Ali was the first caliph
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
one of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
First of all I wish you all Ramadan Mubarak and the blessings of this Holy month. I was discussing the 4 great caliphs with a friend of mine. According to him what ever he had been taught was that the first 3 caliphs were (God Forbid) not true caliphs and that Hazrat Ali (Razi Allah Taal'a Anhu) was to be the first caliph, but the caliphate was taken away from him by the first 3 of the 4 great caliphs. Could you please elaborate on this? Because it is my belief that all the 4 great caliphs were indeed true caliphs as opposed to by my friends belief. May Allah reward you and all the righteous pious and God fearing people, and Allah knows best.
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In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
You are absolutely right that all of the first four Khalifahs were rightly guided believers, and no one has taken the leadership by force. It is nothing short of mis-guidance to accuse any of these noble souls of taking the leadership by force or deceit.
There is absolutely no evidence in the Glorious Quran that the Messenger of Allah (saws) appointed anyone as his heir-apparent or wasi. If this appointment was so pivotal to the establishment of Islam, Allah Subhanah would have revealed it in the Holy Quran, just as He, in His Perfect Wisdom and Knowledge, revealed everything else for our guidance. It is not imaginable that the All Wise, All Knowing would forget anything and leave us with hints and innuendoes to decipher ourselves; and then hold us accountable on the Day of Judgement! Those who claim this, actually imply that our Lord and Creator is Unjust and a Tyrant! In their prejudice and ignorance, they have just not recognized Allah!
The Messenger of Allah (saws) did not appoint an heir-apparent or wasi; neither Abu Bakr, neither Umar, neither Uthman, nor Ali ibn Abi Taalib. All the companions had been given such a thorough training, and their level of piety and God-consciousness was developed under the guidance of the Messenger of Allah (saws) to a standard that was never witnessed by mankind. The office of Prophethood is not like a kingdom of this world, where the king must name a crown-prince to rule when he dies!
Many years after the death of the Prophet (saws) and Hadrat Ali (r.a.), some unscrupulous and power-hungry people, to justify their own power-base and create confusion in the Islamic Ummah created this whole appointment system of wasi and succeeded in breaking the One Ummah of Islam into various sects and creeds according to their own whims and fancies!
These sects base their beliefs on this one hadith of Rasool-Allah.
When Allah's Messenger (saws) alighted at the pool of Khumm, he took Ali by the hand and asked those present, "Do you not know that I am closer to the believers than they themselves?" They replied, "Certainly." He then asked, "Do you not know that I am nearer to every believer than he himself?" They replied, "Certainly." He then said, " O Allah, he whose maula I am, has Ali as his maula. O Allah, be friendly to those who are friendly to him and hostile to those who are hostile to him."
Even if we are to believe that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said the above words, it is absolutely incorrect to claim that from this one episode, that the Prophet (saws) appointed Hadrat Ali (r.a.) as his heir-apparent. It is absolutely incorrect to claim that 70,000 from amongst the believers and companions of the Prophet (saws) gave allegiance to Hadrat Ali (r.a.) on this occasion as the appointed heir-apparent, and no sooner than the Prophet (saws) died, they ALL turned against this one order and commandment of the Messenger of Allah (saws) and held on to all the other commandments! It is inconceivable to imagine that from amongst the 70,000 believers and companions, not even a small percentage raised a voice! And we must remember that these believers and companions were the same, who on one command of Allah and His Messenger (saws), were ready to sacrifice all they had; their property, their lives, their family; everything for the Cause of Allah and His Messenger (saws). It is absolutely inconceivable that all of them became renegade the moment the Prophet (saws) breathed his last!
The Messenger of Allah (saws) said several similar statements to honor the other close companions, but that did not make all of them his heir-apparent! These sects just disregard all the other hadiths and take this one hadith and form all their beliefs from it!
Many years after the death of the Prophet (saws) and Hadrat Ali (r.a.), these unscrupulous power-hungry people concocted stories of enmity between Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali!
