A VICTIM LOST IN SAQIFAH Volume 2

A VICTIM LOST IN SAQIFAH0%

A VICTIM LOST IN SAQIFAH Author:
: Dr. Hassan Najafi
Publisher: Ansariyan Publications – Qum
Category: Imam Ali
ISBN: 978-964-438-976-8

A VICTIM LOST IN SAQIFAH

Author: Ali Labbaf
: Dr. Hassan Najafi
Publisher: Ansariyan Publications – Qum
Category:

ISBN: 978-964-438-976-8
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A VICTIM LOST IN SAQIFAH

A VICTIM LOST IN SAQIFAH Volume 2

Author:
Publisher: Ansariyan Publications – Qum
ISBN: 978-964-438-976-8
English

Correct Interpretation Ali’s Silence and its Causes

Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) from the aspect of fulfilling the duty entrusted to the position of Imamate and on the path of protecting religion that he had received from the Almighty[28] assumed a special demeanor to react to the usurpation of Caliphate and the usurpers - especially after the attack on Fatima’s house[29] - which is termed as silence.

Silence of the Imam was not in the sense to give up his right to Caliphs, or to refrain from making any claim. He remained silent only in the sense that he did not undertake an armed uprising against the usurped Caliphate - and that also after opposing vehemently for twenty days against usurpation of Caliphate and a widespread effort to announce illegality of Abu Bakr’s Caliphate.

“In every way Imam Ali (a.s.) tried to bring Caliphate to its rightful place, but some Muslims were instrumental in assuring that the Imam does not achieve his purpose.

If His Eminence (a.s.) had continued his opposition he would not have succeeded in sidelining Abu Bakr, rather his own life would have been endangered.”[30]

“A third point also exists and it was the awe and terror that the machinery of the ruler had imposed on Islamic society.”[31]

For example:

“After paying allegiance to Abu Bakr some people of Saqifah rose against Abu Bakr. Upon direction of Umar, a group of people kicked and crushed Habbab bin Mundhir under their feet. Dust was poured in his mouth and his nose was broken Saad bin Ubadah was kicked until he reached the frontiers of death.

If anyone raised his voice, immediately his mouth was filled with dust.

On the return route of Muhajireen to Mosque, associates of Umar stopped everyone and pulled each them and touched his hand to Abu Bakr’s as a token of paying allegiance to him and then left him.

In that scuffle Bani Aslam tribe of desert-dwellers entered Medina as the chief of Muhajireen had promised to give plenty of provision to them if they helped. They started beating the people with canes, sticks and lances without a pretext or a warning unless they paid allegiance to the new Caliph.

Umar often used to say: I became sure of our victory only on arrival of Bani Aslam in Medina.

They were in a pact with Emigrants. They were so many that lanes and streets of Medina were blocked.”[32]

“The fact is that their efforts imbued with tyranny and torture had gone so far as to prepare the old category of Prophet’s companions to discard Ahle Bayt of Prophet including the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law, Ali, from government. Such was their determination. Imam Ali (a.s.) was not ignorant of this reality. This too was among the reasons that discouraged Ali to take a practical step towards taking back what was usurped from him.”[33]

On the basis of this:

“His Eminence keeping in view the political realities of that Muslim society considered it better to remain patient because every action needed power and he believed that at that time he was not having such a power.”[34]

“His Eminence, Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) had told Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) about such circumstances and said that…the people after his passing away would cheat him. ‘If you get supporters you stage an uprising and if not you remain silent.’”[35]

“In our view silence of the Imam denotes refraining from armed uprising. And if not, His Eminence never refrained from raising his claim throughout period of Caliphs and after that also he always referred to it.”[36]

“There is no doubt that if the son of Abu Talib before he did that called people to help him his opponents would have tried more to trample his rights and the rights of the family of the Prophet.”[37]

Under conditions that developed, any kind of armed uprising would only have resulted in bloodshed of His Eminence (a.s.).

It is natural that such a thing would have served as an excellent opportunity for fulfillment of the wishes of senior righteous persons! For which they had spent years around the Prophet put on a show of piety in a hypocritical manner.

