Friday, May 16, 2014

LEADERSHIP QUALITIES ARE NOT IMAM ALI’S PREROGATIVES


This topic will address Sheikh Turi’s IMAM ALI’S UNDISPUTABLE LEADERSHIP QUALITIES, which was published in LEADERSHIPFRIDAY of November 15, 2013. The contents of that piece were similar with what Sheikh Turi tried to prove in the fifth and last subtopic of his article (Did The Prophet (S) Really Certify His Successor Before Demise?) to which I have been responding under different headings for quite some time now. Other than the fifth subtopic (EXTRAORDINARY VIRTUES OF IMAM ALI), I have written rebuttals of two to three articles on each subtopic of that piece by the Sheikh. I feel what I shall present here will cover any response I might have given to the fifth subtopic since, in both cases, (that of the fifth subtopic and of the new article), Sheikh Turi was saying one and the same thing – that the ‘extraordinary virtues’ and ‘leadership qualities’ of Imam Ali made him the most suitable for the Caliphate after the Messenger of Allah (SAW).

To prove IMAM ALI’S UNDISPUTABLE LEADERSHIP QUALITIES, Sheikh Turi quoted this hadeeth: “O Ali you hold in relation to me the same position as Haroon held in relation to Musa, except that there will be no prophet after me.”
The above hadeeth is authentic, narrated by Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqaas in Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 700.
Sheikh Turi quoted only part of the hadeeth. If one cites proof in support of a point, they should let their readers know the context in which it was made for the purposes of completeness and transparency. This is the fuller version of the hadeeth: “When the Prophet (SAW) was leaving for the Tabuk expedition, he left ‘Ali in charge of his household in Madeenah. ‘Ali said, ‘Are you leaving me among women and children? The Prophet (SAW) replied, ‘Would you not accept to be in the same position to me as Aaron was to Moses, except that there will be no prophet after me?”
This hadeeth is not proof for Ali’s right the Caliphate after the demise of the Messenger of Allah (SAW), since the analogy was based on Ali taking the position of Harun (AS) who, actually died before Musa (AS), so, he was never his successor.
Imam al-Qurtubi, has the following explanation concerning the hadeeth, in his Tafseer:

There is no disagreement that Haroon died before Musa…and (Haroon) was not a successor after him (Musa), for the successor (to Musa) was Yusha bin Noon (i.e. Joshua), so if he (the Prophet) wanted by his saying (to grant Ali) the Caliphate, he would have said “you will be to me like Yusha was to Musa”, so when he didn’t say this it proved that he didn’t want that meaning, but he (simply) wanted that “you are my deputy over my family in my life and my absence from my family, like Haroon was deputy of Musa over his people when he left to speak to his Lord.””
Harun was the elder brother of Musa and did not succeed him as Caliph or Imam. Ali’s likeness to Harun was in his close relationship and having been considered as a minister or assistant. If the Prophet (SAW) had intended, by what he said, that Ali would succeed him as Caliph, he would have likened him to Yusha’, and not Harun.
When the Prophet (SAW) left Madinah for the Tabuk expedition he had 30,000 companions with him (the largest army that took part in an expedition during the Prophet’s lifetime, and it was his last). Although the Prophet (SAW) personally led the expedition, he entrusted command of the army to Abu Bakr (RA). According to another hadeeth, he (SAW) appointed Ibn Umm Maktum to act as his deputy in Madinah and Ali was charged with only the responsibility of his family members.
We read the following in Tareekh al-Islam:
“Expedition to Tabuk
“…The Munafiqoon were constantly in league with the Jews of al-Medinah and were holding regular consultations against the Muslims. A band of twelve Munafiqoon built their own separate mosque as a center for carrying out their hostile activities and anti-Islamic propaganda, and for creating a rift among the Muslims. When they saw the Muslims engaged in preparing for the impending battle, they started passing discouraging remarks…
“Islamic Army’s Departure
The Messenger of Allah set out for Tabuk with an army of 30,000 men from al-Medinah…and he put Muhammad bin Maslamah Ansari in charge of al-Medinah…The Prophet had left behind Ali to look after his family. The Munafiqoon used this as an opportunity to spread false rumors about Ali. They implied that the Prophet gave little importance to Ali and therefore left him alone in al-Medinah. When his patience ran out, he (Ali) hurried from al-Medinah and–joining the Prophet at al-Jurf–asked: “The Munafiqoon are saying such-and-such about me and so I have come to you.” The Prophet of Allah said: “They are liars. I have left you behind to look after my household, so go back.” In order to soothe his feelings, the Prophet further added: “You are to me as Haroon was to Musa, except that there will be no Prophet after me.” Ali returned to al-Medinah pacified and satisfied.” (Tareekh al-Islam, Vol.1, p.232)
Incidentally, even the Shi’ah website, www.al-islam.or supports the above position, as it states:
“The Expedition of Tabuk
“…The hypocrites in Medina seized this opportunity to plant disaffection in the minds of the neophytes in Islam. They not only did not take part in the campaign but also tried to dissuadeothers from doing so. In an attempt to undermine the will and purpose of the Muslims, they began to spread alarmist stories…
“Nevertheless, many Muslims responded to the appeal of the Prophet, and took up arms to defend the faith. When a head-count was taken, there were found to be 30,000 volunteers. It was the largest force ever assembled in Arabia until then.
“The Prophet appointed Ali ibn Abi Talib his viceroy in Medina during his own absence…For the hypocrites, there was nothing more disagreeable than to see Ali in authority over them. When the army left Medina, they began to whisper that the Apostle had left Ali in Medina because he wanted to get rid of him. Ali was mortified to hear that his master had found him a “burden.” He, therefore, immediately went after the army and overtook it at Jorf. The Apostle was surprised to see him but when he (Ali) explained why he came, he (the Apostle) said: “These people are liars. I left you in Medina to represent me in my absence. Are you not content to be to me what Aaron was to Moses except that there will not be any prophet after me.”  (Restatement of History of Islam, http://al-islam.org/restatement/34.htm)
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah wrote in Minhajus-Sunnah:
As for the Messenger placing Ali in charge over Medinah, then that is not an honour specific to him alone. He (the Prophet) had left Ibn Makhtoom, Uthman bin Affan, and Abu Mundhir (in charge of Medinah, i.e. on other occasions). This (being appointed over Medinah) is not an unrestricted succession, which is why none of these people ever said they were the Caliph of Allah’s Messenger…Ali left Medinah along with the Prophet to Badr, Hunayn and other places, and (the Messenger) left others in Medinah as deputies.
This hadeeth, I repeat, has not, in any way supported Sheikh Turi’s position; it is rather a potent proof against whatever he was trying to prove.  Had the Prophet wished to imply that Ali was his successor, then he would have likened Ali to Prophet Yusha (AS) rather than Prophet Harun (AS).
Under what he captioned as ANTECEDENCE, Sheikh Turi said: “The Imam was well engaged in the service of the noble messenger since the days of seclusion in the cave of Hira at his young age. Thus on the advent of Islam he was roughly less than ten! So he was never engaged in the service of any being beside Allah the most high for the Sunnis chant-Karramallahu wajhahu-may Allah honour his face, different from other companions…..”
Karramallaahu wajhahu, May Allah honour his face, is part of Shi’ah Raafidah innovations in exceeding limits regarding Ali (RA). The Sunnis who use Karramallaahu wajhahu exclusively after Ali’s name are influenced by the Shi’ah or by the writings of scholars who copied from Shi’ah sources. The same respect should be accorded to other companions; afterall, Abu Bakr and Umar, (may Allah be pleased with them), are more deserving of that.

