When it comes to caliphate / successorship of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) we hear all kinds of arguments like companionship in the cave, seniority in age, father of the Prophet’s wife and so on.
Are these arguments sound enough to select the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) caliph?
Isn’t it possible that the one selected by the Muslims on these parameters may still fall short of replacing the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in the nation?
Muslims should look for the one who can be the perfect replacement for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in matters of leadership of the nation, knowledge of the Holy Quran and Sunnah, among other traits.
Of course, such a person will be a companion, but he must be much more than that, as these reports indicate:
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) declared:
Ali is from me and I am from him, and no one can carry out my tasks except I or Ali.
- Al-Khasais trad 74 (Ahle Tasannun)
Similarly, when it was time to propagate Surah Bara’at (Tauba), we see this widely documented report in the books of the Ahle Tasannun:
The Prophet (a.s.) sent the Surah of Bara’at with Abu Bakr (to be announced before the people of Mecca).
Then, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) recalled Abu Bakr and said: It is not permissible that anyone should carry out this task except a man from my family.
Then, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) sent for Ali and handed the Surah to him.
- Al-Khasais trad 75
- Sunan al-Tirmizi v 4 p 339
- Musnad of Ahmed v 3 p 283
- Tafseer Ibn Kathir v 2 p 322
- Tafseer Durr al-Manthoor under Surah Bara’at
- Shawahid al-Tanzeel v 1 p 306-308
In light of these and numerous other reports, it is clear that none other than Ameerul Momineen – Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) was a worthy replacement of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in caliphate.
Hence the Muslims erred in selecting others who were nowhere close to replacing the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). In fact, these pseudo caliphs were rejected by Allah and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) as the incident of Surah Bara’at.