The most qualified successor
What should the qualifications of the successor of the prophet be? Who met those qualifications at the time of the prophet? Who has the authority to pick the successor of the prophet?

As for the first question, the logical answer is whoever is the image of the prophet (see the chapter of al-Imama). This image translates into the characteristics and virtues of the prophet. What made the prophet different from everyone else, besides his prophethood? Which characteristics and virtues allowed the prophet to handle his responsibilities? The prophet was clean from all forms of uncleanness, he was purified a perfect purification, he was full of wisdom and knowledge, he was pious, he was impartial, he was patient, he was truthful and trustworthy, he was kind, he had sublime morality, he was compassionate, he was respectful, he was brave and courageous, he was generous, he was friendly. Simply put, HE WAS PERFECT.

Who else can possibly have all these qualities besides Ahlul Bayt? The chapter of Ahlul Bayt unravels these qualities. Finally, is it not a fact that it is Allah who bestowed prophethood on who he wishes and it is Him who decided on their successors? Therefore, should not Allah be the one who decides on the successor of the master of all prophets, as He has done for his predecessors? Neither Allah nor His prophet decreed that the successor of Muhammad shall be chosen by the people. In fact, the prophet of Allah was ordered to appoint his successor and he did so at Ghadeer Khum.

Certainly, he who has the knowledge to guide to the truth is the one every one must follow, adhere to and unconditionally obey. He is the one who can guide a nation, distinguish between right and wrong. The prophet was our sole source of guidance because of all the qualities Allah bestowed upon him. No one could guide him but Allah. So whoever acquires these same qualities becomes the sole guide and imam of the Ummah after the prophet. Allah says in the Quran:

Quran 10:35
...Is He then Who guides to the truth more worthy to be followed, or he who himself does not go aright unless he is guided? What then is the matter with you; how do you judge?
...أَفَمَن يَهْدِي إِلَى الْحَقِّ أَحَقُّ أَن يُتَّبَعَ أَمَّن لاَّ يَهِدِّيَ إِلاَّ أَن يُهْدَى فَمَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ

Regardless of whether the Imama is Allah's responsibility (as al-Imamiya believe) or the people's (as Ahlul Sunnah believe), there is no doubt that Ahlul Bayt are the only ones who possess the characteristics (as mentioned above) of being the leaders of the Ummah. Ahlul Sunnah concur that knowledge, justice and bravery must be characteristics of the Imam. Abu Bakr and Umar were not qualified to become caliphs of the Ummah because they were not knowledgeable enough to guide people to the truth. This is a fact and not a fallacy. The proof is in the chapter of Ahlul Bayt and I will briefly mention them here as well.

The following are the most logical reasons why Ahlul Bayt are the only ones qualified to succeed the prophet.

  1. Knowledge :
    The knowledge of Ali was discussed in detail here. You may use this reference for source information.

    Who is the most knowledgeable person after the prophet? Was it Ali or was it Abu Bakr? If Ali was more knowledgeable, then Ali should have been the Imam and caliph of the Ummah. But if Abu Bakr was more knowledgeable than Ali, then Abu Bakr's caliphate was legitimate. Let's see what the Sunnah and scholars have to say about this.

    The prophet said to Ali: I am the city of knowledge and `Ali is its gate; whoever intends to enter the city should come to its gate.
    قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: أنا مدينة العلم وعلي بابها ، فمن أراد المدينة فليأتها من بابها

    This hadith is authentic according to the Sunnis (some scholars rejected it) and Imamiya. According to this hadith, the only way to access the knowledge of the prophet is through Ali and not Abu Bakr or anyone else. So after the prophet's demise, Ali is the one to consult when needed. Ali is the one who fully knows the content of this city of knowledge. Ali is the one who protects this city from falsehood and distortions.

    Another hadith found in the books of hadith is:

    The prophet said to Ali: I am the house of wisdom and `Ali is its gate.
    أنا دار الحكمة، وعلي بابها

    Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Tirmidhi, ibn Jarir al-Tabari, al-Hakim, ibn Mardouya, Abu Nae'em, al-Khateeb al-Tabreezi, al-A'ala'i, ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, al-Suyuti, al-Qastalani, al-Mannawi, al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, al-Zarqani and many others have reported this authentic hadith. But again, some scholars rejected this hadith while others accepted it. No problem. Let's just move on.

    The prophet also said to Ali (as reported by many Sunni scholars and the Imamiya):

    The prophet said to Ali: You will resolve the people's desagreements after me
    يا علي! أنت تبين لأمتي ما اختلفوا فيه من بعدي

    Again, here Ali is chosen to be the one resolving people's desagreements and not Abu Bakr. Why? Simply because Ali is the gate of the city of knowledge and house of wisdom.

