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What emphasizes the fact that Shura (consultation) was the constitutional system that Imam Amir Muminin Ali bin Abi Talib abided by; and that he had no knowledge of vertical hereditary leadership of the Ahl al-Bayt, is his participation in the Shura process after the death of Caliph Umar bin Khattab, and his arguments before the members of the Shura on his virtues and his role in the service of Islam; so also the fact that he did not point to the issue of the text or his appointment as Khalifah after the Prophet. If the Hadith of Ghadir has any of this import, the Imam would have refered to it, and he would have won the day with what is greater and stronger than mentioning his virtues. Imam Ali believed in the system of consultation and it’s being first and foremost the right of the Immigrants and the Helpers (Muhajirin and Ansar). Due to this he refused to accede to the call of rebels-after the murder of Caliph Uthman, who invited him to assume power, and he said to them “This is not of your powers, this is for the Muhajirin and Ansar, anyone they chose as a leader will be a leader”. When the Immigrants and the Helpers came to him and said, “Stretch your hand, we would give you our oath of allegiance”, he withdrew from them. They repeated as the first, and he also withdrew again, and they repeated that for the third time then he said “Leave me and look for another person and know that, if I responded to you, I will do with you what I know…. and if you leave me alone, I am just like one of you, I would be the most obedient and loyal to anyone you choose to conduct your affairs for me to be a vizier is better for you than to be a leader” He walked to Talhah and Zubair and put it across to them and said:” If anyone of you wishes , I will give him my oath of allegiance” They both said “ No … the people accept you more (than any other man). At the end he said to them “If you insist, my oath of allegiance “bayah” must not be secret, and it will not be taken till after the acceptance of the (general) Muslim populace, so I will go out to the Masjid (mosque) anyone who wishes to give his oath of allegiance to me let him do it”. Tabari, vol. 3 p. 450 Therefore, if the theory of a “text” and appointment is established and well- known to the Muslims, it would not be permissible for Imam (Ali) to reject the revolters, and then wait for the word of the Immigrants and Helpers (Muhajirin & Ansar), as it will also not be permissible for him to say “ to be a vizier is better for you than to be a leader”. It will also not be right for him to put the leadership (Khilafah) before Talhah and Al-Zubair, and he will not need to wait for the oath of allegiance from the general Muslims. There is another narration from the work of Sulaym bin Qays al-Hilali that discloses the belief of Imam Ali in Shura, and the right of the Ummah to elect its leader. He said in one of his letters, “What is obligatory in the laws of Allah and Islam is that the Muslims, of if their leader dies or is killed, they should not perform any act nor innovate something, nor move in order to do something new, unless they choose for themselves a chaste leader, who is learned, scrupulous, and well-versed in the legal and traditional matters”. Kitab Sulaym bin Qays Al-Hilali, p. 182, Majlisi: Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 8 p. 555 When Talhah and Al-Zubair dissented, he pleaded for his case on the basis of their oath of allegiance to him, saying: “You gave me your oath of allegiance and now you breached it.” He did not point to the issue of a text from the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him). All that he said to Al-Zubair which made him to desist from fighting him, was his reminding him of the statement of the Prophet (S.A.W) that, “You will fight him, while being a transgressor!” Imam Ali also said to Mu'awiyah who rebelled against him …My allegiance in Madinah is binding on you in Sham (Syria), because the people who swore their oath of allegiance to me, where the same people who swore allegiance to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, so the one present has no other alternative to choose, nor has the absent the right to reject, Definitely Shura is the right of Muhajirin and Ansar, when they agree on a person, and called him the leader (of the Ummah), therein lies the pleasure of Allah..’ So, Shura is the basis of leadership in the right of Imam Ali, and this was in the absence of the theory of (a text and. (divine) appointment or selection), Which was not referred to by the Imam in any instance. Imam Ali views himself, undoubtedly, as an ordinary person i.e one who is not infallible, and he demanded from the Shiites to other Muslims to view him in that sense. History has preserved for us a wonder of his many wonders which is transmitted by Kulayni in al-Kafi, where he says: “I am in myself not above mistake, and I am not contented that my actions are free of it, except that Allah suffices me of myself, with what He bestows onto me’. Kulayni: Rawdah al-Kafi, pp. 292-293 Majlisi: Bihar vol. 74. p. 309 The belief of Imam Ali in Shura (Consultation) as a constitution for the Muslims, became very clear in the process of the Caliphate of Imam Hassan when the Muslims came to him after the strike of Abdul Rahman bin Muljan on him, and requested him to appoint his son Hassan after him (as the leader), for he said “No, we did go to the Prophet of Allah and said,” Appoint (for us a leader), and he said” No, I fear that you will be divided on his affairs, as Harun, but if Allah finds any good in your hearts, he will choose for you’ They requested him to point to someone, but he did not . They then said to him,” If we lost you, we will not lose giving our oath of allegiance to Hassan. He said, “I do not command, nor prevent you, you can discern better”. Murtada: Al-Shafi, vol. 3 p. 295, Tathbit Dala'il al-Nubuwwah, vol.1 p. 212 Hafiz Abu Bakr Ibn Abi al-Dunya (208-281AH) has mentioned in the book titled “The Murder of Imam, the Commander of the Faithful, from Abdul Rahman bin Jundub from his father who said “I said “ O! Commander of the faithful, if we lose you (if you die) and we will not lose, we will give our oath of allegiance to Hassan. He said, “I will not command you (to do that) nor prevent you”. I repeated what I said and he replied in the same way. Tathbit Dala'il al-Nubuwwah, p. 43 Sheikh Hassan bin Sulaiman has mentioned in 'Mukhtasar Basair al-Darajat’ from Sulaym bin Qays al- Hilali, who said “I heard Ali saying, while in the company of his two sons and Abdullah bin Ja’far and some of his close associates (supporters) ‘ Leave people with what they have chosen for themselves, and maintain your silence. Majlisi: Bihar Vol. 7 chapter on “Tradition attributed to Sulaym, not available in his book.” Imam Ali the leader of the faithful has given his will to Imam Hassan and his other children, but he never mention the issue of leadership and the Caliphate, His will was spiritual, ethical and personal, or as, Sheikh Mufid has said in Al-Irshad, the will was for Hassan regarding his family, children and companions, his responsibility and his charity’. Mufid: Al-Irshad, p. 187
Are Allah and the Prophet more Qualified to Appoint the Caliph or the People? To start the discussion I quote the following verse: ShakirAnd when your Lord said to the angels, I am going to place in the earth a Caliph, (2:30) In this verse Allah swt has mentioned that He will make a Caliph in the Earth, showing only he appoints the Caliph.
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