The second path is that the Prophet adopted a positive policy concerning the future of Islam after his death and planned towards it by advocating the appointment of a shura (counsel) which would be responsible for the affairs of Islam and leading the Ummah. This shura would be composed of the first generation of the faithful, the Muhajirun and the Ansar, who would represent the Ummah, while formulating the foundations for the future government and for the leadership of Islam as it evolved further.
It is obvious, however, that the nature of things and the actual events which took place concerning the Prophet, the da'wah and the faithful refute this hypothesis and disprove the claim that the Prophet followed this method and sought to invest the leadership of Islam immediately after his death to the Ummah as represented in a shura composed of the initial generation of the Muhajirun and the Ansar.
We shall now examine some of the points which clarify this.
1. Had the Prophet adopted a positive attitude towards the future of the da'wah and intended that a shura be set up immediately after his death and that the leadership of the da'wah be handed over to someone elected according to this principle, he would have found it absolutely necessary to educate the Ummah and the faithful concerning the principles of shura with its rules and details, and to give it a form which reflected the divine and holy sanction, while also preparing the Islamic society both mentally and spiritually to accept this system. This would have been vital because the Islamic society grew from a confederacy of clans which had not functioned according to the political principles of shura before Islam, but had in fact
generally functioned according to tribal leadership, in which power, wealth and the principles of inheritance had a large part to play.
We can easily discover that the Prophet did not seek to educate his followers concerning the principles, legal details and theoretical concepts of shura, because such a policy, had it been carried out, would surely have been reflected and embodied in the ahadith transmitted from the Prophet, or in the mentality of the Ummah, at least as far as the earliest generation is concerned the Muhajirun and the Ansar - who would have been obliged to implement the organization of the shura. We do not, however, find any clearly defined legal evidence from the organization of a shura in the prophetical ahadith. As for the mentality of the Ummah or of the earliest generation thereof we can find no discernible reflection of any attempt to educate them to accept this.
Indeed this generation subscribed to two different trends: the first is led by the Ahl al-Bayt (the People of the House of the Prophet), while the other is exemplified by those present at as-Saqifa and the khalifah who only arose after the death of the Prophet. The first trend was composed of those who believed in the wisaya and imama, and there is no reflection of any belief in the concept of shura amongst them. As for those who subscribed to the second trend, all the proofs and arguments which occurred during their lifetime and during their careers undoubtedly indicate that they neither believed in shura nor established their careers according to it, and the same is true of the rest of the groups who were alive at the time of the Prophet's death.
The following narrative proves this: when Abu Bakr's illness became acute he appointed Umar ibn al-Khattab and ordered Uthman to write down the pledge. So he wrote:
'In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. This is the pledge of Abu Bakr, the khalifah of the Messenger of Allah,
to the believers and Muslims. Peace be upon you, and I extol Allah to you. I hereby appoint Umar ibn al-Khattab as your liege. So hear and obey!' Then 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn Awf came to him and said: 'How are you this morning, 0 khalifah of the Prophet of Allah?' So he replied: `I am dying, and you have aggravated my condition because I appointed one of you and you have all become upset, as you all aspire to this office yourselves!'6
It is clear from the appointment of this khalifah and from the disapproval of the opposition that Abu Bakr did not consider the establishment of a shura but believed that he had the right to stipulate the next khalifah and that this situation obliged obedience on the part of the Muslims. For this reason he ordered them to hear and obey, and did not simply nominate Umar, but obliged them to accept his stipulation.
We should also point out that Umar himself believed that he had the right to appoint a khalifah to rule over the Muslims, and appointed a group of six people and charged them with choosing his successor from amongst themselves, without any reference to the rights of the rest of the Muslims in this election.
