I have many doubts that circle around the events relating to Prophet’s (pbuh) death and the subsequent events that took place. Kindly clarify.
Why didn’t the Prophet (pbuh) appoint khulafah for the Muslims before his death so that he could have avoided the potential political conflict that may arise after his demise?
Why did Ansars moved to Saqifa to decide their ruler without consulting the senior Muhajir companions and leaving the body of the Prophet unburied? Is not burying the Prophet’s body the most important task?
Why did Abubacker(ra) talked about the superiority of the Quraishi tribe in the Saqifa meeting when Islam forbids trabalism?.
Why didn’t Ali (ra) participate in the Saqifa meeting and why didn’t he give bay’ah to Abubacker (ra) or denied giving bay’ah initially?
Why were the companions busy selecting the leader, leaving the body of the Prophet (pbuh) unburied. Is appointing Khulafah more important than Prophet’s burial??.
My answers to your questions follow:
The Prophet (pbuh) did not nominate the political leader of the Muslims as this nomination could then have established a political tradition among the Muslims which would clearly have been against the Qur’anic principle of ‘managing the collective affairs through consultation’ (Al-Shooraa 42: 38);
According to the very teachings of the Prophet (pbuh), Muslims were directed to live an organized collective life, under one leadership. It was primarily in view of this directive of the Prophet (pbuh) that the Ansar (the residents of Medinah) had gathered to select the political successor of the Prophet (pbuh). The reason why the Ansar did not consider it necessary to consult the Muhajireen (those, who had migrated from Mekkah) was because they incorrectly felt that it was their right – in view of the position that the Prophet (pbuh) gave them, while taking all collective actions in Medinah – to select the leader of the Muslims from among themselves;
Abu Baker (ra) did not talk about the “superiority” of the Qureish, but only mentioned that the Prophet (pbuh) had said (in the presence of some of the leaders of the Ansar) that the political leader of the Muslim collectivity shall be from among the Qureish. This statement of the Prophet (pbuh) was because of the political position that the Qureish had historically enjoyed in the Arabian Peninsula. Thus, the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said:
الناس تبع لقريش في هذا الشأن مسلمهم لمسلمهم وكافرهم لكافرهم (مسلم، باب الناس تبع لقريش والخلافة في قريش، رقم الحديث 1818)
These people follow the Qureish in this matter (of political leadership). The Muslims among the people follow the Muslims of the Qureish and the rejecters among the people follow the rejecters of the Qureish.
Thus, if seen in the correct perspective, the referred statement of the Prophet (pbuh) is, in fact, an application of the democratic principle of taking all collective decisions on the basis of the consultation;
It is generally held that Ali (ra) did not pledge allegiance to Abu Baker (ra) as he felt that he deserved to be made the leader of the Muslims. This explanation may be true, even though it seems highly unlikely that a person of the stature of Ali (ra) could have been so obsessed by being appointed the political leader of the Muslims;
For my answer to this question, please refer to one of my earlier responses to a related question titled ‘Why was there an Extra-Ordinary Delay in the Burial of the Prophet (pbuh)?‘.
I hope this helps.
July 8, 2002