In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
A Fundamental Question
The Great Prophet (PBUH&HP) left this world in the situation where the Islamic society was in one of its worst situation; from one side it was threatened by the Roman and Persian empires (in which Prophet’s emphasis on preparing Usama’s army attests to this fact) and from another, internal conflicts were also created on daily basis by the hypocrites, nonbelievers and Jews.
It is obvious in such situation if the governor was an ordinary person he would not have left his nation without a replacement in his place. How does it seem logical for the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) (whom according to the Quran cares the most for the Muslims, and would put forth all his efforts towards the comfort of his people1) to leave the Islamic community without a successor, a guide before departing this world?
To believe this is the greatest offense towards the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) because such a decision would leave the Islamic community with the greatest dilemma and naturally leave the claim of Dr. Ahmad Amin, an Egyptian scholar, true. Dr. Amin claims that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) “left this world without appointing a successor or clarifying the requirements needed for the appointment of a ruler, and leaving the Islamic community with the greatest and most dangerous situation.”2
Ibn Khaldoon also describes the logical point of appointing a successor as such, “It is impossible to leave a society without a leader and guide; for this would be the cause of conflicts between the people and politicians. For this reason, it is crucial to have appointed leader to protect the society from chaos.”3
On the other hand, the Ahlul Sunnah narrate a saying from the Prophet (PBUH&HP) saying that the prophet has said, “All prophets have had successors and heirs.”4 Also narrated from Salman Farsi, “they asked the Prophet, ‘Every prophet had a successor, who is your successor?’5”
Now ask yourself, was the Prophet of Islam an exception from among all other prophets? Therefore, it is not acceptable that the Prophet of Islam would leave his people without appointing a successor.
Even the companions of the Holy Prophet viewed the act of not appointing a successor illogical. According to the Ahlul Sunnah, Hafsah asks Umar to choose a successor after himself, and was followed by Abdullah ibn Umar’s comments who also said, “If your shepherd leaves your livestock without a guide, you would complain to him saying, why did you cause their destruction. Therefore, think about the people of this Ummah and appoint a leader for them. Because being considerate for the people is more important than being considerate for the livestock.”6
Even Muawiyah entered the city of Medina to obtain allegiance for his son Yazid. He said to Abdullah ibn Umar, “I am afraid that I will leave the community of the Prophet to themselves similar to when a shepherd leaves his sheep.”7
It is extremely offensive to the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) to not think about his people as much as those around him did, and leave them without a guide.
On the other hand, the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) illustrates the contrary, that in fact even when he would leave the town of Medina for a few days, he would make sure to leave one of his companions in charge.8
History has recorded that the Prophet had left Ibn Amm Maktoom in charge 13 times during his absence for the battles of Badr, Uhud, Abawa’, Soweeq, Dhat al-Riqa’, and etc.9 Abu Rahem was also left in charge in Mecca during the wars of Hunain and Kheibar; Muhammad ibn Muslameh was left in charge during the battle of Gherghere; Numailah ibn Abdullah during Bani Mustalaq, and Aweef in charge during Hudaibiyah.10
Considering the above examples, how is it possible that the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) would leave someone in charge during the battle of Khandaq, which was near himself in Medinah, but not leave someone in charge during the lengthy time after his departure from this world?
The greater Ahlul Sunnah scholars have narrated, “When the Prophet invited the Arab tribes to Islam, some of the more well-known men of the time like Bani Amer ibn Sa’sa’e would ask, ‘if you become successful and victorious (in your call to Islam), would we gain any leadership and succession positions after you?’
The Holy Prophet responded, ‘Appointment of leadership is not up to me, but in the hands of Allah, and He would choose anyone whom He desires.’11”
The Shiites believe that the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) certainly did not leave his nation without a successor, in fact according to divine command and in many instances, namely the Day of Ghadir, Ali (PBUH) was introduced to the Muslims, to the Islamic community as his successor and guardian after him.
(Selection taken from the book 40 Questions Regarding Caliphate and Imamat by Ayatollah Dr. Sayyed Mohammad Hosseini-Qazwini)
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On the 18th of Dhil Hijjah, the Greater Eid
Day of Completion of Religion, and the Announcement of Imam Amir al-Mu’minin, Ali’s (PBUH) as the Master and Leader of the believers
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1. Holy Quran 9:128
2. Fajr al-Islam, p. 225
3. Ibn Khaldoon, Introduction, p. 187
4. History of the City of Damascus, vol. 42, p. 392; Al-Riyaz Al-Nadharah, vol. 3, p.138; Dhakha’er al-Uqba, p. 71; Manaqib al Khawarimi, pp.42 and 85
5. Mu’jam al-Kabir, vol. 6, p. 221; Fath al-Bari, vol. 8, p.114; Majma’ al-Zawa’id, vol. 9, p.113
6. Sahih Muslim, vol. 6, p.5; Musnad Ahmad, vol. 1, p.7; Musannaf abd al-Razzaq, vol. 5, p. 448
7. Tarikh al-Tabari, vol. 4, p.226
8. Tafsir al-Ghortobi, vol. 1, p.268
9. Oun al-Ma’boud, vol. 8, p. 106; Tabaqat al-Kubra, vol.4, p.209; Al-Isabah, vol. 4, p. 495; Kanz al-Ummal, vol. 8, p.268
10. Al-Tanbih wa Al-Ishraf, pp. 211, 213-16, 221, 225, 228, 231, 235; Tarikh Khalife ibn Khayyat, p. 60
11. Ibn Hubban. Al-Thiqat. Vol. 1, p. 89; Al-Bidayah wa Al-Nihaya. Vol. 3, p.171