Following the martyrdom of the son of Abu Talib - which would also have been accompanied by the martyrdom of his few loyal companions - the Emigrant hypocrites would have removed their veil of piety that had concealed their real faces. Not only were they capable of bloodshed of the Imam by ‘public deception’ they would have got a free hand to uproot the faith of Islam. The stages of deviation would have been crossed more swiftly and in a short time no trace of real teachings of Islam would have remained.

On the other hand the Umayyad party under the leadership of Abu Sufyan, seeing the field empty from the real supporter of religion of Islam (Ali Ibne Abi Talib) and his loyal Shias, would have again resumed their struggle to regain power and they would have gradually taken the Muslim society to idol worship and apostasy.

In other words, within a short period of martyrdom of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) the religion of Islam would have been completely destroyed.

Therefore with one glance of impartiality without any historical emotionality we will realize that the safety of Islam from being destroyed was directly linked to the security of the life of Amirul Momineen (a.s.).

The proof of abstinence of Imam (a.s.) from Jihad that required martyrdom, the secret of bloodied supports and defenses of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) for the life of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and also initiatives of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) in the period of confrontation with the tyrant ruler should also be searched in this same point.

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and his Stern Refusal to Pay Allegiance to Abu Bakr

Absence of silence of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) against usurpation of Caliphate and the level of correctness of the claim of ‘kindly leaving his right to the Caliphs’ can be seen in the incident of attack on Fatima’s house and the severity of His Eminence (a.s.) against paying allegiance to Abu Bakr.[38]

“Abu Bakr and Umar with complete knowledge about the rights of Ali (a.s.) and the special reverence he enjoyed among Prophet’s companions, invited him to the mosque to pay allegiance to the Caliph to avoid any reverse reaction from old companions, which was a great source of fear to them. But His Eminence (a.s.) clearly refused to go to the mosque and in reply said:

I have more right to Caliphate; I will not pay allegiance to you and you should come and give Bay’at to me…

But Umar bin Khattab told Ali (a.s.): Unless you don’t pay allegiance we shall not let you go. Umar was most active to obtain Ali’s allegiance and was directing the affairs. Ali told him: Milk the she-camel because there is a share in it for you. You try to strengthen Abu Bakr because Caliphate goes to you tomorrow. Thus he tried to reject the allegiance of the ruler in every way…”[39]

Even then it is claimed:

“Ali, with a lofty nature and enduring sacrifice for this religion and with utmost care that not the smallest difference should arise between the companions, without any hesitation pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr!... Ali in reply said… If I did not consider Abu Bakr worthy of this matter! I would never have left the Caliphate to him…Hazrat Ali gave allegiance one or two days after the passing away of the Prophet! And only this is a fact…”![40]

“Following Ali’s oppositions, he and his companions gathered in Fatima’s house. Umar who followed the policy of force, advised Abu Bakr to make haste in getting Ali’s allegiance lest things take a turn. Therefore he surrounded the house with armed men and threatened to burn the house if they do not come out and pay allegiance to Abu Bakr. This shows how much Ali’s disapproval to the new regime was critical. Umar in order to fulfill his threat got ready with the elementary things. Fuel wood was gathered. He was about to set fire when he was told that Fatima was inside. He said: So what?

But nothing of this compelled Ali to come out for paying allegiance. This shows Ali’s obstinacy against usurpation of rulership.

Umar once more recommended Abu Bakr to get Ali’s pledge of allegiance at any rate. Therefore Abu Bakr once again summoned Ali (a.s.) but Ali (a.s.) in reply to the message that the Caliph of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) is calling you said: How soon you have attributed falsehood to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.).

But Umar did not give up. Again he insisted on Abu Bakr that he must not give any respite to Ali (a.s.) and Abu Bakr again sent Ali the request to give allegiance but Ali once more rejected it absolutely and said: You are claiming something which is not yours. Umar could not bear this. Therefore taking support of the political situation of that time and with drawn sword he surrounded the house of Ali (a.s.) and demanded that he pay allegiance and warned that if he desisted he would be killed and ultimately Ali was forced to come out and was taken to the mosque.

