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Imām al-Riḍā ▧:

May Allāh ◣ shower mercy upon an obedient who has revived our cause.  The Imām was asked “how could one revive your cause”?  He replied: by learning about our knowledge, and making it known to [other] people.  People would indeed follow us if they knew about the virtue of our words.

 Book No. 25, v.1, p.180

Imām al-Ḥusayn ▧:

Verily, the love of us, Ahl al- Bayt, sheds sins off an individual, just as a strong wind sheds leaves off the tree.

Book No. 3, v. 27, p. 77, h. 9, c. 4.

Imām al-Bāqir ▧:

A believer can escalate to highest degree of belief with prudent study of our narration.

Book No. 3, v. 1, p. 106, h. 2, c. 3.

Ḥaḍrat Fāṭimah Zahrā ▨:

We, Ahl al-Bayt, are the intermediaries in His Creation, we are His favourites, and the descending point of divinities, and we are His final Proof of His unseen world, and we are inheritors of His prophets.

The Fatimiyyeh Sahifah, p.174

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The Saqīfah Intrigue


It is essential to have a proper understanding of the event of al-Ghadīr before reading this section.  In order to gain the basic knowledge please click here, otherwise continue:


The fundamental event of Ghadīral-Khum was the Divine strategy of the Islamic administration, which was well defined through the Wilāyah (Guardianship, Loyalty) of the infallible imāms.  The unnecessary meeting of Saqīfah [i] is one of the most puzzling events of the early history of Islam, immediately after the departure of prophet Muḥammad (ph&hp).  It caused a major deviation from the Divine Rule of Wilāyah, which had been ordained by Allāh (j.j.) and elucidated by His Last Prophet (ph&hp), in the Ghadīr al-Khum.  The ungodly meeting at Saqīfah was the starting point to create an immeasurable split in Islam from the very beginning.  It practically undid the painstaking endeavour of the most beloved Prophet of Allāh (J.J.) for establishing a Divine system of government for a united Muslim community.


It should be mentioned that in this section and the next (ʿĀshūrā Heartbreak ) practically all material are based on authentic Sunni sources.  


Illegitimate decisions made in the Saqīfah meeting trampled on the Divine right of the rightful Wilāyah, and placed the government in the hands of fallible personalities who had naturally inherited personal, family, tribal, national, and racial motivations of the pre-Islamic Arab society (Jāhiliyyah era).  Those who caused this divergence were impatient to earn worldly dignity, wealth, status, position, and the like.  Adhering to the Will of Allāh (J.J.) and His Prophet (ph&hp) was certainly a secondary issue.  None of the 10 qualifications [ii] of a Khalīfah (Caliph) is taken from divine Waḥy, or the directives of infallible personalities.  They are man-made tenets based on the course of events and happenings after the absence of the Holy Prophet of Islam (ph&hp).


The Shī ʿī criterion of Divine purity and infallibility ( ʿiṣmah ( عصمه )) of the Leader (Waliy), which is set by Divine Command during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (ph&hp) in the significant event of al-Ghadīr, is not adhered to by those who separated themselves from the Path of the Wilāyah in the Saqīfah get-together, and decided have a ā gh ū ti (as opposed to Divine) leadership for the Muslim community.


The words of Abū Bakr when he spoke from the pulpit before the Companions of the Holy Prophet (ph&hp) support this point.  He said O people!  I have been made ruler over you although I am no better than you are.  So, if I perform my duties well, help me.  And, if I go wrong, you should set me right.  You should know that satan comes to me now and then.  So if I am angry, keep aloof from me. [iii]


A Tragedy which Happened Few Days Before The Saqīfah Intrigue

In the Ṣaḥiḥ of Muslim, there is a tradition narrated by Ibn ʿAbbās that Three days before the Prophets decease, ʿUmar ibn al-Khattāb and other Companions of Prophet Muḥammad (ph&hp) were present at his side.  The Noble Prophet (ph&hp) said, “Now let me write something for you by way of a will so that you are not misled after me.”  ʿUmar said “The Prophet is talking in delirium; the Book of Allāhis sufficient for us”.  ʿUmars statement caused uproar among those who were present.  Some were saying that the Prophet’s command should be obeyed so that he might write whatever he desired for their betterment.  Others sided with ʿUmar.  When the tension and uproar increased, the Prophet (ph&hp) said: “Get up and go away from me.  It is not appropriate to make a row in presence of a prophet [of Allāh(J.J.)]!”[iv]


A few Qur’ānic injunctions should be mentioned here:

يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنُوا لا تَرْفَعُوا أَصْواتَكُمْ فَوْقَ صَوْتِ النَّبِيِّ وَ لا تَجْهَرُوا لَهُ بِالْقَوْلِ كَجَهْرِ بَعْضِكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ أَنْ تَحْبَطَ أَعْمالُكُمْ وَ أَنْتُمْ لا تَشْعُرُونَ

O you who believe!  Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, and do not speak aloud to him similar to your yelling one another, lest your deeds should fail while you perceive not.