Thus the rationale of the function of a shura was not exemplified in Umar's appointment of a khalifah to succeed him, just as it had not been exemplified in the method employed by the first khalifah. Indeed, when the people asked Umar about the appointment of the next khalifah, he said: 'If one of two men were still alive I would charge him with the khilafah, and they are Salim the freed slave of Abu Hudayfa, and Abu Ubayda al-Jarrah. For if Salim was still alive I would not have designated a shura.'7
Also Abu Bakr told 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn Awf, while conversing with him on his deathbed: 'I wish I had asked the Prophet of Allah about the appointment of a successor so that nobody
6 Tarikh al-Yaqubi, 2/126-127.
7 Tabaqat ibn Sa'd, 3/248.
could have contested it!'8
Furthermore one of those present when the Ansar assembled at as-Saqifa to appoint Sa`d ibn Ubada, said: 'If the Muhajirun from Quraysh disagree they will say, "We are the Muhajirun and we are his clan and his partisans." But some of the Ansar said, "So we shall say, "We shall have a khalifah and you shall have a khalifah. For we will never be content with anything other than this!"'
When Abu Bakr spoke to them he said: 'We are the Muslims and the Muhajirun who were the first to adopt Islam, and for this reason the people must follow us, because we are the clan of the Prophet of Allah and of pure Arab lineage.'
And when the Ansar suggested that the khilafah should alternate between the Muhajirun and the Ansar, Abu Bakr rejected it, saying: 'When the Prophet of Allah came to the Arabs they found it difficult to leave the religion of their forefathers and differed and disagreed with him, then Allah chose the first Muhajirun to believe in him from his people, and they became the first to worship Allah in this world, and were his partisans and kinsfolk, who have the most right to rule after him, which would only be disputed by the unjust.'
But Al-Habbab ibn al-Mundhir, who encouraged the people in their determination, said: `Stand firmly in support of your claim, for these people are under your care and protection, and if they refuse we shall have a khalifah and they shall have one!'
So Umar replied and said: 'Impossible! Two swords cannot be sheathed in one scabbard. So only the false claimant, the deviant, or someone willing to risk his own destruction would dispute with us concerning the rule of Muhammad and his legacy, for we are his partisans and his clan.'9
If we wish to scrutinize this point we must take into consideration
8 Tarikh al-Tabari, 4/52.
9 See the texts concerning as-Saqifa in Sharh an-Nahj, 6/6-9.
the method of appointment used by the first and second khulafah; the fact that this method was not rejected; the prevalent atmosphere which surrounded the opposing factions of the leading personalities of the Muhajirun and the Ansar on the day of as-Saqifa; the obvious inclinations of the Muhajirun in deciding that the authority should rest with them and not with the Ansar; the emphasis which they placed upon the principle of inheritance which gave the clan of the Prophet the most right to succession; the willingness of many of the Ansar to accept the idea of two khulafah - one of whom would be from the Ansar; who won the khilafah on that day; and that he regretted not having asked the Prophet about his successor.
In fact all this proves, without a shade of doubt, that this first generation of the Islamic Ummah, which also included those who came to power after the death of the Prophet, did not give any thought to the concept of shura as regards the appointment of the khilafah nor did they possess a clearly defined under standing of its principles; so how can we believe that the Prophet had instituted a policy of educating his followers concerning the legal and theoretical concepts of shura, to prepare the Muhajirun and the Ansar to submit the leadership of Islam to one elected according to these principles, when we cannot find any actual implementation of this method, or clear understanding thereof, amongst this generation!
Similarly, we cannot believe that the Prophet set down this method and its details legally and theoretically, but did not attempt to familiarize and educate the Muslims in this respect.
This in fact proves the aforementioned theory that the Prophet did not present the principle of shura to the Ummah as an alternative to more traditional methods, because it is improbable that such a principle could have been presented and then disappeared completely from the reports of all sections of this society.
Other obvious points which further illustrate this are as follows:
a) The principle of shura was a new one for this area, which had not experienced any sort of highly developed government before the time of the Prophet, and thus required extensive education to acquaint its inhabitants as to its exact nature.
b) The shura as a concept was unclear and could not be presented or put into action without its details, rules, and guidelines for preference in the case of dispute being clarified. Moreover, should these guidelines be based upon numbers and quantities, or upon qualities and experience, or upon other attributes which would facilitate the clarification of the concept and render it immediately functional upon the death of the Prophet?
c) In fact shura was an expression of the Ummah's implementation of authority according to consultation and the determination of the people concerning their government. The responsibility for this lay with all those who were involved in shura. If this shura was legally acceptable and to be put into practice immediately after the death of the Prophet, the majority of the people should have been previously instructed concerning it, so that each could adopt a positive attitude towards shura and bear his share of the responsibility.