    The prophet also said:

    ibn Abbas narrated that the prophet said: ... our best judge is Ali
    أقضاكم عليّ

    This narration has been reported by al-Bukhari in his Sahih (Book of Tafseer, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 8), Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Mustadrak al-Hakim, Sunan ibn Majah, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra of ibn Sa'ad, Sunan al-Bayhaqi, Majma'u al-Zawa'id by al-Hafidh al-Haythami, Asad al-Ghabat by ibn Atheer. How could ALi be the best judge if he is not the most knowledgeable?

    The prophet also said the following about Ali, all of which confirm the same point (more details in the section of Ali in the chapter of Ahlul Bayt):

    The prophet said: the most knowledgeable of my Ummah after me is Ali
    أعلم أمتي من بعدي علي بن أبي طالب

    Umm Salama who said: The Messenger of Allah said: "Ali is with Quran, and Quran is with Ali. They shall not separate from each other till they both return to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."
    علي مع القرآن، والقرآن مع علي، لن يتفرقا حتى يردا علي الحوض

    "O Allah! turn the haqq with Ali wherever he ('Ali) turns"
    قال رسول الله -صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم: رحم الله عليا، اللهم أدر الحق معه حيث دار

    My Ahlul-Bayt are like the Ark of Noah. Whoever embarked in it was SAVED, and whoever turned away from it was PERISHED
    إن مثل أهل بيتي فيكم مثل سفينة نوح، من ركبها نجا ومن تخلف عنها هلك

    The Prophet (PBUH&HF) said about Ahlul-Bayt: "Do not be ahead of them for you will perish, do not turn away from them for you will perish, and do not try to teach them since they know more than you do!"
    فلا تقدموهما فتهلكوا ولا تقصروا عنهما. فتهلكوا ولا تعلوهم فإنهم أعلم منكم

    In addition to that, Ali used to say:

    "Ask me anything you like before I leave you. Ask me about the Holy Book (The Qur'an) since I know about every verse in it - whether it was revealed in the night or during the day, on a plain field or in the steep mountains. By Allah, no verse of the Holy Qur'an was revealed but I know about what it was revealed, where it was revealed, and about what person it was revealed. Allah Almighty has endowed me with an eloquent tongue and a wise mind"
    وأما علي فروى عنه الكثير وقد روى معمر عن وهب بن عبد الله عن أبي الطفيل قال شهدت عليا يخطب وهو يقول (سلوني فوالله لا تسألوني عن شيء إلا أخبرتكم وسلوني عن كتاب الله فوالله ما من آية إلا وأنا أعلم أبليل نزلت أم بنهار أم في سهل أم في جبل) وأخرج أبو نعيم في الحلية عن ابن مسعود قال إن القرآن أنزل على سبعة أحرف ما منها حرف إلا وله ظهر وبطن وإن علي بن أبي طالب عنده منه الظاهر والباطن وأخرج أيضا من طريق أبي بكر بن عياش عن نصير بن سليمان الأحمسي عن أبيه عن علي قال والله ما نزلت آية إلا وقد علمت فيم أنزلت وأين أنزلت إن ربي وهب لي قلبا عقولا ولسانا سئولا أما ابن مسعود فروي عنه أكثر مما روي عن علي وقد أخرج ابن جرير وغيره عنه أنه قال (والذي لا إله غيره ما نزلت آية من كتاب الله إلا وأنا أعلم (ص 494) فيمن نزلت وأين نزلت ولو أعلم مكان أحد أعلم بكتاب الله مني تناله المطايا لأتيته

    What else is there to say about the knowledge of Ali? Is this not enough to conclude Ali was the only qualified successor of the prophet? If all these narrations don't prove Ali's superiority in knowledge, then I don't know what else they prove.

    Let's now read some of the testimonies of the companions. Imam al-Nawawi said the following in his book Kitab al-Tahdheeb wal-Asma':

    It was narrated from ibn Masu'ud that he said: "Ali was the best judge of Medina"
    ونقلوا عن ابن مسعود قال : كنّا نتحدّث أن أقضى المدينة علي

    ibn Mussayeb said: "No one used to say 'ask me' except Ali."
    قال ابن المسيّب : ما كان أحد يقول : سلوني غير علي

    ibn Abbas said: "Ali was given 9/10 of knowledge and by Allah he also had a share of the remaining 1/10."
    وقال ابن عباس : أُعطي علي تسعة أعشار العلم ، ووالله لقد شاركهم في العشر الباقي

    ibn Abbas said: "Whenever Ali gives us as answer, we know we don't need to ask anyone else."
    قال ابن عباس : وإذا ثبت لنا الشيء عن علي لم نعدل إلى غيره

    al-Nawawi also said in the same book that many of the great companions used to refer to Ali's verdicts and sayings to get answers on different issues:

    وسؤال كبار الصحابة ورجوعهم إلى فتاواه وأقواله في المواطن الكثيرة والمسائل المعضلات ، مشهور

    Ali never needed to reach out to anyone for an answer but everybody else came to him for his wisdom and knowledge. Even Abu Bakr and Umar could not do without him during their reign.