Ali (Radiyallaahu Anhu) was not the only companion that ‘never engaged in the service of any being beside Allah the most high…’ Many other companions were born in Islam. Ali (RA), even though he never prostrated to any idol, was born, nevertheless, in the period of ignorance!
Karramallaahu wajhahu is not mentioned in any authentic report from the Messenger of Allah (SAW). The best honour that we can accord to any companion is what Allah Himself said about the Sahabah in the Glorious Qur’an, Radiyallaahu Anhum; Allah is well-pleased with them (at-Taubah, 9:100). That is why we follow the name of each companion with Radiyallaahu Anhu or (RA).
Sheikh Turi raised a number of issues when he was discussing KNOWLEDGE, quoting verses that have nothing to do with the subject matter. This jumbled presentation brought certain, purported sayings of the Prophet’s companions without citing any authority. The Sheikh quoted Ali saying about himself, “ask me before you lose me. By Allah, if you could ask me about anything that could happen up to the Day of Judgement, I will tell you about it. Ask me about the book of Allah, because by Allah there is no Qur’anic verse that I did not know whether it was revealed on a plain or a mountain”. Then Sheikh Turi said, ‘In another narration, the Imam added, “and none can claim this except a liar!”’
The two sayings quoted above are not related, but the way they are presented by Sheikh Turi will make many readers assume that they are. Let us accept, (even though the first ‘narration’ is not reported in any authentic source of Islamic Law), that Ali did say, “ask me before you lose me”. He could say that at the time he was alleged to have uttered those words, as there was neither Abu Bakr nor Umar. During the time of these Rightly Guided Caliphs, as well as that of Uthman (RA), there was prevalence of learned people, who got their knowledge directly from the Messenger of Allah (SAW). This saying of Ali could have helped the case of Sheikh Turi if Ali had uttered those words when Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman were alive, to prove that he was better than the rest and more deserving of the Caliphate. But Ali said those words when he was in Kufa, where, according to the sermons in Nahjul Balaghah, there was concentration of miscreants at the time. There were very few people like Ali during that period, who were the Prophet’s students. So, saying ‘ask me before you lose me’ made sense at that time since with the death of Ali there would be fewer people left who got knowledge directly from the Messenger of Allah (SAW).
Also in ‘ask me before you lose me’, we have seen, contrary to Shi’ah claim, that Ali did not conceal knowledge. He urged the public to ask him. He did not conceal what he knew or confine it to his sons. He wanted to share what he had of knowledge with all the people.
The Shi’ah tell us that their imams possess equal degree of knowledge which increase by the day. If this were true, Ali, being the first in that line of imamate would not have said ‘ask me before you lose me’ since his sons who possessed similar degree of knowledge were there to continue to from where he stopped. In other words, why will Ali insist on entertaining questions from people in order to impart to them what he know before his death, when he knew that after him, there were two other imams who inherited from him both knowledge and the imamate?
Sheikh Turi connected this ‘ask-me-before-you-lose-me’ saying of Ali with another unrelated narration - “and none can claim this except a liar!” – as if it was a completion of the first. It gave the impression that Ali said, ‘ask me before you lose me…’ …“and none can claim this except a liar!”. There was no connection between the two whatsoever.
This other saying is part of a narration where Ali said, “I am a man of Allah, the brother of the Prophet, and the great truthful one (as-Siddeeq al-Akbar); anyone who claims this other than me is a liar, I offered Salah seven years before anyone else in this Ummah prayed.”
Let us accept for the sake of this discussion that the above hadeeth is germane to the connection that Sheikh Turi was trying to make with the first narration. Unfortunately, the narration is classified as Maudu’ (fabricated). It is recorded in al-Mustadrak of al-Haakim, and ‘Khasaa’is of Nasaa’i.
Imam adh-Dhahabi stated: “This (Hadeeth) is a lie against Ali.” (Mizan al-I’ti’daal, no.4126.)
Sheikh al-Albaaniy declared in “Silsilatud –Dha’eefah” (Vol.10, no.4947) that this Hadeeth was fabricated.
Under FABRICATED AHADITH, Sheikh Turi said:
With the well pronounced virtues of the Imam, others tried their best by fabricating a number of sayings likened with the noble messenger and the Ahlul bait members of his family.”
Whenever his English fails him, Sheikh Turi’s prose becomes abstruse. The above sentence can only make sense when you read the examples he related in the subsequent paragraph where he stated:
For example, why could not Imam Ali narrate more with his young age, exceptionally gifted talent and retentive memory – being the gate of the city of knowledge or and wisdom as repeatedly emphasized by the noble messenger?
Interesting!
Sheikh Turi, in his attempt to refute the position of those he accused of ‘fabricating a number of sayings’, has paraphrased a fabricated hadeeth to buttress his point, where he said, ‘Ali….being the gate of the city of knowledge or and wisdom....' Ironic. The exact words of the hadeeth are, “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate.”   It was related by al-Haakim, at-Tabarani and others. Another version in at-Tirmizi read, “I am the House of Wisdom, and Ali is its Door.

