I just came across a wiki page where I studied about the Successor to Muhammed the Prophet. The article told that the succession is told differently in different divisions. The Sunnis claim that successor of Muhammed is Abu Bakr and Shi'as claim Ali is a relative to Muhammed who was the actual successor. It's confusing as which division hold the truth rightly. Please if anyone knows the exact truth enlighten me and I am eager to know.
This is the very topic that caused the muslims to divide and could not be settled in the first place. So it is no longer answerable as of now. Most of Islamic history seems to have been primarily transmitted orally until after the rise of the Abbasid Caliphatewiki (750 AD onwards). and Ali was assassinated in 619 AD.
Both Shias and sunnis will give you ample proof favoring their respective claims. But there is no mention of a chosen successor in Quran, neither in the last sermon of Muhammad. However, at Ghadir Khumm, Muhammad made a speech in which he said:
This word, 'mawla', can be interpreted roughly as the master. But master in what regard? Let us be clear. In Sahih Muslim, we find that Prophet said to Ali:
It indicates the spiritual superiority of Ali over all other ummah. But why Ali was not selected as the successor to Muhammad as the political leader?
Ibn abbas asked the same question to Umar. Umar and Ibn Abbas had the following converstionref:
So, these few points are clear:
Shia believes that Prophet(sa) clearly appointed Ali(as) as his successor. This is the fundamental belief of Shia.
It was appointed by Allah that Imam Ali(as) should be the leader after the prophet(sa) and that doesn't mean Allah didn't think about his age or he meant only the spiritual one not the political one!
I also like to mention that we don't see ourselves separated from Sunni brothers and that we always should be united. As we all live by the LA ILAHA ILLALLAH and the love toward his last prophet!
In the name of Allah the merciful the compassionate
Let's start with the following question?
Wasn't the mission of prophet that important to choose a successor for the supervision of the muslims?
Before answering this question, let's go further and ask:
Who has the authority to assign successor? God? prophet?
I believe that starting with the second question better helps us to present a solution. Many verses may be found in Quran which says, Almighty allah is the only one who assigns a successor. here are some examples:
As mentioned earlier, only allah may assign successor for himself. Moses the prophet didn't ask people to form a shura for choosing a successor when he left for miqat.
Almighty Allah also said:
Allah also said:
It is narrated that:
It is apparent that, the prophet of islam (PBUH) has been ordered by God to assign Ali (a.s) as his successor. How can the prophet of islam leave the society of muslims without a leader while the prophet moses assigns his successor only for 30 (40) nights.
Now that it is proved the society could not be left without a leader by the holy prophet of islam (PBUH), we should investigate wether he (the prophet) has mentioned any where this issue (assigning the successor) or not.
From the shia viewpoint, Imam Ali (a.s) is assigned by prophet (by Allah) as the successor (caliphe) of the muslims. To prove, the shia scholars have used many authenticated hadiths such as the ghadir hadith. to find valuable informations about this hadith, there are plenty of books written about it (just google the word ghadir), such as:
It is said that, in a place called Qom the inspiration angel (Gabriel) addressed the holy prophet as such: