Did the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) make the nation responsible to select a successor?
Tags: Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Holy Quran, Imamat, Naboowat, Sahaabah
It’s clear that Islam needed a guide to succeed the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
Even the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was aware of its importance and significance.
But he did not appoint his successor. Why?
The only conclusion is that he delegated the decision to appoint the successor to his nation.
However even the Ahle Tasannun do not claim so.
Read all of their six authentic books of traditions (Sihah-e-sittah) and we do not find a single statement from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that appointing a successor is crucial for the guidance of the Muslims. That he (s.a.w.a.) understands its importance but is unable to appoint a successor and therefore he (s.a.w.a.) is delegating the responsibility to the Muslims.
At least he (s.a.w.a.) should have urged the Muslims to appoint the successor in his own lifetime!
The least he (s.a.w.a.) could have done was to list the criteria for his successor and the preferred mode of selection. This would have been ideal and saved lots of confusion and dissension among the Ummah!
Abu Bakr b. Abi Quhaafah took care to nominate his successor!
Umar b. Khattaab proved to be even more careful than the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in selecting his successor by defining clear rules for the engagement of the Consultative Council (Shura), along with the mention of each member and his positive and negative points.
However, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was not as careful and insightful in the matter of Caliphate although he knew that there should be a successor after him and that he (s.a.w.a.) was the last Prophet?!!
All the prophets (a.s.) preceding the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) were careful to select a successor in their lifetime. This shows their attention to detail and their love for the nation’s guidance and reformation. However, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) does not show the same love and attention to the Muslims while he (s.a.w.a.) is the best of Allah’s creation!
Even Allah the Omniscient and Omnipotent didn’t bother to appoint a successor for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) because He has not cared to name the successor in the Holy Quran!
Allah has also ordered the Muslims to ask “the people of remembrance if they do not know.”
He has categorically declared that the Holy Quran consists of clear verses as well as ambiguous ones. The latter require interpretation and none knows their interpretation except those who are firmly entrenched in knowledge.
Allah has mentioned all these points in no uncertain terms but has avoided naming the individual who will undertake these tasks!
Strangely, the Holy Quran, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and their teachings have talked extensively about making a will so much so that if somebody dies without making a will dies a non-Muslim!! But they have themselves failed to act upon their own teachings, so how do they expect others to do so?
All these implications will arise if we assume that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) did not bother to name his successor.