Sheikh al-Albaaniy declared the Hadeeth to be Maudu’ (fabricated). Daaraqutni labelled the Hadeeth as mudtarib (shaky), both in isnad and text. Tirmizi labelled it is ghareeb (weak) and munkar (rejected). Imam al-Bukhari said that the Hadeeth has no saheeh narration and declared it un-acknowledgeable. Qurtubi said about this Hadeeth in al-Jame’ li Ahkaam al-Quran: “This Hadeeth is Baatil (false)!” Ibn Ma’een said that the Hadeeth is a baseless lie. Dhahabi considered it a forgery and included it in his book on forged Hadeeths. Al-Hakim declared that it is weak.
In his last paragraph under the same caption, citing more examples of the FABRICATED AHADITH, Sheikh Turi said, “When the messenger of said his grandsons were the leaders of the youth in paradise. Others narrated that this and that were the leaders of the old in paradise? While there would be no old in paradise! Examples of these are more than to count in different collections.
Any scholar worth his salt will not doubt the hadeeth that the grandsons of the messenger were the leaders of the youth in Paradise, since it is an authentic narration. At-Tirmidhi, al-Haakim, at-Tabaraani, Ahmad and others reported that Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri said, that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said, "Hasan and Husayn are the leaders of the youth of Paradise". This is proven by so many reports that reached the level of tawaatur (unbroken chain of authority).
The problem is with the second sentence where Sheikh Turi said, “Others narrated that this and that were the leaders of the old in paradise?” Forget about the question mark at the end of the sentence. It is sad that Sheikh Turi derogatorily referred to Abu Bakr and Umar as ‘this and that’. But why should I be distressed by this when the Shi’ah have said worse things against the Companions of Allah’s Messenger (SAW)?
The hadeeth he paraphrased this time, though authentic, did not contain ‘leaders of the old’ as he claimed. It spoke about ‘leaders of men’. A number of the Sahaabah, including 'Ali ibn Abi Taalib, Anas ibn Maalik, Abu Hudhayfah, Jaabir ibn 'Abdullaah, and Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri reported that the Messenger (saw) said, "Abu Bakr and 'Umar will be the leaders of men of Paradise from the earlier and later generations." Ali (RA) was among the reporters of an authentic hadeeth which Sheikh Turi rejected!

Insha Allah, next week, I will start responding to “WHY WAS THE PROPHET NOT ALLOWED TO WRITE HIS WILL?”  

