The great Prophet [pbuh] of Islam gave much importance to this issue, from the very begining till the very end. He introduced his successor in a very clear way, right at the begining of his mission during the invitation of Asheera [Dawatul-Asheera]. The Prophet [pbuh] of Islam gathered his relatives and informed them of the message and his mission. He repeatedly asked who would help him in spreading the message and fullfilling his mission. Nobody respnded but the legendary Ali [as]. It was then when the Prophet [pbuh] of Islam introduced his successor by taking Ali's hand and saying " Ali will be the executor of my will and my successor among you and you all must accept and obey him ".
Both Shia and Sunni scholars have narrated that the Prophet [pbuh] of Islam had said in public gatherings that " I leave two precious things amongst you, the Holy Quran and my Household, if you keep them together and follow them you will never go astray, but if you keep distance between them or overtake them you will lose your way ". It is very clear that by the household is certainly meant the core of revelation and inspiration, and that is Ali [as] and his pure descendants. Because the Prophet [pbuh] himself has repeatedly introduced them and they were the only ones who had no errors or mistakes and whose obedience never ends to deviation.
Imaam Ahmed Bin Hambal, one of the great Sunni heavy weights and jurists, writes; that the Prophet [pbuh] of Islam said to Ali [as], " You have the authority and Wilayath over each believer on my behalf after me ". The Prophet [pbuh] of Islam again named and appointed, the same person as, his successor at the very end. He also introduced his successor at the very end, at the place of Gadeer during his last sermon. The Prophet [pbuh] stood before thousands and said " My death is approaching and I will soon leave you ". Then he raised Ali's hand and said " Ali will be the Lord and the guardian of whomever took me as their lord and guardian ".
There are many traditions and narrations available in both Shia and Sunni books that the Prophet [pbuh] said " My successors are twelve and all are from the Quraish tribe ". Some of these traditions and narrations even describe the qualifications of the pure Imaams and also mention their names. The above examples have been mentioned and discussed in great detail many times over. They clearly show who was capable and who should have held and holds, Islam and the Muslims affairs after the Prophet [pbuh]. The matter is crystal clear but not for the arrogant and ignorant.
Edited by Ameen, 06 March 2012 - 05:49 PM.