Chapter XII: The Caliphate

In the words of Pandit Thakur Parshad

"It cannot be denied," observes Pandit Thakur Parshad in his famous Judgment dated 20th July 1938 in Suit No. 665 of 1936, (of Jaunpur, U.P. India) that Hazrat Ali was one of those men-who stood by the Prophet all his life in everything he did and wanted to be done. As I gather from history written by the Muslims and non-Muslims alike, Ali was the Prophet's constant shadow. He was the Boswell of a Johnson in his dealings with the Prophet. Ali can rightly be said to be the chief builder of the Prophet's power (wise in council-chamber and a valiant warrior in the battle-field was he). To his sword had fallen the momentous victories of Khandaq, Ohad, Badr and Khaiber. But for these, Muhammad's Mission would have perished in its very inception, and the world would have lost a reformation unequalled in man's history. The consolidation of the temporal power of Muhammad by Ali made it

possible for the Message of Islam to be delivered in an unbelieving age. It would thus appear that Ali was the most highly entitled and the best deserved for Succession to the IMAMAT of ISLAM, both on the strength of his family relationship to the Prophet and on the ground of his merits, being the sincerest friend and follower of the Prophet."

In the Words of Justice Hidayatullah
1Hidayatullah, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Mohammedan Law 16th Edition, page 12 and 13 of the Introduction, says : "The election in fact took place when the household of the Prophet (including Ali) was engaged in obsequies . .. The election led to the great schism between the Sunnis and the Shias."

"At Kerbala Husain died fighting after suffering great privations. The rift between the Sunnis and the Shias (Shian-i-Ali-party of Ali) became very great there after."

In the Words of Justice Baburam Verma
Justice Baburam Verma-Mohammedan Law-(1968 Edition page 75).

1 "One of the most momentous problems in Islamic history arose as to the right of succession to Muhammed immediately after his death. The events that followed marked the first division in the Muslim world into the great factions of Sunnis and Shias ... . The differences since the time of Abubakr continued to increase till they culminated in the murder of Husain and made the breach final."

Ali's Claim to the Caliphate
Ali's claim to the Caliphate was not regarded by his friends and supporters as arising from political aspirations, but as derived from God. The Divine Spirit which dwells
1 Kalimatul Haq page 904 of Hamid Bin Shabbir.

in every prophet and passes successively from one to another was transferred at Muhammad's death to Ali, and from Ali to his descendants who succeeded him in the Imamate.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the Holy Prophet had on various occasions brought to the notice of his followers that Hazrat Ali was to be his immediate Successor.

The merits of Ali and the language of the Holy Prophet in his favour had roused the envy of his contemporaries which is summed up in the words of Ahmed-ibn-Hanbal :
"There hath not come down to us regarding the merits of any of the companions of the Apostle of God what hath been transmitted concerning Ali. At times they are represented as so outstanding that it was for this reason that the Bani Umayyah were jealous of him and came to hate him. That he did have the special confidence of Muhammad is acknowledged by all. His friends remembered that even his boyhood had been spent with the Prophet, whom he never deserted. He was one of the earliest believers, perhaps the first after the Prophet's wife, Khadijah. They recalled that at the time of the expedition to Tabuk, when the Prophet had asked him to remain behind in Medina, he said to him, 'Is it not fitting that you should be in the same relation to me as Aaron was to Moses?"

In the words of Gibbon
"The birth, the alliance, the character of Ali, which exalted him above the rest of his countrymen, might justify his claim to the vacant throne of Arabia. The son of Abu Talib was, in his own right, the chief of the family of

Hashim, and the hereditary prince or guardian of the city and temple of Mecca. The light of prophecy was extinct, but the husband of Fatima might expect the inheritance and blessing of her father: the Arabs had sometimes been patient of a female reign; and the two grandsons of the Prophet had often been fondled in his lap and shown in his pulpit, as the hope of his age, and the chief of the youth of paradise. From the first hour of his mission to the last rites of his funeral, the apostle was never forsaken by a generous friend, whom he delighted to name his brother, his vicegerent, and the faithful Aaron of a second Moses'. Gibbon abridged by W. Smith, p. 466.