Monday, May 5, 2014

WHAT HAPPENED AT SAQEEFAH



Today we resume our discussion on Sheikh Turi’s piece ‘Did The Prophet (S) Really Certify His Successor Before Demise?’ as published in LEADERSHIP FRIDAY of November 1, 2013; and in which, under the third subtopic titled THE PROPHETIC DEMISE AND ITS AFTERMATH, Sheikh Turi said:
Seventy days exactly after the episode of Ghadeer, the prophet (s) returned to the mercy of His lord and before the ritual birth and funeral, some companions from Muhajiruun and Ansar went to the Saqifatu Bani Sa’idah where they chose Abu Bakr as the caliph on what they referred to as popular agreement. This remains questionable however, because how could that be when most of the prominent companions, Ali bn Abi Talib, Abbas bn Abd al-Mutallab, Usama bn Zayd, Zubair, Salman al-Farisy, Abu Dharr, Miqdad bn al-Aswad, Ammar bn Yassir, Hudhaifa bn al-Yamany, Khuzaima bn Thabit, Barra’ bn Azib, Abu Kaab, Abu Ayyub al-Ansary and Jabir bn Saad, among others were absent? Imam Ali said on the acclamation: By Allah, ibn Abi Quhafa has got it! And he knows that my position regarding the caliphate is like that of the pole in relation to the millstone! The torrent flows from me, and the bird will never reach me! Saad ibn Ubada, a prominent companion from Medina attacked Abu Bakr and Umar on the day of Saqifa, trying hard to keep them away from the caliphate, but could not succeed being very sick. After witnessing some of his friends paying homage to the latter he said to him “By Allah, I shall never pay homage to you until I cast my last arrow at you and pierce you with my lance, and attack you with my sword, with all the power in my hand, and fight you with and all the members of my family and clan. By Allah even if all the jinns (invisible beings) and the human beings gathered to support you, I will never acclaim you until I meet my Lord”. He never prayed with them, never sat in their company, never performed pilgrimage with them until he died in Syria during the caliphate of Umar. Everything is documented regarding the incident, including its contradictory and paradoxical nature.”
Intellectual honesty dictates that a writer should state historical events truthfully, and give reference of his sources, where controversial issues are involved. These two ingredients of honest narrative are absent in the above subtopic of Sheikh Turi’s article.  
Saqeefatu Bani Saa’idah was an old assembly hall, a courtyard in Madeenah where the people used to discuss and resolve their crucial problems. Thus, after the Messenger (SAW) ‘returned to the mercy of His’ Lord, ‘some companions from’ the Ansar converged in this assembly hall with the intention of electing Sa’ad ibn Ubadah, and declaring war on any tribe which rejected their leader, and some of the Ansar were even ready to wage war on the Muhajirs. But Sheikh Turi made it appear as if there was a conspiracy hatched among ‘some companions from Muhajiruun and Ansar’ to delude other more ‘prominent companions’ by choosing ‘Abu Bakr as the caliph on what they referred to as popular agreement.’ No, the meeting was meant to be for the Ansar, at the peak of the confusion that befell the Ummah due to the demise of Allah’s Apostle (SAW); they gathered for the declaration of their own Caliphate, which, if they had succeeded, would have led every other tribe to choose its own leader. The prevalence of contending claimants to the Caliphate would have meant the resurrection of continual strife and civil wars of the time of ignorance.
Moreover, the Ansar went as far as saying that: “In the event that they refuse to accept our Caliph, we shall drive them out from Al-Madeenah at the point of our swords.” However, the few Muhajirs in the assembly protested against this attitude, and this led to a dispute and pandemonium of a serious nature and a war between the Muhajirs and Ansar seemed possible.
That was what the meeting at Saqeefah would have been but for the timely intervention of Abu Bakr and Umar (RA).
 “O Son of Khattab” a man called on Umar (RA), “pray step out for a moment.”
Umar (RA) told him to leave them alone and go away as they were busy in arranging for the burial of the Prophet (SAW). The man insisted that an incident had occurred: the Ansar were gathering in force at Saqeefatu Bani Saa’idah, and – as the situation was grave – it was necessary that he (Umar) should go and look into the matter lest the Ansar should do something that would lead to a (civil) war. On this, Umar said to Abu Bakr, “Let us go.”
Imam at-Tabary, yes, the same scholar that Sheikh Turi said ‘was considered the chief interpreter of the noble Qur’an’, has captured this incident in The History of at-Tabary, Vol.10, p.3, where he said:
“Umar learned of this (i.e. the gathering of the Ansar at Saqeefah) and went to the Prophet’s house and sent (a message) to Abu Bakr, who was in the building… [Umar] sent a message to Abu Bakr to come to him. Abu Bakr sent back (a message) that he was occupied (i.e. with caring for the Prophet’s body), but Umar sent him another message, saying: “Something (terrible) has happened that you must attend to personally.” So he (Abu Bakr) came out to him…”
Therefore, Abu Bakr and Umar (RA) had to go. This was an important and urgent matter, an emergency, a national crisis. They took along with them Abu Ubaidah (RA), another Muhajir. Needless to say that these three were among the ten companions enlisted for admission into Paradise by the Messenger of Allah (SAW). Of course, the intervention of such influential personages was certain to douse the flames of civil war and dissension.
It is plain from the above that Abu Bakr and those with him went to Saqeefah as peacekeepers, and not as a band planning to grab the Caliphate for themselves. Their mission was to caution the Ansar on the dangers of exposing the nascent Ummah to internal quarrels and civil war. If Abu Bakr were preparing himself for the Caliphate, surely he would have gone to that meeting with more than two people. It is absurd to ascribe political motive to the mission of these three Muhajirs to a flood of belligerent Ansars who had contrived to make one of them their leader.  That would be a political suicide. They were clearly outnumbered. How was it possible for Abu Bakr with only two supporters stand against Sa’ad ibn Ubadah who had a whole assembly of Ansar as his supporters?
Sheikh Turi’s ‘prominent companions’ were not there because Abu Bakr did not go to Saqeefah entertaining the hope of becoming the Caliph; otherwise, he would have gone with many of his supporters to bolster his chances. His mission was to counsel the Ansar, and to save the Ummah from disintegration.
Ali (RA) was absent for the same reason that Abu Bakr refused answering Umar’s initial invitation – namely caring, and preparing the Prophet’s funeral rites; and for the fact that no election was envisaged in the whole affair of Saqeefah. Their purpose was to avert the impending disaster of civil war from befalling the Muslim community emanating from Ansar’s announcement of pledging the oath of allegiance to a leader of their own.
The History of al-Tabari, Vol.10, p.2 reported the following speech by Sa’ad ibn Ubadah during the Saqeefah meeting:
“Company of the Ansar! You have precedence in religion and merit in Islam that no other tribe of the Arabs can claim. Muhammad remained ten-odd years in his tribe, calling them to worship the Merciful and to cast off idols and graven images, but only a few men of his tribe believed in him, and they were able neither to protect the Apostle of Allah, nor to render his religion strong, nor to divert from themselves the oppression that befell them all.

