In the book, ‘After the Prophet’ by Lesley Hazleton, the writer has explained most of the things very authentically and beautifully. Still, there are various points where doubts came to my mind. It is shown as if the companions of Prophet had jealousy and hate for each other regarding Caliphate, just like people had in the Days of Ignorance. Not mentioned apparently, but it seemed to be when I read it. I know if any Sunni Muslim will read this book, he/she will find him/herself confused just like I was after reading it. I wanted to find answers and authentic reasons behind certain things. So, I did some research, and now I am sharing it with you. If anyone of you is planning to read the book ‘After the Prophet,’ kindly read this blog till the end.
Non-Muslim writers usually find resources for their books that suit their interests and logic, regardless of the truth and authenticity. Sometimes, not every time, non-Muslim writers purposefully use non-authentic Islamic content just to spread hate and ambiguity in people’s minds. But I don’t discourage you from reading any Muslim content of non-Muslim writers. It will help if you to know their perception of Islam. But after reading such material, must consult from the authentic resources and books, written by the noble Muslim Ulama. Because in this way you will get more knowledge.
The biggest ambiguity in this book is that it seemed as if Ali was surpassed and kept deprived of the Caliphate, and Abu Bakar claimed Caliphate instead of him after the Prophet passed. It has mentioned that Ali was angry and did not swear allegiance to Abu Bakar initially when he claimed Caliphate, because he wanted to be the Caliph himself, being an Ahl al Bayt.
I have Mentioned all the references which I could find regarding this matter of Caliphate.
Prophet (SAWW) once said:
Behold, of all people the most generous toward me regarding his companionship and his property was Abu Bakr, and were I to choose anyone as my bosom friend, I would have chosen Abu Bakr as my dear friend, but (for him) I cherish Islamic brotherliness and love. There shall be left open no window in the mosque except Abu Bakr’s window. (Sahih Muslim – The book of the merits of companions – Chapter: The Virtues Of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq; 2382-a)
Prophet (SAWW) also once said:
I have a better claim to it, whereas Allah and the Faithful do not substantiate the claim of anyone but that of Abu Bakr. (Sahih Muslim – The book of the merits of companions – Chapter: The Virtues Of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq; 2387)
Each of the Companion of Prophet (SAWW) was completely indifferent to the matter of the Caliphate. Because they knew that after bearing this burden, the accountability before Allah Almighty is great. This is not a part of the booty that will be easy to deal with.
This is evidenced by the statements made by Abu Bakar (RA) in his first sermon on the occasion of becoming the Caliph after the Prophet.
The burden of this responsibility has been placed on my shoulders. And I’m not too fond of it. And I swear by Allah that someone else would suffice for this job instead of me. (ibn e Saad; al- tabqaat 3/109)
When Abu Bakar (RA) took over the system of government, he said:
Whoever forgives me in this matter, I will forgive him. (البلاذري أنساب الأشراف 2/ 772)
On this Hazrat Ali (RA) said:
We will not forgive you for this, and no one will apologize to you. How can we take you back from the issue in which the Allah’s Prophet (peace be upon him) met you? (البلاذري أنساب الأشراف 2/ 772)
Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) also said:
Allah’s desire for the Emirate has not arisen in my heart any day or night. Nor did I have any interest in it. Nor did I ask Allah Almighty about it openly or secretly, but I was afraid of the spread of revolt. (417\ 9 ابن کثیر، البلادیة والنهاية)
Abu Bakar (RA) also said:
I have no regrets about anything in the world except the three things I have done. I wish I had let them go. One of them, referring to the day of Saqifa Bani Sa’ida, said: I wanted to put Caliphate in the hand of one of these two men – Hazrat Umar bin Khattab or Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah would be a Caliph, and I would be his minister. (122/ 13 مختصر تاریخ دمشق )
These are the sayings of the Companions of Prophet (SAWW), which show their indifference towards the Caliphate. Still, at the same time, they considered it obligatory for one of them to fulfill this responsibility. Anyone of them had to fill the position of Caliph so that people would question him in their affairs. Caliphate was not a booty to be won over one another.
Ignorants say that Hazrat Ali (RA) had the greed of Caliphate. These are the words of ignorants who are unaware of the situation. This is at the time of swearing allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakr when he said:
I became angry only because I was kept away from consulting (Shura). And I think that Hazrat Abu Bakr is the most deserving of the Caliphate. He stayed in the cave with Messenger of Allah. He is the ‘Saani-e-Asneen.’ We are aware of his goodness and appreciate his honor and well-being. And the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had commanded him to lead prayer in his own life. (وذکرہ ابن کثیر في البداية و النهاية 93/8)
Hafiz Ibn Hajar (RA) says:
In Sahih Ibn Habban and other books, it is narrated from Hazrat Abu Saeed Al-Khudri (RA) and other people that: Hazrat Ali (RA) had sworn allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) from the very beginning. (Fatah al Baari 8/ 064)
As narrated by Ibn Khazeema and Muslim ibn Hajjaj,
During these six months (Caliphate of Abu Bakar to death of Fatima), Hazrat Ali did not deviate from the allegiance of Hazrat Abu Bakr. In contrast, he kept praying behind you and coming to you for advice. And he also went with you to Zi-Qissa. (البداية و النهاية189 -188/ 8)
Apart from that, the personality of Ameer Muawiya is very controversial in this book and also in a few resources. Shia believes that he distorted the interpretation of Islam to match his rule. At the same time, the Sunni says that he never changed Islam because he was a political leader in history to whom Hassan and Hussein also gave their allegiance, while they report that Islam is based on the Qur’an and that Muhammad’s teaching and its main learning center was not in Syria (Muawiya was governor of Syria), but in Madina and as Allah says in the Quran:
It is indeed I who sent down the Qur’an and I will be its guardian indeed. (Qur’an 15:9).
According to this verse, no one can ever change even a single verse of the Quran.
Some of the views and ideas of this book have been collected from the writings of the Orientalists. Sadly, many contemporary Arab historians who have written about the Righteous Caliphate seek their opinions from certain Orientalists. These Orientalists, normally, view Islamic history with hostility and enmity. And in addition to this, they believe in other fellow orientalist’s views as well as rely on books issued by the synagogue. So, they can convince the people of the backwardness of Europe and the clash between the modern civilization of Islam and the Clashes in the churches.
At last, I would say that only Allah knows the matters of Hearts. This is a political and historical discussion. The more we discuss, the more unclear it will become. Read history; perform researches; but focus on your today and fill your heart with compassion, not hatred. In Sha Allah (if Allah wills), Truth will be revealed on the Day of Judgment. Everyone will eventually learn everything.