The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), from the first day of his mission, introduced the people to his successor i.e. Imam Ali (a.s.) on numerous occasions. The following are some of the instances:
Hadees-e-Yaumuddar: (On the day he (s.a.w.a.) invited his near relatives to Islam. Also referred to as Dawaat e Zul-Asheerah)
Hadees-e-Raayat: (When he (s.a.w.a.) gave the flag and the command to Imam Ali (a.s.) in the battle of Khaiber)
Hadees-e-Manzelat: (When he (s.a.w.a.) showed the similarity between him and Imam Ali (a.s.) as Prophet Musa (a.s.) had with Prophet Harun (a.s.))
Hadees-e-Ghadeer: (This took place while he (s.a.w.a.) was returning from last Hajj.)
Hadees-e-Saqalain: (About the two weighty things viz. the Holy Quran and the Ahle Bait (a.s.))
Various Quranic verses to point towards the leadership and mastership of Imam Ali (a.s.).
Notwithstanding these clear indications, the Muslims breached the words of the Holy Quran and the sayings of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) by gathering at a place called Saqifa Bani Saaedah. A group of people among whom the foremost were Abu Bakr, Umar, Saad bin Obada and Abu Obaida Jarrah gathered at Saqifa to elect a successor from among themselves, while the body of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was still lying unbathed and unshrouded.
Such gathering was the result of not having faith in the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). They considered worldly power and authority more important than carrying out the last rites of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
The rampaging and turbulent gathering at Saqifa elected Abu Bakr as the caliph and successor of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). People who had no connection with Islam accepted this decision.
Madinah, the bastion of Islam, returned back to tribal fanaticism. During the twenty-five years from the demise of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) i.e. from 10 A.H. to 35 A.H., three caliphs came into power and each of them were appointed in different ways.
The appointment of Abu Bakr took place in Saqifa. He ruled for 3 years after which Umar came to power. Before he expired he appointed Umar to taken on the responsibility of the Caliphate. So, Umar came to power through nomination.
In 12 years of Umar’s rule, Muslims achieved military victories over Iran and Rome. However, while the Muslims were crossing all physical boundaries on one hand, on the other they were moving away from the pure teachings of the Holy Quran and the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). Umar in his last days devised another mode of appointment of Caliph. He made a committee of six members that comprised of Imam Ali (a.s.), Talhah, Zubair, Usman, Saad bin Abi Waqqas and Abdur Rahman Ibn Auf.
Finally, as desired by Umar, the mantle of Caliphate came on the shoulders of Usman. In the 10 years of Usman’s governance, ignorant and tribal customs done away with by Islam were restored. People were divided on the basis of the relationship with the ruler, tribes, castes, social position etc. Bani Ummayya, open enemies of Islam seized the opportunity to raise their head in the society and create disturbances. Syria became the power-center of the Ummayyids.
Close companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) were put to hardships and troubles. People who raised their heads against the oppression of the government were crushed, tortured and exiled. The famous companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Abu Zar Ghaffaari was exiled to a desert called Rabza. His only crime was that he was reminding the government to adopt the method of Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) governance. However, a small and steadfast group did not forsake the real successor of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). This group consisted of Janabe Salman Farsi, Janabe Miqdad, Janabe Ammar etc.
Opposition and revolt raised their head from different nooks and corners of the Islamic Empire and finally, Usman was murdered. In 35 A.H. the Muslim nation turned to the real successor of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and paid allegiance to him. Imam Ali (a.s.) said to the people at the beginning of his caliphate that, “Now the right has returned to its owner and transferred to its center of return.”