Leaving the Muslim nation without a leader?

The second caliph was in his deathbed, and he had not appointed a successor for himself. People around him were concerned and eager for the caliph to appoint a leader for the Muslim nation during his final hours, and not leave them without a guardian.

Thus, Ayisha -the Prophet’s (sa) wife- called Abdullah, the caliph’s son, and urged, “O My Son! Send my regards to Umar and tell him: ‘Do not leave Muhammad’s (sa) followers without a leader. Choose a successor for yourself amongst them, and don’t leave them like wild camels as I am worried that there will be distress (1). If people are not controlled, I fear that there will be chaos’”.

So Abdullah went to his father and said,” People say you will not choose a successor for yourself, while if you had a herd of sheep and a shepherd who wanted to leave the herd on its own, you would definitely hold him responsible for any bad things that happen to the herd; nonetheless, leading a society is much harder and critical than a herd of sheep! If Almighty Allah asks you why did you not choose a successor for yourself to lead His people what are you going to respond? (2)”

The caliph said,” Who do I choose?”

Abdullah responded, “Use your wisdom to find out. If you had a farmer who worked on your farm, when you called for the farmer, would you not expect him to put a replacement on the land, while he is out? (3)”

The same fear of leaving the Islamic nation without a leader also existed at the time of Muawiyah. He used the same wise, irrefutable argument to usurp the leadership for his son, Yazid, and said,” I fear for the followers of Muhammad (sa) to be left without a leader just like a herd of sheep without a shepherd(4)”.

The previous two incidents are examples of reasoning made for the necessity of a chosen leader to guide the Islamic nation.

Now the question to those who deny the incident of Ghadir is: how can one accept the undisputable arguments regarding the analogies on appointing a successor, but assume that Allah (SWT) and His Messenger did not foresee the Muslim nation leadership after Prophet Mohammad (sa) and left it without a guardian?! How is it possible that Allah (SWT) and the Prophet ignored this ruling of wisdom and left the Islamic nation on their own? In fact, evidence points to the event of Ghadir where the Prophet clearly announced Ali-ibn-Abitaleb (as) as his successor and leader of the Ummah.

(The above is a selection taken from the “Al-Ghadir” book, by Allamah Abdul-Hussain Amini (with minor changes and additions))

1- Al-Imamah wa al-Siyasah, vol. 1, p. 22.

2- Sunan Bayhaqi, vol. 4, p. 149 from Sahih Muslim – Sirah Umar from Bin Jouzi, p. 190 – Al-Riad al-Nadhrat, vol. 2, p. 74 – Heliat al-Owliaa, vol. 1, p. 44 – Fath al-Baari, vol. 13, p. 175 from Sahih Muslim.

3- Tabaqaat ibn Sa’d, vol. 3, p. 249.
4- Tarikh al-Tabari, vol. 6, p. 170