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By Yusuf AbdulLahi
Before I carry on the topic above, I wish to join the global community in the condolence to the Great Messenger Muhammad (S) and his purified progeny on the tragic event of Ashura; when Imam Husain (AS) with a small band of his family and followers were innocently martyred at Karbala, Iraq, by the oppressive forces of Yazid son of Mu’awiya.

 While reminding the world that Ashura is not a bygone historic event, – as Imam Khomeini said every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala- we chant in unison with unreserved allegiance to the chief martyr’s call; Labbaika Ya Husain!
From the preceding version, the exceptional position of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (AS) was clearly stated. The prophet has on many occasions emphasized the superiority of his progeny in general and Imam Ali in particular. They have no equal in the Ummah. “The messenger of my Lord is about to come to me and I shall answer. I am leaving with you the two weighty things; the first is the book of Allah, in which you find guidance and enlightenment, and the people of my household. I remind you by Allah, of the people of my household, I remind you by Allah, of the people of my household” -Muslim, Tirmizi, Musnad Ahmad and Mustadrak.
The near of kin in “… no reward do I ask of you for this except the love of those near of kin..” Q42:23 has been interpreted by Suyuty in Durrul Manthur and Ihya’ul mayyit as Imam Ali, Sayyidah Fatima, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (AS). The same interpretations could be seen in the Qur’anic exegesis of Imam Tabari and Ibn Kathir among others.
“Behold! My Ahlul bait are like the ark of Noah, whoever embarked in it was saved, and whoever turned away from it was drowned” -Mustadrak and Sawa’iq. “My Ahlul bait are like the gate of repentance of the children of Israel; whoever entered therein was forgiven” -Kanzul Ummal and Khateeb al-Bagdadi. Some extraordinary virtues exclusively emphasized by the noble prophet with regard to Imam Ali, the commander of the faithful include: “O Ali! you hold in relation to me the same position as Haroon held in relation to Moses, except that there will be no prophet after me”. Ibn Abbas said “my knowledge and the knowledge of the companions of Muhammad (S) is but a drop in seven seas if compared with Ali’s knowledge” Abu bakr has said, may Allah never put me in a predicament that Abul Hasan cannot solve” just as Umar has repeatedly said’ if it was not for Ali, Umar would have perished. Thus Imam Ali has said about himself “ask me before you lose me. By Allah, if you could ask me about anything that could happen up to the day of judgment, I will tell you about it. Ask me about the book of Allah, because by Allah there is no Qur’anic verse that I did not know whether it was revealed during the night or the day, or whether it was revealed on a plain or a mountain”
On his bravery as cited earlier, the war of Khaibar stands distinct after non- tactical retreats of some famous companions “Tomorrow I will give my flag to a man who loves Allah and His messenger, ever going forward and never retreating, Allah had tested his heart with the faith”. Ahmad bn Hanbal has said: “no one among the companions of the messenger of Allah had more virtues than Ali ibn Abi Talib”. Imam Bukhari and Muslim among others as authenticated by Albaani, the last prophet has repeatedly emphasized that successors after him are twelve and all from Quraish. Based on this, the successors of the prophet must be twelve and invariably from his clan as a grand design from Allah the Most High. Generally speaking, the Shi’a maintains Imam Ali as the first and Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi as the last in the series of the Imams (AS). They are the ones Allah mentioned in the verse “O you who have faith! Obey Allah and obey the apostle, and those charged with authority among you ….” Q3:59.
Beside the Shi’a belief on this, Imam al-Tabary considered the chief interpreter of the noble Qur’an by Sunnis said ‘those charged with authority among you’ must be infallible. However, the majority hold a different belief. Ustaz Abdul Fattah, Abdul Maqsud was of the view that caliphate was a worldly matter on which the prophet had never delivered will until he passed away. “Islamic caliphate is related to worldly matters. It is a political issue much like the governmental issues prevalent today. Caliphate is based on choice and has nothing to do with the express text (Nass), because the prophet did not clearly appoint anyone as his caliph in the last moment of his life”.