“Until, when He intended excellence for you (O Ansar); He sent nobility to you and distinguished you with grace. Thus, Allah bestowed upon you faith in Him and in His Apostle, and protection for him and his companions, and strength for him and his faith, and Jihad against his enemies. You (O Ansar) were the most severe people against his enemies who were not from among you, so that the Arabs became upright in Allah’s Cause, willingly or unwillingly…through, you (O Ansar) Allah made great slaughter (of the infidels) in the earth for His Apostle, and by your swords (O Ansar) the Arabs were abased for him. When Allah took (the Prophet) to Himself, he was pleased with you (O Ansar) and consoled by you.

“So keep control of this matter (i.e. the Caliphate) to yourselves, to the exclusion of others, for it is yours and yours alone.”
Apparently, the above speech praised the Ansar, and demeaned the Muhajirs. Umar (RA) wanted to respond, but Abu Bakr (RA), knowing the fiery temper of the former, prevented him. There was enough tension in the hall; given his no-nonsense disposition, if allowed to speak, Umar would have made matters worse. Therefore, Abu Bakr addressed the gathering:
“O Ansar! You deserve all the qualities that you have attributed to yourselves, but this question (of Caliphate) is only for the Quraish” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 82, Number 817)
Abu Bakr (RA) acknowledged Ansar’s contribution to the establishment of Islaam, and how they took in the Messenger of Allah (SAW) together with the believers along with him, helped them and gave them abode. But he also urged the Ansar to call to mind the fact that the Muhajirs were the first to profess faith in Allah, and to support His Messenger (SAW); that the Muhajirs suffered hunger, thirst, and rejection, while remaining firm with Allah’s Messenger through that tribulation and adversity; they did not alter in the least. When persecution and torture became more than flesh and blood could stand, they forsook all their worldly possessions and loved ones to immigrate with the Messenger of Allah (SAW). Abu Bakr also reminded the Ansar of the saying of Allah’s Messenger (SAW) that leadership is with the Quraish after him. Then he said:
“Allah is my witness that we are not pressing the claim of the Quraish because of any selfish interest. The proposal is prompted in the interest of the solidarity of Islam (i.e. to maintain unity and prevent civil war). To give you a proof of our sincerity, I declare before you that I do not covet the office. Here are Umar and Abu Ubaidah. You may choose any one of these.”
A counter-offer from the Ansar, “Oh Quraish!” they said, “There should be one ruler from us one from you.”
Of course, that was a precarious situation. Having two caliphs will only open the door for multiple leaders of the Ummah, as I have alluded to earlier. Nothing would have stopped other tribes from choosing their own caliph. When people’s voices grew loud and there was disputation, at the peak of this meeting, Umar perceived this danger, so he moved to pre-empt the pledging of allegiance by anybody, because if that happened, resolving this matter would have been impossible. Umar said to Ansar:
“Oh Ansar! Do you not know that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) commanded Abu Bakr to lead the people in prayer? Who among you would feel comfortable putting himself above Abu Bakr?”
The Ansar answered, “Allah forbid that we should put ourselves above Abu Bakr.”
Then Umar hastened to say to Abu Bakr, “Stretch forth your hand.”
So Abu Bakr stretched forth his hand and Umar swore allegiance to him, and the Muhajirs swore allegiance to him, then the Ansar also, did so.
The emergence of Abu Bakr as Caliph, therefore, was not as Sheikh Turi tried to portray, as something that ‘remains questionable’ and of “contradictory and paradoxical nature.
There was nothing questionable, contradictory or paradoxical, whatever that means, in what these honourable men had done. If anything, they should be adorned with garlands, and handsomely recompensed for saving this Ummah from the tribulation of disunity and civil strife!
Actually I thought Sheikh Turi would prove that the Companions argued for ‘Ali (RA) because the Messenger of Allah had appointed him his heir apparent, as the Shi’ah claimed, in Ghadeer Khum. Alhamdu lillah, I have dealt with that issue, and established that there was no such pronouncement by Allah’s Messenger in favour of ‘Ali (RA). To my surprise, Sheikh Turi has not repeated that argument in this Saqeefah incident. He was content with what he described as ‘questionable’ and ‘contradictory’ process that saw Abu Bakr’s ascension to the Caliphate.
