of the Muslim community had, through the government’s values, been distorted to the extent that only an outer covering of religion remained in the form of religious appearances and actions. While the inner reality of faith, mercy for mankind and its spirit of highest morality was about to go in total loss; if not for Imam Al-Husayn (‘a) and his sacrifices at Ashura in Karbala which instilled the spirit of Islam. Hence, Ashura, the annual commemoration of the massacre of Imam Al-Husayn (‘a) and his followers and the capturing of the women and children accompanying the Imam (‘a), has kept this movement of true Islam strongly alive until today. The subject is discussed in greater detail later in the book; see U and further on.
  • 24. This is narrated in some sources including Bihar Al-Anwar by Allamah Al-Majlisi volume 28 p. 239.
  • 25. This is evident in the Imam's (‘a) actions and behaviour, not least during his governorship 25 years after being removed from him, and is also something that the Imam (‘a) describes himself in i.a. khutba 3 in Nahjul Balagha. The entire khutba can be read in the book Nahjul Balagha - khutba 1–30 (2012); Swedish translation published by Den Väntades Vänner. Online in English and Arabic at: https://www.al-islam.org/nahjul-balagha-part-1-sermons
  • 26. Imam Ali’s (‘a) answer is written in sermon 5 in the book Nahjul Balagha.
  • 27. Note that this event is historically documented in both Sunni and Shi’a sources, although both sides usually refrain from speaking openly about it for various reasons. In this case, the event is taken up as part of the historical portrayal and as reality-based facts that the truth-seeker needs to know and be aware of, and not to downplay someone’s perception or split between Sunni and Shi’a brothers.

    First and foremost, all Muslims, regardless of their faith and school of thought, need to know the history when honest research and respectful discussion about the course of events and reflection on consequences and exits are one of Islam’s basic methods of leading man to the truth, no matter what personalities are involved - so as God urges us in Holy Qur’an 4:135 to do justice and testify of the truth for God’s sake, even if it is against our loved ones. Consequently, it is perfectly possible to impartially and objectively conduct respectful and reasonable dialogues, free from narrow-mindedness and prejudice, and blindly adhering to perceptions, based on research and facts, to achieve good results and draw lessons that take us all closer to truth and God; which is our common goal and the primary purpose of our religion. As long as we all start from our common faith and the fact that we are all Muslims, and from a wider perspective, truth-seeking people, and wishing to reach God through the truth, this is fully possible, as many of our Sunni and Shi’a Muslim scholars have demonstrated throughout history through valuable dialogues.

    In doing so, we should all also pay special attention to and distinguish external but also internal, insidious, extremist voices that smell of divisiveness and who, with disrespect and disdain for different prominent personalities in different schools of thought, intend to create discrepancies between Muslims; this is true regardless of whether they claim to be part of the Sunni or Shi’a Muslim side. Both of these extreme poles have one thing in common; namely, that they deviate from the true spirit of Islam, which is to submit to the truth and to stand for it in all situations. This is also true from the broader perspective of fellow human beings, where some who claim to belong to various different religions, movements, schools of thought, political directions or powers, in fact, blow the divide and the trumpet of inequality under the slogan of benevolence and intend to subjugate people and rule through the great mass disagreement and division.

  • 28. Al-Majmuatul Kamilah Al-Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib by Abdul Fattah Abdul Maqsood (edition translated into Persian by Seyyed Mahmoud Taliqani) volume 1 p. 190-193, p. 326-328 (third edition, Haidery Offset Printing Press), volume 4 p. 274-277; and Siyar A’lam an-Nobala ‘of Ath-Thabi volume 15, 578; as well as Al-Imama wa Al-Khilafa by Muqatil Ibn ‘Atiyye p. 160-161; as well as Al-Wafi bel Wafiyyat of Safadi volume 5 p. 347; and Lisan Al-Mizan of volume 1 p. 268; and Al-Milal wa Al-Nihal of Ash-Shahrestani volume 1 p. 56; and “three things Abu Bakr said regret” Tarikh at-Tabari volume 2 p. 619, Mizan Al-I notadal volume 2 p. 215, Kanzol Irfan volume 5 p. 631, Lisan Al-Mizan volume 4 p. 189 and others.
  • 29. There are several historical narrations in which this event was narrated including in Tarikh Al-Umam wa Al-Molook by Tabari; as well as Tarikh Tahliliye Islam by Shahidi et al.
  • 30. Imam Ali (‘a) was by this law with the smallest calculation between 34 and 37 years old. The same kind of argument used to degrade Imam Ali’s (‘a) belief in the Prophet (S) at the beginning of the Prophet’s (S) call, was brought up to rob the Imam (‘a) of his rightful position.