All these points prove that the Prophet had he wished that a shura be set up to choose a successor after his death, would have had to disseminate the concept of shura on a wide and profound scale to prepare his followers psychologically and to fill any gaps in their understanding, while also explaining the details which would make it a workable concept. The presentation of this concept on this level and wide scale could not have been carried out by the Prophet and then disappear totally from the minds of all the Muslims who were alive at the time of the Prophet's death.
There is of course the possibility that the Prophet did in fact present the concept of shura to its best advantage and on the scale which circumstances required so that the Muslims understood
its nature, but that political motivations led to its suppression so that the Muslims felt forced to hide what the Prophet had already taught them about the rules and details of shura. This theory is, however, impracticable because whatever may be claimed about them, these motives could not have influenced the ordinary Muslims from among the sahaba who did not participate in the political events which took place immediately after the death of the Prophet, or play an important role in the gathering at as-Saqifa, but were rather on-lookers; for such people represent a large percentage of every society irrespective of the political forces therein.
If the concept of shura had been presented by the Prophet according to the requirements of the society this would not have been strictly for the ears of those who had political motives, because many people would have heard about it and it would naturally have been reflected in the actions of the ordinary members of the sahaba, just as the prophetical ahadith concerning the merits of Imam Ali and his designations were actually reflected in the attitude of the sahaba themselves. Also why did these political motives not prevent the ahadith concerning the merits of Imam Ali, his designation and his rights to the leadership from being handed down to us through the sahaba of the Prophet, in spite of the fact that these contradicted the prevalent attitudes of the time, when we possess no reports concerning the concept of shura? In fact even those who represented these prevalent attitudes often found themselves in disagreement concerning political affairs, and would have found it advantageous to uphold the idea of a shura in opposition to the other faction. Yet none of these factions used this idea as a precept which they had heard from the Prophet.
An example of this can be found in the position adopted by Talha concerning Abu Bakr's appointment of Umar, and in his denial of and obvious anger against this appointment, because, in spite of his rejection, he did not seek to countermand this appointment by calling for a shura, or to condemn Abu Bakr for departing from the teachings of the Prophet concerning shura
and the election of a successor.
2. It is also clear that had the Prophet decided to entrust the first generation of Muslims, which included the Muhajirun and the Ansar who were his contemporaries, with the guarding of Islam after his death and with the responsibility for the continuation of the task of transformation, he would have been obliged to prepare this generation with an extensive ideological and intellectual project so that they could grasp the concept firmly and practice it according to their awareness thereof, and could find solutions to the problems with which Islam would be continually confronted. This is specially true when we consider that the Prophet, who foretold the fall of Khusrow and Caesar, knew that Islam was destined to win many victories, and that the Islamic Ummah would, in the near future, include new nations and cover a large area and would thus face the responsibility of proselytizing Islam to these nations and protecting the Ummah from the negative consequences of such expansion, while also applying the legal rules upon the conquered lands and their inhabitants.
In spite of the fact that the first generation of Muslims was the purest ever to embrace Islam and the most prepared to sacrifice for it, we cannot detect any indication of the specialized preparation required to assume the guardianship of the faith, nor of wide and profound instructions concerning its exact nature. In fact the factors which illustrate this point are so numerous that it is impossible to study them in this particular work.
We can, however, point out in relation to this that the number of texts which are reported from the Prophet by the sahaba in the sphere of legislation only amounts to a few hundred ahadith, while there were about 12,000 sahaba according to the history books. Furthermore, the Prophet lived in a town with thousands of them and prayed with them in the same masjid morning and evening, so why can we not find some indication of specialized preparation amongst these people?
It is well-known that the sahaba refrained from asking the Prophet questions to the extent that all of them would wait until a bedouin came from outside Medina to ask a question and then listen to the Prophet's reply, because they considered a question unnecessary if it concerned something that had not yet taken place.