    Many scholars have reported that Umar said the following on several occasions:

    Umar said: "If there was not Ali, Umar would have perished."
    لولا عليّ هلك عمر

    Umar Ibn al-Khattab used to beg God to preserve him from a perplexing case which the father of al-Hasan was not present to decide.
    فقال عمر: أعوذ بالله أن أعيش في قوم لست فيهم يا أبا حسن

    al-Manawi reported the following:

    واتفق له مع أبي بكر نحوه وربّما قال : لولا علي لهلك أبو بكر

    There have been many fabricated narrations that boosted the knowledge of Abu Bakr and Umar in order to make Ali look less or as knowledgeable as ABu Bakr and Umar. However, these narrations are easily discarded because of historical facts. Abu Bakr and Umar had to come to Ali and even other companions to get answers to their questions. Here is a report from ibn Hazm:

    وهذا أبو بكر لم يعرف فرض ميراث الجدّة وعرّفه محمّد بن مسلمة والمغيرة بن شعبة وهذا أبو بكر سأل عائشة في كم كفن كفّن رسول الله

    وهذا عمر يقول في حديث الاستئذان : أُخفي عَلَيّ ، ألهاني الصفق في الاسواق ، وقد جهل أيضاً أمر إملاص المرأة وعرّفه غيره ، وغضب على عيينة بن حصن حتّى ذكّره الحر بن قيس ، وخفي عليه أمر رسول الله بإجلاء اليهود ، وخفي على أبي بكر قبله ، وخفي على عمر أمره بترك الاقدام على الوباء وعرف ذلك عبد الرحمن بن عوف ، وسأل عمر أبا واقد الليثي عمّا كان يقرأ به رسول الله في صلاتي الفطر والاضحى ، هذا وقد صلاّهما رسول الله أعواماً كثيرة...ولم يدر ما يصنع بالمجوس حتّى ذكّره عبد الرحمن بأمر رسول الله ، ونسي قبوله الجزية من مجوس البحرين وهو أمر مشهور ، ولعلّه قد أخذ من ذلك المال حظّاً كما أخذ غيره ، ونسي أمره بتيمّم الجنب فقال : لا يتيمّم أبداً ولا يصلّي ما لم يجد الماء ، وذكّره بذلك عمّار ، وأراد قسمة مال الكعبة حتّى ذكّره بعض الصحابة.

    Should not the successor of the prophet be our source of guidance just as the prophet was?? The following hadith falls in the same line as hadith al-Thaqalayn:

    I am the Warner, and `Ali is the Guide; through you, O `Ali, shall guidance be attained after me."
    أنا المنذر وعلي الهادي، وبك يا علي يهتدي المهتدون من بعدي

    Read more about this last hadith...

  2. Justice
    As for justice, let's look at the following hadith in Kanz al-U'ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi (vol 13, #36378):
    أنا أسلم بن الفضل بن سهل ثنا الحسين بن عبيد الله الأبزاري البغدادي ثنا إبراهيم بن سعيد الجوهري حدثني أمير المؤمنين المأمون حدثني الرشيد حدثني المهدي حدثني المنصور حدثني أبي حدثني عبد الله بن عباس قال: سمعت عمر بن الخطاب يقول: كفوا عن ذكر علي بن أبي طالب فقد رأيت من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فيه خصالا لأن تكون لي واحدة منهن في آل الخطاب أحب إلي مما طلعت عليه الشمس، كنت أنا وأبو بكر وأبو عبيدة في نفر من أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فانتهيت إلى باب أم سلمة وعلي، قائم على الباب فقلنا: أردنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، فقال: يخرج إليكم، فخرج رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فسرنا إليه فاتكأ على علي بن أبي طالب ثم ضرب بيده منكبه ثم قال: إنك مخاصم تخاصم، أنت أول المؤمنين إيمانا، وأعلمهم بأيام الله، وأوفاهم بعهده، وأقسمهم بالسوية، وأرأفهم بالرعية وأعظمهم رزية، وأنت عاضدي، وغاسلي، ودافني، والمتقدم إلى كل شديدة وكريهة، ولن ترجع بعدي كافرا وأنت تتقدمني بلواء الحمد وتذود عن حوضي، ثم قال ابن عباس من نفسه: ولقد فاز علي بصهر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وبسطة في العشيرة وبذلا للماعون وعلما بالتنزيل وفقها للتأويل ونيلا للأقران

    In addition to that, the facts that Ahlul Bayt are pure and are the second of the thaqalayn - which means unconditional obedience is an obligation upon us to us - and in conjunction with their superior knowledge, logically implies that they are but the most just. How can they be pure, pious, knowledgeable, fearful of Allah and our guidance to truth and not be the most just of all???

