The First Election of Islam
in the light of Shia-Sunni Sectarianism
Table of Contents
Shia’s Claim to Caliphate:
Abu Bakr claims to Caliphate:
For over 1400 years Muslims have stood divided among themselves, sometimes the division taking a bloody outlook. It looks ironical as to why has this happened for a religion that came to unite the pre Islamic tribal Arabia. The shia sunni is now a clear division among the Muslims, its not a ideological one, but rather one that is religious. There are separate mosques, separate prayer timings, separate azans, separate place for pilgrimage, with all this it becomes increasingly more important to look into the matter and compare it with what is available in the Quran and the example of the messenger.
We have tried to look into the loop holes of the historical accounts, the events of the elections, the claims of Ali’s support, the claims of the Abu Bakr’s support and finally the lesson that we can draw from the Quran and the life of the Prophet (pbuh).
It is humbly mentioned that our responsibility was not to exploit the situation, but rather to study and analyze things with historical objectivity, neutrality, and impartiality.
At the time of the Farewell sermon the Prophet (pbuh) of Islam had established the Islamic order all over Arabia. The Mecca, from which the Muslims were exiled in their hay days, was converted to Islam. At the mount Arafat Prophet (pbuh) gave his final sermon stressing upon the important and fundamental things of Islam, after he finished the following verse of the Quran was revealed informing the success of his 23 year old mission and perfection of Islam.
“This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion”
During that sermon, in front of the 120000 crowd, the Prophet (pbuh) paid special attention to brotherhood and unity among the muslims
“Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim, which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not therefore, do injustice to yourselves”.
[Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith 1623]
Nowhere in his farewell speech the Prophet (pbuh) brought up the topic of leadership, process of electing the leader, or even the name of the candidate who should succeed him. Rather he kept to his teachings of brotherhood and equality in all matters of life.
Soon upon his return to Medina the Prophet (pbuh) fell ill and passed away after few days. Once he died the Ummah was faced with the problems of electing a leader for them. The election is main cause of the several division and discords among the muslims. The muslims still today are faced with those division that sprang out at the time of the first election.
The death of the Prophet (pbuh) not only put the Muslim world in the state of mourning, but also pushed them into the deep pit of confusion. The pre Islamic Arabia used to have the tribal system with each tribe having their own leader. The concept of cross tribe leadership was not there. So each tribe only selected someone who they thought was most experienced (aged), or someone who belonged to the family of the current leader. In short they had to deal with fewer things in selecting a leader.
Now the concept of tribalism was gone and Prophet (pbuh) had converted the Arabia into a super tribe. With religion being the uniting force, and cast, creed, status and color were no more of importance, so in such circumstances it was very difficult to perceive the idea of selecting a leader for this super tribe. Also as it was for the first time Arabia was getting ready for election in their...
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