What can you say about the claim that although caliphate was the right of Hazrath Ali (may God be pleased with him) this right was seized from him by violence?
This is a mischief instigated by Jewish Ibn-i Saba. We should first point out that it did not concern Ibn-i Saba in the least which one of the Four Caliphs was more virtuous than the others and whose right the caliphate was before the others. His main intention was to cast doubt into Islam by breaking the regard towards the Companions and to cause separation among Muslims and to continue it.
There is a very sly and dangerous Jewish intrigue here. As all the Companions including Hazrath Ali gave their oaths to Abu Bakr, they are all accused of making mistake by claiming that although the caliphate was the right of Hazrath Ali, it was seized by Hazrath Abu Bakr wrongfully.
Some people say: Taking into attention the unity and solidarity of Muslims, Hazrath Ali renounced his right. Then should not we think this way: Although Hazrath Ali gave that much importance to the unity and solidarity of Islam, for what reason do we leave his way and go in for disputes and separation? At a time Muslims are in sheer need of unity and solidarity, what is the point in mentioning events that happened 1400 years before and trying to set Muslims quarreling; and what benefit do they expect from this?
If the period of caliphs is looked into, it will be seen: None of them desired to be the caliph; but this rank was given to them. They did not want this duty but they were seen worthy of the caliphate. This happened as follows:
Upon the passing of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to the Hereafter, taking into account the unity and solidarity of the community of Mohammad, the Companions immediately set out to choose the caliph and they made the election before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was buried and Hazrath Abu Bakr was elected as the caliph unanimously. All the companions including Hazrath Ali gave their oaths to him. After Hazrath Abu Bakr performed the duty of caliphate for two years and a half, while he was dying he recommended Hazrath Omar as the next caliph, and the Companions chose him as the caliph. And Hazrath Omar continued this duty for eleven years with perfect justice, and finally he was assassinated and before he died he formed a group of six people including Hazrath Ali and wanted them to choose a caliph among themselves. After dialogues and debates, this group chose Hazrath Osman as the caliph. All the Companions and Hazrath Ali complied with this verdict exactly and gave their oaths to him. Upon the martyrdom of Hazrath Othman, the Companions went to the house of Hazrath Ali together and asked him to be the caliph; although Hazrath Ali did not desire the caliphate, taking into account the delicacy of the situation because of the threats of rebels, he accepted this duty.
As is seen, the selection of the four caliphs took place with the unity of the Companions, who were each on the rank of a mujtahid (Ais someone qualified to exercise ijtihad, which literally means striving and technically means juridical endeavor and competence to infer expert legal rulings from foundational proofs within or without a particular school of law) and who are the most virtuous of this community; this brought about an unshakeable unity of opinions. From then on, there can be no imaginable unity of opinions stronger than it; so no other unity can ever shake the unity of the Companions.
Another point: There is a purpose of fate in Hazrath Ali being the last in the caliphate although he was the next of kin of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
This is as follows: The periods of Hazrath Abu Bakr, Omar, and Osman (may God be pleased with them all) were periods of development and conquest, in which the unity and integrity of Islam were continued. Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Cyprus and many other lands were conquered in this period and the belief of oneness was established in these countries.
However, at the time of Hazrath Ali, this period of conquest came to a halt and various separations arose in the extending Islamic World. Hazrath Ali had to deal with these disorders and separations and could protect Islam against the attacks of all kinds of fake views and beliefs with his perfect courage, keen perception, and unprecedented knowledge.
Thus; just as unity, solidarity and Islamic successes at the time of the three caliphs show that they were worthy of the caliphate and were on the right path; the separations in the period of Hazrath Ali also clearly show the wisdom in his being the last in the caliphate.
As Bediuzzaman says, if Hazrath Ali had been the first caliph, it was highly likely that competition among various tribes, families, first of all the Amawis, would have arisen, and that unity and solidarity among Muslims would have been in jeopardy. And this would have dealt a big blow to the development of Islam.
On the other hand, in a period when various separations arose in the World of Islam, no power except Hazrath Ali and the Family of the Prophet could have stood up against this mischief and handled it.
In this respect, although it seems as a loss for him that Hazrath Ali was the last in caliphate, it was a great benefit and an advantage for Islam.
- Dr. R. L. Mellema (Holland) Anthropologist, writer and scholar.
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