Sūrah Al-Ḥujurāt (49), Āyah 2.

The Holy Prophet’s words are revelation from Allāh:

وَ مَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الهَْوَى (3) إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْىٌ يُوحَى(4)

Indeed, he does not speak out of selfish desire!  It is really not anything but revelation, which is revealed [to the Prophet].

Sūrah An-Najm (53), Āyah 3-4.

 In general, Muslims are expected to follow the command of Holy prophet (ph&hp) without any ‘ifs and buts:

وَ مَا ءَاتَئكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَ مَا نهََئكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا

…And take what your Messenger gives you.  And abstain from what he forbids you…

Sūrah Al-Ḥashr (59), Āyah 7.

But when such a dear Prophet of Allāh (J.J.) had to write a directive out of his god-given innate compassion to save his Ummah from going astray after his departure, he was offensively accused of “talking in delirium!”


When Abū Bakr, who had no such Divine purity, infallibility, and guardian-ship (Wilāyah), began dictation of the appointment letter in the most critical condition that he even fell unconscious before naming his successor, ʿUmar did not say that he was talking in delirium.


No one can be sure of what it was that the Holy Prophet wanted to write.  However, the phrase he often stated gives us an idea.  On several occasions, the Holy Prophet had declared:


إِنِّي تَارِكٌ فِيكُمْ ثَقَلَيْنِ مَا إِنْ تَمَسَّكْتُمْ بِهِمَا لَنْ تَضِلُّوا بَعْدِي كِتَابُ اللَّهِ وَ عِتْرَتِي أَهْلُ بَيْتِي .

Verily, I am leaving among you Two Precious Things.  If you adhere to them both, you will never go astray after me, the Book of All ā h , and my ʿIṭrah , my Ahl al-Bayt.

Many famous references.

When he used the same phrase before his departure ...Let me write something for you by way of a will so that you are not misled after me, it was easy enough to understand that the Holy Prophet (ph&hp) was going to write what he had been telling his nation all along about the Glorious Qurān and the noble Wilāyah of the infallible ʿIṭrah, Ahl al-bayt (a.s.).


As much as is apparent from ʿUmar’s claim that The Book of Allāh is sufficient for us, it can be guessed that he wanted to make it known to the Prophet that he would not follow “the Two Precious Things.”  One was enough for him.  He himself admitted it in a talk with ʿAbdullah ibn ʿAbbās, in which he said, inter alia, that Certainly he (the Noble Prophet, ph&hp) intended to declare his [Imām ʿAlis] name during his illness, and I prevented it!’’[v]

Perhaps the word delirium would have served his purpose even if the Holy Prophet had written the directive.  ʿUmar and his partisans would have claimed that “as it was written in delirium it had no validity.  This may be a reason why “Go away from me!” did suffice the Beloved Prophet of Allāh (J.J.), peace and blessing upon him and his progeny (dynasty).


It is important to realise that there is no record of anyone denying the rightful Rights of the 14 infallibles, including that of ḥaḍrat ʿAli (a.s.).  The fact remains that those involved in the Saqīfah intrigue did not deem advisable (i.e. it was not in their best interest) to adhere to the Divine Command of Ghadīr Khum.  The world of Ṭāghūt has always preferred its fallible common sense, in lieu of the rightful Rights.  Human Rights, Terrorism, and peaceful Nuclear Rights are few contemporary examples.  They well know the basic Rights of human beings, the difference between terrorism and rightful defence, and between peaceful and violent nuclear activities.  Nevertheless, it is not in their best interest to distinguish and recognize these rights.


The Saqīfah Get-Together

The following is a brief account of what happened in the Saqīfah (covered porch) of Benū Sā ʿidah :

The Muslims of Medina were of mainly two groups: al-Anṣār (meaning ‘the helpers’ who were natives of Medina) and al-Muhājirūn (meaning ‘the immigrants’ who were mostly from the Quraysh tribe, migrated from Makkah to Medinah).  The Anṣār consisted of two tribes , al-Aws ( الأوس ) and al-Khazraj ( الخزرج ) who were old enemies of each other since pre-Islamic days.