For this reason Umar once announced from the minbar: `By Allah, man is forbidden to ask questions concerning what has never existed, for indeed the Prophet clarified what is in existence.'10 And he added: It is not permissible for one to ask questions about what has never existed, for Allah has given His judgment upon all things that exist.' Also a man came to Umar's son one day and asked him about something and Umar's son told him: `Do not ask about what has never existed for I have heard Umar cursing one who asks regarding what has never happened.'11 There was also a man who asked Ubayy ibn Ka`b about a problem and he said: '0 my son, does this affair which you asked me about exist?' He replied: 'No.' So the former said: 'If that is the case, leave this question until it does exist.'12
One day Umar was reading the Qur'an and came to the ayah: `And We caused to grow therein seeds, vines, herbs, olive trees, palms and gardens (which were) profuse, fruitful and verdant (abban).'13 So someone said: 'We know all of this, but what is abban?' Then Umar said: 'This, in the Name of Allah, is an irrelevant question, and it is not important whether you know the meaning of abban or not. Follow what is clear in the Book and practise it, and leave what you do not know to Allah.'
We can thus discern that the sahaba tended to desist from questions other than those concerning clearly defined and existent problems. It was in fact this tendency that led to the
10 Swum ad-Darimi, 1/50.
13 Surat al-'Abasa, 28-32.
scarcity of legislative texts reported on the authority of the Prophet and later necessitated the consultation of sources other than the Qur'an and the Sunnah, such as legal discretion (istihsan) and analogy (qiyas), and the other features of independent judgment (ijtihad) which combine to form the personal interpretation of the mujtahid, which can allow the man's personality, his tastes and his personal understanding to enter into the legislative act.
Such a tendency is, of course, diametrically opposed to the process of personal and ideological preparation which would have required the extensive education of this generation, while also requiring that they be acquainted with the legal stipulations concerning the problems which they would face when involved in the leadership.
Just as the sahaba refrained from asking questions to the Prophet they also chose not to record his ahadith in writing, in spite of the fact that the ahadith constituted the second Islamic source and that this was the only way to preserve it and prevent distortion. Indeed, Al-Hirawi expressed openly his disparagement of the oral tradition on the authority of Yahya ibn Said from `Abd Allah ibn ad-Dinar, saying that neither the sahaba nor the next generation wrote down the ahadith but transmitted them orally and learnt them by heart, except for the book about the alms tax (kitab as-sadaqat). In fact, according to the Tabaqat of Ibn Sed, the second khalifah thought regarding the best position to adopt concerning the Sunnah of the Prophet for a whole month, but finally announced his prohibition of the documentation thereof. Thus the Sunnah of the Prophet, which was the most important Islamic source after AI-Qur'an al-Karim, was destined to suffer arbitrarily from forgetfulness, distortion and the death of those who had learnt the traditions by heart (huffaz) for nearly 150 years.
The only exceptions to this were the Ahl al-Bayt who applied themselves to the documented recording of ahadith from the earliest period, and we know from the numerous ahadith
reported on the authority of the Imams of the Ahl al-Bays that they possess a weighty book which had been dictated by the Prophet of Allah and written by the hand of Ali ibn Abi Talib, and which included all the Sunnah of the Prophet of Allah.
Do you, by Allah, believe that this naive group of people - if they were in fact naive - who refrained from asking questions about matters which had not yet occurred and forbade the documentation of the Sunnah of the Prophet after he had pronounced it were capable of guiding the new religion or of leading it through the most important and difficult stages of its long history? Or do you, by Allah, believe that the Prophet left his Sunnah to posterity without ensuring its organization and documentation, although he had commanded his followers to practice it? Furthermore, had he really arranged for the concept of a shura, would it not have been necessary to delineate its rules and to organize his Sunnah, so that the shura could progress according to a definite programme in which personal desires would have no part to play? Or is it that the only rational interpretation of this is that the Prophet had prepared Imam Ali to assume the leadership after his death and entrusted him with his complete Sunnah and taught him 1,000 types of knowledge?
