As we all know, it is the duty of every human being to research about true religion and then follow it. As Muslims, we have recognized Islam as the true path among all religions. Thus, we need to study various Islamic denominations and schools, each of which considers itself the true Islam, and adhere to the one which is the best according to the verses of the Holy Qur’an and the Prophetic narrations. One of the most important differences between Islamic denominations is the issue of the Prophet's succession. The Shi‘ites believe that the Prophet, according to the Divine command, introduced Ali as his successor in various occasions in his time, and he (S) also introduced 11 people from Ali's descendants as the Imams after him. Accordingly, the Imamate and the Caliphate were based on the order of God, and the people had no role in the choice.

On the other hand, the Sunnis believe that the Prophet remained silent about the caliphate and the decision in this regard was left to the Islamic Ummah. The Muslims elected the First Caliph, the Second Caliph was elected by the First Caliph, and the Third Caliph was elected by a six-member council appointed by the Second Caliph.

This book deals with the issue of Imamate and Caliphate from the perspective of Islam. The first chapter describes the importance of researching the true religion and sect and cites Qur'anic verses and narrations for this purpose. The second chapter answers the question why the Shi‘ites introduce themselves as the victorious sect. The third chapter proves the caliphate of Ali based on three verses from the Qur'an and six hadiths from Sunni sources.

Since the incident of Ghadir Khumm is one of the most important events related to the Imamate of Ali, the fourth chapter examines this great event in Sunni sources, and after quoting the views of famous Sunni scholars on the authenticity of the hadith of Ghadir Khumm, it narrates the hadith from several well-known Sunni sources. The number of Muslims present in Ghadir Khumm and the method of proving the Imamate of Ali based on this hadith is among other topics dealt with in this chapter.

Chapters 5 to 7 examine the Sunni reasons for proving the caliphate of the first Three Caliphs. Chapter 5 is about the caliphate of Abu Bakr. The Muslim consensus on the caliphate of Abu Bakr is one of the reasons given for the legitimacy of his caliphate. This claim is examined in this chapter to answer the question of whether or not all Muslims really agreed on this. Furthermore, the narrations related to the caliphate of Abu Bakr are reviewed.

The fundamental question raised in Chapter 6 is that if the caliph is to be elected with the opinion of the Muslims, why was the Second Caliph elected by the First Caliph and not by the opinion of the people? Were the Companions of the Prophet influential in choosing ‘Umar or not?

Finally, Chapter 7 is about the Caliphate of ‘Uthman. In this regard, the question is answered whether the election of the members of the six-member council was based on the views of all Muslims or at least the Companions or the personal opinion of the Second Caliph? Did ‘Umar himself believe in this council? The irrationality of the Second Caliph's order to kill dissidents of the majority opinion is also explained in this chapter.

It is hoped that this book will be a prelude for every Muslim to re-examine, without any prejudice, the issue of Imamate and Caliphate based on the verses of the Qur'an and the Prophetic narrations.

This book is published by Mousa Kalantari Cultural Institute, established in 2020 based on the will of Shahid Kalantari. He was born in 1949 in Marand and after the victory of Islamic Revolution of Iran, he was appointed as the minister of Roads and Urban Development. He was martyred along with 72 top-ranking officials on 28 June 1981 after a bomb explosion by a member of MKO at the headquarters of the Iran Islamic Republic Party in Tehran.

Morteza Karimi
January 2021