The Caliphate; Its Conception and Consequences

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The Caliphate; Its Conception and Consequences

Author: Agha Muhammad Sultan Mirza

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The Caliphate; Its Conception and Consequences

The Caliphate; Its Conception and Consequences


The Caliphate;

Its Conception and Consequences

Author: Agha Muhammad Sultan Mirza


This version is published on behalf of

The composing errors are not corrected.

Table of Contents

A Short Biographical Sketch Of The Author 7


Preface 10

Chapter One: The Theory Of Non-Appointment and Why It Was Invented 17

Chapter Two: The Parties 19

Chapter Three: Hadith and History 27

The First and Second Stages: 29

The Third and Fourth Stages: 33

Chapter Four: Why The Theory Of Non-Appointment Is Highly Improbable and Entirely Illogical 43

Point (1): No Reasonable Grounds for the Prophet's Silence: 44

Point (2): Nothing in the QUR'AN Requiring the Prophet's silence: 46

Point (3): The Conduct of the Immediate Successors of the Prophet (P): 47

Points (4) & (5): Was the prophet Unaware of the Need? 49

Point (6): The People Made no Demand: 49

Point (7): The Constitution: 49

Point (8): Precedents of the Previous Prophets: 66

Point (9): The Electors and the Candidates - What the Prophet Thought to them: 68

Point (10): The Dangers of Leaving the Question of Succession to the Votes of the People and the Prophet's Knowledge of those Dangers: 69

Points (11) & (12): 71

Chapter Five: The Nomination 72


The Condition For The Making Of an Ideal Caliph 75


2. Brothers in this World and the Next: 76

3. "Both as One": 77

4. Exhortation to Love Ali" 78


1. Education: 80

2. Substitution on the Bed on the Night of HIJRA: 81

3. The Closing of the Doors to the Mosque from the Houses of all the Companions except Imam Ali: 83

4.The Placing of Imam Ali under the Subordination of No-one except the Prophet (P): 86

5. The Clearing of the KA'BA of its Idols: 87

6. Promulgation of the State Policy: 87

7. The Spiritual Duel ("MUBAHALA") with the Christians of NAJRAN: 88

8. The Disclosing of State Secrets and Other Important Matters to Imam Ali, and his Presence with Muhammad (P) when he Breathed his Last: 89

9. Knowledge: The "HADITH of MEDINAT-AL-ILM": 90

11. The Position of Imam Ali in Relation to the prophet (P), and the Duties of the UMMA towards Both: 93

Chapter Six: Final and Formal Announcement or The Successor 94

1. The Divine Command: 94

2. The Place and the Formalities: 97

3. The Proclamation: 98

4. Homage and Congratulations: 101

5. The Complete Execution of the Entire Mission: 101

Chapter Seven: After The Announcement 102

Attempt on the Life of the Prophet (P): 104

HABIB AS-SAYYAR has this version: 109

1. Was it Delirium? 115

2. Book of God: 116

3. What the Prophet Intended to Write: 117

4. Oral Declaration on his Deathbed: 118

5. History Made Unintelligible: 119

Chapter Eight: The Coup d'etat 121

1. The Presence of Agents and Spies of the Opposition Party Among the ANSAR: 121

2. The Death of the Prophet While ABU BAKR is at SUKH, and UMAR'S Refusal to Believe that the Prophet is Dead: 122

3. The Arrival of ABU BAKR, his Admonishing of the Mourners, his Exhortation to the People to Select the Successor, and UMAR'S Recognition of the Prophet's Death: 122

4. UMAR'S Private Receipt of News and his Departure with ABU BAKR for the SAQIFA: 122

5. The Meeting of UMAR and ABU BAKR on the Way, as if by Appointment, with ABU UBAIDA IBN AL-JARRAH, the Proceeding of these Three towards the SAQIFA, and their Further Meeting on the Way with Two ANSAR Friends: 122