"Ali was cousin-german of Muhammad and husband of Fatima, his beloved daughter. The right of succession, in order of consanguinity, lay with Ali; and his virtues and services eminently entitled him to it. On the first burst of his generous zeal, when Islamism was a derided and persecuted faith, he had been pronounced by Muhammad his brother, his vicegerent; he had ever since been devoted to him in word and deed, and had honoured the cause by his magnanimity as signally as he had vindicated it by his valour." W. Irving.

The hereditary claims of the youthful hero over and above the Prophet's declarations appointing him as his vicegerent and proclaiming his position as that of Aaron to Moses, were not to the liking of an aristocracy of elders desirous o f securing the sceptre for themselves. They were longing to crush the pre-eminence of the Hashimites, which had reached its zenith with the advent of Muhammad (peace be on him and his progeny.) The death of the Holy Prophet restored at length their liberty and the ancient

discord of the tribes was so rekindled, that reconciliation was out of the question.

As soon as the Prophet breathed his last, without even waiting to commit him to the grave, they convened a meeting at Saqifa Bani Sa'ad, to deliberate on the election of a successor to the Prophet, and thus to deprive Ali of his legitimate right of succession.

The various occasions when the Holy Prophet mentioned Hazrat Ali as his Successor are given below :
1. The First Declaration known as Dawat-e-Asheera, Propagation of Islam among relatives, Gibbon gives a graphic description of the scene of this assembly in these words :

"Friends and Kinsmen" said Muhammad to the assembly, "I offer you and I alone can offer the most precious of gifts, the treasures of this world and of the world to come. God has commanded me to call you to His service. Who amongst you will support my burden? Who amongst you will be my supporter and my Successor ? "

No one answered. The spell of astonishment and suspense was at last broken by the impatient courage of Ali :

"O Prophet! I am the man; whosoever rises against thee, I shall dash out his teeth, tear out his eyes, break his legs, rip up his belly. 0 Prophet! I will be thy Successor."

Prophet Muhammad accepted his offer with pleasure. Thus on this very occasion of the advent of Islam, Hazrat Ali was publicly declared by the Holy Prophet as his immediate Successor.

2. At the time of his flight to Medina, the Holy Prophet deputed Ali to lie in his bed, for he knew that his enemies

wanted to kill him. Hence it was Ali who risked his life for his Master; besides the Holy Prophet had appointed him as his representative to perform the duty of returning whatever property that had been deposited in trust with him.

3. The Betrothal of Fatima, the beloved daughter of the Holy Prophet, to his cousin and faithful disciple was another proof of his Successorship. The alliance-as revealed to the Prophet 1 was ordained by God, Who, he said to Fatima, had informed him of His Choice from the noblest of the earth of two blessed men, one being her father '(himself) and the other her husband (Ali) ) ; and that the Lord had decreed his (the Prophet's) lineal descendants to spring forth from the couple (Ali and Fatima) and not direct from himself.

4. The Holy Prophet's declaration at the time of Fatima's Marriage , that had there been no Ali, he would never have wedded her to anyone else. This again proved the unqualified merits of Ali, who was considered virtuous above all, and the chosen Successor of the Holy Prophet.

It may be mentioned here that both Abubakr and Omar were anxious for the hand of Fatima, but were refused by the Holy Prophet.

5. When The Holy Prophet built The First Mosque at Medina, his companions were allowed to build their residential quarters around it. When they were sitting at leisure in the Mosque, a voice was heard : "Ye people, close your doors opening into the Mosque." The people were struck with awe to hear this voice, but they sat dumb without stirring to carry out the command, till they heard again the injunction to close the do , ors on pain of Divine Wrath. Terrified at this warning, they all approached the Holy Prophet who was in his apartment.
1 Tabari; Tibrani; Ahmad b. Hanbal; Ibn Asakir.
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Ali also came out of his apartment which was separated from the Prophet's rooms by a partition wall since the day of Fatima's marriage with him. He stood by the Prophet when he ordered that all the doors opening into the mosque, excepting those of Ali and his own, should be closed. People began to murmur. The Prophet was angry at their attitude and addressed them as follows : "Verily, God ordered His apostle Moses to build a Holy Mosque, and he allowed Moses, Aaron and the two sons of Aaron, Shabbar and Shabbir to live therein. I was likewise ordered to construct a Holy Mosque wherein myself and my brother Ali and his two sons, Hasan and Husain are allowed to live.Verily, I do only what I am ordered to do. I never undertake to act on my own wish. Certainly I have not ordered of my own accord to close your doors or to leave Ali's door open. It is God who granted Ali an abode in the Holy Mosque." Consequently, the companions, whose houses skirted the quadrangle of the Mosque, closed their doors.

