29 Jun 2005


Issue of succession to the prophet had occupied not only the minds of historians but also the minds of the muslims living during that time. Should they have chosen 'Ali, the cousin and the son in-law of the prophet, or did they do the right choice choosing Abu-Bakr, 'Umar and then Uthman, postponing 'Ali to the very severe of times.

I personally don't know. But I wish they would have never chosen 'Utham as the 3rd caliph. He did a pretty terrible job on the political front. Too many raids in too many directions with the wrong strategic decisions. I also blame him for reviving the tribal aristocracy and favouring his relatives.

I think 'Ali should have just been chosen after Umar's death. In fact he was close to get appointed but the keyword was 'ajtahid be ra'yi'.


Blogger ألِف said...

Not exactly the Qurashi aristocracy, but more precisely the Ummayads, to whom he belonged.

I see the whole matter of Sunna/Shiaa conflict as a continuation of the everlasting rivalry between the two clans of the Qurashi confederation.

You see, Quraish wasn't exactly a 'tribe', having the same one genetic grandfather, but rather they were a federation of clans; compare with the Latin gentes.

Over the few hindered years following Mohammad, the two strongest clans, namely the Hashemites and the Ummayads, having been competing for wealth, power, and status for so long, have replaced their pre-Islam political manoeuvres in Dar AlNadwah, and minor skirmishes in the allies of Makka with ground-moving armies fighting wars in three continents.

That, in my opinion, is the origin of what later turned into sectarian differences, and sub-religions, for many reasons, and Othman was part of its early manifestations.

6/29/2005 04:04:00 am  
Anonymous zoss said...

Maybe Uthman wasn't the best political leader, but nepotism is a serious charge that shouldn't be thrown around like that -- maybe you're fishing for it, and you have the proof in your hand, so I'm preempting that with the argument that you yourself have shown great deal of skepticism towards history and historical resources, so make sure your argument is stronger than that.

And I don't think one can judge Ali's political capabilities; I mean there was never a chance -- his reign was plagued with civil war and what not.

(haal; I posted a comment on schimmel's but it doesn't appear on the front page. just thought I'd let you know)

6/29/2005 06:47:00 am  
Blogger LouLou said...

I always thought it was odd the way Sunni Muslims would tell you in hushed up voices with wide eyes that Shia are critical of the 4 Righteous Caliphs. As if that was some unspeakable crime.

I agree with ??? about Uthman. Infact I think the entire Ummayad period was terrible for Islam. It set all the worst trends in Islamic ruling classes & it deepened the Sunni/Shia divide.

Of course the Shia are critical of the early Caliphs for all the wrong reasons. It is because they idolize the Prophet's blood relations & they view the first 3 Caliphs as having usurped Ali's rightful position.

And Sunnis respond to this by idolizing the early 4 Caliphs & making them holy & above criticism. Sigh. Why can't we all live without idols?I thought the whole point of Islam was to reject idolatory.

Islamic thought was considerably more advanced than other Middle Eastern religions because it managed to get rid of the clergy & establish a direct link between the individual & God. The Qura'an tells us to pray to God & he will hear us. And the Prophet said to look for the fatwa in your heart.

If we are going to develop a clergy structure of caliphs & umara & sheiks & Imams & mullahs & ayatollahs & scholars & make them all holy figures & speak to God through them then how is this different from the Catholic church with its bishops & cardinals & Popes?Why don't we all just become Catholics?

6/29/2005 08:42:00 am  
Blogger haal said...

Zoss, you are right re/ 'Ali. He didn't have the chance to prove his political capabilities. He led the muslim through a terrible time when a terrible division had just took place. A number of historians also accused 'Ali of not being a good political leader judging from his leadership skills during the khawarij, and thus they prefered Mu'awiya as a leader because he was able to silence all the voices and unite the muslim although not to be compared with 'Ali on the religious front (being a late convert....etc).

As for 'Uthman, there is a pretty good deal of conscensus through historical sources that 'Uthman favoured his clan (bani ummaya) with the various posts. The sources of course varied in the degrees of this accusation or mentioning and there are serious issues, maybe I should have mentioned them but I took it as a well-known thing that most people know about....maybe i am wrong.

Read ur schimmel's comment. I hope you will like the rest of the book. I am also hoping ur will blog about these stuff.

6/29/2005 08:43:00 am  

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