It did not make any sense that the companions forgot an issue that was mentioned by the Messenger of Allah on ‘Ali (RA) being the leader of Muslims after him; an issue that was witnessed, according to Sheikh Turi, by ‘no fewer than seventy thousand pilgrims’ who ‘had gathered from different places’ after the Farewell pilgrimage. This multitude should have been able to remember that the Caliphate was the exclusive right of ‘Ali (RA) due to the Prophet’s purported nomination of the former at Ghadeer Khum.
Sheikh Turi further said, “Imam Ali said on the acclamation: By Allah, ibn Abi Quhafa has got it! And he knows that my position regarding the caliphate is like that of the pole in relation to the millstone! The torrent flows from me, and the bird will never reach me!”
Sheikh Turi did not mention the source of the above incident, but a shi’ah website, www.al-islam.org informed me that this quotation of Ali (RA) was from shi’ah’s most authentic book, Nahj al-Balagha (Way of Eloquence), Sharh, Muhammad Abduh, vol 1 p 34; it contains sermons and letters of Ali (RA). But I found, within this book, other quotations credited to Ali (RA) which were not in agreement with Sheikh Turi’s point regarding Ali’s claim to the Caliphate. Let me site three examples:
1-    "By Allah, I had no liking for the caliphate nor any interest in government, but you yourselves invited me to it and prepared me for it." p.179
2-    "Verily, those who took the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman have sworn allegiance to me. Now those who were present at the election have no right to go back against their oaths of allegiance and those who were not present on the occasion have no right to oppose me. And so far as Shura (limited franchise or selection) was concerned it was supposed to be limited to Muhajirs and Ansars and it was also supposed that whomsoever they selected, became caliph as per approval and pleasure of Allah. If somebody goes against such decision, then he should be persuaded to adopt the course followed by others, and if he refuses to fall in line with others, then war is the only course left open to be adopted against him and as he has refused to follow the course followed by the Muslims, Allah will let him wander in the wilderness of his ignorance and schism."
3-    When people decided to Swear allegiance to Ali after the murder of `Uthman, he said: "Leave me and seek some one else. We are facing a matter which has (several) faces and colours, which neither hearts can stand nor intelligence can accept. Clouds are hovering over the sky, and faces are not discernible. You should know that if I respond to you I would lead you as I know and would not care about whatever one may say or abuse. If you leave me then I am the same as you are. It is possible I would listen to and obey whomever you make in charge of your affairs. I am better for you as a counsellor than as chief." p.91
The above words were not like those uttered by one who viewed himself as the sole heir to the Caliphate.
Sheikh Turi’s roll call on Saqeefah showed the conspicuous absence of “Ali bn Abi Talib, Abbas bn Abd al-Mutallab, Usama bn Zayd, Zubair, Salman al-Farisy, Abu Dharr, Miqdad bn al-Aswad, Ammar bn Yassir, Hudhaifa bn al-Yamany, Khuzaima bn Thabit, Barra’ bn Azib, Abu Kaab, Abu Ayyub al-Ansary and Jabir bn Saad”.
On these endless names of companions listed by Sheikh Turi as being absent during Abu Bakr emergence as Caliph, I keep wondering why a Shi’ah scholar will bother to use “non-Muslims” to support a position. According to Shi’ah, all but three companions became non-Muslims after the demise of Allah’s Messenger because they pledged allegiance, not to Ali but to Abu Bakr and company. Let me give two examples:
1-    “After the death of the Prophet (SAW), all his companions gave up Islam except three. These were Miqdaad, Abu Dharr and Salmaan.” (Furu’ al-Kaafi, vol. 2, p. 115)
2-    “After the death of the Prophet all of his companions became disbelievers except three. They were Miqdaad, Abu Dharr and Salmaan.” (Hayaat al-Qulub, vol. 2, p. 600)


After the meeting at Saqifah Banu Sa’idah…(and) the burial of the Prophet, Abu Bakr took the oath of allegiance from the general population and then rose to deliver his (inauguration) address…that was the day when 33,000 Companions pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr.