The Political Method of the Selection of the Calipha by vote and Its Disagreement with the Shia's View

Shiasim believes that Shareeyah that is the The Divine Law of Islam, whose whole substance is found in the Holy Book of God and in the tradition of the Sunnah of The Holy Prophet(pbuh&hf), will always remain valid right up to the Day of Judgment and it can never, nor will it ever, be altered, by anyone!
A government which is really Islamic cannot under any pretext refuse completely to carry out the Shareeyah Injunctions. The only duty of an Islamic government is to make decisions by consultation within the limits set by the Shareeyah and in accordance with the demands of the moment.

Therefore the vow of allegiance to Abu Bakr at the ill reputed Saqeefah, which was motivated at least in part by political considerations and self centered interest, more than anything else, and the incident described in the Hadeeth of,

"The ink and paper"
Which occurred during the last days of the illness of The Holy Prophet(pbuh&hf), reveal the fact that those who directed and backed the movement to choose the Caliph though the process of election believed that the Book of God should be preserved in the form of a Constitution.
They emphasized the Holy Book and paid much less attention to the words of The Holy Prophet(pbuh&hf) as an immutable source of the teachings of Islam. They seem to have accepted the modification of certain aspects of Islamic teachings concerning government to suit the conditions of the moment and for the sake of the general welfare.

This tendency to emphasize only certain principles of the Divine Law is confirmed by many sayings that were later transmitted concerning the companions of the Holy Prophet(pbuh&hf).

For example:
The Companions were considered to be 'Independent Authorities' in matters of the Divine Law, ie. being Mujtahhid, that being able to exercise independent judgment the "Ijtihad" in public affairs.

It was also believed that if they succeeded in their task they would be rewarded by Allah(swt) and if they failed they would be forgiven by Allah(swt) since they were among the socalled 'Companions'.

This view was widely held during the early years following the death of The Holy Prophet(pbuh&hf).

However Shiasim takes a much stricter stand and believes that
The actions of the Companions, as of all other Muslims, should be Judged strictly according to the Teachings of the Shari'ah, like any other living Muslim.

For example:
There was the complicated incident involving the famous general Khalid Ibin Walid in the house of one of the prominent Muslims of the day, Malik Ibin Nuwajrah, which led to the death of the latter. Khalid created a senario in which he killed Malik. In the real intention of the lust he had over his beautiful wife. After killing him, he proceeded to have sex with her. She refused and fought over his unwanted advances but Khalid susequently raped her violently.
The fact that Khalid was not at all taken to task for this criminal incident because of his being an outstanding military leader. This shows in the eyes of Shiasim an undue lenience toward some of the actions of some of the companions which were below the norm of perfect piety and righteousness set by the actions of the spiritual elite among the companions.

Another practice of the early years which is criticized by Shi'ism is the cutting off of the Khums from the members of the Household of the Prophet(pbuh&hf), and from the Holy Prophet's(pbuh&hf) relatives Likewise, because of the emphasis laid by Shiasim on the Ahdeeths or sayings and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet(pbuh&hf).

It is very difficult for the Shia to ever understand
As to why on earth is the writing down of the 'text' of any Ahadeeth (Sayings) was completely banned and why, if a written Hadeeth in any form, were to be found, it would be burned, and the possessor sevearly punished even killed!

We know that this ban continued through out the caliphate's of the Khulafa Al-Rashideen into the Umayyad period and did not cease until the period of Umar Ibin Abd Azeez, who ruled from A.H. 99/A.D 717 to A.H. 101/A.D. 719.

During the period of the second Caliphate of Umar (13/634 to 25/644) there was a continuation of the policy of emphasizing certain aspects of the Shari'ah and of putting aside some of the practices which the Shi'ites believe the Holy Prophet(pbuh&hf) taught and practiced.
Some practices were forbidden, some were totally omitted, and some were even added.

For instance:

The pilgrimage of Tamattu

This is a kind of pigrimage in which the Umrah Ritual is utilized in place of the Hajj Ritual.
Hence, Tamattu was banned by Umar during his caliphate, with his decree that any transgressors would be stoned to death; this in spite of the fact, that during The Prophet’s(pbuh&hf) final pilgrimage The Holy Prophet(pbuh&hf) instituted, as in the Koran, Surah II, verse 196, a special form for the pilgrimage ceremonies that might be performed by pilgrims coming from far away.


This was also, during the lifetime of The Prophet(pbuh&hf) of God temporary marriage such as the Mutah was practiced, but Umar forbade that too!


Another change was that even though during the life of The Holy Prophet(pbuh&hf) it was the practice to recite in the Call to Prayers of Al-Athan, the phrase ,

Hayya Ala Khayr Al-Amal,
meaning: "Hurry to the best act"

Umar ordered that it be omitted because he said it would prevent people from participating in holy wars, the Jihad.

However it is still recited in the Shi'ite call to prayers, but not in the Sunni call.

There were also additions to the Shari'ah:

During the time of the Prophet(pbuh&hf) a divorce was valid only if the three declarations of divorce

"I divorce thee" were made on three different occasions

But Umar allowed the triple divorce declaration to be made at one time.
Heavy penalties were imposed on those who broke any of these new regulations, such as stoning in the case of Mutah marriage.

It was also during the period of the rule of the 2nd calipha Umar, that new social and economic forces led to the uneven distribution of the public treasury, Al-Bayt Al-Mal among the people, an act which was later the cause of bewildering class differences and frightful and bloody struggles among Muslims.
At this time Muawiyah was then ruling in Damascus in the style of the Persian and Byzantine Kings and was even given the title of the 'Khusraw of the Arabs' (a Persian title of the highest imperial power), but no serious protest or challenge was made against him for his worldly type of un-Islamic rule.

The 2nd calipha Umar was killed by an old woman, a Persian slave in 25/644.

Choosing of the 3rd 'Calipha'
In accordance with the majority vote of a six-man council which had assembled by order of the second caliph Umar, before his death, the 3rd calipha Uthman was chosen.
The 3d calipha did not even prevent his Umayyad relatives from becoming dominant over the people during his caliphate and appointed some of them as rulers in the Hijaz, Iraq, Egypt, and other Muslim lands.

These relatives began to be lax in applying moral principles in government. Some of them openly committed injustice and tyranny, sin and iniquity, and broke certain of the tenets of already firmly established Islamic laws.

Before long, streams of protest began to flow toward the capital Medina. But the calipha, who was under the influence of his relatives particularly Marwan Ibi n Hakam. So he did not act promptly or decisively to remove the causes against which the people we're protesting. Sometimes it even happened that those who protested were themselves punished and driven away.

However an incident that happened in Egypt illustrates the nature of the rule of the third caliph. A group of Muslims in Egypt rebelled against Uthman. Uthman sensed the danger and asked Ali for help, expressing his feeling of contrition. Ali told the Egyptians,

"You have revolted in order to bring justice and truth to life. Uthman has repented saying, I shall change my ways and in three days will fulfill your wishes. I shall expel the oppressive rulers from their posts."
Ali then wrote down an agreement with them on behalf of Uthman and they started back towards their home.
However on the way they saw the slave of Uthman riding on his camel in the direction of Egypt. They became suspicious of him and searched him. On him they found a letter for the governor of Egypt containing the following words:

"In the name of God. When Abdulrahman Ibin Addis comes to you, beat him with a hundred lashes, shave his head and beard and condemn him to long imprisonment. Do the same in the case of Amr Ibn Al-Hamq, Suda Ibn Hamran, and Urwah Ibn Niba."
The Egyptians took the letter and returned with anger to Uthman, saying,
"You have betrayed us all!"
Uthman denied the existance of the letter. However they said,
"Your slave was the carrier of the letter."
He answered them,
"He has committed this act without my permission."
They said to Uthman,
"But he rode upon your camel."
He answered,
"They have stolen my camel."
They replied,
"But the letter is in the handwriting of your secretary."
He said to them,
"This has been done without my permission and knowledge."
They said,
"In that case you are not competent to be caliph and you must resign, for if this has been done with your permission you are a traitor. And if such important matters take place without your permission and knowledge, then your incapability and incompetence is proven. In any case, either resign or dismiss the oppressive agents from office immediately!"
Uthman answered,
"If I wish to act according to your will, then it is you who are the rulers. Then, what is my function?"
They stood up and left the gathering in anger.
During his caliphate Uthman allowed the government of Damascus, at the head of which stood Muawiyah, to be strengthened more than ever before. In reality, the center of gravity of the caliphate as far as political power was concerned was shifting to Damascus and the organization in Medina, the capital of the Islamic world, was politically no more than a form without the necessary power and substance to support it.

Finally, in the year 35/656, the people rebelled and after a few days of siege and fighting the 3rd calipha was killed in his garden.