Just imagine these facts of history and decide for yourself, if indeed there was any enmity between these noble companions of the Messenger of Allah (saws).
It is well known that Hadrat Ali ibn Abi Taalib (r.a.) married Hadrat Fatima bint Mohamed Rasool Allah (r.a.) and had two sons from this marriage; Imam Hassan ibn Ali (r.a.) and Imam Hussain ibn Ali (r.a.).
After the death of Hadrat Fatema bint Mohamed Rasool Allah (r.a.), Hadrat Ali (r.a.) married several times and had in excess of 20 children, including 11 daughters. And in accordance of Islamic law, he had no more than four wives at any one time. At the time of his death, it is recorded that he had four wives and nineteen slave girls.
Hadrat Ali (r.a.) married a woman from the tribe of Banu Kilaab and her name was Muhaiyya bint Imr-ul-Qais. The children from this marriage were:
Abbas al Akbar bin Ali (Abbas Alamdar).
Uthman bin Ali.
Jaafar bin Ali.
Abdulla bin Ali.
Hadrat Ali (r.a.) later married Laila bin Masood Nashaliyyah and the children from this marriage were:
Abu Bakr bin Ali.
Obaidullah bin Ali.
Hadrat Ali (r.a.) also married a woman from the tribe of Banu Taglab and the children from this marriage were twins: a boy and a girl named:
Umar bin Ali
Ruqqayyah bint Ali
Hadrat Ali (r.a.) later married Asma bint Umais, who incidentally was the widow of Abu Bakr as Siddiq (r.a.).
I just want to point out something here:
The above is all recorded history, but the impression our clergy give is that Hadrat Ali (r.a.) only married Hadrat Fatema (r.a.). They mention Imam Hasan bin Ali and Imam Hussain bin Ali, but never talk about his other children, especially the ones named Abu Bakr bin Ali, Umar bin Ali and Uthman bin Ali.
If what some sects of Islam say about the relationship between Hadrat Ali (r.a.) and Abu Bakr as Siddiq, Umar Al Khattab and Uthman bin Affan is true, then why would Hadrat Ali (r.a.) keep the names of his sons Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman? Hadart Ali (r.a.) only married and fathered these children after the death of the Messenger of Allah (saws). If Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman were indeed enemies of Hadrat Ali (r.a.), as some people would have us believe, why would Hadrat Ali (r.a.) name his children after their names?
Some people have tried to explain this by saying that Hadrat Ali (r.a.) kept these names, despite his enmity with Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, because of political reasons! That is absolutely absurd! Those who claim this, actually dishonor and degrade the high position and the noble character of Hadrat Ali ibn Abi Taalib (r.a.), and have just not recognized the maqaam of Hadrat Ali (r.a.). By explaining that Hadrat Ali (r.a.) kept these names for political reasons, they actually accuse Hadrat Ali (r.a.) of hypocrisy. And I swear by Allah, whoever claims thus are liars!! Hadrat Alis (r.a.) bravery, courage, boldness, daring, heroism and fearlessness have been praised by the Messenger of Allah (saws) himself, and has been appropriately recorded in Islamic history. The truth of the matter is that there was no enmity between all these noble companions of the Messenger of Allah (saws). This enmity was manufactured and invented by unscrupulous and venal people for their own political gains, years after the death of these noble and close sahabees of the Messenger of Allah (saws)! And by doing so, they succeeded in breaking up Islam into various sects, and made each into a small kingdom of its own! May Allah take full retribution with the people who have played this mischief and caused chaos in the One ummah of Islam.
The truth, in light of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws), is that the Messenger of Allah (saws) did not appoint anyone as his heir apparent or wasi! The believers were trained enough to choose an Ameer or Khalifa between themselves in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah. The truth is that there was no enmity between the companions of the Messenger of Allah (saws), Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, and they all respected and loved each other in the Islamic Brotherhood that was created by Allah and His Messenger (saws).
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,