Besides, it is recorded on the authority of Sa'd, that The Apostle of God said to AR : "It is not lawful for any one to be in the mosque while under the obligation of performing a thorough ablution except for me and for thee." Major Janet's trans. of Suyuti's History page 175.

6. Ali's participation in all the wars during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, except one--the Tabuk Expedition. Here the Holy Prophet appointed Ali, his vicegerent, as Governor of Medina.

W. Irving in his life of Muhammad on page 170 says : " Muhammad now appointed Ali, as Governor of Medina, and guardian of both
to accompany the Prophet, and share all his perils." The hypocrites endeavoured to create trouble by taunting Ali that the Prophet had left him behind in Medina solely to rid himself of an encumbrance. Stung by this suggestion, Ali hastened after the Prophet to find out the truth. "These men," replied Muhammad, "are liars. They are the party of hypocrites and doubters, who would breed sedition in Medina. I left thee behind to keep watch over them, and to be a guardian to both our families. Sayuti states "I would have thee to be to me what Aaron was to Moses; excepting that thou cannot be, like him, a prophet; I being the last of the prophets."

7. When Ali returned successfully from the Tayef expedition, the Prophet on seeing him exclaimed "AllahO-Akbar" and took him alone to his sacred apartments to have a long and confidential talk with him. His companions began to murmur, wondering why the Prophet had engaged his cousin so long in confidential conversation, not allowing others to interfere. Hearing this, the Prophet said, that God himself had inspired Ali with Divine Secrets, and that it was for this reason that he was engaged in confidential discourse so long.

8. The Purge of the Symbols from the Walls of the Kaaba was significant in that the Holy Prophet made Ali his partner in their effacement. The Prophet's move in making Ali stand on his shoulders with the seal of prophet-hood under his feet, was intended to convey to the people around and to show the world that he had designated Ali as his partner and Successor in the very House of God.
9. Announcement of Sura Bara'at : The Prophet had received a revelation forbidding the unrighteous to perform the pilgrimage after this year (9 A.H.), as contained in the opening verses of Sura IX of the Quran. He therefore

deputed Abubakr to proceed on pilgrimage to Mecca in order to announce the revelation to the pilgrims.

1 Shortly after the departure of Abubakr, the Prophet received command from God, and in obedience thereto, he despatched Ali on his swiftest camel, the Al- Ghadzba, with instructions to overtake the caravan and to take back the book containing the verses from Abubakr, and to proceed himself with it, to announce it to the pilgrims at Mecca.

Ali overtook the caravan at Arai, and taking the book from Abubakr, proceeded to Mecca. Abubakr returned to Medina dejected, not knowing what had made the Prophet change his mind. Upon asking the Prophet, he was informed that he had a revelation to the effect (according to Hishami) that none should deliver the revelation to the people but he himself or a man of his family, or (according to Tirmizhi and Nasai) that none should deliver it to the people but himself or Ali.

This clearly showed that Ali was the only man chosen to succeed the Holy Prophet.

10. At the time of 'Mubahala' (Maledictory Conflict) with the Christians of Najraan, as per the Ayat of the Quran, the Prophet selected Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain. This again proved that there was no one better than Ali.

11. The Final declaration at Ghadir-e- Khum confirmed finally what had been formerly pointed out time and again. Whilst returning from the final Pilgrimage, when the a Holy Prophet arrived at Ghadir-e-Khum, suddenly the signs of a revelation appeared, and the voice of Archangel Gabriel coaxed him saying ;
1 Tirmizhi; Ahmad Hanbal; Tabari; A'Lam-al-Wara, Tafseer M'alim-al-Tanzil; Abul Fida.
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"O thou esteemed Messenger, impart the guidance that has been revealed unto thee", and in order to impress the urgency of the command, Gabriel went on to say :

"For if thou doeth it not, thou bast not imparted His message at all"; and again in the same breath to allay his fears and misgivings the angel added :

"God will protect thee from the evil designs of men:" Ch. 5 verse 67.

As the Prophet pulled up his reins, the whole entourage came to a halt. Those who had gone ahead were summoned back. The pebbles and thorns were brushed aside and a makeshift pulpit of saddles was set up.

People clustered round, the Prophet bent down and lifted Ali in his hands, and showing him to the crowds on all sides of the pulpit . . and proclaimed.
من كنت مولاه فهذا علي مولاه

"Mun Kunto Maulaho Fe Haaza Ali-yun Maulah" meaning "Of whomsover I am the Master (Maula),This Ali is his Master (Maula)." So Saying, the Prophet lifted his hands heavenwards and prayed : "O our Lord ! Love those who love Ali, despise those who will despise AR ; support those who will support Ali; reject those who will reject Ali."
It was on this occasion that the Holy Prophet made the choice final, leaving no doubt or uncertainty in the selection of his Successor. (full details on pages 77-89.)

The Verse of the Quran (LIII-3&4) says about the Holy Prophet : "He speaks not for his own purpose ; but

gives utterance to the commandments revealed to him".

It was a matter c f prime importance that the Divine Guidance should continue after him and that the Divine Sovereignity should be exercised by the chosen ones of God, to be appointed by the Prophet.

To convene an assemblage of over a lakh and fifty thousand pilgrims in the burning heat of the midday sun in the heart of a desert at Khum, the Holy Prophet did surely feel the acute urgency of completing his work and finally nominating his successor. It would be absurd to think that merely to call Ali his brother he would have done all this. Time and again he had called Ali his brother and by various names denoting him as his Successor. At Ghadir-e-Khum it was his final message and his Gift to the Muslims of the world.

In the words of Sedillot :
"Had the principle of hereditary succession (in favour of Ali) been recognised at the outset, it would have prevented the rise of those disastrous pretensions which engulfed Islam in the blood of Muslims. The husband of Fatima united in his person the right of succession as the lawful heir of the holy prophet as well as the right of election. It might have been thought that all would submit themselves before his glory so pure and so grand but it was not to be."


The election at Saqifa Bani Sa'da
While the unsuspecting vicegerent was busy with the arrangements of the Holy Prophet's burial, the

Mohajirs of Mecca and the Ansars of Medina were parading their respective merits at the Saqifa. The Mohajirs claimed preference on the ground of their priority in Islam, their kinship with the Prophet and their migration with him at the manifest hazard of their life and property. The Ansars urged that they had as much right as any other on account of their receiving the Prophet on his escape from his Meccan enemies, of protecting him in Ole time of adversity, and of helping him in fighting against his powerful foes, resulting ultimately in the establishment of his paramount power and authority. They even said that they apprehended revenge 1 if authority went to the people whose fathers and brothers they had killed in defending the Prophet . (It may be noted here that this is the origin of the Kerbala tragedy, as was remarked by Hobab, a quick witted and prudent spokesman of the Ansars. His fears proved correct with the revengeful massacre of the Prophet's or Ali's posterity at Kerbala including even a six month's babe, and with the heinous crimes perpetrated in the outrage and the massacre of the Ansars at Harr).

Hazrat Ali, having completed the burial rites of the Holy Prophet, appeared before the Muslims and asserted his right of succession, quoting various instances wherein the Holy Prophet, by the Divine Decree, had appointed him as his immediate Successor. His claim
1 "Revenge was almost a religious principle among the Arabs. To revenge a relative slain was the duty of his family, and often involved the honour of his tribe; and these debts of blood sometimes remained unsetlted for generations, producing deadly feuds." W. Irving.
Gibbon points out that the Arabs led a life of malice and suspicion and fifty years sometimes elapsed before the account of vengeance was finally settled.

was rejected and Hazrat Abubakr was appointed the first Caliph. As predicted by the Holy Prophet, Ali took refuge in the sanctuary of his home.

Ali subjected to Humiliation.