This event nicely proves how strongly Ali opposed them and the usurpation of Caliphate.”[41]

Inspite of this they claim:

“He surrendered Caliphate to Abu Bakr and Umar for the sake of Muslim unity.”![42]

“He surrendered Caliphate to Abu Bakr for the well being of Muslims, for religious solution of the problem and to attract the hearts of common Muslims.”![43]

Ali, with his own will and not submitting to the circumstances remained at the side of Abu Bakr’s Caliphate; gave his complete assistance! And always kept himself at the disposal of the Caliph to solve difficulties.”![44]

If such was the case why he was so obstinate? Why he was so much restive? On the other hand why he was threatened? Why Fatima’s house was set on fire? The door was opened by force under flames. Fatima was behind the door. The hurt resulted in the martyrdom of Mohsin and then her martyrdom later. What does it all show?

Do these claims not aim to exonerate the Caliphs from crimes they committed against Ahle Bayt (a.s.) of Prophet where Divine Revelations descended with the Archangel?

Obviously it is only this; because inspite of evidences that History has recorded it is still claimed that:

“Ali by his silence of some years put a stamp of approval on Caliphate of all three Caliphs.”![45]

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and Declaration of Illegitimacy of Caliphate

To gauge the level of correctness of the last conjecture it is sufficient that we do not forget what the answer of the Imam was to proposal of Abdur Rahman bin Auf in the six-person Shura committee for appointment of Caliph after Umar.

“With all the same precaution that Imam had taken, in the period of Shura for Caliphate, he did not agree to the conditions of Abdur Rahman bin Auf for acceptance of Caliphate…this was an open rejection of the Imam (a.s.) of the practice and behavior of Abu Bakr and Umar.”[46]

“This shows that Ali did not attach any religious legitimacy to Caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar. And in order to explain it he announced his opposition to their policies and ruling practices.”[47]

In the same way after the assassination of Uthman and public allegiance to Ali we witnessed that:

“A man was insistent that besides Quran and traditions of Prophet he (Ali) should also follow conduct of the two - i.e. Abu Bakr and Umar. But the Imam did not agree and he said:

Even if Abu Bakr and Umar did not act on anything except according to Quran and Prophet’s tradition they were not right.”[48]

On the basis of this even after passage of some years, not only did Amirul Momineen (a.s.) not put a stamp of approval on their regime, rather with complete openness he pointed out the illegality of their Caliphate and declared them to be foundation of falsehood; even then it is claimed that:

“He found many proceedings of Umar similar to his own attitude.”![49]

“The proceeds of the two[50] were so close to each other that they provided a frame to political affairs in accordance with each other.”![51]

Final Judgment on Silence of Amirul Momineen (a.s.)

Perhaps in a first glance it is pictured that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) did not display any reaction and took no step against the usurpation of Caliphate and he did not take any step against the illegal regime of Abu Bakr.

While historical evidences clearly show that His Eminence (a.s.) cleared his stance by starting scathing debates and protests against the tyranny of the ruler - and that also from the Prophet’s mosque.

These firebrand speeches were delivered on Monday and Tuesday; that is the day of the demise of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) and the next day; that is the first day of the Abu Bakr’s illegal regime to get back his right of Caliphate.

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) in the background of these scathing protests spoke about his usurped rights in the most open manner. And he emphasized on the illegality of Abu Bakr’s Caliphate and showed that it was usurped.

Following the efforts of the regime for taking forced allegiance from the people of Medina which was helped by the intervention of Bani Aslam tribe on the first day of Abu Bakr’s Caliphate (Tuesday), the residence of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and Fatima (s.a.) [house of Fatima] became the fort of some people who refused to give allegiance to the Caliphate of Abu Bakr. Opponents who were armed according to some clear historical evidences.

Movement of ‘opponents of Abu Bakr’s Caliphate’ to and fro the house of Fatima and their taking asylum in it was not unknown to the Caliph and his supporters.

So much so that some historical documents mention dominant factors of Caliph’s supports in the gathering of the refugees and also mention the presence of potentially dangerous personages like Talha and Saad bin Abi Waqqas.

In the end the fort of this group was broken down when the Caliph’s men surrounded Fatima’s house and Umar threatened to burn it down.

With attention to some points it can be said that: This asylum was in force for a maximum period of three days at the end of which when the house was surrounded by Umar’s men and they put the door to fire this was finally over on Friday (fourth day after the Prophet’s demise). And only Ali (a.s.) remained in security from the attackers with the special support of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.).