6. The Arrival at the SAQIFA, the Arguments, and the Deciding Factors: 123

Discussion 126





Chapter Nine: After The Coup 137


Chapter Ten: The Nomination Of Umar and Uthman 144

The Shura 146













Chapter Eleven: Nepotism or Sheer Justice 158


Criterion No. 1: Freedom from Idolatry: 159

Criterion No. 2: Precedence in Islam: 160

Criterion No. 3: Purity and Strength of Faith: 162

Criteria Nos. 4 & 5: Conduct in Battle: 163

(a) The Battle of BADR; 19th Ramadan A.H. 2 (A.C. 624) 163

(b) The Battle of UHUD; 11th SHAWWAL A.H. 3(A.C. 625) 164

(c) The Battle of AHZAB ("The Ditch"); SHAWWAL A.H.5 (A.C.627): 165

(d) The Battle of KHAIBAR; MUHARRAM A.H.7 (A.C.628): 167

(e) The Battle of HUNAIN; 6th SHAWWAL A.H.8 (A.C.630): 168

Criteria Nos. 6&7: Ali's Claim to Superiority: 170

Criterion No, 8: Selfless Devotion to Islam: 172

Temporal Government 173

1. Inability to Secure the Caliphate: 174

2.TALHA, AZ-ZUBAIR and the Battle of JAMAL: 176

3. MU'AWIYA and the Battle of SIFFIN: 177

4. The Murderers of UTHMAN: 179

5.The Foreign Conquests: 183

(a) The Foreign Expeditions were due to Internal Exigencies: 184

(b) The Conquests were Hasty and Premature: 187

(c) The Foreign Expeditions Were Against the Laws of JIHAD: 196

Chapter Twelve: To Conclude 208

A Short Biographical Sketch Of The Author

AGHA MUHAMMAD SULTAN MIRZA was the only child of Professor AGHA MOHAMMAD SAJJAD MIRZA, who served, inter ALIA, as the second Principal of SIND (MADRASAT AL-ISLAM) (1886 to 1887), Karachi, and was himself an author. He was born in 1885 at Delhi, and passed his Matriculation Examination from the Anglo-Arabic School, and B.A., LL.B., and M.A. Examinations from the Muslim University, ALIGARH.

He passed the Provincial Civil Service (Judicial) Competitive Examination with distinction in 1910, and was posted in the Punjab. In recognition of his meritorious awarded the title of Khan Sahib in 1930. After giving served in various cities of the Punjab, he retired as District & Sessions Judge, from GUJRANWALA, in 1944, and settled in Delhi.

After his retirement, and until the Partition of India, he served as, Honorary Special Magistrate, member of the Delhi University Syndicate, President SHIA MAJLIS-E-AWQAF, and member of the Provincial Council of ANJUMAN SHIAT-AS-SAFA. He migrated to Pakistan in January 1948 and re-settled at Karachi. In order to utilize his vast judicial and administrative experience, the Government or Pakistan appointed him as a Special Magistrate, and in addition, entrusted him with the task of inspecting and re-organizing all the City Courts. He prepared a voluminous Report, and as result of recommendations made therein, separate Copying and NAZARAT Branches and Mal KHANA, were set up de novo. He laid foundation of the RIZVIA Housing Society, and was elected unopposed as its President for several years.

From the beginning of his career, his one consuming hobby was the pursuit of knowledge, literary and religious studies, and research. He assembled a most valuable library, comprising several thousand books, on all topics and in all the important languages.

Apart from a number of scholarly treatises and articles, he has written the following historical-cum- religious-cum- biographical books in Urdu:

1-Al-BLAGHUL MOBEEN (three volumes):



4-FALSAFA-L-ISLAM (two volumes):


The most famous and highly appreciated of his books is, "Al-BLAGHUL MOBEEN", which was published in Delhi, in 1944, and numerous Editions thereof have been published since. It is generally recognized by the scholars and ULEMA, that such an authoritative, well-argued, and irrefutable book on the historical-cum-religious subject of "KHILAFAT" has not been written in the Urdu language until now, as the following excerpt from a letter of Professor MIRZA MOHD: SAEED, a prominent member of the Indian Education Service, addressed to the author, indicates;