Soon after the departure of Prophet Muḥammad (ph&hp), and even before his burial the Medinah supportive Muslims, known as al-Anṣār ( الانصار ), forgot all about the indispensable event of Ghadīr al-Khum, and gathered in the Saqīfah (covered porch) of Ben ū ʿidah to gain an upper hand for the leadership of the Muslim community.  Here the famous companion, Sa ʿd ibn ʿUbbādah (from the tribe of Khazraj), who was then ailing, was led to a stately chair, and made to sit down in it, hoping that he might be elected as the Khalīfah (Caliph, Leader).  Sa ʿd ibn ʿUbbādah then delivered a speech in which he recounted the virtues of the Anṣār and told the attendants to take over the Khilāfah (Caliphate, Leadership) before anyone else could do so.  The Anṣār agreed and said that they wanted him to be the Khalīfah.  Then among themselves, they began to wonder: What reply should we give to our rival, Al-Muhājirūn if they opposed our move and put forth their own claim?”


Some people said We shall tell them, let us have one leader from among you and one from us.  Saʿd ibn ʿUbbādah said, This is the first sign of weakness you have shown.


Someone informed ʿUmar ibn al-Khattāb (a Quraysh Muhājir) about the Saqīfah meeting, telling him: If at all you desire to acquire the dignity of leadership you should reach the Saqīfah before it is too late and too difficult to undo what is being decided there.”  On receiving this news, ʿUmar sent for Abū Bakr who left the Prophet’s body, and rushed together to the Saqīfah meeting.  Abū ʿUbaydah bin al-Jarrāḥ also accompanied them.


Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Jarīr aṭ-Ṭabarī ( أبو جعفر محمد بن جرير الطبري ), Ibn al-Athīr ( عزّالدين ابن الاثير الجزری ) , ʿAbdullāh bin Muslim Ibn Qutaybah Ad-Dinā varī ( أبو محمد عبد الله بن مسلم بن قتيبة الدينوري ), known as Ibn al-Qutaybah [vi] , and other historians proceed with their narrations stating that having reached the Saqīfah, Abū Bakr, ʿUmar , and Abū ʿUbaydah had hardly taken their seats when Thābit ibn Qays stood up, began enumerating the virtues of the Anṣār,and suggested that the office of the Khilāfah should be offered to someone from the Anṣār.  ʿUmar is reported to have said later on that When the speaker of the Anṣār finished his speech, I made an attempt to speak as already I had thought over some important points, but Abū Bakr beckoned me to keep quiet.  Therefore, I remained silent.  Abū Bakr had more competence and knowledge than I did.  He did say the things I had thought of, and expressed them even better.


According to Tārikh Rawḍat uṣ-Ṣafā ( تاريخ روضة الصّفا ), Abū Bakr addressed the assembly at the Saqīfah, saying:


  O’ Assembly of the Anṣār!  We acknowledge your good qualities and virtues.  We have also not forgotten your struggles and endeavours for promoting the cause of Islam.  But the honour and respect the Quraysh kin have among the Arabs is not enjoyed by any other tribe; and the Arabs will not submit to anyone other than the Quraysh.[vii]


In As-Sirat al-Ḥalabiyyah, it is added:


However, it is a fact that we the Muhājirūn were the first to accept the dīn if Islam.  The Prophet of Islam was from our tribe.  We are the relatives of the Prophet  ... and therefore we are the people who are entitled to the Caliphate...  It will be advisable to have the leadership among us and for you to take the ministry.  We will not act unless we consult with you.[viii]


Intense arguments started, during which ʿUmar cried: By Allāh, I will kill him who opposes us now.al-Ḥubāb ibn al-Mundhir ibn Zayd, an Anṣār from the Khazraj tribe, challenged him saying By Allāh, we will not allow anyone to rule over us as a Caliph!  One leader must come from you and one from us.  Abū Bakr said “No, this cannot be; it is our right to be the rulers and yours to be our ministers.al-Ḥubāb said: O Anṣār! Do not submit yourselves to what these people say.  Be firm . . . By Allāh, if anyone dares to oppose me now, I will cut his nose with my sword.  ʿUmar remarked, By Allāh, duality is not advisable in the Caliphate.  There cannot be two kings in one regime, and the Arabs will not agree to your leadership, because the Prophet was not from your tribe.