  • 31. These are parts of the words of Imam Ali (‘a) and the events that took place on this day and which have been narrated fragmented in many historical depictions including the Tarikh Al-Umam wa Al-Molook by Tabari (published 1387 AD) volume 3 p. 202; Tarikh Ya’qoobi by Ya’qoobi (published 1379 AD) volume 2 p. 126; Al-Imama wa Al-Siyasa by Ibn Qutayba (published 1356 AD) volume 1 p. 11-14; Ansab Al-Ashraf by Bilathari (published 1959 AD) volume 1 p. 586; Al-’Eqd Al-Farid by Ibn Abd Rabbah (published 1402 AD) volume 4 p. 259-260; and Al-Ikhtisas by Sheikh Mufid p. 184-187 and Al-Ihtijaj by Sheikh Tabarsi volume 1 p. 95-96 and others.

    While some historians have chosen to minimally touch upon these events, others have narrated fragments of the various eyewitness accounts. However, what is clear throughout history is the violation of the Prophet’s (S) house and Ahl Al-Bait’s (‘a) position through the attack on Imam Ali’s (‘a) house despite the fact that the Prophet’s (S) daughter Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a) was there; and how Imam Ali (‘a), whom the Prophet (S) has on many occasions highlighted for his uniquely distinguished merits and stated as the chosen successor after him, was chained to be forced into oaths of allegiance.

  • 32. The present questions are based on historical events, the majority of which were described earlier in the book. Some of the most well-known historical depictions and narrative collections where these historical events occur are: Musnad Ibn Hanbal volume 1 p. 254; Tarikh Dameshq volume 42 p. 207–208, 448; Khasais an-Nisa’i s 181; Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir volume 17 p. 39; Sunan at-Tarmothi volume 5 p. 633; Al-Mustadrak ala as-Sahihayn volume 13 p. 135; Al-Mu’jam Al-Awsat volume 9 p. 95; Musnad Ibn Ya’li volume 1 p. 280; Al-Mahasen wa Al-Masawe’s 41; Manaqeb Kharazmi p. 104; et al
  • 33. Based on the Word of God in the Holy Qur’an 33:6, 53:3–4 and 4:59 and 24:54 et al. which the Prophet (S) relies on in sermon Ghadir.
  • 34. For more information on this, see Imam Ali’s (‘a) documentary at
    https://vimeo.com/115925500
  • 35. Therefore, it is the fitra of man that God’s chosen guides - prophets (‘a) and Imams (‘a) - seek to reach and evoke. The issue of fitra has been dealt with extensively earlier in the book; see B3.
  • 36. Imam Ali (‘a) speaks of this in a few strong words including in khutba Shaqshaqiyya, sermon 3 in the book Nahjul Balagha. Online in English and Arabic at: https://www.al-islam.org/nahjul-balagha-part-1-sermons
  • 37. Sahih Bukhari volume 8 chapter 82 no 817 describes how Imam Ali (‘a) was against what happened in Saqifa and in Sahih Muslim chapter 19 no 4349 describes what Imam Ali (‘a) thoughts about what happened were.
  • 38. Khutba Shaqshaqiyya, sermon 3 in the book Nahjul Balagha. Online in English and Arabic at: https://www.al-islam.org/nahjul-balagha-part-1-sermons
  • 39. A clear example of this is the uprising of Imam Al-Husayn (‘a), which apparently led to the martyrdom of the Imam (‘a) and his companions and the imprisonment of women and children. However, at the same time, the uprising of Imam Al-Husayn (‘a) became the basis for a movement that echoed throughout history and ensured the survival of true Islam in accordance with Ahl Al-Bait’s (‘a) line. In this way, Imam Al-Husayn’s (‘a) movement gave victory; not by the usual definition of victory but rather an eternal victory of the blood of the oppressed martyr over the sword of the oppressor.
  • 40. The Umayyad lineage, also known as Bani Umayya, was of the tribes from the Quraysh branches and was called Bani Umayya (The descendants of Umayya) after their ancestor Umayya, uncle to Abu Sufyan. Abu Sufyan was in turn father of Mu’awiya, father of Yazid. Abu Sufyan, followed by his son Mu’awiya, led and was the brains of the enemies against Islam and the Prophet (S), during his lifetime. In connection with the Muslims’ conquest and victory in Mecca, Abu Sufyan bridged over to Islam and became a so called tolaqa’ (the spared ones), during the conquest.

    There are many historical accounts implying that Abu Sufyan continued his previous path and continued to fight Islam, but now under the surface, continued by his son Mu’awiya against Imam Ali (‘a). Mu’awiya, who was let into power already during the second caliph’s reign, was leading corruption from his seat in Sham and spread a distorted version of faith with his propaganda and stronghold. This was continued even later against Imam Al-Hasan (‘a) and as such paved the way for his son Yazid, to cause the events of Ashura and the martyrdom of Imam Al-Husayn (‘a). This subject is discussed more in detail later in the book.