In fact, the events which took place after the death of the Prophet proved that the Muhajirun and the Ansar had not received any sort of instruction concerning many of the momentous problems which the da'wah had to face after the time of the Prophet so that neither the khalifah nor the central government who supported him had a clear idea as to how the lands won by the Islamic conquests should be dealt with according to the Shari' ah, whether these lands should be divided amongst the fighting forces or should be regarded as endowments (auqaj) for the good of all Muslims. For it is surely inconceivable that the Prophet assured the Muslims that they would conquer the lands of Khusrow and Caesar and intended that the Muhajirun and the Ansar should lead the da'wah and handle the problems arising from these victories when he did not acquaint them with the legal premises which were necessary
to control the large proportion of the world which was to come under Islamic rule.
Indeed we can go even further and illustrate that the generation which was contemporary to the Prophet did not even possess a clearly defined picture of the religious matters which the Prophet had practised hundreds of times within the sight and hearing of the sahaba.
A good example of this is the case of the prayers said over a dead man (salat al-mayyit), a practice which the Prophet had carried out publicly on hundreds of occasions, performing it as one of the funeral cortege with the funeral escort and those who offered up prayers. Yet in spite of this, it appears that the sahaba did not consider it necessary to note the form of this rite carefully as long as the Prophet led the prayer, while they followed him step by step. Because of this they fell into disagreement after the death of the Prophet as to the number of takbir (to say Allahu Akbar) repeated in the salat alamayyit. At-Tahawi reported from Isma'iI saying:
'When the Prophet of Allah died, the people differed as to how many takbir should be said over the bier. One man would say, '1 heard the Prophet of Allah say Allahu Akbar seven times." While another said, "I heard the Prophet of Allah say Allahu Akbar five times" and a third would say, "I heard the Prophet of Allah say Allahu Akbar four times." So they differed openly until the death of Abu Bakr and when Umar became khalifah and perceived their disagreement he became grieved and sent for one of the sahaba of the Prophet of Allah, and said, "You are the sahaba of the Prophet of Allah! When you differ before the people they shall differ after you, and when you agree upon a matter the people shall agree upon it. So consider what you shall agree upon." And it was as if he had awakened them. So they replied, "It shall be as you wish, 0 Leader of the Faithful.'14
Thus we can see that the sahaba depended on the Prophet
during his lifetime and did not feel that it was immediately necessary to study the rules and concepts closely as long as they were under his protection.
You may think that the picture which has been painted of the sahaba and of the points which illustrate their inability to rule contradict our belief that the prophetical programme of instruction achieved a high level of success and produced an awesome and religious generation. In reply to this we must point out that in studying the actual nature of the medial generation who were the Prophet's contemporaries we have not mentioned anything which would clash violently with the positive appraisal of the prophetical instructions which he applied during his noble life. Because, while we believe that the prophetical instructions were a unique and divine example and an outstanding religious revelation in the history of prophetical acts, we have found that the belief in this and the attainment of a fair appraisal of the outcome of these instructions does not depend upon the observation of results without reference to the circumstances which surrounded these instructions, nor upon observations of quantity separated from those of quality. In order to clarify this we shall cite the following example.
We shall assume that there is a teacher who is teaching a number of students the English language and literature, and that we want to assess his teaching potential. It is not sufficient simply to scrutinize the students' standard of cultural knowledge or their familiarity with the English language and its literature. We must also take into consideration the time for which the teacher has been teaching these students, their previous experience, their proximity to or distance from the atmosphere of the English language and literature, the size of the difficulties and exceptional problems which confront the teaching process and hinder its natural course, the targets which the teacher aspired to when teaching the literature of this language to his students, and the final outcome of the teaching process when compared to many other types of instruction.
And when assessing the prophetical instructions we must take into consideration the following points:
1) The short length of time in which the Prophet was actually carrying out this plan of instruction, which did not exceed two decades, as far as his earliest sahaba, who accompanied him at the beginning of his mission were concerned, and did not exceed a single decade for the vast majority of the Ansar, or three or four years for the large number of converts to Islam from the time of the Truce of al-Hudaybiyya until the Conquest of Makkah.
