Introduction: Claim Of Righteous Caliphate Is Untrue

Before we scrutinize praises about government and personalities of Caliphs, let us see what Righteous Caliphate is, which is claimed by today’s defenders of Caliphs and their government.

What we grasp from the writing of this group is this:

“Righteous Caliphate represents fully and completely the Prophet’s way of thinking, his thought, his attitude and his behavior.”!1

“In the period of Righteous Caliphate, Caliphs totally represented the Prophet’s thought and attitude. And even displayed his way of life.”!2

We ignore the evidence and historical documents as to what extent and what length they go to establish this claim. We even ignore whether the documents belie the claim totally. What we want in this preface is to awaken the readers from their somnolence towards such expressions and distorted belief of Sunni sect about the position of prophethood and personality of the Seal of prophets.3 We only want to have a short reference to the verbal outlook of Sunni scholars regarding the position of Caliph. We would like to scrutinize their display of Caliphs’ personality and criticize what is demonstrated in relation to the reader’s mentality about the Prophet’s pristine personality. It is this image that naturally strikes the reader’s mind and it is our object to mend or erase it totally therefrom.

In anticipation of a correct outlook from our reader on these conjectures, we discuss prophethood. In the meantime, we shall dwell on the outlook of prominent scholars of Sunni sect in the field of Caliphate. Our discussion will prove that this Sunni school acknowledges that scandalous and most detested qualities did exist in the person of Caliph. But the said school does not consider such undesired qualities an impediment for one to become a Caliph. Such mentality incites them to lower the station of the Prophet. It is easy for them to bring down the position of the Prophet from its actual standard. Therefore, this group of writers cannot claim that Caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar mirror every detail of the Prophet4 – that too prophethood based on a sound reason and pristine human nature. However, in the mind of the reader such essays do impart its effect and influence. This can only be eschewed if the writer makes known his perverted beliefs in prophethood beforehand. They draw similarity between prophethood (of their own creation) and Caliphate: Caliphate, which is:

A) Qadi Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Tayyab Baqilani (d. 403 Lunar) writes in his book Al-Tamheed that this school allows its followers to believe him in place of the Prophet as his Caliph in spite of his sins, low moral and corrupted personality. He adds:

“A Caliph cannot be deposed because of his atrocities, confiscation of people’s properties, lashing innocent people and not respecting and protecting rights of people.”5

B) Saad al-Din, Masood bin Umar Taftazani (d. 792 Lunar) writes in his book Sharh al-Aqaid al-Nasafiya:

“A Caliph cannot be deposed or dismissed from his position because of his sins, corruption and tyranny.”6

He writes in this book Sharh al-Maqasid:

“When a Caliph dies and a person having qualifications of Imamate – without getting allegiance or having been appointed by the previous Caliphs – forcibly takes the seat of Caliphate, the position of vicegerency of the Prophet will be established for him and in the same way – according to the view nearest to correctness – even if he is corrupt and ignorant… and the Caliph cannot be deposed on the ground of corruption and sins.”7

C) In addition to these two quotations, we add one more here from the book Al-Vikhaye Fi Fiqh al-Hanafia.8 This shows the identity of the Caliph in the Sunni school:

“If the Caliph drinks wine the punishment prescribed by Shariah cannot be carried out on him because he is a representative of God.”9

Such statements in books of the School of Caliphate clearly show that from the viewpoint of this school there is on objection if the Caliph happens to be profane, perfidious, a sinner or an alcoholic also. This shows that their Caliphs were men of such qualities. They gave allowance from these bad qualities and exempted them from conditions that quality one for the office of Caliphate. Our reader can conceive what type of men they were who for thirteen years occupied the divine office of Caliphate.

According to the belief of this sect, a Caliph can be a tyrant. He can oppress the people and commit any sin he desires. He can snatch from the people’s belongings what attracts him; and can still remain Caliph of the Prophet of God. At the same time, they claim that Righteous Caliphate is a true representation of the Prophet in all respects.

On the basis, of this identification of the personality of the Caliph we conclude that neither the Caliph nor Caliphate carries remotest resemblance to the person of Prophet and prophethood. The real face of the Prophet is attractive, endearing, worthy of respect and regard while the office of prophethood is divine and awe-inspiring. However, Caliphate is not in line with prophethood because it is short of divine attributes and deprived of those high and glorious qualities of the Prophet. This is the reason that we witness no moral at all with the Caliph. Further, we see his enthusiasm to destroy that beautiful image of Prophet to have occupied his place. It is a false claim that his Caliphate is Rashida; that it is a true reflection of the Prophet’s character. It is a trap and a guise they are dressed in. It is a device to fool people. The claim provides them an excuse to prolong their rule and strengthen yoke on the necks of masses. They claim that their Righteous Caliphate reflects the face of the Prophet while they usurped his face as soon as he died.10

Now with this knowledge of intellectual bases of Ahlul Sunnat regarding the issue of Caliphate how can we trust the point of view of “Second revival of the system of Caliphate” which is expressed by the unity-mongers who think that this is the only possible solution for the present situation to bring Islamic unity? This is itself a question!!!