  • 41. The Holy Qur’an 17:60.
  • 42. While the province of Sham was assigned to Abu Sufyan’s elder son Yazid during the first caliph’s rule, after consulting with the second caliph, Abu Sufyan’s second son, Mu’awiya took over the province after his brother, during the rule of the second caliph. This special treatment and room to do whatever by the second caliph (according to historical accounts and witnesses) made Mu’awiya take control of Sham as a whole and rule it as his own dominion. Sham, a huge province with many riches, becoming part of the Islamic state after the departure of the Prophet (S), was now entirely left to Mu’awiya’s liking and the distorted Islam fed to people by Mu’awiya himself. During the rule of the third caliph, himself from the Umayyad lineage, secured Mu’awiya’s hold further and so the upper hand of Bani Umayya was factual.
  • 43. This event has been mentioned more explicitly earlier in the book under the he’Adalahine ‘the attack on the house of Imam Ali (‘a)’ and will therefore not be further touched in this section; see P.
  • 44. According to Islamic law there is a certain divorce period, called ‘idda, after the husbands passing, where the joining in matrimony and intercourse are abstained from. Furthermore, the consent of the woman to enter matrimony is a condition for the ceremony and therefore also the wedlock itself. The event is narrated through sources such as Tarikh Al-Umam by tabarri volume 3 p. 249, 253-255 and 276-280; as well as Al-Maghazi by Waqedi p. 69-70 and 103-107; as well as Tarikh Al-Ya’qoobi by Ya’qoobi volume 2 p. 139 among others.
  • 45. This is narrated, in among others, Asad Al-Ghaba volume 4 p. 277; Al-Kamil fi at-Tarikh volume 2 p. 358; Tarikh Tabari volume 3 p. 280; Al-Bidaya wa Al-Nihaya volume 6 p. 323; Al-Isaba volume 5 p. 561; as well as Wafiyyat Al-A’yam volume 6 p. 15.
  • 46. Fadak, which was a part of a great area outside Medina, close to the fortress of Khaybar, involved a larger verdant area of land and several adjacent villages, and had been given over to the Holy Prophet (S) by the Jews living I n the area, this in accordance with their agreement after the battle of Khaybar. The area had been donated to the Holy Prophet (S) by its citizens and did not involve any clashes, and hence was not a lot of war. In the Holy Qur’an 59:6-7, God has referred to these properties, Fay’, which Fadak was a part of, and clarified that the control of these lands belongs to the Holy Prophet (S) and directed the action regarding them to the Holy Prophet (S). After the revelation of verse 17:16, the Holy Prophet (S) gave Fadak to Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a) to be in possession of. Until the seizure of Fadak, Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a) used the incomes from it, with no exception, to different purposes serving the community and helping the needy. This has been narrated through several known depictions and by known historians and scholars such as Suyuti in his book ad-Dorr Al-Manthoor volume 4 p. 177, Haskani in Shawahed at-Tanzil le Qawaed at-Tafdhil (printed in 1411 AH), volume 1 p. 438-439; as well as Sheikh Al-Tusi in at-Tebyan fi tafsir Al-Qur’an volume 6 p. 468 and Sheikh Tabarsi Majma’ Al-Bayan volume 6 p. 633-634 among others.
  • 47. Umm Ayman was a distinguished character and was of the faithful companions of the Holy Prophet (S). He had named to her to be one of the women of paradise. This highly respected woman had been among those taken to Mecca as slaves and thereafter been brought to the house of the father of the Holy Prophet (S), Abdullah (r.a.). After the passing of Amina (r.a.), the mother of the Holy Prophet (S), Umm Ayman had taken care of the Holy Prophet (S) during a time and later been liberated by the Holy Prophet (S). The Holy Prophet (S) hade great love and admiration for her and sometimes used to call her ‘mother’. She was among the first to accept Islam and supported the Holy Prophet (S) in all matters. She participated in the battles of Uhud and Khaybar, gave water to the soldiers and looking after the injured.
  • 48. The speech came to be known as Sermon Fadakiyya and is narrated through both Sunni and Shi’a sources. This speech, in addition to its powerful words and delivery, was also challenging and uncovered many hidden truths.
  • 49. Among them are the clear words of God in verse 27:16 regarding Prophet Sulayman (‘a) [Salamo] who inherited from his father Prophet Daqwood (‘a) [David] as well as verse 19:5-7 where Prophet Zakariyaa (‘a) [Zachary] asks God to bestow him a child and a successor to inherit him and the line of Prophet Ya’qoob (‘a) [Jakob], after which God bestows him with Prophet Yahya (‘a) [John].
  • 50. This and other depictions like it are narrated through several historical sources such as Sahih Al-Bukhari, in the chapter “The battle of Khaybar” (Arabic-English edition) volume 5 p. 381-383 hadith 546 and volume 4 hadith 325 among others.