In their history books, aṭ -Ṭabarī and Ibn al-Athīr both state that there was a fairly prolonged exchange of words between al- Ḥubāb and ʿUmar on this matter.  ʿUmar cursed al- Ḥubāb “May Allāh kill you.al- Ḥubāb retorted May Allāh kill you”.


These statements and what follows next, are reflections of pre-Islamic Jāhiliyyah (Ṭāghūti) inspirations.  They have nothing to do with the spirit of Islam.  Moreover, they disrespect the principled event of al-Ghadīr, the Command of Allāh (J.J.), and the prophetic mission of Prophet Muḥammad (ph&hd).  Please continue:


ʿUmar then crossed over, and stood at the head of Sa ʿd ibn ʿUbbādah and said to him We want to break every limb of yours.  Infuriated by this threat, Saʿd ibn ʿUbbādah got up and caught ʿUmar’s beard.  ʿUmar said: If you pull out even one hair, you will see that all will not be well with you.  Then Abū Bakr pleaded with ʿUmar to be calm and civil.  ʿUmar turned his face from Saʿd ibn ʿUbbādah who was saying By Allāh, had I strength enough just to stand, you would have heard the lions roar in every corner of Medina and hidden yourselves in holes.  By Allāh, we would have made you join again with those people among whom you were only a follower and not a leader.


Ibn Qutaybah says that when Bashīr ibn Sa ʿd , the chief of the Aws tribe of the Anṣār saw that the Anṣār were uniting behind [his rival], Sa ʿd ibn ʿUbbādah the chief of the Khazraj tribe, he was overcome with envy and, therefore, supported the claim of the QurayshiteMuhājirūn [the renowned enemy of his party, al-Anṣār].  This is another case of un-Islamic (Ṭ ā gh ū ti) behaviour to let personal jealousy dictate the fate of Muslim community.   


In the midst of this confrontation, ʿUmar said to AbūBakrHold out your hand so that I may give my bayʿah (pledge of allegiance)”.  AbūBakr said, No, you give me your hand so that I may give my bayʿah, because you are stronger than me and more suitable to the position of Khilāfah.


ʿUmar took the hand of AbūBakr and pledged allegiance to him saying, My strength is not of any value when compared to your merits and seniority.  And if it is of any value then my strength added to yours will successfully manage the Khilāfah.


Bashīr ibn Saʿd, chief of the Aws tribe of the Anṣār, followed suit.  Khazrajites cried to him that he was doing it out of envy for Sa ʿd ibn ʿUbbādah .  Then the tribe of Aws talked amongst themselves that if Sa ʿd ibn ʿUbbādah was made Caliph that day, the tribe of Khazraj would always feel superior to the Aws , and no one from the Aws would ever achieve that position.  Therefore, they all pledged their allegiance to AbūBakr (a Muhājir).  Someone from the Khazraj tribe took out his sword, but others stopped him.


Amidst all this unseemly wrangling, aḍrat ʿAli (a.s.) and the true friends of the Grand Prophet of Allāh (J.J.) attended to the ghusl (washing of the body) of the Holy Prophet (ph&hp) and the proper observances regarding the burial.  By the time these important tasks were performed, Abū Bakr had achieved a fait accompli.  This is the basis of Abū Bark’sKhilāfah, way away from the Will of Allāh (S.T.), revealed to, and expressed by His most beloved Prophet, at Ghadīr Khum, the sermon of al-Thaqalayn, and the Text of Glorious Qur’ān (directing people to obedience, fellowship, affection, and love of the Wil ā yah , the Ahl al-Bayt).


Ibn Qutaybah writes:


ʿAli (a.s.) was commanded to take the oath of allegiance to Abū Bakr.  ʿAli said “I am the most rightful to the Khilāfah than anyone of you.  I will not pledge allegiance to you.  As a matter of fact, you should give the pledge of allegiance (bayʿah) to me.  You called the Anṣār to give their bayʿah on the ground that you had blood relations with the Messenger of All ā h (J.J.) .  You are usurping the Khilāfah from us, the Members of his House (the Ahl al-Bayt).  Did you not reason with the Anṣār that you have better rights to the Khilāfah because the Prophet (ph&hp) was of your kinship, and they handed over the government to you and accepted your leadership?  Then, the very reason put forth by you before the Anṣār is now forwarded by me.  Our relations with the Prophet (ph&hp) in life, as well as after death, are much closer than that of anyone of you.  If you are faithful to your argument, you should do justice; otherwise you know that you have knowingly moved towards tyranny.”


“ʿUmar said, “Unless you give bayʿah, you will not be released.”  Ḥaḍrat ʿAli (a.s.) cried, “Milk out as much as you can for the udders are in your hand.  Make it as strong as possible today, for he is going to hand it over to you tomorrow.  ʿUmar!  I shall not yield to your commands.  I shall not pledge allegiance to him.”  Ultimately, Abū Bakr said, “O ʿAli!  If you do not desire to give your bayʿah, I am not going to force you for it.”


Analysis Of The Saqīfah Intrigue 

Several aspects of the above-mentioned events deserve more attention:

1.      The central issue which seems to have been forgotten is that a rat ʿAli (a.s.) is one of the 14 infallibles of the Ahl al-Bayt, who had already been appointed by Divine Command, through the blessed being of the Prophet of Islam (ph&hp) in the presence of practically entire Muslim community;  they all sworn allegiance to him in al-Ghadīral-Khum.  Therefore, it was bizarre to pay no heed to the Divine Order, and try to have an election, selection, or consultation to appoint a fallible personality as leader of the dīn of All ā h (S.T.), no matter who was nominated .

2.      The Saqīfah event clearly demonstrates that the important issue for the key figures (and their followers) was their personal, kinship, tribal, and racial persuasions, not the dīn of All ā h (J.J.) .  In other words, the pre-Islamic Jāhiliyyah tradition was the dominating force.  This was the first test of choice between the Divine Islamic disciplines versus a Ṭāghūt government.  It is much to be regretted that the big chiefs ignored the loyalty and commitment of al-Ghadīr, left the corpse of a rat Muḥammad (ph&hp) and his funeral, rushed to follow their selfish desires ( هویٰ نفس ), deviated from the Divine rule of infallible Imāms, and formed a Ṭāghūt regime.  The sad consequences of their words and actions are still being felt.  Only a minority kept with the Wilāyah of the infallible Imām.   It is appropriate to present this blessing ḥadith at this point:

مَنْ سَنَّ سُنَّةً حَسَنَةً كَانَ لَهُ أَجْرُهَا وَ أَجْرُ مَنْ عَمِلَ بِهَا إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَ مَنْ سَنَّ سُنَّةً سَيِّئَةً كَانَ عَلَيْهِ وِزْرُهَا وَ وِزْرُ مَنْ عَمِلَ بِهَا إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَة .

One who generates a good establishment earns its reward, and the reward of anyone who shall adhere to it until the Day of Qiy ā mah .  And, one, who generates an ill-founded establishment, the heavy burden [of its sin] is on his shoulder, plus that of anyone else who shall follow him, until the Day of Qiyāmah.

Book No. 38, p. No. 136.

The above ḥadith, well backed up by blessed Āyāt of the Glorious Qur’ān, is very alarming to the fate of the companions of the Saqīfah Intrigue.

3.      Ḥaḍrat ʿAli (a.s.) knew that the successor (khalifah) of the Holy Prophet was not supposed to be the chieftainship of the tribe.  It was not supposed to be based on the declaration of allegiance by the ordinary people.  It was a responsibility given by Allāh (S.T.), not by fallible individuals.  And, as he had already been publicly appointed by Allāh through His Prophet (ph&hp), there was no need for him to rush to the public to seek their allegiance.  He did not want the people to think that his Imamate was based on the bay ʿah of men.  If people came to him to respect the declaration of Ghadīral-Khum, well and good, but if they did not, it was their loss.  Yet he was responsible to deliver the Will of All ā h (j.j.) .  This is why imām al- ʿAli (a.s.) refused to extend his hand even to accept the bay ʿah ofʿAbbās ibn ʿAbd ul-Muṭṭalib, when he extended his pledge of allegiance.  

4.      During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (ph&hp), the Mosque of the Prophet was the centre of all Islamic activities.  It was here that decisions of jihād and peace were made, deputations were received, sermons were delivered, and cases were discussed.  Therefore, when the news spread of the decease of the Holy Prophet (ph&hp), the Muslims, naturally, assembled in that very mosque.  Then why did the partisans of Sa ʿd ibn ʿUbbādah decide to go three miles outside Medina to meet in Saqīfah of Benū Sā ʿidah , which was not even a place of good repute?  Was it not because they wanted to usurp the Khilāfah (successor ship) in secret and then present Sa ʿd ibn ʿUbbādah as their favourite successor of Allāh’s Prophet?