Abubakr sent Omar to Fatima's house, where Ali and some of his friends were gathered, with orders to compel them by force to come and do fealty to him, if they could not be persuaded by fair means,. Omar was just going to set fire to the house, when Fatima asked him what he meant. He told her that he would certainly burn the house down unless they would consent to do as the rest of the people had done. 1 Knowing, as they did, the temper of Omar, the men came out of the house. They were Ali, Abbas and Zubeir; Ali reproached them saying : 'O ye Mohajirs! Ye claimed the succession to the Apostle of God preferring your priority in Islam and your kinship to him before the Ansars. Now I put forward the same arguments in preference to you. Am I not the first who believed in the Prophet before any of you embraced his faith ? Am I not the nearest in relation to the Prophet than any one of you ? Fear God, if ye are true Believers, and do not snatch away the Prophet's authority from his house to your own.' Standing behind the door, Fatima reproachfully addressed the raiding party thus : '0 people ! Ye left behind you the Prophet's dead body to us and proceeded to wring out the Caliphate for yourselves, extinguishing our rights.' Then she brust into weeping and cried : 'O father ! O Apostle of God How soon after thee troubles are pouring on us at the hands of the
1 S. Ockley's History of the Saracens P. 83; Abul Fida; Aqdal.
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son of Khattib and the son of Abu Qohifa. How soon they have ignored thy words of Ghadir-e-Khum and thy saying that Ali was to thee as Aaron was to Moses.' Hearing Fatima's wafflings, most of the people in Omar's party could not keep themselves from weeping and turned' back. Ali was however, taken to Abubakr and was asked to swear him allegiance. He said, 'What if I do not do him homage ?' He was answered, 'By Allah, we shall kill thee if thou dost not do as others have done.' Upon this Ali said, 'What ! Will ye kill a man who is a servant of the Lord and a brother of the Apostle of the Lord?' Hearing this, Omar exclaimed, 'We do not admit that thou art a brother of the Apostle of the Lord ; and addressing Abubakr, who was silent all the time, desired, him to speak out his (Ali's) fate. But Abubakr said that so long as Fatima was alive, he would not compel her husband to do so. So Ali departed and proceeded direct to the tomb of the Prophet 1 where he cried out, "O my brother ! Thy people now treat me with contempt and are bent upon killing me 2."


The year U A. H. was the saddest year in the life of Hazrat Ali. He lost two of his most beloved ones. In the early
1 Ibn Qoteiba.
2 It is contended by a large body of Muslims that according to their speculated terms, Omar was to succeed Abubakr on his death, but he naturally feared lest in the uncertain interval there might occur an outbreak on the part of the rightful claimant Ali, which would possibly destroy his ambitious dreams, he therefore anxiously wished and tried to get rid of Ali any how. But Ali was wise enough to bear with patience all the gravely insulting provocations and avoided any out-break which would have endangered the safety of Islam.
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months of the year (28th Safar) died the Holy Prophet whom he loved and venerated as a father, as a master and as his dearest friend. This was followed by the death some three months later (14th Jamadi-ul-Awwal) of Janab-e-Fatima Az-Zahra, his dearest wife and companion.
Her farewell
"My dear husband, you know that this is the last day of my life, I am happy and also I am sad. Happy I am that my troubles will shortly be over and I shall meet my father and sorry I am to part from you. Please, make a note of what I say and do as I wish you to do. After me you may marry anybody you like but you must marry my cousin Yamama, she loves my children and Husain is very much attached to her. Let Fizza remain with you even after her marriage, if she so desires, she was more than a mere servant to me. I loved her like my daughter. Bury me in the night and do not let those who have been so cruel to me to attend my burial. Let my death not dishearten you, you have to serve Islam and humanity for a long time to come. Let not my sufferings embitter your life, please promise me." Hazrat Ali said, "Yes, Fatima I promise." She continued, "I know how you love my children but be very careful of Husain. He loves me too dearly and will miss me sadly, be a mother unto him. Till my recent illness he used to sleep on my chest, he is already missing it." Ali was caressing the broken hand and was sobbing, and tears dropped on her hand. She looked up and said, "Do not weep; I know what a tender heart you possess. You have already borne too much and will have to bear more. Farewell my lord, Farewell my dear husband, Say Good-bye to me." Sorrow had choked Ali, his words

were mixed with his tears, he said, "Good_-bye Fatima." Hearing this she said, "May the merciful Lo rd help you to bear these sorrows and sufferings patiently. Now let me be alone with my God." Saying this she turned towards her prayer carpet and prostrated before God.. When after a little time Hazrat Ali entered the room he found her still in prostration but the soul had departed to join her Holy father in the realm of His Grace, Mercy and Might. She died very young as Hazrat Ali says, "A flower nipped in the bud, it was from Heaven and it went back to Heaven, but has le ft its fragrance in my mind."