  • 51. This hadith is one the most frequent ahadith being told by the Holy Prophet (S) in similar words at several occasions in connection with different events. This hadith, and others like it, has also been narrated multiple times by many distinguished companions and narrators and has been narrated through both Sunni and Shi’a sources, among them Sahih Al-Bukhari volume 4 p. 248 hadith 4819; rooh Al-Ma’ani by Aloosi volume 3 p. 138; Al-Mustadrak by Hakim Neyshaboori volume 3 p. 156; Dorr Al-Manthoor by Suyuti volume 2 p. 194; Helyat Al-Awiya by Abi Na’im Esbahani volume 2 p. 42; Rawdh Al-Anaf volume 1 p. 178, 279; Fath Al-Qadir by Muhammad Showkani volume 1 p. 439; Faraed Al-Sametin volume 2 p. 35 among others. The authenticity of the hadith is confirmed by all the scholars, as well as the position of Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a) being widely acknowledged.
  • 52. Even if the life of Fatimah az-Zahra’ (‘a) speaks for itself, as well as the words of the Holy Prophet (S) and his special way and respect towards her, which was higher than just a father’s respect of his daughter, and rather showed her extraordinary position with God, the story also luminates other characters testimonies. Among these is the present hadith which can be find among the following sources; Al-Asti’ab by Allamah Ibn Abdel-Barr, volume 2 p. 751; Mustadrak by Hakim Neyshaboori volume 3 p. 160 among others.
  • 53. These ahadith are also among the most frequent ahadith whose authenticity is clarified by both Sunni and Shi’a scholars, narrated by several companions and recurrent through different chains of narration. There are also more ahadith, using similar words and with similar meaning, having been shared in different circumstances. Among the sources where these ahadith are narrated are Sahih Bukhari volume 1 p. 532 as well as volume 4 p. 210 and 212; Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal volume 4 p. 326-327; Sahih Muslim volume 7 p. 141; Sunan Thirmithi volume 5 p. 360 and p. 689 hadith 3967; Al-Mustadrak ala Al-Sahihayn volume 3 p. 158; Sunan Al-Kubra volume 10 p. 201; Beyhaqi volume 5 p. 147; Sharh Nahjul Balagha; by Ibn Abi Al-Hadid volume 4 p. 64; volume 13 p. 36, volume 16 p. 273 and 278; Manaqib Al-Kharazmi p. 353; Sobol Al-Hoda wa ar-Rashad volume 10 p. 237; Asad Al-Ghaba volume 5 p. 521-522 and volume 8 p. 159; Tathkerat Al-Khawas p. 279; Helyat Al-Awliya’ volume 2 p. 40; Yanabi’ Al-Mawadda volume 2 p. 52, 53 and 97; Khasais an-Nisai p. 35; Mustadrak Al-Hakim volume 3 p. 153; Mizan Al-I’tidal p. 525; Kanz Al-Ummal volume 6 p. 22 and 219; Al-Ghadir volume 2 p. 275, volume 3 p. 30 and 109, volume 7 p. 174 and 231, and volume 9 p. 378 among others.
  • 54. This and narrations like it are narrated through several sources, such as Sahih Muslim volume 5 p. 154 hadith 4471; Sahih Bukhari volume 4 p. 42 hadith 3093, volume 5 p. 82, volume 8 p.3 hadith 6726; Al-Imama wa as-Siyasa by Ibn Qutayba volume 1 p. 14 and 17; as-Saqifa wa Al-Fadak by Jawhari p. 104; Ansab Al-Ashraf by Bikathari volume 1 p. 79 among others.
  • 55. This effect can clearly be seen even today, both in countries and layers of society who are struck by poverty as well as in places where the people are not poor but where the structure of society are built in a way where people are pressured in to working long days in order to sustain the economy need for a high-consuming standard of living one is propagated into mimic. The matter of economics is therefore a two-edged sword which is being used to keep the population constantly preoccupied with the search for the material and between working to live or willing to work, and thereby remaining detached from more important venues and life itself. Economy is a basic question that Islam emphasizes and has a system for. This due to a healthy economy being a prerequisite for man to strive for higher goals and purposes of life.
  • 56. The event is discussed earlier in the book; see P.
  • 57. These events are narrated in several prominent historical accounts, including Tarikh Tabari (year of publication 1967 AD) volume 3 p. 184, 186, 223; Tarikh Ya'qoobi (year of publication 1379 AD) volume 2 p. 127; Al-Maghazi (year of publication 1966 AD) volume 3 p. 1117–1122; as-Sira an-Nabawiyya by Ibn Hisham volume 2 p. 642 and 650; Tabaqat Al-Kubra by Ibn Saad Volume 2 p. 145–146, 191; 'Oyoon Al-Athar by Ibn Seyyed an-Nas (published year 1414 AD) volume 2 p. 350; Emta' Al-Asma' by Maqrizi (year of publication 1420 AD) volume 14 p. 125, 485 and 519; and Al-Irshad by Sheikh Mufid (year of publication1413 et seq.) volume 1 p. 169, 183 et al.