"I have read 300 pages of your book (Al-BALAGHUL-MOBEEN) so far, and the effect it had on me, is, that the beliefs and views which I had formulated after years of studies and research, have been shaken to the core…"

He had set for himself highest standards of integrity moral probity, during his Government service, and never bargained on principles, nor allowed his judgment to be influenced by any SIFARISH (recommendation), or consideration for his own worldly interests. One example would suffice here. The students of various Colleges in Lahore had formed a procession, to protest against the hanging of BHAGAT SINGH, a well-known revolutionary.

The British Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr. HARDINGE, and the British Superintendent of Police, Mr. Neal, after dispersing the procession, entered the premises of D.A.V College, in pursuit of the students, and gave a thrashing to Professor SANT RAM SIAL, who was taking a Class at the time. The Professor filed a criminal suit in the Court of AGHA Muhammad: Sultan MIRZA, who imposed heavy fines, and passed severe strictures against both the British Police Chiefs. Mr. Gordon WLAKER, the British District & Session Judge, Lahore, at the time, told AGHA SAHIB, that he was very unhappy with his decision in the case, and so also was the Government. He replied that his Judgment was based on facts, relevant law, and justice, according to his lights, and was not intended to make him or the Government happy. As a consequence thereof, his increment and promotion were stopped for a number of years.

He breathed his last peacefully, on 17th December 1965) 24 SHA'BAN, 1385, A.H.), and lies buried in the BAGH-E-KHORASAN graveyard.


B.A, LL.B. C.S.S (RTD.)

Son of the author



Editing this worthy book has been an honor and a privilege, but it has not been without its difficulties. The book was written late in the Author's retirement, and had he lived longer, he would doubtless it into a condition suitable of presentation to the publishers. However, after the elapse of almost forty years, this daunting task has finally fallen to myself: it has been my prayer that Almighty God might guide me in it. It is inevitable that in a book being published so long after it was written, the style acceptable to the reader of today is somewhat different to that of the Author's day, and this has obliged me to take a certain amount of liberty with word order and word usage. However, in quotations taken from other authors I have tried to leave the text alone.

While the basic subject matter of a book of this kind stands independently of time, it shows its age in the use of example, and I have seen fit to delete from the survey of democracy in "modern" states the passages on the Soviet Union of Stalin and the China of Chiang KAI-SHEK as inappropriate, Conversely, I have added as footnotes a few more modern examples.

In addition to the eleven chapters of the book, the manuscript contained an unfinished twelfth chapter entitled "To Sum Up". This I have omitted: it contained no new material or discussion that was not already present in the book, but was an incomplete attempt at a summary, which it was clear had been added by the Author as an afterthought, and its omission in no way detracts from the book.

Finally, I have admitted defeat on editing the spelling of names, and pass this task to others more versed in the accepted forms. I ask for the Reader's forbearance for any errors that might remain, and wish him the best in his search for truth.


23rd October 1988


Three revolutions of the greatest magnitude and importance, and having extremely far-reaching consequences, took place in Islam on the death of its Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.). Those revolutions were firstly political, secondly religious, and thirdly social. They are all interrelated, having a common origin Towards the close of the Prophet's career, when the whole of Arabia had well nigh been conquered, a party arose among his companions, which wanted to seize power on his death. In the execution of their designs they found themselves face to face in opposition to IMAM ALI, whom the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) had designated as his successor. For the reasons detailed in this book, the political coup d'état staged at the SAQIFA succeeded in transferring power to that party. This political revolution led to the other two revolutions.

