Some Muslims accord a very high status to the companions (Sahaabah) and the wives of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), so much so, that they even he (s.a.w.a.) pales in comparison to them.
There can be no two opinions on the fact that these Muslims consider the companions (sahaabah) to be superior to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in matters like choosing a suitable caliph to lead the nation.
History shows that the need for leadership was apparent to Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman Ayesha and the entire Muslim nation.
The moot question for these Muslims is – Why did the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) not see this urgent need?
Even the Holy Quran has referred to leadership of the nation in Surah Ra’d (13): Verse 7
إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مُنذِرٌ ۖ وَلِكُلِّ قَوْمٍ هَادٍ
…you are only a warner and (there is) a guide for every people.’
So the Holy Quran and the Sahaabah and even the wives of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), who have been openly criticized for their indiscretion in Surah Tahreem (66): Verse 3, are aware of the urgent need for the nation’s guidance, but the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) is unaware of the need.
Does any Muslim have the audacity to claim that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was not aware of the need for leadership of the nation but lesser Muslims and women were aware of it? This is a ridiculous point and can never be attributed to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) yet the Muslims claim exactly that and in the process accord a higher status to the companions and wives, wittingly or unwittingly.
The Holy Quran clearly says that the chain of Prophethood will conclude but the chain of guidance will continue and there will always be a guide to explain the Quran and Islamic laws. (Surah Raad (13): Verse 7)
By making obligatory obedience to the Ulul Amr – the individuals vested with authority – in Surah Nisa (4): Verse 59, the Book of Allah has made clear that there always would be individuals in every era, obedience to whom shall be obligatory on the Muslims.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had warned the Muslims about the perils of apostasy and heresy and ordered them to adhere to the right path.
He (s.a.w.a.) had barely completed the important task of announcing the revelation (tanzeel), while the equally important task of taaveel (interpretation of revelation) lay in front of him. The struggle for tanzeel was against the infidels of Mecca while the struggle for taaveel was to be against the Muslims. It is possible that the Muslims believe in tanzeel but err in taaveel just like the Bani Israil believed in Moosa (tanzeel) but failed to accept Haroon (taaveel) when Moosa visited his Lord for 40 nights. Belief is perfected only by accepting tanzeel along with correct taaveel and no one knew this better than the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
Then there were also the matter of the hypocrites (munafiqeen) whose very presence threatened the guidance and security of the Islamic nation as Allah the Glorified says in Surah Taubah (9): Verse 73:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ جَاهِدِ الْكُفَّارَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ
O Prophet! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them…
The Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had already engaged in a holy war with the unbelievers, but the war against the hypocrites was unfinished and this was to undertaken by his successors. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was well aware of this responsibility.
Despite all these proofs and arguments from Quranic verses which the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) himself narrated, these Muslims claim that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) abandoned the nation without a leader and fortunately for the Islamic nation the Sahaabah and the wives were around to appreciate the urgency of the situation!
If this is not debasing the status of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to that of an ordinary Muslim or even lower, then what is?