  3. Courage
    Who will deny that Ali was the most courageous of all the companions? Did Ali ever turn his back from the battle or fled the battlefield? Certainly Abu Bakr and Umar did so in the battle of Uhud while only a few companions, including Ali, remained to protect the prophet? What about in Khaybar? Did they not both (Abu Bakr and Umar) return defeated by the enemy while Ali returned but victorious? In Khandaq, no one dared face Amr ibn `Abdawadd but himself. In Hunayn, most of the companions fled the battlefield, including Abu Bakr and Umar, but Ali remained steadfast to the prophet. That is courage.

  4. Hadith al-Tatt-heer (hadith al-Kisa'):
    Just like the prophet was purified from a thourough purification, so were the member of Ahlul Bayt, in particular Ali. Below is a version of hadith al-Kisa':.
    The verse "Verily Allah intends to ... (33:33)" was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH&HF) in the house of Umm Salama. Upon that, the Prophet gathered Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husain, and covered them with a cloak, and he also covered Ali who was behind him. Then the Prophet said: "O' Allah! These are the Members of my House (Ahlul-Bayt). Keep them away from every impurity and purify them with a perfect purification." Umm Salama (the wife of Prophet) asked: "Am I also included among them O Apostle of Allah?" the Prophet replied: "You remain in your position and you are toward a good ending."
    لما نَزَلَتْ هَذِهِ الآيةُ عَلَى النَّبي صَلَّى اللَّه عليهِ وسَلَّم {إنَّما يُرِيدُ اللَّه ليُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ البَيْتِ ويُطَهِّرَكم تَطْهِيراً} في بيتِ أمِّ سَلَمَة فدعا فاطمةَ وحَسناً وحُسيناً فجَلَّلهم بِكِساءٍ وعليٌّ خَلْفَ ظَهْرِهِ فجلَّلَهُ بِكِسَاءٍ ثُمَّ قَالَ: اللَّهمَّ هؤلاءِ أهلُ بيتي فأَذْهِبْ عَنْهمُ الرِّجْسَ وطَهِّرْهُمْ تَطْهِيراً. قَالَت أم سَلَمة: وأنا معَهُم يا نبيَّ اللَّه، قَالَ أنت عَلَى مكَانِكِ وأنتِ عَلَى خيْرٍ"

    It is because of this purification that the door of Ali (looking into the masjid) was kept open while the doors of all the companions were ordered to be shut. This purification and cleansing (by Allah) from all forms of impurities ranks Ali above all the companions. What more can a nation hope for when it can have a caliph that was purified a perfect purification? Let me ask you: why would Allah purify Ali and his family? What is the purpose? Is it because he is the cousin of the prophet or is it because Allah is preparing Ali to be the successor of the prophet?

  5. Hadith al-Safinah (more on the subject):
    Just like the prophet was our source of guidance, Ahlul Bayt, and in particular Ali, was also made the source of our guidance after the prophet. This is illustrated in hadith al-Safinah:
    "Behold! My Ahlul-Bayt are like the Ark of Noah. Whoever embarked in it was SAVED, and whoever turned away from it was PERISHED."
    إن مثل أهل بيتي فيكم مثل سفينة نوح، من ركبها نجا ومن تخلف عنها هلك

    There are many other traditions that explicitly show that Ahlul Bayt have a greater knowledge than any individual and are our only guidance on earth after the prophet:

    The Prophet (PBUH&HF) said about Ahlul-Bayt: "Do not be ahead of them for you will perish, do not turn away from them for you will perish, and do not try to teach them since they know more than you do!"
    فلا تقدموهما فتهلكوا ولا تقصروا عنهما فتهلكوا ولا تعلوهم فإنهم أعلم منكم

    The Messenger of Allah said: "The stars are amnesty for the inhabitants of the heavens, and if the stars go away (i.e. become non-existent), the inhabitants of the heavens will be destroyed. And my Ahlul-Bayt are amnesty for the inhabitants of the earth, and if my Ahlul-Bayt go away (i.e. all die), the inhabitants of the earth will be destroyed.

    The Messenger of Allah said: "The stars help prevent the inhabitants of the earth from being drowned, and my Ahlul-Bayt are the protectors of my community against disputes (in religious matters). Therefore, whichever groups among the Arabs opposes my Ahlul-Bayt, shall be split up by dissensions and will become (a party of) Satan."
    قال رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم): " النجوم أمان لأهل الأرض من الغرق وأهل بيتي أمان لأمتي من الاختلاف، فإذا خالفتها قبيلة من العرب اختلفوا فصاروا حزب إبليس

    There is no doubt that these authentic hadith suffice to prove that Ahlul Bayt are our teachers and guidance after the prophet. No one can teach them but they can teach every one. No one can guide or misguide them, but they can guide everyone. Aren't they the kind of people we need today to save us from the misery and misfortune we live in?

    Read more...