  • 58. Towards the end of the Prophet's (S) life, a man named Musaylama had pretended to be sent from God and later married a woman who also claimed to be sent from God. These had gathered a crowd of supporters and clashed with a troop that Abu Bakr had sent to meet them. In this difficult battle that took place in the Yamama area and was named after it, it is stated that over a thousand Muslims have fallen martyrs, of which about 700 were Qur’an reciters as well as close to 60 prominent Muhajirin and Ansar, including thirteen companions who participated in the Battle of Badr. In other words, many of those who witnessed the Prophet (S) and the early history of Islam with their own eyes did not stay alive for long, and martyrs fell within the time of a few years after the Prophet (S). These events are narrated in the historical accounts including in Tarikh Khalifa Ibn Khayyat volume 1 p. 111–115; Al-Fotooh volume 1 p. 40 et al.
  • 59. Several depictions have been narrated in connection with this event, including in Tarikh Al-Umam wa Al-Molook of Tabari (published 1387 AD) volume 3 p. 428–430; Al-Kamel fi at-Tarikh by Ibn Athir (published 1385 AD) volume 2 p. 425–427; Al-Imama wa as-Siyasa by Ibn Qutayba (published 1356 AD) volume 1 p. 19–20; Kitab ath- Thoqat by Ibn Habban (published1393 AD) volume 2 p. 191–192; Tabaqat Al-Kubra by Ibn Saadat (published 1968 et al.) volume 3 p. 199–200 et al.
  • 60. Excerpt from sermon 3 in Nahjul Balagha known as khutba Shaqshaqiyya; Nahjul Balagha – sermon 1–30 (2012); Swedish translation published by Den Väntades Vänner. Online in English and Arabic at: https://www.al-islam.org/nahjul-balagha-part-1-sermons
  • 61. The subject is discussed on several parts of the book.
  • 62. These details are narrated in most historical accounts and other books in which events during the time of the caliphs are affected. Among these are Mokhtasar Tarikh Dameshq volume 25 p. 17-24; Rasael Al-Jahedh - ar-Rasael as-Siyasiyya p. 344; Tathbit Dalael an-Nobowwa p. 539; Eqd Al-Farid volume 1 p. 15 and volume 5 p. 114; Ansab Al- Ashraf volume 4 p. 550; Tarikh Ya’qoobi volume 2 p. 86; Tarikh ar-Rosol wa Al-Molook volume 4 p. 444 et al.
  • 63. Note that the Prophet (S) in hadith Thaqalayn makes it clear that the Qur’an and the Ahl Al-Bait (‘a) are not separated from each other and together constitute the recipe for guidance, which is above the fact that religion is a package where both the Qur’an and the Ahl Al-Bait (‘a) are included and are both needed together to manage the road. In fact, the Qur’an has the function of a constitution while the Ahl Al-Bait (‘a), with the Prophet (S) at the forefront, are the one who interpret its delicate meaning, explains its detailed details, executes a practical implementation of it and protects it from distortion. The necessity of both side by side is clear from examples such as the prayers. God commands in the Qur’an the performance of prayer and denotes its times but leaves the explanation of its practical execution and detailed steps to the Prophet (S).

    In other words, the Qur’an speaks of and when the prayer is to be performed but not how it is to be prayed; this is told and explained by the Prophet (S) on God's order. Consequently, the cohesion of the Qur’an and the Prophet (S), and furthermore Ahl Al-Bait (‘a), is of utmost necessity. Even in the versions of hadith Thaqalayn where the designation of Ahl Al-Bait (‘a) is narrated as "sunnah", that is, the Prophet's (S) traditional customs and practices in actions and words, this results in the same conclusion. With this, it goes without saying that fatal consequences will entail with the restriction or exclusion of the Prophet's (S) sunnah, not the least in opening the door to self-interpretations of the Holy Qur’an whose results have affected the world in the form of distorted, intrinsic and self-serving inventions of extreme fundamentalists.

  • 64. These decisions and approaches are detailed in history and are depicted in most historical accounts, including Tarikh Tabari volume 4, p. 396; Tarikh Ya'qoobi volume 2 p. 58; Tabaqat Al-Kubra volume 3 p. 499; Al- Kamil fi at-Tarikh volume 2 p. 361; Tarikh Al-Khulafa p. 106; Sharaf Ashab Al-Hadith p. 87–88; Sharh Najul Balagha by Ibn Abil-Hadid Volume 9 p. 29-30 and Volume 20 p. 20; Al-Fitna Al-Kubra p. 80–81 et al.
