In an interesting incident, an extract of which is recorded here, a group of Christians headed by their priest comes to Medina, after the demise of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), in search of the truth about Islam. They are directed towards the usurpers of caliphate and the conversation between them shows the reader the falsehood of the usurpers that was crystal clear even to the Christians.
Salman al-Farsi (r.a.) narrates:
After the passing away of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), a group of Christians, led by their priest, came to Medina in search of the truth. They headed towards Abu Bakr and the Christian priest said to him:
We found in the Injeel that a Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would be raised after Isa (a.s.), and we have heard about the advent of Muhammads Ibn Abdillah (s.a.w.a.) and mention of his prophethood. Our king delegated us to seek the truth, and (now we see that) your Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has passed away. From what we have read in our Books (Torah and Injeel) is that Prophets do not depart from the world except after nominating successors in their communities so that the light (of guidance) can be taken from them in doubtful matters. O Amir! Are you his successor so that we can address our questions?
Umar to Christian scholar: This is the caliph of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
Christian scholar sat on his thighs and said: Caliph! Based on religion, what merit do you have on us? I have come to you for this only.
Abu Bakr: We are believers while you are unbelievers. And a believer is superior to an unbeliever and faith is superior to apostasy.
Christian scholar: This is just a claim, a proof is needed. You claim you are a believer – whether this is in your own eyes or in Allah’s eyes also?
Abu Bakr: I am a believer in my own eyes, whereas I am not aware if I am a believer in Allah’s eyes.
Christian scholar: Tell me whether I am an unbeliever in your eyes or I am an unbeliever in Allah’s eyes also?
Abu Bakr: In my eyes you are an unbeliever, but where Allah is concerned, I cannot say anything.
Christian scholar: From your talks I can see you are in doubt and you lack conviction in your religion. Now tell me that because of this religion has Allah allotted a house for you in heaven?
Abu Bakr: In heaven there is a house allotted for me, this I know through a promise. Nevertheless, I do not have the knowledge whether I can reach this place in heaven.
Christian scholar: Do you wish for me that I will also have a house in heaven?
Abu Bakr: Yes
Christian scholar: This means that you entertain fear about yourself and regarding me you have hope. So, what excellence do you have over me in the knowledge that you claim to possess? Also tell me, do you have all the knowledge of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) who had been raised over you?
Abu Bakr: No! But I am more knowledgeable about the knowledge that has been decreed from his knowledge.
Christian scholar: How did you come to be a caliph of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) while you do not possess knowledge that would be necessary for his community after him (s.a.w.a.)? How did your people appoint you on this position?
Umar interrupted: You do not have the right to ask such questions. If you do not keep quiet, I will make your blood permissible for killing.
Christian scholar: Is this the justice you mete out to the seeker of truth?
Salman (r.a.) says: It was as if we had been clothed with disgrace (by the Christian scholar), so I rose and went to Ali (a.s.) and informed him of the news.
Ali (a.s.) approached the Christian scholar and offered to answer all his questions about the past and the future from the knowledge of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
Ali (a.s.) goes on to answer all his questions satisfactorily and the Christian scholar embraces Islam at the end.
- Al-Amali of Shaikh Tusi (r.a.) p 218-221
- Al-Tehseen p 637-642
- Behar al-Anwar v 10 p 54-57
Even the Christians who had little knowledge about Islam and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) easily exposed the usurpers of caliphate for their ignorance and inability to answer basic questions. They knew that the usurpers were not capable to lead the nation and were amazed how the Muslim community installed them as leaders. It was only after the intervention of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) when they were guided and realized that it was in fact Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) who was the rightful successor of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).