Most of them therefore believed it was more or less a democratic issue for people to choose whoever they liked. To them, the prophet left his Umma stranded with neither will nor direction. Allah forbids! But they acted differently, as they said Abu Bakr was elected on agreement; who later expressed will in favor of Umar and the latter constituted a committee as king makers. This is very unscientific, because why did they acted contrary to what they claimed to be prophetic tradition? Did they receive any revelation? From where did they get their guidance? Why should they act in variance with the action of the prophet? Or, were they equal to the noble prophet that they could manipulate or adjust the Sunna on which the prophet acted at the last minute of his life? We should not forget that the religion was completed and perfected as Allah said “…. this day have I perfected for you your religion and completed my favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion ..” Q5:3. In a well known expression, the prophet’s lawful and unlawful remain unchanged to the last day. Who then has the authority to change guidance of the noble prophet? From the obvious teachings of the noble prophet reveling the superiority of his progeny above all the companions are the verses of Mawadda, Wilaayah and Salat – asking Allah to bless the noble messenger- that is accepted on the condition that his progeny are incorporated with him.
For these obvious reasons, the Imam was greatly hated and envied by many including companions. It was on this basis some disallowed the prophetic will to reach his umma! In Bukhari, Ibn Abbas narrated that the prophet was in his last moment and many people had gathered in his house at that time. The prophet said “I want write a will for you so that you will never go astray after me”. Some people said “the prophet is affected by pain. We have the Qur’an with us; the book of Allah is sufficient for us” people gathered in the house started opposing one another on this point. When the noise increased, the prophet ordered the people to leave him alone. The questions we may ask include; why was the prophet not allowed to write his will? And what would the prophet write if he were allowed? Could we relate the oft-repeated sayings of the prophet on his pure progeny as would be the will? In relation to this, Ibn Abbas described deterring the messenger of Allah from writing his will as the greatest calamity that befell the Ummah. And no doubt, the perpetrators must pay expensively being the cause for the misguidance and confusion witnessed today. It is very abusive to believe that the prophet never pronounced a will while leaving the mortal world despite his saying at Ghadeer and many relevant events. If all constitutional provisions take note of such inevitable issue. Why not in the religious teachings which is the source of all guidance in the mortal life and beyond? Such misconception is clearly the cause for the predication of the Umma today.
It is imperative that SUCCESSORSHIP OF THE PROPHET WAS NOT IN THE HANDS OF PEOPLE TO DECIDE “… and your Lord creates and chooses whom He pleases, to choose is not theirs” Q28:68
Seventy days exactly after the episode of Ghadeer the prophet (S) returned to the mercy of His lord and before the ritual bath and funeral some companions from Muhariruun and Ansar went to the Saqifatu Bani Sa’idah where they chose Abu Bakr as the caliph on what they referred as popular agreement. This remains questionable however, because how could that be when most prominent companions Ali bn Abi Talib was not there? So also Abbas bn Abd al-Mutallab, Usama bn Zayd, zubair, Salman al-Farisy, Abu Dharr, Miqdad bn al-Aswad, Ammar bn Yassir, Hudhaifa bn al-Yamany, Khuzaima bn Thabit, Barra’ bn Azib, Abu Ayyub al-Ansary and Jabir bn Saad among others. Imam Ali said on the acclamation: By Allah, ibn Abi Quhafa has got it! And he knows that my position regarding the caliphate is like that of the pole in relation to the millstone! The torrent flows from me, and the bird will never reach me!
Saad ibn Ubada, a prominent companion from Medina attacked Abu Bakr and Umar on the day of Saqifa trying hard to keep them away from the caliphate but could not succeed being very sick. After witnessing some of his friends paying homage to the latter, he said to him “By Allah, I shall never pay homage to you until I cast my last arrow at you and pierce you with my lance, and attack you with my sword, with all the power in my hand, and fight you with and all the members of my family and clan. By Allah even if all the jinns (invisible beings) and the human beings gathered to support you, I will never acclaim you until I meet my Lord” he never prayed with them, never sat in their company, never performed pilgrimage with them until he died in Syria during the caliphate of Umar. Everything was documented regarding the incident including its contradictory and paradoxical nature.
To be continued.