Although this barricade was broken by the threats of Umar to burn down the house the small gathering of opponents of Bay’at of Abu Bakr was disintegrated. But this terrible incident did not in the least weaken the resolve of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) to bring down Abu Bakr’s regime.

The city of Medina on the fifth day after the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) witnessed new steps from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and Hazrat Zahra (s.a.).

The first important incident during these days (from the fifth to the seventh after the passing away of the Messenger of Allah) were of soliciting help at night.

According to some authentic historical documents, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) accompanied by Hazrat Zahra (s.a.), for three continuous nights to visit the houses of Emigrants and Helpers asking them for their support in bringing down the Caliphate of Abu Bakr.

Along with these nightly seeking of help - which was in fact a call for Jihad - Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) began her propaganda to expose the real face of Caliph by protesting against the usurpation of her monetary rights.

These monetary demands - which continued for many days by the help and support of His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) - first of all included the demand of her inheritance and share of relatives of the Prophet. Monetary demands of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) fell like a hammer on the head of the Caliphal regime - the culmination of which on the tenth day after the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) was the fiery sermon of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) in the Prophet’s Mosque, called the Fadak sermon.

In the same way according to some historical evidences, Imam Ali (a.s.) also on the ninth day after the demise of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) delivered a speech and again in the evening addressed the Emigrants and Helpers for the fourth time, urging them to render help to dethrone Abu Bakr.

Although these solicitations also like the previous ones remained unanswered and only a few companions volunteered to come forward and help the rightful successor of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.).

This sluggishness and sloth in helping Amirul Momineen (a.s.) was so bitter and painful that Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) in some of her addresses in the Prophet’s Mosque in particular flayed the Helpers by quoting the Quranic verse of ‘then fight the leaders of unbelief…”[52] and again urged them to help them against the tyrant regime.

We can dare say that the ten days (after the Prophet’s passing) were days of culmination of helplessness, solitude and victimization of the Family of Revelation (a.s.).

Among the painful events of the days following was the confiscation of Fadak Orchards which most probably occurred on the fifteenth day after the Prophet.

That Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) were not unaware of the intention of the Caliph to confiscate Fadak is obvious from some statements of Umar bin Khattab. Therefore Hazrat Zahra (s.a.), immediately after demanding her inheritance set out to prove her ownership of Fadak Orchards and demanded that they be restored to her.

On one hand the support and backing of His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) and on the other the terror of the regime of awakening the people’s thinking leading to ousting of Abu Bakr from power, especially after the speeches of twelve prominent companions of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) in the Prophet’s Mosque, compelled the Caliph and his supporters to enact the siege of Fatima’s house and force Ali (a.s.) to pay allegiance.

Therefore we see that the first fortnight of Abu Bakr’s Caliphate began with direct orders of the Caliph to subdue Ali (a.s.) and force allegiance from him and it ended with the blood-filled defense of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.).

That which is most worthy of attention in these events is the determination of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) against paying Bay’at in spite of the obstinacy and ferocity of the Caliph’s party men.

Severe opposition of His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) from accepting the demands of Caliph’s attackers and his determination against their request, which was accompanied by the blood-smeared defense of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.); tell us about the height of Ahle Bayt’s opposition to the regime.

A delicate point that is noticed in the above events is hopelessness of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) from the possibility of deposing the usurped Caliphate of Abu Bakr, especially ten days after the Prophet. Because during the ten days all the petitions of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) to the people had not produced any results. And there was no chance of armed uprising.

Once again it is worth noting that:

Armed Jihad for deposing Abu Bakr’s Caliphate would have made sense only if His Eminence (a.s.) had sufficient power to confront the regime.

Because the aim of armed uprising was not only confronting the tyrant rule, rather it should really succeed in deposing the tyrant ruler and putting Amirul Momineen (a.s.) in the seat of power and in control of circumstances.

Therefore if it did not result in deposition of Abu Bakr and accession of Ali (a.s.) it was very much likely that it would have brought the martyrdom of Ali (a.s.) and his companions or their absolute defeat. And this would not have resulted in anything but deviation and destruction of Islam.

As we have said before, if in this uprising, His Eminence, Ali (a.s.), due to the paucity of supporters had reached martyrdom, the aged companions of Prophet, who had made a show of piety all these years, would have got all the chance to strengthen their position and initiated the distortion of Islamic values as result of which in a short time no trace of original Islam (Shiaism) would have remained.