This is the saddest discourse that has ever been recorded of Hazrat Ali. He had delivered it on a really very sad occasion of his life. He was burying his dearest companion, his partner in life, who was the daughte r of the Holy Prophet (A.S.) and whom he loved as dearly as he had loved her father. Nobody was dearer to him in this world than these two. Not his own life nor even his two dear sons. Both these two beloved ones had left him, one after the other, at a very short interval. The edge of sorrow was keener on this occasion because Fatima (A.S.) his dearest spouse, had died in the prime of her life, barely twenty years old. Her death was actually martyrdom.

His sermon on the occasion

"O Prophet of God please accept my Salams and those of your daughter who is being buried not very far from you, and who is to meet you so quickly. 0 the chosen Apostle! The death of your dear daughter has left me without patience and solace. I am heart broken."

"After having endured the separation from you I sha I have to bear this catastrophe patiently 0 Prophet of God! I laid you down in the grave with my own hands, your soul departed from your body while you Were resting upon my chest and your head was lying between my neck and my heart. Surely we belong to Allah and unto Him is our return." (Holy Quran Chapter II-156 ) Your trust (your daughter) which was entrusted to me is taken back from me. Sorrow now abides with me and happiness has taken leave. This grief is so overpowering that it engulfs and swallows other sorrows, and it has left me with sleepless nights and joyless days. From now onwards my life will be a continued heartache till God gathers me with you both in the realm of His Favour and Peace."

"O Apostle of God! Your dear daughter will tell you how your followers have behaved with her and how they have illtreated her. You please ask her the details of all that has happened to her during such a short period (barely three months) after your departure to Heaven. This period of separation from you was so short that people still remember you and were still talking about you."

"Please both of you accept my parting Salaams and goodbye. It is the wish of a sincere heart which has loved and will always love you both, a heart which will cherish and will carry your tender and loving memories to my grave. Good-bye 0 daughter of the chosen Apostle of God! May you rest in peace -which mankind has refused to you in this world. If I leave your grave to go to my home it is not because I am tired of your company, I wish I had it to the end of my life. And if I make a permanent abode on your grave it will not be because I doubt the reward that God has reserved for those who bear sorrows patiently. Good-bye! May God's peace and blessings be with you."

According to Shaikh Mufid, Hazrat Ali had twenty-seven children in all. This is inclusive of Imam. Hasan, Imam Husain, Janab-e-Zainab and Janab-e-Urnme Kulsum, the grandchildren of the Holy Prophet. After the death of Janab-e-Fatima, Hazrat Ali married various ladies of different tribes.

Of those who played a very important role in the history of Islam, besides Imam Hasan, Imam Husain, Janab-eZainab and Janab-e-Umme Kulsum, was Muhammad al-Hanafiya who was presented with the flag of command at the battle of Siffin by Hazrat Ali.

The other was Hazrat Abbas, the Moon of the Hashimites add the Standard Bearer of Imam Husain at Kerbala.

When Imam Hasan was five years old and Imam Husain was four, the Holy Prophet had said, "O Ali, your death has already been decreed, You shall die in the mosque during your prayers, but the Almighty will give you a son who will die in the battle on Ashoora day."
This then was the gallant Abul Fazl Abbas. about whom the Prophet had foretold long ago.

His mother was Fatima Binte Huzam who bore Ali four sons, Abbas, Abdulla, Ja'far and Osman. Their mother was also known as 'Ummul Baneen' which means 'mother of sons'. All her sons were martyred at Kerbala along with Imam Husain. After their martyrdom, she requested people never to call her Ummul Baneen ever again.