The Party Government formed as a result of this coup was quite naturally subjected to severe criticism by those -and they were many- to whom wisdom came after the event. The ANSAR, without whose help this party could not have succeeded, realized, though too late, that they had been duped, and the nation was at once divided into two hostile camps: the ANSAR, who had relented, and the MUHAJIRIN, who did not wish them to do so. For the Government, it was a very dangerous situation. The brain that devised the plan that averted the imminent catastrophe deserves the admiration of the statesmen of all ages: the whole nation was at once ordered out on expeditions to Iran and Syria. The device well suited the Arabs, who loved only two things in this world: women and booty:

This device provided the means to get both. Having been accustomed to depredatory raids, which had been almost the only source of their livelihood for countless centuries (agriculture coming later, and that too for the rich only), the Arabs took this order of their rulers as a boon, and the feelings of hatred and chagrin at once gave place to love and gratitude. Thus, Medina, which was the only seat of political power, became calm and quiet. The victories, which attended these expeditions, silenced the rich, and the streams of wealth, which flowed into Medina, satisfied the poor. The fickle-minded greedy Arab forgot the rights and wrongs of a question, which ceased to have any practical importance for him.

These expeditions came just at the moment when the two great empires of the ancient world, the Iranian and the Roman, enervated by luxury and weakened by internal dissentions and religious disputes, stood on the brink of their graves: the final push from behind was given by the Arab armies, who overran their countries in the twinkling of an eye. The Iranian Empire was gone forever, and the Roman armies were finally expelled from Asia.

On the heels of the political revolution, and closely connected with it, came the religious revolution. Those were the days of faith, and the Government, knew full well that they had to justify their action from the religious point of view. Therefore, professing themselves to be the successors of the Prophet (P), they invented certain dogmas to suit their case, and took care to incorporate them into the everyday religious philosophy of the common man. Even MAWLAWI SHIBLI, the great Indian historian of this distorted Islam, who in religion is the follower of the Government Party of those days, is constrained to admit that most of the religious dogmas which we find current today had their origin in politics, and were invented to shield the rulers form adverse criticism and to meet the arguments of their detractors. SHIBLI, however, lays the blame at the door of BANU OMAYYA his childhood education and inherited religious traditions prevented him from probing deeper. I have proved in my other writings that these dogmas were invented during the time of the first Caliph, when they were most needed.

This was a revolution whose effects are felt even today. Religion was assimilated into politics and made subservient to it. All those devices in the shape of dogmas and beliefs, which could go to strengthen the position of the Party, were invented and utilized. The influence of the politics of that period on Islam greatly damaged its purity. The premature embarking on foreign expeditions, which was also due to home politics, resulted in further injury to Islam, and it subsequently became tainted with the customs, manners and beliefs of the Christians, Jews and heathens.

The Muslims themselves had not by that early stage become well enough versed in the religious philosophy of Islam, and were not able to meet the cleverly worded arguments of Christian wranglers and Greek philosophers. The influx of thousands of slaves, male and female, travels into foreign lands, and intercourse with strangers, all resulted in the adulteration of the religion and corruption of the morals of the Muslims, whose head was completely turned by the ruddy wines of Syria and the charming song stresses of Persia. Wine, women and music became the fashion of the day. AMIR ALI informs us that, "The women of the northern city were good singers; and according to the chroniclers, the austere UMAR often stopped in his rounds to listen to their music". The simple social life that was Arabia in the days of the Prophet (P) was gone never to return; its place was taken by that artificial life of gaiety, levity and laxity, which has always been the curse of humanity. This social revolution was unique in the history of humanity on account of its sudden and speedy appearance and permanent stay.

I9t is not within the compass of this book to describe fully the religious and social revolutions of that period. It will suffice to say that they had very far-reaching consequences. It is certain that they were the direct result of the political upheaval, which took place on the death of the Prophet (P) due to the passions, prejudices and jealousies of the tribes that comprised the Islamic community in those days. It is the Islam thus tainted and adulterated that has reached us, not the pure, unalloyed Islam which was taught by Muhammad (P). Though the un-Islamic nature of their Islam is universally admitted to the Muslims, they dread to probe deep below the surface for fear of exposing the very delicate nerves of their religion, which do not brook close examination.

The purpose of this book is to describe this political upheaval, together with its causes and consequences.

The pent-up feelings of years found free vent on the death of the Prophet (P), who had been the only controlling force that had kept knit together-and even then with great difficulty- the conflicting elements of Arabia. Jealousy and mutual distrust were born instincts in the Arabs; implicit obedience was not rendered even to the Sheikh of their tribe, whom they followed only on the occasions of actual warfare. By nature, the Arab was haughty, insolent, jealous, distrustful and impatient or restraint in any sphere of life, whether moral, religious, social or political.

These traits of his character were responsible for his unpopularity with subject races, and also for his eventual downfall. To have kept together these unruly and fiery people, and to have welded together into one nation these jarring and troublesome elements, was the greatest social reform for the Prophet (P) to have effected. This unity might have continued even after his death, had not the dazzling glare of "HUKUMA" and the overwhelming passion for power rudely subjected the fidelity of the Prophet's followers to a severe test.

In his plan of a universal religion, the Prophet had intended to base the structure of Islamic society and government on the fear of God, an all-seeing, all-pervading being who rules the world and shapes the destiny of man. In this scheme, society was to be graded not according to his piety and fear of God, the Holy QUR'AN says, "The most honored of you in the sight of God is he who fears God most". This was the standard prescribed by Islam by which men were to be judged, and their rulers selected. An impartial and thoughtful consideration of this rule will convince that it revolutionizes the whole structure of society, which must be regarded and reformed. It assigns quite different values to ideas and things, and opens up to man's eyes a totally different vista. Respect and honor are no longer to be dealt out on the basis of power and wealth; henceforth powers is to be weaned away from wealth, and assigned instead to character, in which fear of God is to be the dominant feature. In disregard of all worldly possessions, honor must go to the man who fears God most, even if he is the poorest of the poor. Money is no longer to be the arbiter of man's fate and the goal of his life. All types of "isms" -Communism, Capitalism, Socialism, Marxism, Existentialism, etc, -are done away with at a stroke; all schism between poverty and privilege, that has on so many occasions shaken human society to its foundations, is gone; all disputes between labor and capital, that are a menace to modern society, are settled. The incentive to accumulate wealth disappears, and contempt is no longer an accompaniment of poverty. Poverty loses its sting and wealth its glamour, both meeting on the same level. High, middle and low strata of society are formed not according to the level of wealth possessed, but according to loftiness of character. There are to be no disputes between the serf and the Lord of the Manor, between plebeian and patrician, between laborer and employer, as their relations are to be regulated by fear of God, the Justest of the most just. Serenity and perfect peace prevail in society, and the oppression of the poor by the rich is unknown; in short, perfect justice is the order of the day. This, without doubt, was the state of affairs at MEDINA during the lifetime of the Prophet (P). This dream of a utopian state on a wider scale was well nigh realizable at the time the Prophet died. But the whole aspect was changed at once, and the new lessons were soon unlearnt. The Prophet (P) had left a state, which was to be captured at any cost, and it had to be done with the help of the rich and powerful. Fear of God receded into the background, and power and wealth came again to the fore. The lessons had been perfect, but the time allowed for practice had been too short. The result was moral chaos.

ASH-SHAHRISTANI, the well-known historian of the numerous sects of Islam, has rightly observed that the most disastrous dissention in Islam has been over the question of the succession to the Prophet (P), and that over no other religious dispute has so much blood been shed or so much misery caused. This being the case, the distortion of history by the winning party was a foregone conclusion.

As a matter of fact, the whole structure of KHILAFA (succession) has been based on the wrong notion that the Prophet of Islam did not designate anyone as his successor in the spiritual and temporal government of Islam. Moreover, according to this theory, he observed total silence with regard to his successor, not even hinting how he was to be appointed or selected.

This means that he entirely overlooked a most important part of the constitution of the State he founded. The object of this treatise is to show that this notion is founded on a misapprehension of facts, and that in fact the Prophet (P) designated Imam ALI for the vicegerency, and duly announced it on many occasions, notably on the occasion of the return journey from the performance of the "Farewell Pilgrimage" during a halt at a place called KHUM.

That an attempt to secure the headship in the theocracy founded by the Prophet was started on his death cannot be denied, and it is also certain that the aspirants to that exalted office could have no locus stand unless they could prevail upon the people to believe that the Prophet himself had failed to make any provision for that eventuality. This was the raison d'être of this view. The question then arises as to who those persons were, and how this incorrect view has come to be accepted throughout the ages. These questions have been fully investigated and answered in the following pages, and the erroneous nature of this view has been brought into full relief. Throughout this book I have termed this mistaken view "The Non-appointment Theory".

I have sought to maintain a historical and rational line of treatment throughout the discussion of this subject; the religious and passionate sides of it have been largely ignored. But at the same time, historical personages who are held in esteem by any faction or class of the Muslims are spoken of with great respect. It must however be admitted that in the discussion of a subject like the present one, a criticism of their words and deeds is unavoidable. The book is an attempt by a seeker after truth to ascertain the real facts, and should be read in that spirit. It is really a matter of history to know whether the founder of a great system, a great empire, and a great nation was far-sighted enough to select, train and nominate his successor, or whether he gave no thought to the future and left everything unsettled in an "after-me-the-deluge" spirit.

It is one of the chief concerns of any student of history to know the rules of the constitution laid down for his State by the Great Founder:

whether he meant it to be republic, in which authority is divided and placed in several hands, or whether he desired the centralization of power in one strong and competent hand; whether the wished the head of the state to be elected by several parties, which in the case of Arabia meant tribes, or whether he preferred to make the nomination of his successor himself: whether the Islamic state was intended to be run on democratic lines; whether any rules to that effect were laid down by the Prophet (P), or whether there is anything in the QUR'AN to indicate that sort of thing.

The student of history must also question the events themselves. Were the rules of democracy honestly and sincerely followed in the election of the first Caliph, or was it more in the nature of a political coup than an election? If nomination was to be discarded by the nation, why did the first Caliph nominate his successor? Why did nomination become the rule ever after (except in the case of Imam ALI, when there was no-one to nominate and no-one to accept the Caliphate due to the confusion that followed the murder of UTHMAN)? When, during his last illness, the Prophet wanted to write his will and asked the Companions present there to supply writing material, why was it not supplied to him, and why was his wish passed off as the ravings of delirium; why was it pleaded that no further directions were needed due to the Book of God being sufficient for all eventualities? Why was the same thing not said to ABU BAKR when he caused his will to be written under worse circumstances, and why was his will accepted and acted upon? Did the Companions from one solid block, as has been urged for political reasons, or were they divided into two great camps corresponding to these two great parties? What was the nature of the SHURA of six men appointed by UMAR to select his successor? Why was no ANSAR, included in it? Why were all the members of the SHURA, excepting Imam ALI, men of great riches, having relationships with and inclinations towards UTHMAN? Why was UTHMAN, a scion of the house of OMAYYA selected for this favor? Did the constitution of the SHURA and the directions given to its members by UMAR not indicate that he intended UTHAMN to be selected as the Caliph? Why was a strong OMAYYAD kingdom allowed to grow and take root in Syria under MU'AWIYA?

These and the like are the questions that arise in the mind of a student of Islamic history, and demand a solution. An attempt has been made in this book to supply satisfactory answers to these important questions. As a matter of fact, no intelligible Islamic history worth the name can be written without discussing and explaining all these crucial issues. Books on Islamic history written by Muslim historians tend to fight shy of these important points, and the European authors have followed suit. Those of them who, like MARGOLIOUTH, try to find solutions to some of these matters, find themselves landed in a quagmire of absurdities when they follow the Theory of Non-appointment and the data on which it is based through to its legitimate conclusion. Some instances of this awkward situation have been cited in this book. To merely shut a door to all enquiry into these questions by the evasive remark that they are religious questions concerning two factions of the Muslims, is to deny the writing of Islamic history on rational lines.

DR CONDE, the historian of Muslim Spain, has rightly observed "that a sort of fatality attaching itself to human affairs would seem to command that in the relating of historical events, those of the highest importance should descent to posterity only through the justly suspect channels of narrations written by the conquering parties". He goes on to remark that "a sound and just discrimination forbids us to content ourselves with the testimony of one side only; this requires that we compare the narrations of both parties with careful impartiality, and commands us to cite them with no other purpose than that of discovering the truth". My only wish is that this wholesome rule be observed in ascertaining the true facts about the history of the early Caliphate, which has been written by the conquering party, that is, those who succeeded in securing the throne and occupying it almost down to our own time when an end was put to the Caliphate by the Young Turks. The need for precaution is all the greater, as the very existence of the Caliphate depended on this Theory of Non-appointment. By way of comparison, the majority sections of the Muslim nation have felt the necessity of rewriting the history of their period of domination in India, as it has been written by the conquering party, that is the British, who were naturally interested in showing their predecessors to disadvantage.

The semi-government organ of Pakistan "Dawn" in its issue of 22nd October 1948, contains an exhortation to write a new history of Muslim Rule in India, as the British, for reasons of their own, have written a false history of this period. The effect of the British rulers having merely put their own version of the case, has been that a number of so-called Muslim historians have either accepted the perversion as truth, or at least, write as half-hearted apologists. The Government of Pakistan has taken up the suggestion, and a committee is to be established, entrusted with the task of rewriting the history of the Muslim rule in India (as announced on Pakistan Radio on 9th February 1949). I fail to understand why the same steps should not be taken with regard to the history of the early Caliphate, and an examination be made of the Non-appointment Theory, which have come down to us as written by the conquering party, whose kings, unlike the British, did not rest content with the merely passive measure of foisting on the world their own perverse view, but suppress the correct position.

This book is intended to expose to the world the correct position of affairs that existed at the time of the Prophet's death, and to remove the thick fold of veils that has remained hanging over the true facts for full fourteen centuries. I can well imagine that this veritable revolution in the realm of Islamic history will give rise to vehement opposition from various quarters, and I am perfectly aware of the Herculean nature of the task that I have set before me. I have to face the fanaticism of religion, the prejudice of ancient and inherited opinions. The dread of disturbing the status quo, "the awe of the majority", and the cumulative effect of the propaganda of over thirteen centuries.

Add to this the fact that has been so frankly admitted by MAWLAWI SHIBLI, that all the books on Islamic history have been written by SUNNIS, that is, by persons who hold it as a religious belief that the Prophet of Islam did not nominate anyone as his successor and KHALIFA and that therefore ABU BAKR was validly elected or selected as Caliph at the SAQIFA on the death of the Prophet (P), and you will in some measure realize the Himalayas of difficulties that bar my to truth, and will apprehend the almost superhuman exertion that I will have to make in unearthing the truth that lies buried under the mountains of debris that have accumulated over this long period, and the effort required by the reader in recognizing and admitting it. In this arduous task I have two helpers: Reason and Justice.

I beseech my Reader to commence the reading of this book with a clean, unbiased mind, free of any preconceived ideas or prejudices. His solitary object should be to ascertain the truth and to do justice to personages of history who have long since left the stage, and who now expect justice at the bar of posterity, their contemporaries having failed to fulfill that duty. I appeal to his reason and sense of justice, and claim no other indulgence. If he finds what I have to say to accord with reason and justice, then let him accept it: if not, then let him reject it and think no more of it.

In order to close all avenues to doubt or uncertainty, I have made it a point to base my arguments only on the books written by the learned men belonging to the faction with whom the Non-appointment Theory is an article of faith, and in the learning and veracity of whom the whole community has had full faith and confidence for generations. There are some five hundred notes of reference, and not in a single one of them is there included any book written by a member of the opposite party.

