The Caliphate and Imamate is one of the most important topics that need to be discussed. We have many books on this topic written by both Shia and Sunni scholars.
In this article we can just have a short look about it.
As we have mentioned earlier that if someone wants to make research about Shia-Sunni ideology, Caliphate (successorship of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) is one of the most important topic.
Sunni point of view about Caliphate says that Prophet Mohammad did not appoint anybody as caliph or successor.
The companions of the prophet gathered on one place called Saqifa. They selected Abu Bakar as their Caliph. When Abu Bakar was about to die, he appointed second caliph Omar bin Khattab. When Omar bin Khattab was close to his death, he made a committee of 6 members and he made one person Abdul Rahman bin O’oaf as the head of this committee, wherein he will choose a caliph among these members. He chose the third caliph Usman. After the murder of third caliph, there was no caliph, the elder companions of the prophet came to Imam Ali ibne Abu Talib and asked him to take over the govt. Imam Ali took over the govt and became the 4th caliph.
There is no appointment by Prophet Mohammad about Abu Bakar, Omar and Usman. In the gathering of Saqifa, the group of Mohajarin wanted to have the Caliph from them, Ansar wanted to have caliph from them. Later on they decided that the Caliph will be from Mohajareen and ministers will be from Ansar. (Bukhari-chapter virtues of Abu Bakar)
In the gathering of Saqifa, Abu Bakar did not claim any hadith about himself that prophet made him as his successor. Abu Bakar announced that make your Caliph Omar bin Khattab or Abu Obaidah bin Jarah (Bukhari).
Omar bin Khttab stated that Abu Bakar’s selection was made suddenly. Please read the hadith from Bukhari, Please click on the picture, it will open the online link
(This is also an interesting hadis wherein Omar bin Khttab states that verse of rajam is missing from Quran).
Please also read the narartion in Sahih Muslim which explain the Sunni point of view that The Holy Prophet didn’t appoint anybody as his successor.
Sunni School of Thought claims that these four caliphs are the righteous caliphs. The whole Muslim Ummah should follow these four caliphs. The Sunni movements claim that we should impose Caliphate in the whole world because this caliph will be the role Model for them.
There are many valid questions on Sunni point of view about Caliphate. We are hoping that our Sunni brothers will pay attention on those questions and will try to find the satisfactory answers.
How come Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) did not appoint anybody as his successor?
If we will say that it was not needed, then why the companions of the prophet got together soon after the death of prophet to make someone as a caliph? They even left the dead body of the prophet unburied and finished the matter of Caliphate (Tabari and others).
Does this mean that the selection of the next leader was very important matter to the point that it become even more important for them than burying the dead body of the prophet?
If the answer is yes, it was an important matter: then why the Prophet (pbuh) did not address this matter? It brings an objection to Prophet Mohammad that he did not take care much about his nation?
While the real situation is very different! This is proven that Prophet Mohammad in his last days, he was very sick, (this narration is also in Bukhari) he appointed Osama bin Zaid as the commander of Islamic army. (Osama bin zaid was a young man, Abu Bakar and Omar were also included in that army under his command) whenever the prophet used to get little bit better, he used to ask about that army if that army is gone already? Please find the proof here from Bukhari.
The companions of the prophet hesitated to join under the command of Osama; the prophet got angry and told his companions to join Osama’s army and they must go. In the history books it says that the prophet cursed on those people who hesitate to join the army of Osama.
(Actually Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) wanted to send those people outside of Medina, those who wanted to form their Govt. after prophet’s death).
Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) used to take care of his nation so much; we already gave an example. In that example we can also see that the prophet put Abu Bakar and Omar under the command of a young person named Osama bin Zaid, how come the Prophet would make Abu Bakar as the commander of all Muslims?
The whole life of Prophet Mohammad testifies that Prophet Mohammad used to appoint the head of tribes, head of groups, even whenever he used to send few people; he used to make sure that there will be one person who will lead the group.
It was very important for Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) to appoint the head of his nation to save them from any kind of destruction and division.
By that time Islamic govt. was newly formed. There were lots of anti- Islamic forces who wanted to destroy Islam, for example there were lots of hypocrites, many verses in Quran tell us about them.