  6. Hadith al-Thaqalayn (more on the subject):
    Just as the Ummah unconditionally helf fast to the prophet, Ahlul Bayt are also to be held fast to unconditionally. The prophet made it clear hat all muslims must adhere to the two weighty things in order not to stray off the right path: The Quran and Ahlul Bayt, and nothing else!
    The messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "I am leaving for you two precious and weighty Symbols that if you adhere to BOTH of them you shall not go astray after me. They are, the Book of Allah, and my progeny, that is my Ahlul-Bayt. The Merciful has informed me that These two shall not separate from each other till they come to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."
    قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أيها الناس إني تارك فيكم ما إن أخذتم به لن تضلوا بعدي أمرين أحدهما أكبر من الآخر كتاب الله حبل ممدود ما بين السماء والأرض وعترتي أهل بيتي وإنهما لن يفترقا حتى يردا على الحوض

    This tradition confirms the previous ones and only strengthens the facts that Ahlul Bayt shall never deviate from the Quran and adherence to them is our only path to Allah. They are the ones who know it and understand it best. They are the ones who can remove any confusion and misunderstanding about its verses. They are the ones whom the Sunnah of the prophet should be taken from and authenticated. As long as a Muslim is attached to Quran and Ahlul Bayt, he will always be in guidance. The Quranic interpretation of Ahlul Bayt is the only correct and authentic interpretation we need. Unfortunately today, one verse can mean different things, depending on who you take the narrations from.

  7. Unconditional obedience to Ali (more on the subject):
    If we are asked to unconditionally adhere to Ahlul Bayt & the Quran just like we adhered to the prophet and the Quran, it only follows logically that we must obey them. If we don't obey Ahlul Bayt, then obviously we are not adhering to them. This unconditional obedience to Ahlul Bayt, and in particular to Ali is also supported by the following tradition:
    Whoever obeys 'Ali, obeys me, whoever obeys me, obeys Allah, whoever disobeys 'Ali disobeys me, whoever disobeys me, disobeys Allah
    من أطاعني فقد أطاع الله عز وجل ومن عصاني فقد عصى الله ومن أطاع عليا فقد أطاعني ومن عصى عليا فقد عصاني

  8. Ali, the Quran and the truth (more on the subject):
    Just like the prophet does not deviate from the Quran and is always about truth, so does Ali ibn Abi Talib:
    Ali is with the truth and the truth is with Ali. The truth turns wherever Ali turns.
    علي مع الحق والحق مع علي يدور معه حيث دار

    Here is another one:

    Umm Salama who said: The Messenger of Allah said: "Ali is with Quran, and Quran is with Ali. They shall not separate from each other till they both return to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."
    علي مع القرآن، والقرآن مع علي، لن يتفرقا حتى يردا علي الحوض

  9. Hadith al-Muqatalah (more on the subject):
    The prophet fought for the revelation of the Quran and Ali fought for its interpretation. Every action performed by Ali was justified by the laws of the Quran. His fight in the battles of the Camel, Siffin and Nahrawan were all justified.
    It is also narrated that: The Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "There is amongst you a person who will fight for the interpretation of the Quran just as I fought for its revelation." The people around him raised their heads and cast inquisitive glances at the Prophet (PBUH&HF) and at one another. Abu Bakr and Umar were there. Abu Bakr inquired if he was that person and the Prophet (PBUH&HF) replied in the negative. Then Umar inquired if he was that person and the Prophet (PBUH&HF), replied "No. He is the one who is repairing my shoes (i.e., Ali)."

    Abu Said Khudri said: Then we went to Ali and conveyed the good news to him. He did not even raise his head and remained as busy as he was, as if he had already heard it from the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF)."

    إن منكم من يقاتل على تأويل القرآن كما قاتلت على تنزيله، قيل: أبو بكر وعمر، قال: لا، ولكنه خاصف النعل - يعني عليا

    The above narration is supported by the following one:
    Umm Salama who said: The Messenger of Allah said: "Ali is with Quran, and Quran is with Ali. They shall not separate from each other till they both return to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."
    علي مع القرآن، والقرآن مع علي، لن يتفرقا حتى يردا علي الحوض

  10. Hadith al-manzilah (more on the subject):
    In addition to the undisputable virtues & qualities of Ali, the prophet has made it explicitly clear that Ali was his successor in many hadith such as hadith al-Manzilah:
    Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) addressing 'Ali said: You are in the same position with relation to me as Aaron- (Harun) was in relation to Moses but with (this explicit difference) that there is no prophet after me
    أنت مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنه لا نبي بعدي

    ibn al-Abbas narrated that the prophet said to Ali: "Will you not be pleased that you will be to me like Aaron to Moses? But there will be no prophet after me. I shall not leave except that you are my successor."
    أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنك لست نبي إنه لا ينبغي أن أذهب إلا وأنت خليفتي

    What was Aaron to Moses? According to the quran, Aaron was the brother of moses, his minister and his successor. Does this not mean that Ali is the brother of the prophet, his minister and his successor as well??

