By Qadi Bohlool Bahjat Âfandi
Caliphate of Amirul Momineen (a.s)
There is no controversy regarding the matter that Hazrat Ali ibne Abi Talib is the caliph – the difference is on the point whether Ali (a.s.) is the absolute legatee and immediate successor of the Prophet (s.a.) or is he the fourth one? It is clear that Ahle Sunnat believe him to be the fourth Caliph, whereas the Shias consider him to be the immediate Caliph after the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a).
But in the beginning, we will quote the writings of some great scholars. And with a little study, accompanied by the rules of research, arrive at some conclusions so that the falsity of those claims is exposed. Now we present the great scholar, Imam Muhammad Ghazzali’s words who is also famous in Europe. We shall quote it and then decide upon it.
With due respect to his scholarly capabilities, we shall not indulge in any personal attack but still his criteria will be followed by us. Ghazzali writes in his well-known book Ihyaul Uloom: “If a saying comes from the Prophet (saw), we accept it with all respect. And if it has come from the companions, we have the choice to accept it or not. But if it has come from the Tabeen scholars, all of them are (ordinary) mortals and so are we. (That is, they are also like us, hence we should not follow them blindly).” Well said, Ghazzali! We shall also act upon this statement.
In the same way, we shall also not accept without scrutiny the sayings of the early scholars. Just as you do not accept blindly the sayings of his predecessors, we shall also follow his example. With due respect to your merits and knowledge, we shall conduct our own research and arrive to our conclusions in the same way. By this the soul of Ghazzali will not be unhappy with us because we are acting on his method. Hujjatul Islam Ghazzali writes in Ihyaul Uloom (consisting of 20 volumes) 2nd volume part 5: “Caliphate by Ijma (consensus) of Ummat is valid. For, if divine text (Nass) were present, the companions would have definitely acted upon it.”
Reply: This is a claim without proof because it is very likely that Nass was present but the companions did not act upon it. And this could be due to two reasons. Perhaps they were ignorant of Nass when they had gathered at Saqifah. This was because very few people were present at Saqifah and ignorant ofthis matter. The act of 10 or 12 persons cannot be called Ijma and to take the absence of Nass as an excuse is not correct. It is clear that only three persons from Mohajirs were present in Saqifah. From the Ansar were a few that came with Sa’ad bin Ubadah.
Firstly, the situation was that the mortal remains of the Prophet (saw) were not yet buried. The hastening of all companions to rush to Saqifah for Ijma was against the spirit of Islam.
Secondly, not a single member of the household of the Messenger (saw) was present; and it was not even possible for them to be present there.
Thirdly, the gathering was secretly held by Sa’ad bin Ubadah and even the claimants of caliphate reached there afterwards; but they also kept it a secret.
Fourthly, a few days after the popular allegiance received by Ali (a.s.), he entered the mosque and reiterated his claim to caliphate to the gathering of Migrants and Helpers. They replied, “O Abul Hasan! If at all we had heard your statements before the oath of allegiance was given, we would certainly not have paid allegiance to anyone other than you.”
From this it becomes clear that at that time Ali (a.s.) informed all the people of the nomination (Nass) regarding him from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.). The group of companions was aware of the Nass and they had testified to it and narrated it. It is for this that the first caliph expressed regret of having accepted the caliphate but he could not convince his supporters.
Fifthly, on the day of Saqifah Bani Saaedah, Abu Bakr ibne Abi Qahafa told Umar ibne Khattab and Abu Ubaidah Jarrah, “Give me your hand, so that I pay allegiance to you.” All this was grossly incorrect because: The right of Ijma is for the whole Ummah and was not restricted to three persons. So much so, that at that time apart from Abu Bakr, Umar, Abu Ubaydah and Awaim none of the Migrants were present as is proved from other historical sources. Specially, Ibne Khaldun on page 77 volume 1, Iqdul Farid, pg. 33, vol. 3, Dairatul Ma’rif, pg. 70, vol. 4, and many others books can be mentioned. From this case, it was necessary for all the companions to have unanimity (Ijma).
Since this was such a critical issue, it was necessary that all the great companions should have been aware of it and should have discussed in detail so that it would become clear whether Nass existed or not and in case there was no Nass then, if not all the Muslim Ummah, at least the senior companions should have been the decisive authority over the selection. In what way is it possible that the pivot of Caliphate Hazrat Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and the uncle of Prophet (s.a.), Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib, were absent from this Ijma?
In fact, not a single person of the Bani Hashim was present there! The Ijma of those seven people does not solve the problem of Imamat and this kind of the Ijma does not even constitute a simple gathering. Secondly, it is possible that the people who were present in Ijma had heard the Nass but refrained from acting upon it. This was not unlikely at that time. To prove this, we present the following example. After the murder of the third caliph the companions led by Talha and Zubair willingly paid allegiance to Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). But Talha and Zubair were not happy with it.
