After Othman ibn Affan, the 3rd caliph, was assassinated, did the ummah elect Ali ibn Abu Talib, the prophet's cousin and son in law, to be the next caliph in an election?

  • As a helpful site: al-islam.org/… Commented May 4, 2017 at 6:46
  • @- Imam Thank you for the link. But that page only mentions events that ensued after Ali ibn Abu Talib had become caliph. It does not mention the process of how he became caliph. This is very important and relevant today. For if he was indeed elected by the ummah, this precedent would prove that democracy is valid in Islam and all muslims have rights (hak) to choose their leader. Kingdoms and dynasties are tyrannies that have nothing to do with Islam and are in fact antithetical to it. Islam was hijacked by self serving tyrants since the election of Ali to caliph. Commented May 4, 2017 at 11:58
  • Nice, but I strongly believe that: the choosing of the leader (such as Imam/caliphate) is not choosing of president (although people can have effect in their Islamic government) but it doesn't mean that the caliph should be chosen by voting of people/Muslims, since it is not an selection, otherwise God would say: people, choose an prophet by voting as an election! Commented May 4, 2017 at 12:09
  • but the issue of guiding the right path is something else, and logically it should be appointed by God/the-Prophet as the rest of his right path. Commented May 4, 2017 at 12:10
  • As more issues, I recommend you brother to read the following related links: al-islam.org/imamate-and-leadership-sayyid-mujtaba-musavi-lari/… and al-islam.org/… and al-islam.org/… Commented May 4, 2017 at 12:12

1 Answer 1


Ali was appointed caliph by accepting the ba'yah of the Sahabah in Medinah, similar to the appointment of Abu Bakr. Tabari records various accounts of this in his Tarikh (english translation).

If you mean 'elected' as in modern democracies, then polling the opinion of every single Muslim in the entire Islamic state would be nigh impossible at that time, as the state extended over a larger area than any current Muslim country and there were no modern means of communication or travel.

In Islamic law, the choice of the Caliph is to be made by the Ahlul Hal wal Aqd (أهل الحل والعقد) and there is no basis for there being a right of every Muslim to choose a leader. As among the common Muslims are also those people who are fasiq or fajir or unjust or unwise or those who lack knowledge about the requirements of government that are set in Islam.

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