    • Brotherhood:
      You are from me, and I am from you
      أنت مني وأنا منك - قاله لعلي

      You are my brother in this world and the hereafter
      أنت أخي في الدنيا والآخرة - قاله لعلي

    • Ministry and successorship
      You are in the same position with relation to me as Aaron- (Harun) was in relation to Moses but with (this explicit difference) that there is no prophet after me. I should not go unless I leave you as my caliph.
      أما ترضى أن تكون مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنك لست نبي إنه لا ينبغي أن أذهب إلا وأنت خليفتي

      Ali is from me and I am from Ali, and he is the master (wali) of every believer after me
      فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَا تَقَعْ فِي عَلِيٍّ فَإِنَّهُ مِنِّي وَأَنَا مِنْهُ وَهُوَ وَلِيُّكُمْ بَعْدِي وَإِنَّهُ مِنِّي وَأَنَا مِنْهُ وَهُوَ وَلِيُّكُمْ بَعْدِي

      WHOEVER I AM HIS MASTER, ALI IS HIS MASTER. O God! Love those who love him. Be hostile to those who are hostile to him." It is narrated that after the declaration, Umar came to Ali and said: "Well done Ibn Abi Talib! Today you became the leader (Mawla) of all believing men and women.
      قَالَ فَأَخَذَ بِيَدِ عَلِيٍّ فَقَالَ مَنْ كُنْتُ مَوْلَاهُ فَعَلِيٌّ مَوْلَاهُ اللَّهُمَّ وَالِ مَنْ وَالَاهُ وَعَادِ مَنْ عَادَاهُ قَالَ فَلَقِيَهُ عُمَرُ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فَقَالَ هَنِيئًا يَا ابْنَ أَبِي طَالِبٍ أَصْبَحْتَ وَأَمْسَيْتَ مَوْلَى كُلِّ مُؤْمِنٍ وَمُؤْمِنَةٍ

      What about the next two traditions?

      ألا أرضيك يا علي؟ أنت أخي ووزيري تقضي ديني وتنجز موعدي وتبرئ ذمتي، فمن أحبك في حياة مني فقد قضى بحبه، ومن أحبك في حياة منك بعدي ختم الله له بالأمن والإيمان، ومن أحبك بعدي ولم يرك ختم الله له بالأمن والإيمان وآمنه يوم الفزع، ومن مات وهو يبغضك يا علي مات ميتة جاهلية يحاسبه الله بما عمل في الإسلام

      اللهم! من آمن بي وصدقني فليتول علي بن أبي طالب فإن ولايته ولايتي وولايتي ولاية الله

      أوصي من آمن بي وصدقني بولاية علي بن أبي طالب، فمن تولاه فقد تولاني، ومن تولاني فقد تولى الله، ومن أحبه فقد أحبني ومن أحبني فقد أحب الله، ومن أبغضه فقد أبغضني، ومن أبغضني فقد أبغض الله عز وجل

    Aren't all of these hadith proving that Ali is the true successor of the prophet?? Did not Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman know this? Were they not present at Ghadeer Khum and congratulated Ali for becoming their master??

  11. Ali must be followed just like the prophet was followed:
    From all the above hadith, can we not deduce the following facts, which are also hadith:
    Who forsakes you also forsakes me and who befriends you also befiends me.
    من فارقك يا علي فقد فارقني، ومن فارقني، فقد فارق الله
    (ك - عن أبي ذر).
    Reference:
         Kanz al-U'ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, vol 11, #32974, #32975, #32976 (المجلد الحادي عشر >> تتمة الإكمال من فضائل علي رضي الله عنه)
         al-Tabarani in Mu'ujam al-Kabeer
         ibn Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq
         al-Bazzar in al-Bahrul Zakkhar, Musnad Abi Dhar al-Ghifari, #4066

    The prophet said to Ammar ibn Yassir: "If you see Ali go one way and the people go another way, you should follow Ali and leave the people. Ali will never misguide you."
    يا عمار! إن رأيت عليا قد سلك واديا وسلك الناس واديا غيره فاسلك مع علي ودع الناس، إنه لن يدلك على ردي ولن يخرجك من الهدى
    (الديلمي - عن عمار بن ياسر وعن أبي أيوب).
    Reference:
         Kanz al-U'ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, vol 11, #32972 (المجلد الحادي عشر >> تتمة الإكمال من فضائل علي رضي الله عنه)

    إن تولوا عليا تجدوه هاديا مهديا يسلك بكم الطريق المستقيم
    (حل - عن حذيفة)
    Reference:
         Kanz al-U'ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, vol 11, #32966 (المجلد الحادي عشر >> تتمة الإكمال من فضائل علي رضي الله عنه)

    سيكون بعدي فتنة فإذا كان ذلك فالزموا علي بن أبي طالب فإنه الفاروق بين الحق والباطل
    (أبو نعيم - عن أبي ليلى الغفاري)
    Reference:
         Kanz al-U'ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, vol 11, #32964 (المجلد الحادي عشر >> تتمة الإكمال من فضائل علي رضي الله عنه)
         ibn Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq

    إن هذا أول من آمن بي وأول من يصافحني يوم القيامة، وهذا الصديق الأكبر، وهذا فاروق هذه الأمة يفرق بين الحق والباطل وهذا يعسوب المؤمنين، والمال يعسوب الظالمين - قاله لعلي

  12. Ali is the SELF of the prophet:
    As established by the verse and hadith of al-Mubahala as well as other hadith, Ali is the self (nafs) of the prophet. What does this mean? Let me put this in perspective for you:
    1. Did not the prophet say to Ali, Hassan, Husain, and Fatimah (AS), and then said: "I am in war with those who will fight you, and in peace with those who are peaceful to you
    2. Has not Allah made it mandatory upon us to love Ahlul Bayt as we love His messenger?
    3. Has not Allah purified Ahlul Bayt as He purified the prophet?
    4. Has not Allah made Ali his best creation after the prophet (hadith al-Tayr)?
    5. Has not Allah likened Ahlul Bayt to the ark of Noah just as the prophet is?
    6. Has not the prophet made it mandatory upon us to send blessings to Ahlul Bayt as we send blessings to him?
    7. Has not Ali inherited the knowledge of the prophet?
    8. Is not insulting Ali similar to insulting the prophet?
    9. Is not hurting Ali similar to hurting the prophet?
    10. Did not the prophet say: "whoever I am his master, Ali is also his master?"
    11. Is not Ali and the prophet from one tree, one light?
    12. Besides the prophet, is not Ali the only one who can proclaim a new revelation?
    13. Is not hating Ali similar to hating the prophet?
    14. Is not forsaking Ali similar to forsaking the prophet?
    15. Is not obeying Ali similar to obeying the prophet?
    16. Is not Ali the brother of the prophet in this world and the hereafter?
    17. Is not Ali from the prophet and the prophet from Ali?
    18. Is not the position of Ali to the prophet similar to the position of Harun to Musa except there is no prophet after him?

    Do you get the picture? Is this not why Ali was the only one to sleep on the prophet's bed the night the prophet left Macca heading to Medina? Is it not why Ali was the one to wash the prophet's body before his burial? Is it not why Ali was the one to perform the sacrifice of the prophet on his behalf? Is it not why Ali is the one who will fight for the interpretation of the Quran just as the prophet fought for its revelation? Is it not why Ali is the dearest man to the prophet? Is it not why Ali is the master of every believer after the prophet? Is it not why Ali is the second of the Thaqalayn? Is it not why Ali is always with the Quran and the Quran is always with Ali? Is it not why the truth turns wherever Ali turns? Is it not why Ali's door was the only door facing the Mosque to be left open? Do you see my point? Do you see the wisdom of Allah by making Ali the self of the prophet?

    Whatever applies to the prophet also applies to Ali. Whatever the functions of the prophet were during his prophethood, they also become of Ali except for prophethood. Is this not proof that no one but the self of the prophet can be his successor? Is this not why Ali used this unique virtue to justify his right to the caliphate? Is this not what it means to be the self of the prophet? Can anyone in the right mind dare to claim that someone else is more deserving of the caliphate or have more right in this matter than Ali ibn Abi Talib?? You will have certainly strayed if you do!

All of the above narrations indicate that no other person was more qualified than the members of Ahlul Bayt to succeed the prophet and protect Islam and the Ummah. They were a gift and mercy from Allah to us to protect Islam and keep us from straying off, as the following narration confirms (The definition of al-Nai'im in surat al-Takathur, verse 8 refers to Ahlul Bayt (ثُمَّ لَتُسْأَلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِيمِ ):
اما سمعت قوله تعالى: (لَقَدْ مَنَّ اللّهُ عَلَى الْمُؤمِنِينَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيهِمْ رَسُولا*164*أل عمران) ومن رواية العياشي من الامامية ايضا ان ابا عبد الله رضى الله تعالى عنه قال لابي حنيفة رضى الله تعالى عنه في الآية: ماالنعيم عندك يانعمان؟ فقال: القوت من الطعام ,والماء البارد, فقال ابو عبدالله: لئن أوقفك الله تعالى بين يديه حتى يسألك عن كل أكلة أكلتها أو شربة شربتها, ليطولن وقوفك بين يديه, فقال أبو حنيفة: فما النعيم؟ قال: نحن أهل البيت النعيم أنعم الله تعالى بنا على العباد, وبنا ائتلفوا بعد ان كانوا مختلفين, وبنا ألف الله تعالى بين قلوبهم وجعلهم اخوانا بعد ان كانوا أعداء, وبنا هداهم الى الاسلام وهو النعمة التي لاتنقطع, والله تعالى سائلهم عن حق النعيم الذي انعم سبحانه به عليهم,وهو محمد وعترته عليه وعليهم الصلاة والسلام,

But most of the Muslims of their era were too blind to understand this fact. Instead, they prefered to follow other leaders who encouraged the killing of the descendants of the prophet and their loyal followers.

