One who is unfit for warfare is unfit for caliphate
History is witness that companions fled from battles of Uhud, Khaybar and Hunain. Some of these companions went on to rule the Muslims after the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) citing constant companionship as a virtue which made them eligible candidates for the caliph of the Prophet!
In this regard, Sayyed Ibn Tawoos (r.a.), leading Shia scholar, writes:
Among the abnormal matters of the Muslim majority is that they selected as caliph a person which their own reports suggest that he fled from the battles of Khaybar and Hunain and numerous other battles while their books promise the deserter from battle:
And whoever shall turn his back to them on that day — unless he turns aside for the sake of fighting or withdraws to a company — then he, indeed, becomes deserving of Allah’s wrath, and his abode is hell; and an evil destination shall it be. (Surah Anfal (8): 16).
The one who is not fit for warfare, nor for leading in battle, nor for managing forces to ease the affairs of Muslims, nor for obeying Allah’s and His Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) command in matters of warfare in the lifetime of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), or he is not fit for balancing the affairs of the nation and in warding off fear of retribution from enemies, how can he be fit for caliphate which is comprised of warfare and mobilizing the army, regulating all the people and cities after the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise?!
- Al-Taraif v 2 p 397
Likewise Muslim scholar Ibn Abil Hadeed comments on the first tyrant’s ability or lack thereof in battle and caliphate:
He was among the weakest of Muslims. He never shot an arrow nor did he draw a sword nor did he ever shed anyone’s blood. He is one of those who never got famous, nor was he sought after by anyone. Then how is it possible to consider his position and status like the position and status of Allah’s Prophet (s.a.w.a.)?
- Sharh Nahj al-Balagha v 13 p 281
Regarding Muawiyah’s lack of expertise in warfare and usurping caliphate without any standing in religion, Sa’sa’ah ibn Sawhaan al-Abdi observes:
What do you say of the caliph who ruled the people by force, subjugated them with haughtiness, and assumed power unfairly through lies and cunning? Indeed, by Allah, you had neither a sword nor a spear at the Battle of Badr. You and your father were always engaged in trade and warmongering. You were from those who provoked the people against Allah’s Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Indeed, you are a freed prisoner and the son of a freed prisoner. Allah’s Prophet (s.a.w.a.) released you. So is it appropriate for the freed prisoner to assume caliphate?
- Al-Ghadeer v 10 p 249 from Muruj al-Zahab v 2 p 78
Fleeing from battles raises questions on the ability and qualification of the so-called caliphs to rule the Muslims, since warfare is an inseparable part of leadership. The ‘caliphs’ were found wanting in this area (among others) in the lifetime of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), so where is the question of them leading the Muslims after the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).