5.       When majority of Muslims and prominent personalities were around the corpse of the Prophet of Islam (ph&hp), ʿUmar was informed about the Saqīfah meeting.  He only informed Abū Bakr.  They left the process of funeral to rush toward the Saqīfah of Benū Sā ʿidah.   Why did they not inform ḥaḍrat ʿAli (a.s.) about this surreptitious gathering?  Why did they, together with Abū ʿUbaydah , slip out secretly?  Was it not because ḥaḍrat ʿAli (a.s.), Benū Hāshim and other faithful personalities were present in the mosque, or in the house of the Prophet, and ʿUmar and Abū Bakr did not want them to know about the plot?  They knew well that if ḥaḍrat ʿAli (a.s.) came to know about the meeting of Saqīfah, and if by a remote chance he decided to attend that meeting, no one else would have had a chance to succeed.

6.      When Abū Bakr was extolling the virtues of Muhājirūn as being from the tribe of the Holy Prophet (ph&hp), did he not know that there were other people with much stronger right to that claim because they were members of the very family of the Holy Prophet and the inheritors of his flesh and blood(a.s.)?  It was this aspect of the pretence that prompted ʿAli ibn Abi Ṭālib (a.s.) to comment:

احْتَجَّتْ بِأَنَّهَا شَجَرَةُ الرَّسُولِ ) ص ( فَقَالَ ) ع ( احْتَجُّوا بِالشَّجَرَةِ وَ أَضَاعُوا الثَّمَرَةَ .

They argued by the strength of the tree (tribe) and then destroyed the fruit (i.e., the family of the Prophet).” [ix]


Looking neutrally at this event, we are unable to call it an “election” because the voters (all the Muslims scattered throughout Arabia, or, at least, all the Muslims of Medina) did not even know that there was to be an election, let alone its time and its venue.  Moreover, the majority of prospective candidates were unaware of what was planned at Saqīfah.  Again, we are reminded of the words of al-Im ā m al-ʿAlī (a.s.) in connection with these points, recorded by ash-Sharif ar-Raḍi (r.a.) in his legendary book of Nahj ul-Balāghah as follows:


وَ قَالَ (عليه‏السّلام) اعَجَباً أَتَكُونُ اٰٰلْخِلَافَةُ بِالصَّحَابَةِ، وَ لا تَكُونُ بِالصَّحَابَةِ وَ الْقَرَابَةِ.

How strange it is!  Could the Khilāfah be through the (Prophets) companionship but not through (his) companionship, plus (his) kinship? 


These words were mentioned with reference to Abū Bakr’s claim that he had won the Khilāfah because of his companionship with Prophet Muḥammad (ph&hp).  Then it is narrated by ash-Sharif ar-Raḍi (r.a.) that the Imām composed the following poem to Abū Bakr in this regard:

فَإِنْ كُنْتَ بِالشُّورى مَلَكْتَ أُمُورَهُمْ

فَكَيْفَ بِهذَا وَ الْمُشيرُونَ غُيَّبٌ‏

وَ إِنْ كُنْتَ بِالْقُرْبى حَجَجْتَ خَصيمَهُمْ

فَغَيْرُكَ أَوْلى بِالنَّبِيِّ وَ أَقْرَبُ

“If you claim to have secured authority over the Muslims affairs by consultation, how did it happen, that those to be consulted with [Benū Hāshim and grand companions] were absent!”

“And if you have scored over your opponents by kinship (to the Prophet), then someone else has greater right on (kinship to) the Prophet (ph&hp) and is nearer to him.”

Book No. 1, p. No. 502-503, h. No. 190185 [x] .

7.      It cannot be called a “selection” either, because majority of the prominent Companions of the Holy Prophet (ph&hp) had no knowledge of the Saqīfah event.  None of the chief personalities was involved, present, consulted, or even informed about the secret meeting in the Saqīfah of Benū Sā ʿidah .  To talk about a few names, we suffice to mention ḥaḍrat ʿAlī ibn Abi Ṭālib (a.s.), ʿAbbās , ʿUthmān, Ṭalḥah, az-Zubayr, Saʿd ibn Abī Waqqās, Salmān al-Fārisi, Abū Dharr al-Ghifārī, ʿAmmār ibn Yāsir, Miqdād, ʿAbd ur-Raḥmān ibn ʿAwf , and so forth.  Allāh’s Mercyand blessing be upon them.