Can it be accepted that:

“…The system of Caliphate of Sunni sect can bring unity among Muslims and in all Islamic countries…”!11

To acquaint you further with the outlook of the enthusiasts of this movement in the Islamic world we quote here the epitome of their thought:

“Modern historians, both western and Muslims, cannot refrain themselves from praising the Second Caliph of Prophet Muhammad. They consider his Caliphate as a consummate and complete Caliphate. The Sunni sect particularly is of such a belief. They (the Sunnis) think that Quranic principles were carried out by Umar. He laid the foundation of the leadership of society on the basis of religious politeness. He catered to the aspirations of Islam. They consider it a renovation of Caliphate on democratic basis.”!12

- Mirza Rizayee Kermani narrates from Sayyid Jamaluddin Asadabadi (1254-1314 Lunar) that he (Sayyid Jamaluddin) used to say:

“The difference of word Ali and Umar must be kept aside and then one must look at Caliphate.”13

- Shaikh Muhammad Abduh (1266-1323 Lunar), considered the greatest student of Sayyid Jamal, in totality repeats the views of his teacher, in a more refined way.

Even though political views of Abduh are not so liberal as his thoughts about reform of religion but he seems to be a believer in principle of Caliphate and its central position.14

“He bases his sociology and psychology on things that Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab had invited the people to.

Shaykh Muhammad Abduh was supported in his view by Sayyid Muhammad Rasheed Riza, a close friend and a devoted pupil who published ‘Al Munar’ magazine and disseminated his thoughts in the world.”15

- Muhammad Rasheed Riza (1354-1382 Lunar) a close student of Abduh considered Caliphate as the best means to achieve Islamic unity. He was a defender of early Caliphate. That is the Caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar and some Bani Umayyah persons like Umar bin Abdul Aziz.16 To him these Caliphs were paragons.17

- Abdur Rahman Kaukabi (1271-1320 Lunar) another pupil of Sayyid Jamal was also a supporter of early Caliphate. It was a model to him. Islamic unity was possible through that Caliphate.18

- Hasan Banna (1368 Lunar), founder of Muslim Brotherhood too, like Rasheed Riza was an advocate of Islamic Caliphate. What Muslim Brotherhood wanted from the theory of Islamic government is the same idea of Rasheed Riza but in a stronger sense.19

At the end of this short introduction, we would like to remark that historical documents indicate that differences even existed between Abu Bakr and Umar. Contradictory to general belief there existed a wide gulf between the two in their aims, motives, political programs, way of thinking and the method.

“The apparent behavior of those two can be only considered as a political program framed in accordance to the demands of time.”20

Historical evidences that show a deep gulf between the thoughts of the First Caliph who differed in his practice with the second in dimensions of gaining power and exercising his influence in society. This difference stretched and attained two different identities, which can be said to be opposed to each other.

A) “Saeed bin Jubair narrates: Someone mentioned the name of Abu Bakr and Umar in the presence of Abdullah bin Umar bin Khattab.

Another in the group said: By God they were the sun and light for the Ummah.

Abdullah bin Umar asked: How did you derive this conclusion?

The man said that they were allies in Caliphate.

Ibn Umar said that it was not so. On the contrary they had differences among themselves. One day I was with my father when he restricted from seeing any. In the meantime, Abdur Rahman Ibn Abu Bakr came and sought permission to see my father. My father said: This is also a bad four-legged crawler. But in spite of it, he is better than his father.

My father’s words horrified me. I asked: Is Abdur Rahman better than his father?

My father said: O motherless! Who is there not better than his father! Ask him to enter…

After Abdur Rahman went away my father turned to me and said: Until today you were in ignorance about the things in which this great fool of Bani Teem (Abu Bakr) went ahead of me and the tyranny he did to me.

I said: I had no knowledge of this.

My father said: I had not expected you to know it.

I said: He (Abu Bakr) is dearer to the people than the light of their eyes.

My father said: Yes, it is so in spite of your father’s anger.

I said: O father, don’t you want to disclose the secret to the public?

My father said: How it could be possible when the people love him more than the light of their own eyes? If I do so people would not believe me. And as a consequence, they would break my head with a rock. Later my father showed courage and on Friday told the people: Know that! Allegiance of Abu Bakr was a job done in haste and without thought. God saved the people from it evil. You must kill whoever invites you to do Bay’at like Abu Bakr.”21

B) Shareek bin Abdullah Nakhayee narrates from Abu Moosa Ashari that he (Abu Moosa) went to Hajj in the company of Umar. When we arrived Mecca, says Abu Moosa, I wanted to see Umar. Therefore, he went to the place he had chosen for his residence. On the way, he met Mughaira bin Shoba. He too wanted to meet Umar. So, we both followed the same way. On the way, we talked about Umar and his reaching to Caliphate. The talk brought within its folds Abu Bakr. I told Mughaira that Abu Bakr was insistent upon Umar becoming Caliph. Mughaira attested my view. He added that the people were not inclined to Umar to become Caliph. They had hatred towards Umar. They viewed no benefit to them in his Caliphate.

I asked him who opposed Umar? Mughaira said: O, Abu Moosa! As if you don’t know to what extent the tribe of Quraish is jealous. Here Quraish means the tribe of Teem. Abu Bakr belongs to this tribe. If jealousy could be split into ten parts, nine would go to Quraish and remaining to all the people.

I told Mughaira to be silent. He seemed to ignore the favor of Quraish to the people and the people were indebted to them. We were busy talking and in the meantime, we reached the residence of Umar. He was not there. We were told that he had just left. From there we went to the sacred Mosque and saw Umar going around the Kaaba, so we also started doing the same.

When he finished, he came and stood among us leaning on Mughaira. He asked where we were coming from. We said that we wanted to see him, since he was not there we came here. Mughaira looked at me and laughed. Umar did not seem pleased with his laughing; and asked why he laughed. Mughaira said that he was talking on his way with Abu Moosa, at which I laughed then Umar asked what the matter was. We narrated to him the subject on which we had talked and told him the views exchanged between us over jealousy of Quraish. Then we told him about one who had approached Abu Bakr to persuade him to abstain from nominating Umar to Caliphate. Umar then sighed a long sigh and said: May your mother wail for you, Mughaira. Nine out of ten; what? It is nothing. It is ninety-nine out of hundred. Ninety-nine would go to this group of Quraish and the remaining one to others. And in that one too Quraish shares with others. Umar was calmed down to a certain extant after saying that sentence. Then he (Umar) asked: So, you want me to inform you about the most jealous of Quraish? We asked to him to do. He asked: How that could be possible when you are wearing clothes. We asked him what connection it had with our clothes. He said: I am afraid the secret might creep out of the cloak. We said that he must have meant us. He said it was true. So we all together went to his (Umar’s) residence.

He pulled out his hands from us and entered but asked us to remain outside. In the meantime, I told Mughaira that our conversation seemed to have influenced him. Since he asked us to wait here because perhaps he would say the rest to us. He said that we too were after the same. We were asked to come in and we entered. We saw that Umar was relaxing stretched on his back. He again asked us to respect the secret. We again assured him not to worry in this respect. Then he got up to close the door. A guard was standing at the door. Umar ordered him to go; and he went. He closed the door came and sat in our company. He asked us to repeat the question in order to hear the answer from him. We reminded him that he had told us that he would inform us who the most jealous one among Quraish was. He answered that we had asked the most difficult thing. He proceeded and said that we should not disclose it as long as he was alive.

Abu Moosa says that he thought to himself that the reason for his grievance could be Talha and Zubair because they did not like Umar to be Caliph. They had even told Abu Bakr not to nominate him. From subsequent words I understood that he meant someone else. Umar sighed again. We told him that whatever we know was only supposition. Umar asked against whom our supposition was. We said that they were those who had asked Abu Bakr to not make Umar a Caliph.

Umar said: No. by God, it is not so. It is Abu Bakr himself – the most jealous of Quraish.

Then Umar cast his head down for a long time. I looked at Mughaira and Mughaira stared at me. We too cast our heads down. Silence prevailed for a long time. We guessed that Umar was sorry for telling us the secret. Then Umar continued: How sad! This man of no weight at all from Bani Teem! He advanced his own gain and pushed me behind. He committed tyranny and a sin against me, made me lag behind.

Mughaira said: O Chief! We know what you say, but we don’t know how he kept you behind by sin?