2) The previous intellectual spiritual, religious and behavioural environment in which these people lived before the Prophet started his mission, and the empty simplicity and aimlessness which confronted them in various spheres of their lives. I do not think it necessary to illustrate this point further because it is self-evident. Islam was not a superficial, reformatory process in society, but was rather a radical and revolutionary process aimed at the building of a new society, which implied a total conceptual change in attitudes between the previous and new environment, to which the Prophet directed all his efforts.
3) The events and political and military confrontations which bedevilled that era on various different fronts and made the relationship between the Prophet and his sahaba distinct from that of a person like Prophet `Isa (Jesus) and his disciples, for this relationship was not one of a teacher or instructor who could devote his time totally to his students, but was in fact that of a Prophet who was an instructor while also the military leader and head of State.
4) The social and religious conflict which arose from close contact with the Ahl al-Kitab (the People of the Book), and with various different religious cultures, for this contact and the opposition raised by those who opposed the new faith and were educated according to older religious culture proved a source of unrest and continual provocation. Indeed every one of us knows
that this resulted in the Jewish intellectual trend which was infiltrated accidentally or purposely into the sphere of speculation, and a close scrutiny of AI-Qur'an al-Karim is enough to illustrate the extent of the danger posed by the counter revolution and the extensive involvement of revelation in observing it and disputing its concepts.
5) The fact that the target which the Great Teacher was trying to attain generally was, at this stage, the creation of a sound, popular framework which would make it possible for the leadership of the new message to interact with the Ummah and be closely involved in its experiences, both during and after the lifetime of the Prophet. But the target was not, at this stage, the elevation of the Ummah to the level of leadership itself, as this required complete understanding of Islam, comprehensive knowledge of its rules and total awareness of its concepts. The limitation of his target at this stage to the level which we have mentioned was logical, because the nature of the process of change dictated it. For it would have been illogical to conceive this target other than within the bounds of possibility or within the limitations which we have mentioned, considering the circumstances faced by Islam at this time, and the ideological, spiritual, intellectual and social differences between the new religion and the prevalent corrupt reality of the era, which would have made it impossible for the people to raise themselves to the leadership of this religion after only one or two decades. This point shall be examined further in the next paragraph, in which we shall give proofs of the continued responsibility involved as regards the new revolutionary experiment, which was illustrated in the leadership of the Ahl al-Bays, so that the khilafah of Imam Ali was actually dictated by the logical process of change throughout the history of Islam.
6) The fact that a great many of the Ummah which was left by the Prophet were Muslimat al-Fath, that is Muslims who converted to Islam after the Conquest of Makkah and after the new religion had become the most powerful political and
military force in the Arabian Peninsula. Naturally, the Prophet was only destined to limited contact with them in the short time left to him after the Conquest, and most of this contact was in his capacity as ruler. Because of the stage through which the Islamic State was passing the concept of Mu'allifa Qulubuhum appeared, and in order to win over the hearts of people they were given the right to receive zakat and other measures. Clearly this section of the Ummah was not separated from the other, but was an integral part thereof, influencing and being influenced at the same time.
Thus, in the study of these six points, we have discovered that the prophetical instructions were actually extremely successful and brought about a singular transformation within the society, while also producing a virtuous generation who were capable of realizing the Prophet's aim as regards the creation of a sound, popular foundation who could rally around the guiding leader ship of the new experience and support it. Because of this we also find that this generation was capable of performing its role as the sound, popular foundation as long as mature and guiding leadership was present in the person of the Prophet. Had this leadership been allowed to take its divine course, this foundation would have continued to play its correct part, although this does not mean that it was actually ready to assume this leadership itself, or to guide the new experience, because this would have required greater spiritual and believing cohesion with Islam, and a stronger and more extensive identification with its rules and concepts and with the various aspects of its attitudes toward life, while also necessitating a more intense elimination of the ranks of the Ummah which included the munafiqun, the mundisun (infiltrators) and the Mu'allifa Qulubuhum, who were still a numerically and historically important part of this generation, whose negative influences are indicated by the number of verses in Al-Qur'an al-Karim in which especially the munafiqun, their machinations and their position are mentioned. There were, of course, some individuals from this generation whose high
religious attainments were formed by this instruction, as their personalities fused in its melting pot, like Salman Farsi, Abu Dharr, Ammar and many others.