Later, on some pretext, they went to Makkah Mukarramah, joined forces with a woman having a similar view and invited her to create rebellion and dissension in the Islamic Ummah. They instigated her come out of the four walls of chastity and brought her to Basra. At that time Uthman bin Hunayf, the ruler of Basra objected to Zubair and Talha that they had previously given oath of allegiance to Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.). They said, “We had given allegiance to Ali under duress. Now we dissociate from it!”
On the basis of this, it was decided that a person should go to Madinah and ascertain the situation. Thus a person deputed for this purpose arrived at Madinah on a Friday at the time when all the people had gathered for Friday prayers. The messenger stood up and said, “O companions of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.)! Talha and Zubair sow the seeds of dissension in the Ummah and say, ‘We had given allegiance to Ali (a.s.) under duress.’
Now tell me whether allegiance was extracted with force or did they pay it willingly?” It is clear that all the companions were aware that allegiance was paid with the will and wish of Talha and Zubair. First of all to testify to truth and to promote peace in the Ummah it was obligatory of all those present to announce the truth.
But not even one spoke up the truth and all of them remained silent. Usamah bin Zaid became the first to give a false testimony and said, “The allegiance of Talha and Zubair was given under duress and force.” Now, please pay attention: They denied the allegiance that was clear as the sun so it is very much possible that they did notfollow the Nass with regard to Imamat. I request all the readers: Without casting aspersions on the companions and with all due respect to them, we shall continue to follow the truth in proving our claim and we do not have any fear in this regard. Yes! We object to the claim of those who claim Ijma without noticing their proofs and support our objection with the following arguments and quote Ibne Abde Rabb the famous scholar of Ahle Sunnat from the book Iqdul Farid page 77, volume 3 who writes under the topic:
“And from those who refrained from the oath of allegiance to Abi Bakr were Ali ibne Abi Talib, Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib, Zubair bin Awwam. They had gathered in the house of Ali (a.s.) when Umar ibne Khattab went to the door of Ali and they did not heed his demand. So Umar said to his group to bring some fire. Fatimah said, “O Umar! Would you torch my house?”
Muhammad Wajdi, an Ahle Sunnat scholar, writes in the third of the 22 volumes of Daaeratul Maa’rif under the topic of Khilafat as follows: “Ali bin Abi Talib and his party refrained from paying allegiance to Abi Bakr. So Umar came to them with some of his friends. Zubair the supporter of Ali (a.s.) attacked them with his sword. Umar ordered them to restrain Zubair.
Salmah attacked Zubair and snatched the sword from his hand. They took Ali (a.s.) forcibly to Abu Bakr to extract allegiance from him but Ali (a.s.) demanded his right. Abu Bakr told Umar not to force him but Umar said, “I will not leave you if you do not pay allegiance.” Yes! The above lines are exactly as given in the most important books of Ahle Sunnat viz. Daaeratul Maa’rif, page 757, volume 3. Hazrat Ali (a.s.) said, “O Umar! You are establishing such a thing of which half is yours.
Today you are consolidating caliphate for Abu Bakr so that tomorrow he will hand it to you.” Ali (a.s.) made Fatima sit on a mule and took her to the houses of companions demanding his rights. O readers! Kindly pay attention to this tumult. Whose house was it? And this crowd and attack? How it could Ijma be proved in this situation?
In case it was the consensus of Ummah, what was the cause of this crowd and attack? What was this for? Were not Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain (a.s.), Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib members of the Ummah? Is it possible that one says the claim of Fatima Zahra (s.a.) was invalid? Was not the claim and demand of Fatima Zahra (s.a.) the claim and demand of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.)?
Thus it becomes clear that Abu Bakr being incapable of rejecting the proof of Ali (a.s.) said, “I do not force you for allegiance. And I am regretful for having accepted the Caliphate,” It is proved in all the writings of the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat that Abu Bakr said, “O Abul Hasan! If I knew I wouldn’t have accepted the affair (caliphate).” But by what authority did Umar on his own came to the house of Ali (a.s.)? Was he the Caliph, or the commander of his army? No one knows! It’s a pity. This incident is a blot on the pages of history, which can neither be removed and nor can it be corrected. Let us discuss the nomination and selection of the second caliph: The problem is obvious that the first caliph appointed the second caliph by a will. It is right that the majority of people paid allegiance to Umar Ibne Khattab on the basis of this will.
But it was a clear nomination and not a selection. Nomination also is quite different from consensus. Now here we wish to ask a few questions? Firstly: Is the nomination of a Caliph compulsory in Islam or not? In case it was compulsory, did the Messenger of Allah act upon it or did he not? In case the Messenger of Allah (saw) did not act upon the matter of appointment of Caliph, wasn’t the appointment of successor on the part of the first Caliph an innovation (bid’at)? We repeat: Appointment of legatee by the first caliph is an unacceptable matter. Because in case the right of selection of Caliph is with the Ummah, a Caliph by appointing his own legatee has deprived the Ummah of its rights. In case the preceding caliph had the power to appoint the Caliph then all people would not have opposed the appointment of Yazid by Muawiyah. Both these cases were identical.
Translation from Persian: Syed Athar Husain Rizvi