Umar said: Abu Bakr did not do that till I lost hope in Caliphate because I knew that people were not with me. I pushed him ahead. Otherwise he would have never enjoyed the sweet taste of Caliphate. Had I obeyed my own brother, Yazid bin Khattab it would have been far better to me. I lifted him high. I supported him. I got Caliphate confirmed in his favor. I made simple for him the issue of Caliphate. I closed every trouble-creating issue for him. When he got the job, he adhered to it blindly without a thought of me. Alas! Hell to me! I was hoping the government will turn its face toward me. By God, Abu Bakr did not gain anything besides the measure a sparrow needs to be fed. He lost that too ultimately.

Mughaira said: What was the obstacle in your reaching to Caliphate. On the day of Saqifah, Abu Bakr offered Caliphate to you. You yourself returned it to him and now you feel sorry for it.

Umar said: May your mother lament for you. I thought you are one of the shrewdest and cleverest Arabs, but now it seems that you have no knowledge of what happened there. This man played a trick on me. So I too cheated him. He found me cleverer than a hen that eats stones.

Umar further added: When Abu Bakr saw the welcome of the people to him he became sure that they will not prefer anyone. He was very much anxious to know my mind then. He wanted to know whether I would campaign against him. Whether I would surrender to my inner inclination to Caliphate? He wanted to test me by inciting me towards the position. For this reason, he offered the Caliphate to me. On the other hand he very well knew and I too know that if he had surrendered Caliphate to me people would have never complied and responded favorably. In spite of my deep attachment to that position, he (Abu Bakr) found me clever and also circumspect. Though I might have given a positive answer to attain that office but people would have prevented it to reach me. Abu Bakr would have reserved in his heart implacable hatred and rancor against me. I would never have been safe from him. I came to know that people hate me.

Umar continued his talk and finally said: Didn’t you hear people were shouting: O Abu Bakr! We don’t want anyone other than you. You are befitting one to Caliphate.

Finally he said: When he heard people calling his name he became so glad that he became invigorated. I do not forget the envy Abu Bakr had against me. Someone had backbitten me to Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr had scolded me. The story is not new. Ashath was captured and brought before Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr did a favor to him and set him free. He even gave his sister in marriage to him. I visited Abu Bakr when Ashath was sitting with him. I told Ashath: O Enemy of God! You became apostate after having become a Muslim. You have turned back and taken the way of denial.

Ashath looked at me seriously. I thought he wanted to talk to me. But in his view, the time was not suitable. After sometime, he met me in a by lane of Medina and asked whether it was I who had told those words. Umar said: Yes, it was me. Further Umar told him that the punishment awaiting him was more detrimental and pernicious than the sentence he had uttered.

Ashath said: I am very much distressed because of you because you are compelled to be a follower of Abu Bakr. I swear by God, that which made me disobey Abu Bakr was his getting ahead of you in Caliphate. Had you been the Caliph you would never have seen any insurgency from me.

Umar: Yes, it is so. Now what do you advise me?

Ashath: Now is not the time to advise. It is time to be patient.

Umar said that they separated after that much conversation. Ashath on his way met Zibirqaan bin Badr and narrated the whole conversation to him. He too had filed a request with Abu Bakr.

Abu Bakr wrote a letter to Umar expressing his anger, sorrow and censure. Umar too replied to Abu Bakr in the following words:

I swear by God! I will prevent you from continuing this job or I will reveal the secret that is between me and you. If the horse riders heard it they will disseminate it along the route they traverse and at the destination they arrive. In this current condition, if you want, let us be at forgiveness towards each other. The secret too will remain unrevealed.

After this letter, Abu Bakr told Umar: We should remain on terms as before. This Caliphate too will be yours shortly.

Umar added: After these words of Abu Bakr I thought that he will return me Caliphate before Friday passes between us. But he did not care. He did not even refer to this matter. He never mentioned it any more until he died. As long as he was Caliph, he never paid attention to his words. He always pressed his teeth due to the excess of malice and envy towards me until he died and was disappointed that he will no more be a Caliph.

Please keep secret from people particularly from Bani Hashim whatever I told you. Do not disclose it at all. Now if you like you may go.