  • 65. In the Holy Qur’an verse 46:15, God states that a mother's bearing and separation from her child is a total of 30 months, while in verse 2:233 it is stated that a complete breastfeeding period lasts for two years, that is, 24 months. Subtracting the breastfeeding period from the total period, it clearly shows that a child can be born 6 months after birth.
  • 66. These statements and the historical contexts and cases that led to them are narrated in several books including many historical accounts such as Sahih Muslim Book 3 hadith 718; Sahih Bukhari Volume 1 Book 7 No. 340; Al-Manaqeb by Kharazmi’s 81; Asd Al-Ghaba by Ibn Athir volume 4 p. 23; Tahdhib at-Tahdhib by Ibn Hijr volume 7 p. 296; Yanabi ‘Al-Mawadda by Qundoozi Hanafi volume 1 p. 216, volume 2 p. 172 and 405, volume 3 p. 147; Men Hayat Khalifa Omar Ibn Khattab by Ahmad Bakri’s 320; Ta’wil Mokhtalaf Al-Hadith by Ibn Qutayba volume 1 p. 152 and 162; Al-Faeq fi Gharib Al-Hadith by Zamakhshari volume 2 p. 375; Tarikh Madinat Dameshq volume 25 p. 369; Tarikh Al-Islam by Thahabi volume 3 p. 638; Al-Bidaya wa Al-Nihaya by Ibn Kathir volume 7 p. 397; Tafsir as-Sam’ani volume 5 p. 154; Mawaqef Iji volume 3 p. 636; Tafsir Al-Kabir by Fakhr Razi volume 21 p. 22; Sharh Nahjul Balagha by Ibn Abil Hadid volume 1 p. 18 and volume 12 p. 179; Man ‘Al-Jalil by Muhammad’ Ellish volume 9 p. 648; Dastoor Al-Ulama by Qadhi Abdenabi Nakri volume 1 p. 80; and Al-Ghadir volume 4 p. 64 and volume 8 p. 189; Kafi by Kulayni volume 7 p. 424; Man la yahthorho Al-Faqih by Sheikh Sadooq volume 4 p. 36; Sharh Al-Akhbar by Qadhi Nu’man volume 2 p. 319; Tahdhib Al-Ahkam by Sheikh Al-Tusi volume 6 p. 606; Menhaj Al-Karama by Allama Al-Hilli’s 18; at-Taraef by Seyyed Ibn Tawoos p. 255 and 516 et al.
  • 67. This is evident in most Qur’anic verses including [33:21], [3:32, [4:59], [47:33], [4:65] and others.
  • 68. Sahih Muslim (English and Arabic edition, respectively) book 9 no 3493 and volume 2 p. 1099; Musnad Ibn Hanbal (published 1421 AD) volume 5 p. 61; Sunan as-Saghir by Beyhaqi (published 1410 AD) volume 3 p. 116; Al-Mustadrak ‘ala as-Sahihayn by Hakim Neyshaboori (published1411 AD) volume 2 p. 214; Tarikh Al-Islam by Thahabi (edition 2 published 1409 AD) volume 8 p. 410; Al-Mujtaba men as-Sunan - Sunan as-Soghra by Nisa’i (edition 2 published 1406 AD) volume 6 p. 142; Sharh Nahjul Balagha by Ibn Abil Hadid volume 22 p. 5 et al.
  • 69. Among the sources where this is narrated are Sahih Bukhari (English and Arabic edition published 1422 AD) book 73 no. 134 and volume 3 p. 45; Ershad as-Sari le Sharh Sahih Al-Bukhari by Qastalani (published 1323 AD) volume 3 p. 426 et al.
  • 70. All Islamic law schools, both the four Sunni and the Shi’a, agree that the Prophet (S) prayed with his hands released at the sides of the body and that prayer with closed hands was introduced by the other caliph. Among Sunni scholars, within three of four Sunni schools, this act is performed along the second caliph as a form of recommended action, while the fourth school does not consider it recommended. This is clear both through historical depictions and through fiqh books (jurisprudence). In addition, there are detailed depictions of the Prophet’s (S) prayer in which companions have described his prayer extensively and the authenticity of these narratives is clarified by scholars in all schools based on sources such as Sahih Bukhari volume 1 p. 201; Sunan at-Tarmothi volume 1 p. 188; Musnad Ahmad volume 5 p. 424; Sunan ad-Daromi volume 1 p. 314; Sunan Al-Kubra by Beyhaqi volume 2 p. 72; Sunan Ibn Maje volume 1 p. 280; Sunan Abi Dawood volume 1 p. 170 Kitab as-Salat - bab Istiftah as-salad; Sahih Ibn Habban volume 5 p. 196; Umdat Al-Qari volume 6 p. 104; Al-Fiqh ‘ala Al-Mathaheb Al-Khamsa by Moghniyye p. 109; and Mustanad Al-Urwa volume 4 p. 445; Jawahir volume 11 p. 19 et al.