(9:101) “Some of the desert dwelling Arabs around you are hypocrites as are some of the inhabitants of Medina. They are persisting in their hypocrisies. You do not know them but we know them well and will punish them twice over. Then they will be brought to the great torment (on the Day of Judgment).”
There were Jews; there were Romans and Iranian empires wanted to destroy this newly formed Govt. in Arab region.
It will look as if Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) had no political vision (astaghferullah) if we believe that he did not appoint anybody after him.
We know in the entire human history that all supreme leaders and head of nations appointed someone to be the leader after them. Even for example somebody who has goats and sheeps, he makes some arrangement for goats and sheeps before he leave.
If we believe that Prophet Mohammad did not appoint anybody after him. It means that Prophet Mohammad did not have vision like a common person (astaghferullah).
The first prophet and first human being on earth, the father of humanity ADAM (as) appointed his son Sheeth after him. (History books tabari, History of ibne kathir etc).
Prophet Moses(pbuh) goes to Mount Sinai for forty nights. He appointed his brother Aron, to be the leader of his nation. (Quran)
How come the Prophet who is going to leave his nation forever will not appoint anybody to be a leader after him? While Prophet Mohammad did not have an accidental death!
We know very well that The Holy Prophet (pbuh) who guided with revelation knew very well that what is going to happen after him. The Holy Prophet warn his companions that many afflications will happen after him, Please check the chapter of Afflication in sahih Al Bukhari. It means that The Prophet (pbuh) did not make any arrangement to save id nation?
We have mentioned many narrations in our articles from Bukhari and Muslim in our articles about those changes and afflictions. Please find same example here Narrations about Companions of the Prophet (Sahaba) in Bukhari Please find some more narrations in Muslims Companions of the Prophet (Sahaba) knowingly changed the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet
We see some more interesting things. When Abu Bakar was close to dieing, he appointed Omar bin khittab (the one who worked hard to give govt to Abu Bakar).
Why not Abu Bakar acted upon the Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad? Did Abu Bakar have more vision than Prophet Mohammad that he appointed Omar bin Khattab after him?
Another interesting thing: when Omar bin Khattab was near to death, his son Abdullah bin Omar came to him and told him if somebody has goats and sheeps, he makes the arrangement for them. He asked him to make some arrangement for the people who will be incharge after him. Please read the narration in Sahih Muslim, Omar bin Khattab made 6 members committee and made one person head to choose the caliph.
We can also see that Omar bin Khattab did not act on the Sunnah of Prophet, Was Omar bin Khattab smarter than holy Prophet Mohammad (astaghferullah)!
(As Sunnis say that the Prophet did not make anybody Caliph. It means Abu Bakar and Omar both did not follow the Prophet’s way)
Our Sunni brothers propagates that the Caliphate of these four caliphs is symbol for Muslim and we should impose it to the whole world.
The question is what is the foundation of this Caliphate? What is the principle for this Caliphate?
Is this based on appointment by the holy prophet? Did the prophet appointed those caliphs? The answer is no.
Is this based on selection committee? The answer is no, the prophet did not make any committee to choose the caliphs.
Is this based on public election? The answer is no. Only some people gathered in Saqifa, left the holy prophet’s body un-buried. They divided this powers between them.
Most of the companions of the Prophet were not there; the Banu Hashim family of the Prophet, Imam Ali and other prominent personalities were not there.
All other Muslim tribes living outside of Medina and other areas did not know anything about it, they were just forced to accept it and follow it. This was not based on public election.
As we mentioned that second and third caliphs were made with different ways. There is no criterion and no principal for us to say that this Caliphate is based on those foundation.
In the Hadith from Bukhari that we mentioned earlier about Caliphate .We gave the link from Wahhabi site. Someone said that if Omar will die. I will announce myself as caliph (as other caliphs did).
Omar bin Khattab announced in his statement if somebody will announce this and anybody who give pledge of allegiance to him. Both will be killed.
We can see that there is no criteria and no principle of this Caliphate. We can imagine how it was imposed on others and forcefully was made acceptable.