Although another possibility was there that after the martyrdom of Ali (a.s.) the Bani Umayyad party under the leadership of Abu Sufyan would have renewed their efforts to regain their lost power as a result of which following the downfall of Islam people would have reverted to idol worship and ignorance.

In the same way it must be remembered that even if the Imam and his men had succeeded in defeating Abu Bakr and his supporters but failed to take control of the situation, it might have developed into civil war and maybe furthered by Bani Umayyah and Abu Sufyan thus resulting in utter chaos and even the martyrdom of Ali (a.s.) at the hands of Umayyads.

In other words, on one side the fervor of Imam’s companions and on the other the determination of the Caliph’s party to retain their hold on power would have resulted in complete disorder ending in the destruction of Islam in only fifteen days of Prophet’s demise. Hence the security of Islam was very much linked to the security of the life of Amirul Momineen (a.s.).

It was for this reason that after the first fortnight Amirul Momineen (a.s.) contained his aspirations of deposing Abu Bakr’s Caliphate and he directed his efforts in supporting the demands of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.). In other words Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) began her efforts to demand her rights from Abu Bakr after the first week of his Caliphate.

On the basis of this after feeble response of people to help him, Ali (a.s.) decided to follow the second half of the will of the Prophet and that was to observe patience.

It is obvious that patience was dictated by demands of action and not of belief. And it could not be equated with armed uprising, that also without sufficient supporters. But this patience could also not be construed as ‘surrendering Caliphate’ or ‘refraining from espousing the right of Caliphate and abstaining from explaining the School of Imamate’. It cannot be analyzed in this wrong way.

On the whole it can be said:

The link between ‘safety of Islam’ and ‘security of Imam’s life’ appeared in the beginning period of the Caliphate of Abu Bakr.

With the difference that in the initial days Amirul Momineen (a.s.) was in opposition to Abu Bakr while Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) acted as his protector and defender, but after one week, when there was no response from the people and the severity of Caliph’s men also increased to subdue him, (day signaling the beginning of the period of patience and silence) Hazrat Zahra (s.a.), in addition of the responsibility of protecting the life of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) also assumed the role of opposition to the tyrant regime. His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) intentionally took up the defense and support of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) in her steps and this continued to the last.

The above analysis was done on the basis of following sources:

1 - Allamah Muhammad Baqir Majlisi: Biharul Anwar, (Vols. 28-29)

2 - Abduz Zahra Mahdi: Darasata wa Tahleel Haul Al-Hujoom Alaa Bait-e-Fatima

3 - Shaykh Abbas Qummi: Baitul Ahzaan fee Massaib-e-Sayyidatun Niswaan

4 - Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Musawi: Al-Kauthar fee Ahwaal-e-Fatima binte Nabi al-Athar

5 - Sayyid Ja’far Murtuza Amili: Maa Saa az-Zahra (s.a.) (Vols. 5-6)

6 - Sayyid Mahdi Hashmi: Fatima Zahra Dar Kalaam-e-Ahle Sunnat (Vol. 2)

7 - Adnan Darakhshan: Uboor az Tareeki

8 - Masoodpur Sayyid Aaqaai: Hoor Dar Aatish

9 - Muhammad Dashti: Tahleel Hawaadis Naagawaar Zindagaani Hazrat Zahra (s.a.)

To what extent Ali Believed in Preserving Silence?

It is a point worth considering that silence of Imam Ali (a.s.) has a limit as everything else. Beyond that it has gone beyond tolerance and control. In that case, it could rest at sword alone. Caliphs too were aware of this fact.

Historical documents indicate:

“One day in a gathering, Umar asked: If we turn you back to what you are denying now, that is idol worship, what would you do?

The narrator says: All were silent. Umar repeated these words thrice. Then Imam Ali (a.s.) got up and said: O Umar! In that case we will ask you to repent and if you repent we will accept.

The Caliph asked: And what if I don’t repent?

Imam said: In that case I would cut off your head.”[53]

Did Ali Refrain from Arguing about Imamate?