So, the bleak facts are that:
The 1st calipha was selected through the vote of the majority of the 'companions',
The 2nd calipha by the will and testament of the 1st calipha
The 3rd calipha by a six-man council whose members and rules of procedure were organized and determined by the 2nd calipha.
Altogether, the policy of these three caliphas, who were in power for twenty-five years, was to execute and apply Islamic laws and principles in society in accordance with Ijtihad and what appeared as most wise at the time to the caliphas themselves.

As for the Islamic sciences, the policy of these caliphs was to have the Holy Koran read and understood without being concerned with commentaries upon it or allowing it to become the subject of discussion.

The Ahadeeth
These sacred 'Sayings' of the Prophet,(pbuh&hf) was recited and was transmitted orally without being written down. Writing was limited to the text of the Holy Koran and was forbidden in the case of any Ahadeeth.

After the battle of Yamamah whith ended in 12AH/633AD, many of those who had been reciters of the Holy Koran and who knew it by heart were killed. As a result Umar Ibn Al-Khattab proposed to the first calipha Abu Bakr, to have the verses of the Holy Koran collected in written form, saying that if another war were to occur and the rest of those who knew the Koran by heart were to be killed, the knowledge of the text of the Holy Book would disappear among men.

Therefore, it was necessary to assemble the Koranic verses in written form.

From the Shi'ite point of view it appears strange and incompreshensible that this decision was made concerning only The Holy Koran and yet despite the fact that the Prophetic Ahadeeth, which is the complement of the Koran, was faced with the same danger and was not free from corruption in transmission, addition, diminution, forgery and forgetfulness, the same attention was not paid to it.

On the contrary, as already mentioned, writing it down was forbidden and all of the written versions of it that were found were burned, as if to emphasize that only the text of the Holy Book should exist in written form.

As for the other Islamic sciences, during this period little effort was made to propagate them, the energies of the community being spent mostly in establishing the new sociopolitical order. Despite all the praise and consecration which are found in the Koran concerning knowledge (Al-Ilm), and the emphasis placed upon its cultivation, the avid cultivation of the religious sciences was postponed to a later period of Islamic history.

Most men were occupied with the remarkable and continuous victories of the Islamic armies, and were carried away by the flood of immeasurable booty which came from all directions toward the Arabian peninsula.

With this new wealth and the worldliness which came along with it, few were willing to devote themselves to the cultivation of the sciences of the "Household"(as) of the Prophet(pbuh&hf), at whose head stood Ali, whom the Holy Prophet(pbuh&hf) had introduced to the people as the one most versed in the Islamic sciences.

At the same time, the inner meaning and purpose of the teachings of the Holy Koran were totally neglected by most of those who were affected by this change.

It is strange that, even in the matter of collecting the verses of the Holy Koran, Ali(as) was not even consulted and his name was not mentioned among those who participated in this task, although it was known by everyone that he had collected the text of the Holy Koran after the death of The Prophet(pbuh&hf).

It has been recounted in many traditions that after receiving allegiance from the community, Abu Bakr sent someone to Ali and asked for his allegiance. Ali said,

"I had promised not to leave my house except for the daily prayers until I had compiled The Koran."
And it has been mentioned only by the Sunnis that Ali reluctantly gave his allegiance to Abu Bakr after a delay of six months.
This in itself is the proof that only Ali himself had finished compiling the Koran.

Likewise, it has been recounted that after compiling the Koran. Ali placed the pages of the Holy Book on a camel and showed it to the people. It is also recounted that the battle of Yamamah after which the Koran was compiled, occurred during the second year of the Caliphate of Abu Bakr.

These facts have been mentioned in most works on history and Ahadeeth which deal with the account of the compilation of the Holy Koran.

These and similar events made the Followers of Ali even more firm in their belief and more conscious of the course that lay before them. They increased their activity from day to day and Ali himself, who was cut off from the possibility of educating and training the people in general, concentrated on privately training an elite.

During this twerity-five year period Imam Ali Ibin Abe Taleb(as) lost through death three of his four dearest close friends and associates, who were also among the closes of the Companions of The Holy Prophet(pbuh&hf):

Salman Al-Farisi
Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari
They had been constant in their true friendship and loyality with him in all circumstances. It was also during this same period that some of the other Companions of The Holy Prophet(pbuh&hf) and a large number of their followers in the Hijaz, the Yemen, Iraq, and other lands, joined the followers of Ali.

As a result, after the death of the 3rd calipha the people turned to Ali from all sides, swore allegiance to him and chose him as the rightfull Calipha at last!

Taken from "Islam : the living religioun " web site.