But I would like to point out that the existence of these individuals as part of this large generation does not prove that this generation had, as whole, attained the level at which the control of this momentous experience could be handed over to them, according to the principle of shura. Indeed, even the majority of these individual elites did not possess the religious qualifications which would have made them capable of leading the experience as regards its intellectual and cultural features, in spite of their staunch loyalty and profound devotion, because Islam is not an ideology made by man whose ideas could be defined as a result of practical experience, or whose concepts could be clarified as a result of devoted experimentation. It is rather the message of Allah, whose rules and concepts had been ordained and divinely increased with every piece of legislation necessitated by experience, so the leadership needed to fully comprehend its statutes and details, and study assiduously its rules and concepts, otherwise it would be forced to rely upon previous intellectual ideas and tribal connections, which would lead to a break in the continuity of the experience, especially when we remember that Islam was the last of the religions of the heavens and must continue and surpass all temporal, regional and national laws. It was thus impermissible that the leadership, which would mould the foundations of this eternal religion, should practise a series of mistakes and correct actions, in which the mistakes would be accumulated over a period of time until they formed a fatal flaw which could threaten the Islamic experience with decline and destruction.
Everything that has gone before proves that the instructions given by the Prophet to the Muhajirun and the Ansar did not reach the level which would have been necessitated by the conscious, intellectual and political preparation required to guide the future path of the da'wah and the process of change
which had been instigated by the Prophet. It was, in fact, restricted to that required for a conscious, popular foundation which could rally to the leadership of the da'wah, both in the present and the future.
Each assumption which points to the belief that the Prophet intended that the support of the future experience and guardianship of the da'wah immediately after his death should be vested in the Muhajirun and the Ansar implicitly involves an indictment against the greatest and most discerning religious leader in the history of reformatory movements, because there was no clear distinction between the understanding necessary for the popular foundation of the da'wah and that necessary for the guidance of the da'wah or its intellectual and political leadership.
3. The da'wah was, of course, a reformatory process and a framework for a new way of life, charged with the task of building a new community and with uprooting all jahili principles and all their foundations.
The Islamic Ummah did not, as a whole, live in the shadow of this reformatory process for more than a single decade at the most, which is not usually long enough, according to the logic of ideological religions and reformatory beliefs, to raise a generation to the level of awareness and objectivity and freedom from the residue of past ideas, at which they can grasp the ideas of the new da'wah, and be capable of assuming the guardianship of the message, and handling the problems of this da'wah, while also continuing its reformatory process without a leader. In fact the logic of ideological religions makes it inevitable that the Ummah should continue under ideological trusteeship for a longer period of time, in which it could be raised to the level of guardianship itself.
This is not something which we have simply inferred, as it was also a fact substantiated by the events which took place after the death of the Prophet and became clear after half a century or less in the attempts of the Muhajirun and the Ansar to lead and
guard the da`wah. For, after less than a quarter of a century of this 'guardianship,' the khilafah of this generation and the religious experience resulting from its leadership were destroyed under the force of the heavy attacks made upon it by the former enemies of Islam, but this time from within rather than from without the Islamic experience. These enemies were able to infiltrate by degrees the weak points of this experience and take advantage of the inattentive leadership. Then they usurped this leadership insolently and violently and forced the Ummah and its original, pioneering generation to renounce its identity and its leadership, while the leadership itself turned into a line of hereditary kings, infatuated with prestige, who murdered the innocent, squandered wealth, neglected the rules of Islam, caused its laws to ossify, and fraudulently used the resources of the people. Thus the lands conquered by the Muslims became the gardens of Quraysh and the khilafah a toy of Banu Umayya.
So the true facts of the experience after the death of the Prophet and the results of this quarter century support the previous inference, which emphasized the support for guidance, and the intellectual and political leadership of the Muhajirun and Ansar immediately after the death of the Prophet was a premature step which was taken before its natural time. It is, however, illogical that the Prophet should have taken a step of this kind.