  • 71. Sunan Al-Kubra by Beyhaqi (edition 3 published 1424 AD) volume 1 p. 632; Sunan at-Tarmothi volume 2 p. 59; Mawta ‘of Malik (published 1406 AD) book 3 no 3.1.8 and p. 72; Sharh as-Sunnah by Baghawi Shafe’i (edition 2 published 1403 AD) volume 2 p. 265; Sunan ad-Darqotni (published 1424 AD) volume 1 p. 454; Al-Musnad by Humayri (edition 2 published 1403 AD) volume 1 p. 473; Jami ‘Al-Usul fi Ahadith ar-Rasool (published 1390 AD) volume 5 p. 286; Abkar Al-Afkar fi Usool ad-Din by Amodi (published 1423 et seq.) Volume 5 p. 258 et al.
  • 72. Circumstances surrounding the council, the entire procedure and its outcome are described in detail, among other things. in footnote 15 of khutba Shaqshaqiyya, No. 3, in the book Nahjul Balagha - sermon 1–30 (2012); Swedish translation published by Den Väntades Vänner. Online in English and Arabic at: https://www.al-islam.org/nahjul-balagha-part-1-sermons
    The historical account is also found in well-known books such as Tarikh Ya’qoobi volume 2 p. 160–162; Ansab Al-Ashraf by Bilathari volume 2 p. 261; Tabaqat Al-Kubra volume 3 p. 344; Al-Musnad volume 5 p. 445 and 447; Tarikh Al-Umam wa Al-Molook volume 3 p. 296 and 302; Sharh Nahjul Balagha by Ibn Abil Hadid volume 1 p. 194; at-Tanbih wa Al-Ashraf p. 252–253; Al-Bad ‘wa at- Tarikh volume 5 p. 192; as-Saqifa wa Fadak p. 78 et al.
  • 73. Uthman was kept close by the first caliph and consulted on matters. He was also the one who recorded the will of Abu Bakr who appointed Omar as the next caliph. The well-known historian Tabari also states that Uthman was known among the people as Omar’s successor; Tarikh Tabari volume 3 p. 479 et al.
  • 74. This is narrated in most historical accounts, including Tarikh Tabari (published 1387 AD) volume 3 p. 296 and volume 4 p. 230-233; Al-Kamil fi at-Tarikh by Ibn Athir volume 3 p. 66; Tarikh Ya’qoobi volume 2 p. 162; Sharh Nahjul Balagha by Ibn Abil Hadid volume 1 p. 188 and others.
  • 75. While Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas was Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Owf’s cousin and did not oppose him, Abd ar- Rahman was married to Uthman’s sister, which made Uthman his brother-in-law. Imam Ali (‘a) referred to the fact that Abd ar-Rahman intended to return the caliphate later after passing it on to Uthman, in addition to the support for previous caliphs and the benefits which have benefited him from this. The depiction of these events is narrated, among other thing in Tarikh Tabari (published 1387 AD) volume 3 p. 296-302; Tarikh Ya’qoobi volume 2 p. 162; Sharh Nahjul Balagha by Ibn Abil Hadid volume 1 p. 194; as-Saqifa wa Al-Fadak by Jawhari Basri (published 1413 AD) p. 87; Al-Bed ‘wa at-Tarikh volume 5 p. 192 et al.
  • 76. This statement and similar words and documents from Abu Sufyan have been narrated in several sources including in Ansab Al-Ashraf by Bilathari (published 1400 AD) volume 4 p. 12 and 13 and (published 1959 AD) volume 5 p. 12; Morooj ath-Thahab by Mas’oodi volume 1 p. 351 and 440; Al-Aghani by Abu Al-Faraj Al-Isfahani volume 6 p. 356 and 529; Al-Asti’ab volume 2 p. 690; Al-Ghadir fi Al-Kitab wa as-Sunnah volume 18 p. 137 et al.
  • 77. This can be seen through the course of history and is clearly pronounced by well-known Sunni scholars like Suyuti from, among other things Tarikh Al-Khulafa (English edition) p. 161–162 and others.
  • 78. These depictions and the like have been narrated in several depictions, not least in various commentary interpretations of the Qur’an in connection with verse 17:60, including Tafsir Dorr Al-Manthoor volume 5 p. 309; Al-Mustadrak volume 4 p. 527 et al.
  • 79. This is something that many well-known historians and experts in the political history of Islam have found, including Seyyed Qutb in his book Social Justice in Islam, p. 221–222.