8.      Abū Bakr knew that if the masses were given freedom of choice, ʿUmar had no chance.  He was known as rude and of harsh nature.  He stirred up the meeting by provocative speeches, as mentioned above.  In the middle of the Saqīfah chaos, ʿUmar swore allegiance to Abū Bakr.  He well knew that it was a firm custom of Arabs to follow suit as soon as one swears allegiance.  Then Bashīr ibn Saʿd, leader of the Aws tribe of al-Anṣār, swore allegiance to Abū Bakr.  Seeing this, the Khazraj tribe of al-Anṣār pledged allegiance, in order not to lose favour in the eyes of Abū Bakr against their rival tribe,al-Aws!  Abu Bakr was indebted to ʿUmar for establishing his Khilāfah, and therefore, he decided to impose him as his successor upon the nation of Islam.  None of these incentives or considerations is as pure as the Divine Wilāyah of Ḥaḍrat ʿAlī (a.s.).

9.      The event narrated above, which is predominantly based on respectful Sunni sources, shows that the secret meeting of Saqīfah was not a matter of democracy among the Muslims, but was a plot to usurp the Wiṣāyah (Trustee-ship), Wilāyah (Guardian-ship), and Khilāfah (successor-ship) of al-Imām al- ʿAlī ibn Abi Ṭālib (a.s.).

10.  If the fundamental issue of Khilāfah (successor-ship) in Islam, the perfected stage of the dīn of Allāh (J.J.), were supposed to be resolved on the basis of “consultation” of fallible personalities, the Prophet of Islam would certainly have clarified how it should be done before his departure.  It is unbelievable that the Prophet of Islam (ph&hp) would elucidate minor issues flawlessly, but would leave the most essential issue of Wilāyah, Imāmah, or Khilāfah up in the air.  Please refer to the well-founded juncture of Ghadīral-Khum to see how baseless the “Intrigue of Saqīfah” is.

11.  If some Muslims are led to believe that, the Saqīfah meeting was a manifestation of the spirit of election and democracy in Islam, they should be reminded that the very event of Saqīfah indicates (wrongly) that it was the Sunnah of Prophet of Islam (ph&hp) not to designate a successor!  If so, actions of all Caliphs and Governors, who should have followed his Sunnah, are all invalid in imposing their successors to the Muslim community.  This is a very important point for the analytical mind of younger enthusiasts who are eager to reinstate the Truth of Islam, i.e. the noble ḥadith of al-Thaqalayn in Ghadīral-Khum:

إِنِّي تَارِكٌ فِيكُمْ ثَقَلَيْنِ مَا إِنْ تَمَسَّكْتُمْ بِهِمَا لَنْ تَضِلُّوا بَعْدِي كِتَابُ اللَّهِ وَ عِتْرَتِي أَهْلُ بَيْتِي .

Verily, I am leaving among you Two Precious Things.  If you adhere to them both, you will never go astray after me, the Book of All ā h , and my ʿIṭrah , my Ahl al-Bayt.


Having had this brief background, you may now enter the next section, ʿĀshūrā  Heartbreak, to complete The Epic of ʿĀshūrā”


It should be mentioned that in addition to specific references throughout the text, the following links could be used as good reference for the lovers of Imām usayn (a.s.) who wish to discover more detail:







[i] - Apparently set by ʿĀ’ishah (عائشة), according to Thābit ibn Arṭāh (ثابت ابن ارطاة).  See “ʿĀ’ishah after the Holy Prophet”, by Kurt Frischler

[ii] - 1.  Be Muslim, 2.  Be of age (of puberty), 3.  Be male, 4.  Be of sound mind, 5.  Be courageous, 6.  Be free, not a slave, 7.  Be accessible and not be concealed or hidden, 8.  Be able to conduct battles and beware of warlike tactics, 9.  Be just (ʿādil عادل ), 10.  Be able to judge and pass verdicts on points of law and religion (be a mujtahid ( مجتهد ). Ref. At-Taftāzānī , Sharh il-maqāṣid it-tālibīn, (vol. 2, p. 272).

[iii] - Al-Suyūti, Tārikh al-Khulafā’, p. 71.

[iv] - A.  Muslim: a-Ṣai, (“Kitab al-Waiyyah”, Bāb at-tark al-Waiyyah), vol. 5, pp. 75-6.