This is another conjecture attached to his practical conduct and his stand with regard to Caliphs’ government. They say that Imam maintained silence regarding his Imamate and Guardianship (Wilayat). Thus they say:

“Ali (a.s.) refrained from expressing his view and increasing differences among the people about his Imamate. And it was a prominent part of his attitude to the Caliphs, in their times and in his own period.”![54]

It is indeed strange that according to what they claim, His Eminence (a.s.) himself did what he prohibited others.

History proves his actions stood in contrast to claims being made about him.

“Sources indicate that Ali did not retire to isolation when his right was usurped from him.

He believed in the holy text, which establishes his right. At every opportunity, he used to complain to his adversaries and opponents about his right that was snatched from him. He used to remind people about his right. Besides, he used to tell his friends and associates not to give any excuse to them. He did this so that things remain clear to judge on truth and facts. So how can he himself not act on what he preached to others?”[55]

“Some friends of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) also resorted to divine text (Nass). Some Emigrants and Helpers in the very initial days of Abu Bakr’s Caliphate went to the mosque and each of them standing separately flayed him for usurping the Caliphate, scolded and advised him and mentioned their proofs on the rightfulness of Amirul Momineen (a.s.)…that were clear due to the existence of divine texts (Nass).”[56]

In this chapter, our aim is to make clear some of the efforts of Imam Ali (a.s.) to prove his usurped right and revive his Imamate and Guardianship that was being forgotten. And also to criticize the stance of some who believe that Imam Ali (a.s.) did not allow his friends to remind people about his Guardianship and Imamate!!

“Imam Ali (a.s.) on most cases[57] reminded people about Ghadeer.[58] On the day when the Prophet had appointed him a leader after him.

He used to recite this couplet among companions of Prophet even in the presence of Caliphs:

The Prophet made me leader and Imam of people on the day of Ghadeer Khumm.

Woe! Woe be on one who will meet God on Judgment Day with his hands polluted with tyranny to me.

When they wanted to take him by force to the mosque to take allegiance for Abu Bakr, he reminded them about Ghadeer and this time they acknowledged it. Just as in the incident of Shura that was instituted by Umar for successorship after him and also during Uthman’s Caliphate he argued on the basis of Ghadeer.

Imam Ali (a.s.) says in Nahjul Balagha: They have the will.

Does it mean that the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) appointed his Ahle Bayt as his successors or he willed the people to take care of them or was it advice of the Prophet to take Ali (a.s.) as their leader after him? Paying attention to this same sermon we can derive the above meaning. In the preceding sentences Imam (a.s.) has shown Ahle Bayt (a.s.) to be superior to all the people and considered leadership to be their right and that only they were fit for leadership of Islamic Ummah.

In the later sentences Imam Ali (a.s.) says: Now the right has returned to its rightful owner. It has found its correct location wherefrom it was driven out.

This speech is during his own Caliphate. He considers Islamic government his moral and practical right. He again stresses that the previous Caliphs had usurped his clear and absolute right.

While the government of Islam becomes Imam’s right only when there exists a statement from the Prophet.[59]

Here we refer to some statements of His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) in which he has considered leadership after the Prophet to be his immediate right and considered its usurpation an oppression against himself:

…since the time of Prophet’s death always my established right had been taken away from me.[60]

From the audience a person got up and said: Son of Abu Talib, you are greedy for Caliphate. Imam in reply said: No, you are greedier than me while with regard to its conditions you are too far from it. I am nearer to it and more deserving. I am demanding any own right. You want to stop me from reaching to my right and want to stand in between.[61]

…in the same sermon, the Imam complains to God against Quraish. He says: They want to revolt against my own established right.

Likewise, in the Shura committee he told the people: Islamic government is my right. If it is given to me I will take it…

Thus the Imam considered Caliphate his own right. He regards Caliphs usurpers of his absolute right.

He regards Caliphate to be his right without a gap, in such a way that he considered the rejection of his leadership as oppression of Quraish to him and usurpation of his rights…

Imam is not complaining why he was discarded and others took his place. This is not painful to him. His complaint is that his established and acknowledge right was usurped from him. He used to base his claim on Ghadeer.