It is enough to carefully read about the virtues of Ahlul Bayt to understand and realize that these people are truly the most qualified and the logical caliphs of the Ummah after the prophet. They possessed all the qualities and qualifications to succeed the prophet. No one can claim to possess a quality or qualification that Ahlul Bayt does not have or exceed. How can someone inferior to them in all its meanings be caliph??? It is just illogical and illegitimate.

In addition to all the authentic hadith, there are many historical facts, reported by Sunnis and Shia'a, showing that Abu Bakr and Umar did not deserve this position and were certainly not qualified for it:

  1. Both disobeyed the prophet when the prophet ordered the companions to join the military detachment of Usama ibn Zayd ibn Harith (The military detachment of Usama ibn Zayd ibn Harith).

  2. They both raised their voices in the presence of the prophet (Abu Bakr and Umar raised their voices in the presence of the prophet). Did Ammar ibn Yassir or Bilal or Salman al-Farisi raise their voices in the presence of the prophet? Are they not better than Abu Bakr and Umar??

  3. They angered the daughter of the prophet, Fatima (Angering Fatimatul Zahra'). What happens when someone angers the most beloved daughter of the prophet???

  4. They were involved in the attack of the house of Fatima (Attacking the house of Fatimatul Zahra')

  5. They both ran from the battlefield in Uhud and Hunayn. Were they not amonf those who fled during the battle of Uhud when everyone thought that the prophet was killed? If they were courageous, they would have stayed to defend the body of the prophet, at the least! To that effect, Muhammad Husayn Haykal wrote in book, The Life of Muhammad, 1935, Cairo:
    Those who thought that Muhammad had perished, including Abu Bakr and Umar, went toward the mountain and sat down. When Anas ibn al-Nadr inquired why they were giving up so soon, and was told that the Prophet of God had been killed, he retorted: "And what would you do with yourselves and your lives after Muhammad died? Rise, and die like he did." He turned, charged against the enemy, and fought gallantly (until he was killed). ...when somebody raised the cry that Muhammad was killed, chaos reigned supreme, Muslim morale plunged to the bottom and Muslim soldiers fought sporadically and purposelessly. This chaos was responsible for their killing of Husayl ibn Jabir Abu Hudhayfah by mistake, as everyone sought to save his own skin by taking flight except such men as Ali ibn Abu Talib whom God had guided and protected.

  6. While Ahlul Bayt never doubted the prophet, Umar did. Please read the story of al-Hudaybiya. Ibn Maghazili Shafi'i, in his Manaqib, and Hafiz Abu Abdullah Muhammad Bin Abi Nasr Hamidi in his Jam' Bainu's-Sahihain-e-Bukhari, and Muslim write:
    Umar Bin Khattab said, "I never doubted the prophethood of Muhammad as I did on the day of Hudaibiyya."

These are the people who succeeded the prophet to manage the affairs of the Ummah. Did they really have the merits to assume such a position???

I can't stop emphasizing this: Is it not reasonable and more logical to say that the person the most qualified to succeed the prophet must bear great resemblance to him in terms of qualifications and merits? Is this not closer to the truth than to say the contrary? Is this not a rule applied today when you are looking for a replacement for a certain position? You will certainly be looking for someone who matches or surpasses the qualifications of the previous employee. Is this not commonsense? Let alone when this concerns the successor of the prophet, whose duty is to lead the Ummah in the straight path. So, who else besides Ahlul Bayt fits this honorable profile? Just think about it.

This closeness between the prophet and Ali is also illustrated by the following authentic hadith:

And the Messenger of Allah said. "Ali is from me, and I am from Ali, and he is the master of every believer after me.
ما تريدون من علي؟ ما تريدون من علي؟ ما تريدون من علي؟ إن عليا مني وأنا منه وهو ولي كل مؤمن بعدي

Ali, you are my brother in this world and the hereafter
أنت أخي في الدنيا والآخرة - قاله لعلي

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "Me and Ali are from one tree, and the rest of people are from different trees
عن جابر - رضي الله عنه - سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول "يا علي، الناس من شجر شتى، وأنا وأنت يا علي، من شجرة واحدة

The prophet said: "Ali and I were created from one light"
خلقت أنا وعلي من نور واحد

Abu Huraira narrated: The Prophet (PBUH) looked toward Ali, Hasan, Husain, and Fatimah (AS), and then said: "I am in war with those who will fight you, and in peace with those who are peaceful to you."
نظر النبي -صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم- إلى علي، وفاطمة، والحسن، والحسين، فقال: (أنا حرب لمن حاربكم، وسلم لمن سالمكم).

He who insults Ali, insults me. He who insults me, insults Allah. And he who insults Allah, Allah will throw him into Hell"
من سب عليا فقد سبني، ومن سبني فقد سب الله

He who hurts Ali, hurts me
من آذى عليا فقد آذاني