  • 80. The numbers presented in history show how enormous wealth, both in terms of money and land, and also governmental items were assigned to relatives who lacked both the skills and solicitude for the people. Some sums were also used to silence any opponents, but the corruption that prevailed and the incredible sums and powers given to especially some of Bani Umayya, not least Marwan Ibn Al-Hakam, also got those who stood close to the governance to protest. These details are widely known in history and are narrated in many sources including Tarikh Kamil by Ibn Athir volume 3 p. 46; Tarikh Baghdad volume 13 p. 286; Tarikh Ya’qoobi volume 2 p. 164; Ansab Al-Ashraf by Bilathari volume 5 p. 128; Al-Ma’aref by Ibn Qutayba’s 84; Tarikh Abu Al-Feda volume 1 p. 168; Social Justice in Islam p. 221-222 et al. as well as footnote 17 in khutba Shaqshaqiyya, No. 3, in the book Nahjul Balagha - Swedish translation published by Den Väntades Vänner. Online in English and Arabic at: https://www.al-islam.org/nahjul-balagha-part-1-sermons
  • 81. One of the Prophet's (S) closest companions about whom the Prophet (S) testified to his truth-telling, was Abu Dharr, who refused to be silent to the corruption and oppression that drowned society due to the injustices the third caliph allowed. Abu Dharr's refusal to receive a large sum as a "gift" and his criticism of Uthman, ended up being banished to Rabatha, at that time a remote uninhabited area of Sham, are narrated in many historical accounts including Tarikh Ya'qoobi volume 2 p. 171 -172; Tabaqat Ibn Saadat volume 4 p. 226–229; Tarikh Tabari (year of publication 1403 et seq.) Volume 3 p. 336 et al.
  • 82. These historical events, including Uthman’s offer to Mu’awiya, are narrated in several historical accounts, including Tarikh Tabari Tarikh Al-Umam wa Al-Molook (Second edition, published 1387 AD) volume 4 p. 368; Al-Imama wa as-Siyasa by Ibn Qutayba ad-Daynoori (published 1410 AD) volume 1 p. 54–55; Tarikh Ya’qoobi of Ya’qoobi volume 2 p. 175 et al.
  • 83. The events surrounding the uprising in Uthman’s last time and the circumstances surrounding his murder are detailed in historical accounts. Although the identity of the killer itself remains unclear to the public, the study of the course of events and the actions of the personalities involved in connection with the murder, and even thereafter, can give a thorough indication of their intentions and motives. The events are narrated in many sources including the aforementioned. A summary of the events is also given in footnote 19 in khutba Shaqshaqiyya, no. 3, in the book Nahjul Balagha - sermon 1–30 (2012); Swedish translation published by Den Väntades Vänner; alternatively online at http://dvv.se/bok/Nahj1-30/. Online in English and Arabic at: https://www.al-islam.org/nahjul-balagha-part-1-sermons
  • 84. The subject of Imamah and wilayat (divinely chosen leadership and patronage) has been dealt with throughout the book, including Chapter 6; see L and further on.
  • 85. Khutba Shaqshaqiyya, No. 3, in the book Nahjul Balagha - sermon 1–30 (2012); Swedish translation published by Den Väntades Vänner; alternatively online at http://dvv.se/bok/Nahj1-30/. Online in English and Arabic at: https://www.al-islam.org/nahjul-balagha-part-1-sermons
  • 86. At one point in the battle against the Persians, reports came to Omar that the Persian king had summoned soldiers from all Persian provinces and gathered an army of 150,000 to defeat the Muslim army and destroy the Madaen and Kufa along the way. This was shocking to the caliph who gathered the prominent personalities to think of a way out of this critical position. Most could only comfort and had no suggestions. Uthman who was among those present advised Omar to gather the soldiers from Sham and Yemen and together with soldiers from Mecca and Medina head to Kufa and join the army there and with all forces gathered go in battle with the Persians. Imam Ali (‘a) who did not say anything until he was asked by Omar to which the Imam (‘a) replied that the calling of soldiers from Sham and Yemen would leave them unprotected in the face of threats from the Roman Empire and Abyssinia, while Omar’s presence on the front would indicate to the enemies that the caliph had arrived with all the forces and that the Muslim army lacks support which would encourage the enemy and strengthen their fighting spirit; Al-Fotooh by Amad Ibn A’tham volume 2 p. 293–294; Al-Kamil fi at-Tarikh volume 3 p 7 et al. In fact, the Imam’s (‘a) advice was to protect the core of Islam from an external enemy as defeat would cost many lives and would not only stay at the borders of the nation. In addition, the second caliph was known for his tough attitude and actions and a victory with him on the front would have cost more human lives from the enemy front. Therefore, the Imam (‘a) in the capacity of an Imam was after protecting the message and the people.
  • 87. For example, at the time when a woman who gave birth after 6 months of marriage was accused of fornication.
  • 88. These are collected and narrated in the book Ali wa Al-Khulafa by Najmeddin Askari p. 73–345 and others.