Imam considered himself and Ahle Bayt (a.s.) as standard-bearers of truth. He also made it clear that the right that Prophet has left to them and in every way their precedence belongs to Ahle Bayt and separation from them is departure from faith.[62][63]

On reading these traditions we derive an important point: Amirul Momineen (a.s.) sees only himself deserving for Caliphate and considers rulership as a right vested by God to him. It is a distinction particular to him. When others come in between, they are usurpers. No one is chosen for succession to Prophet except Ali. So if others come in they are transgressors on the right which is not theirs. Its origin is divine. Therefore Imam Ali (a.s.) regards himself the only deserving candidate by divine choice.

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) in some other statements introduced himself as ‘most fit’ and ‘foremost’ for Caliphate. Thus it is mentioned in Nahjul Balagha that: ‘I am more eligible for it than others’[64] or he said: ‘You are more liable to pay allegiance to me’.[65]

The important point to understand in this statement is that the two qualities of ‘most eligible’ and ‘liable’ have two meanings in the dictionary. In the book, Misbah al-Muneer this meaning is indicated: ‘His statement is more truthful than such and such.’ It is used in two ways. One is to particularize a thing with another without their being any commonality in it; like the statement: ‘Zaid is most eligible for his money’. It means that except for Zaid no has the right to his money. And the second is in the meaning of commonality with the other and it is proved in the sense of precedence among others.[66]

On the basis of this terms of ‘most eligible’ and ‘liable’ are common and their special connotation must be seen in the style of the sentence. When we see the style of the statements of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) we find that he is talking of ‘truth’ against ‘falsehood’.

There are so many statements of His Eminence (a.s.) of these type in his debates and speeches advocating the supremacy of his divine appointment and the declaration of Ghadeer. In addition to other divine texts (Nass) in his favor and his other steps in reminding about his appointment as successor and Caliph, that we can say that:

“Steps of Imam Ali (a.s.) himself, for propagation of ‘divine Imamate’ was the best proof of propagation of Shiaism in the period of Caliphate of His Eminence and later.”[67]

“It is notable that in the beginning Amirul Momineen (a.s.) based his eligibility on divine text (Nass) as this went on to prove the following:

- It passed that when the followers of Imam (a.s.) protested on the basis of divine text (Nass); Abu Bakr was not able to reply and his men threatened people on the point of the sword so that no one else could utter these words and this threat was effective. On the other hand, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) was also threatened with death many a times…

- The period between Ghadeer and Saqifah was only two months. The divine text (Nass) is reminded when it is not heard by the people or buried in oblivion due to length of time. But the text was still alive in memories of the people because being recent enough people themselves had heard the text from Prophet and witnessed the whole event of Ghadeer.

Therefore the Imam less reminded about the holy text and spoke more of his eligibility. But after some years and death of many eye-witnesses we see that His Eminence again stressed on the holy text.

- The best style of argument is to follow the exigency of debate. That is to debate with something a part of which had already been accepted. Claimants of Caliphate argued with the Ansaar saying that they were more eligible because of their relationship with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) and they mentioned their excellences. Imam (a.s.) also argued in the same style.

- Sometimes mention of ones excellences is necessary…it was because someone asked the Imam: How did they sideline you when you were most eligible?”[68]

It is interesting that the manner of Imam Ali (a.s.) was to remain silent and not to go into religious discourses about Imamate and Wilayat as we have seen:

The attention of Imam towards Shiite Imamate was so much that:

“In a detailed letter, which Imam wrote to Muawiyah, he has explained this issue in detail. The letter contains interesting points with respect to Imam’s share in dissemination of Shiite Wilayat…”[69]

Anyway, the severity of emphasis done from the side of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) regarding his right of Caliphate and Imamate can be gauged from the fact that those who create such conjectures are pushed a step backward and they are compelled to confess that such steps of Imam (a.s.) is a struggle to correct the deviated beliefs of the people and the meaning of Imam’s statements is to establish his particular personal right which was based on divine text (Nass) and which had been usurped by particular persons. And in one matter they are absolutely silent that who is the owner of this right and who are the usurpers.