I have referred only to those authors and books that are held in the highest esteem by the learned men of the Sunnis, for example- Al-BUKHARI, Muslim, IBN MAJA, IMAM AHMAD IBN HANBAL, AT-TABARI, IBN AL-ATHIR, IBN HISHAM, IBN KHALDUN, TARIKH Al-KHAMIS, SHIBLI, SHAH WALI ALLAH, AS-SIRA AL-HALABIYYA, MISHKAT, etc. (See Bibliography). This is the chief characteristic of the book, and should greatly enhance its reliability and augment its worth, as the most conclusive demonstration of the strength of case is that it can be built on the arguments of its adversaries.


10,Sunny-side Mansion,

Artillery Maidan-3,

27th February 1949

Chapter One: The Theory Of Non-Appointment and Why It Was Invented

Very soon after the arrival of the Prophet at MEDINA, it became evident to all that a Muslim state was in the making. With this knowledge, the idea naturally entered every mind as to who the next ruler of this state after the Prophet would be. As time went on and the state expanded, this idea took deeper root and different shapes in the minds of different persons.

It was all too plain that the Prophet (P) had selected Imam Ali to be his successor. But this was not to the liking of many people, and their sullen mood was fed and fostered for their own ends by those who thought themselves to be in a position to make a bid for the prize. They set about canvassing and inviting people to their way of thinking, with the result that a party comprising this ambitious and refractory element was soon formed. By the time the question of the succession arose, this opposition party had gained considerable strength and momentum of its own.

The gradual acquisition of power and the cause that led to their ultimate success, form the subject matter of the following pages. But a formidable difficulty faced the opposition from the outset. According to the tenets of Islam and the behests of the QUR'AN, they had to yield unquestioning submission to the will of the Prophet and were to carry out his orders without demur, nay without feeling even the slightest disinclination in their hearts. They were to take these orders with a joyful acceptance springing from their firm conviction in the infallibility of the Prophet and the honesty of his purpose.

In fact this was the main condition of their being accepted into the fold of Islam. Without this unquestioning submission and unhesitating obedience, they could not be Muslims. Now the dilemma before them was this; if they unquestioningly accepted and obeyed the orders of the Prophet designating Imam Ali as his successor, they would have to give up the long cherished desire of their hearts and lose the Caliphate for ever; yet if they were to declare themselves openly in opposition to the wishes of the Prophet, they would be stigmatized as KAFIRIN (unbelievers) and so losing the caliphate anyway as no opponent of the Prophet could be his successor. It was certainly a mastermind of politics who devised the means to steer clear of this rock. The device was this; instead of openly disobeying the orders of the Prophet, they feigned not to believe that the Prophet (P) had designated Imam Ali, or anyone else for that matter, as his successor. This is the raison d'étre of the Non-appointment Theory.

The person who formulated this Theory was definitely UMAR, and it has become an accepted article of faith with one of the two factions of the Muslim nation into which it has since been divided on the question of the Caliphate, as we have learnt before. On his deathbed, when asked to nominate his successor, UMAR said that if he did so he would be following the example of one who was better than himself, namely ABU BAKR, and that if he did not designate anyone as his successor, he would be following the example of one who was also better than himself, that is, the Prophet. It has been an article of faith with this faction ever since. They have proclaimed it as an established fact that the Prophet (P) did not designate anyone as his successor, whether Imam Ali or ABU BAKR. Not only this; they maintain that the Prophet did not give any direction as to how the succession should be regulated. At the SAQIFA, where ABU BAKR was selected as Caliph, no definite direction of the Prophet was cited and none was followed.

The so-called election at the SAQIFA, the arguments that were advanced there, and the conduct of UMAR and ABU BAKR in abruptly leaving the dead body of the Prophet and hastening to the SAQIFA to get ABU BAKR selected as the Caliph, can have a meaning only on the assumption that the Prophet did not nominate his own successor.

All the Muslim writers whose on Islamic History have been acknowledged as authentic have been Sunnis, that is, belonging to the majority party who formulated the Non-appointment Theory, and they believe as an article of their faith that ABU BAKR was rightfully elected by the UMMA as Caliph. This explains why they are unanimous in saying that the Prophet did not nominate his successor. But as a piece of historical evidence, this unanimity is of no value.