As it is proven above that there is no appointment by Prophet Mohammad for this Caliphate and no fundamental principal, but still our Sunni brothers want to impose it on to others.
It is proven that these Caliphs were not appointed by Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), how come they can be called as successor of Prophet Mohammad?
For example The American people choose George Bush as their president! How come Bush could be the successor of Jesus?
There is a Hadith in Sunni sources, most of the Sunni scholars take as a true hadith. This hadith is narrated in , Sunan Abu Dawood, Ibne Maja and others. The holy prophet said “You must then follow my Sunnah and that of the rightly-guided caliphs”.
Our Sunni brothers recite this hadith day and night. They do not tell the complete hadith which says after me you will fall in to afflictions, you obey your ruler even he is would black African,You must then follow my Sunnah and that of the rightly-guided caliphs. Hold to it and stick fast to it. Avoid novelties, for every novelty is an innovation, and every innovation is an error.”
Our Sunni fellows do not have exact clue about who are those rightly-guided Caliphs. It is clearly mentioned in above hadith that there will be afflictions, rulers and rightly-guided Caliphs. Please find some more narrations about the rulers after the Holy Prophet and Caliphs of the Holy Prophet in Sahih Muslim.
When the Holy Prophet recommended following the rightly-guided caliphs, it was his responsibility to introduce those caliphs. At least the prophet must introduce that system which could produce those rightly-guided caliphs.
Sunni point of view says the opposite of this hadith the prophet did not appoint any successor nor those caliphs never mention anything about themselves that the prophet made them as a successor. Those Caliphs got Govt. accidently, anybody could take over the Govt. saqifa and after. It is so strange that those Caliphs got the authority to change the sharia law. Please read our other articles and research work on Bukhari and Muslim.
Those Caliphs which are mentioned by the prophet must have adequate knowledge about the Quran and Sunnah and must not do mistakes; otherwise they could misguide the people. Please read our other articles Shia point of view about Caliphate and philosophy of Caliphate.
(Those rightly-guided Caliphs are the 12 successors of the messenger of Allah. We will talk about them in our next articles.)
Our Sunni brothers need to think over it, the second Caliph Omar bin Khattab who was not appointed by God nor by the Prophet, why did he change the Sharia Law? There are many examples that Omar changed the Sunnah of the Prophet and not accepted the Quranic order.
We find above mentioned caliphs vs Quran and Sunnah. Our Sunni brothers and sisters really need to figure out who are those rightly-guided caliphs. The Prophet recommended for us, follow them as we are supposed to follow the Sunnah of holy Prophet.
Here we want to give one example from Sahih Muslim under the Chapter of Divorce,The divorce procedure is mentioned in Quran (surah baqarah), it is also proven with the Sunnah of Prophet. By which authority Omar bin Khttab had changed it?
If the rightly-guided caliphs of our Sunni brothers would not follow Quran and Sunnah then who will follow it?
How come our Sunni brothers are still claiming that Omar bin Khattab is a rightly-guided caliph? even he changed the Quranic law!
The verse of holy Quran (4:59) “O you, who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you.” If we will get the definition and interpretation of any Sunni school of thought, Imam Ali is the one of that person which Quran mentions(the person having authority).
We know that Ayesha (wife of the Prophet) and Moawiya had two separate wars with Imam Ali, thousands of people got killed. According to any definition and interpretation by Sunnis, Imam Ali is one of those rightly-guided Caliph and the person of authority.
Do our Sunni brothers declare that these people did not follow the order of the Quran?
If somebody fights with the first caliph Abu Bakar, what is Sunni’s opinion about him?
If that person is a kafir then what if somebody fights with the 4th caliph that person should be kafir or at least rebel of Islamic Govt. But our Sunni brothers do not apply this standard on those people who fought with their 4th Caliph.
When we try to make analysis about Sunni point of view, unfortunately we do not find any principle or foundation about it. It does not fit on standards of Quran and hadith not even on logic.
Shia point of view about Caliphate-Imamate is very logical and according to Quran and Hadith. Please find our next articles about it.
May Allah(swt) guide those who seek for truth and send blessings to holy Prophet Mohammad(PBUH) and his Ahlalbait