In such a way that in this interpretation of unity-seekers Imam (a.s.) has spoken that Islam is having rulership and Caliphate (subject to special conditions and rules). But he never mentioned that the owner of that post was he himself and that Caliphate was a right related to him alone. So how can it be said that he talked of the usurpation of Caliphate and about the usurpers. Thus they falsely claim:

“Did Ali (a.s.) while overlooking the demanding of his personal rights for the sake of Muslim unity and protection of Islam awaited to explain the great pillar of Islam which is the surety of Islam and he resorted to silence?”![70]

“These statements should not be borne as personal defense and chance historical narration, it would be better to consider them as having a divine message and revelation of a wasted right till it remains in History.”![71]

“Ali (a.s.) according to the divine responsibility wanted to propagate one of the pillars of Islam which was very good for the future of Islam and Muslims and it was one of the divine rights that had been trespassed and forgotten…and he wanted to accomplish this without creating disunity among the rows of Muslims.”![72]

These conjectures are so complicated and confusing that one who reads them wonders whether those who have coined them have forgotten what they had claimed previously?!

But it must be said: These types of expressions were also propagated directly with the previous conjectures and only for concealing numerous historical evidences (all of which show discussions of guardianship and Imamate and plan of usurped right of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) from His Eminence (a.s.) himself).

Such plans put the readers into such confusion that it is not understood Amirul Momineen (a.s.) in fact was reviving which subjects?! A Caliphate absolute and ambiguous that is not understood…

Or a personal right and specified that itself has an application that is introduced and also its usurpers are exposed…

Although it must be understood that showing such unlikely analyses from the biography of Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) from the previous beliefs based on the separation of ‘rulership in Islam’ from ‘eligibility of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) as a rightful Caliph, immediately after the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.)’.

Thus it is said:

“In my view one who says today that there is no politics and rulership, his deviation from Islam is more than one who says for example that Ali was not the immediate Caliph due to the fact that this issue in relation to that one is branch issue and they have separated the principles of religion from politics which is a very dangerous thing and his deviation is also more; that is it can be said that they have denied a necessary matter, but with regard to the deniers of immediate Caliphate Ali (a.s.) it cannot be said that they have denied a necessary matter of Islam…”![73]

It is interesting that in the way of attributing separation between the position of Caliphate and Imamate and also in concealing all the debates of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) they still claim:

“Imam instead of stressing on the Caliphate of Ahle Bayt, he has emphasized on their knowledge, intelligence and their scientific and spiritual centrality.”![74]

It is in the circumstances that the makers of these statements themselves have exhibited a contradiction in speech when they claimed that:

“Imam severely prohibited the people excess regarding himself which may in contradiction to what perception the general public holds about him.”![75]

Not only this is contradicting their own statements, it is also against their publicized claim regarding the attitude of His Eminence (a.s.); because firstly:

Statements of His Eminence (a.s.) regarding the moral positions of Ahle Bayt (a.s.) are opposed to what the general public thinks! Because they have themselves confessed that after the Prophet (s.a.w.s.), “The majority chose the method of selection and the Imam and his supporters stressed on divine text (Nass).”![76]

On the basis of this confession most of the people had not accepted the special status of Imam (a.s.) and in fact it must be said that they even denied and ignored his recognized position; on the basis of explanation of essay writers, stressing on knowledge and intellect and scientific and spiritual centrality of the Imam (a.s.) in such conditions would be accepting of a position and status opposed to public perception about the His Eminence (a.s.)!

Secondly it must be noted that:

“Actions of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) in reviving the knowledge centrality of Ahle Bayt (a.s.)[77] in emphatic way should be considered to be a right contained in his Caliphate and not viewed as aimed to dispense with public perception about Alawi Caliphate.

These steps, themselves are proofs that the eligibility for Caliphate was restricted to His Eminence (a.s.);

So that it may become clear to all that:

“Their sciences and divine knowledge were from a divine source and all the other people are not fit to be compared with them. Therefore others must follow Ahle Bayt.

His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) has introduced Ahle Bayt as follows:

They are the trustees of His secrets, shelter for His affairs, source of knowledge about Him, centre of His wisdom, valleys for His books and mountains of His religion.

With them Allah straightened the bend of religion’s back and removed the trembling of its limbs.

None in the Islamic community can be taken at par with the Progeny of the Prophet. One who was under their obligation cannot be matched with them.

They are the foundation of religion and pillar of Belief. The forward runner has to turn back to them while the follower has to overtake them.

They possess the chief characteristics for vicegerency. In their favor exists the will and succession (of the Prophet).

When the Imam (a.s.) got the seat of Caliphate he said:

This is the time when right has returned to its owner and diverted to its centre of return.”[78]