B.  Al-Bukh āri: a -Ṣa i , (Cairo, 1958), vol. 1, (“Kitāb al-ʿilm”) pp.38-9; vol.4, p.85; vol.6, pp.ll-2; vol.7, (“Kitāb al-ibb”), pp.155-6; vol. 9, (“Kitāb al-’iʿtiṣām bil Kitāb wal-Sunnah”), p. 137.  It is interesting to note that where al-Bukhāri gives remark of the Prophet speaking in delirium, he omits the name of the speaker; but where he paraphrases that remark in a more polite language, he mentions the name of the speaker [ʿUmar] clearly.

C.  Ibn Sa ʿd: al- abaq āt, vol. 2, pp.242, 324f, 336, 368.  In this book, four narrators have named ʿUmar ibn al-Khattāb, who construed the unjust claim of “talking in delirium”, but five narrators left him unidentified.

  D.   A mad: al-Musnad, vol. 1,  pp. 232, 239, 324f, 336, 355.


[v] - Ibn Abi al-adīd: Shar, vol. 12, p. 21, (quoting from Tārikh Baghdād of al-Khattāb al-Baghdādī).


[vi] - A.  Aṭ-Ṭabarī:at-Tārikh, vol.4, p.l820.

B.   Ibn al-Athīr: al-Kāmil, ed. C.J. Tornberg, Leiden, 1897, vol.2, pp. 325ff.

C.   Ibn Qutaybah: al-Imāmah wa s-Siyāsah, Cairo, 387/1967, vol. 1, pp. 18ff.


[vii] - Mir Khwand:Tārikh Rawḍat uṣ-Ṣafā, vol. 2, p. 221.


[viii] - Al-Ḥalabī:As-Sīrat al- alabiyyah, vol. 3, p. 357.


[ix] - Explanation of Nahj ul-Balāghah, by Muḥammad ʿAbduh (14th Century), in Arabic by Maṭbaʿat ul-’Istiqāmah, al-Qāhirah (Cairo), 1367 H.Q.  Three vols. in one, 796 pp.  Vol. 1, p112.


[x] - In addition to this reference, there are many other references to this ḥadith.  The following are few examples.  However, the text is slightly distorted, or altered from the original in few references:

A. Tamām of Nahj ul-Balāghah (as-Sayyid Ṣādiq al-Mūsawī ), a Mustadrak in Arabic by al-Imām aṣ-Ṣāḥib az-Zamān ( عج ) Institute, Tehran, first edition, 1376 H.S. in 1 volume, 1066 pp, p. 873.

B. Nahj ul-Balāghah (with explanation by ʿAzizullāh ʿAṭārudī), in Arabic by Nahj ul-Balāghah Foundation, first edition, 1372 A.H. in 1 volume, in 791 pp, p 441, h. 181.

C. Explanation of Nahj ul-Balāghah ( ʿIzz id-Dīn Abū Ḥāmid Ibn Abi al-Ḥadīd   edition, 7th Century), in Arabic, Āyatullah Marʿashi Najafī Public Library, Qum, first edition, 1337 H.S. in 20 volumes, v. 18, p 416, h. 185.  The phrase وَ لا تَكُونُ بِالصَّحَابَةِ وَ الْقَرَابَةِ is changed to وَ لا تَكُونَ بِالصَّحَابَةِ وَ الْقَ‏رَابَةِ in this book.

D. Maṣādir un-Nahj ul-Balāghatu wa Asānidahu , by as-Sayyid ʿAbd al-ZahrāḤusaynī Khaṭīb , in Arabic by Dār uz-Zahrā publication, Beirut, first print, 1367 H.Q. in 4 volumes, v. 4, p 152.

E. Explanation of Nahj ul-Balāghah by Muḥammad ʿAbduh (14th Century), in Arabic by Maṭba ʿat ul-Istiqāmah , al-Qāhirah (Cairo), 1367 H.Q., 3 vols. in one, 796 pp, p. 195-196.  The original text is altered.

F. Explanation of Nahj ul-Balāghah (as-Sayyid ʿAbbās ʿAlī al-Mūsawi edition), in Arabic by Dār ur-Rasūl al- Akram publication, Beirut, first edition, 1376 A.H. in 5 volumes, v. 5, p 358.  This book is missing the phrase وَلا تَكُونُ بِالصَّحَابَةِ وَ الْقَرَابَةِ   


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