We got up and left amazed at what we had heard. By God, we did not disclose his secret until he was killed.”22

  • 1. Abdul Qadir Dahqaan Siraawaani: Article quoted in Nida-e-Islam Magazine, Issue No. 2, Summer 79, Pg. 30.
  • 2. Ibid. Article quoted in Nida-e-Islam Magazine, Issue No. 2, Summer 79, Pgs. 30-31.
  • 3. For Example: Refer: Allamah Sayyid Murtadha Al-Askari: Naqsh-e-Aaimma Dar Ahya-e-Deen (Role of Imams in the Revival of Religion, Vol. 4 of collection of Naqsh translated and published separately), Role of the Imams in Revival of Religion, Vol. 1-7.
  • 4. Title of article in Issue No. 2 from Nida-e-Islam Magazine.
  • 5. Ustad Ja’far Subhani: Peshwayi az Nazar-e-Islam (Leadership in the view of Islam), Pg. 21.
  • 6. Ibid. Pg. 24.
  • 7. Ibid. Pg. 21.
  • 8. Apparently the title of the original book is Waqayatur Rawaya fee Masail al-Hidayah, by Mahmood bin Ubaidullah Mahboobi (died around 673 Lunar Year) about the Hanafite Fiqh. (Refer: Kashfuz Zunoon, Vol. 6, Pg. 406; Hadiyatul Aarifeen, Vol. 2, Pg. 406; Mojam al-Moallifeen, Vol. 12, 178).
  • 9. Ibid. Pg. 23.
  • 10. For more details refer to Al-Imamah fee Ahaammal Kutub al-Kalaamiya wa Aqeedatush Shiatul Imamiyah by Sayyid Ali Husayni Milani.
    This book is a criticism of discussions on Imamate and Caliphate in three books of Ahlul Sunnah: Sharh Mawaqif, Sharh Maqasid and Sharh Aqaid Nasafiya.
  • 11. Sayyid Ahmad Mawassaqi: Istiratazi-e-Wahdat (Strategy of Unity), Vol. 2, Pg. 106.
  • 12. Wilfred Madelung: Succession to Muhammad, Pg. 109.
  • 13. Nazim-ul-Islam Kermani: Tarikh-e-Bedaari-e-Iraniaan (History of Iranian Awakening), Vol. 1, Pgs. 114-115; Dr. Sayyid Ja’far Shaheedi in his article titled, ‘Wahdat-e-Gumshudai Ke Bayad Yaft, Amma Che Gune Wa Az Kuja?’ printed in the book ofKitab-e-Wahdat; have accepted the authenticity of this historical quotation.
  • 14. Refer: Dr. Hamid Inayat: Seeri Dar Andisha Siyasi Arab.
  • 15. Ali Asghar Faqihi: Wahhabiyaan, Research and Study of the Beliefs of the Wahabis, Pgs. 407-408.
  • 16. When Umar bin Abdul Aziz used to study under his maternal uncle, Ubaidullah bin Umar bin Khattab in Medina, he himself used to talk ill of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a).
    Ibn Asakir in his Tarikh Damishq has written about the enmity of Umar bin Abdul Aziz to Ahlul Bayt (‘a) in the report of his entry into Medina:

    Abdul Aziz was appointed by the Syrian regime as the governor of Egypt. He sent his son Umar, who was named after his maternal grandfather to Medina for studies. The narrator says that when he arrived in Medina and entered the Prophet’s mosque, people remarked: The s inner has sent his son to obtain knowledge so that later he may act as the successor of Umar bin Khattab and act on his practice.

    The narrator says: By Allah! We saw that he became a Caliph and acted on the practice of his grandfather.

    (Husayn Ghaib Gholami: Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a) wa Zumar Hadith Fadak, Pgs. 63-64; quoting from Tarikh Madina Damishq, Vol. 45, Pgs. 136-137; Tahdhib al-Kamal, Vol. 14, Pg. 118; Seer Alaamun Nubla, Vol. 5, Pg. 116)

    From this aspect it can be said that ban on the practice of abusing His Eminence Ali (‘a) from the pulpits in force since the time of Muawiyah by Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz was a diplomatic move to strengthen the weakening Umayyad empire.

  • 17. Refer: Dr. Hamid Inayat: Seeri Dar Andisha Siyasi Arab.
  • 18. Refer: Muhammad Jawad Sahibi: Tabiyat Istibdaad.
  • 19. Refer: Dr. Hamid Inayat: Tafakkur Nuyin Siyasi Islam.
  • 20. Hashmatullah Qambari Hamadani: Israar wa Asaar Saqifah Bani Saada (Secrets and relics of Saqifah Bani Saada), Pg. 71.
  • 21. Ahmad Asadnejad: Wasi-e-Payambar Keest? Pgs. 139-140; quoted from: Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Ibn Abil Hadeed, Vol. 2, Pgs. 28-29.
  • 22. Ahmad Asadnejad: Wasi-e-Payambar Keest? Pgs. 140-147; quoted from: Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Ibn Abil Hadeed, Vol. 2, Pgs. 30-34.