Did the Prophet order Abu Bakr to lead the prayer?
Content:
The story as reported in the Sunni sources
Justification of the caliphate of Abu Bakr
Analysis of the story and refutation
Conclusion

According to the Sunnis, few days before his demise, when he was seriously ill, the prophet ordered Abu Bakr to lead the Muslims in prayer. They argue that by this gesture, the prophet had desired and willed Abu Bakr to be his successor, since only a leader is allowed to lead the prayer over the Muslims. Here I would like to make a side note: it is amazing how the Sunnis strongly use this event to justify the rightful caliphate of Abu Bakr, and they unjustly reject the explicit statements made by the prophet at Ghadeer Khum declaring Ali as his successor, after which the companions came one after the other to congratulate him!

The story as reported in the Sunni sources
Let's first look at some narrations illustrating the event:
Narrated 'Aisha: That the Prophet said (to her). "Order Abu Bakr to lead the people in prayer." She replied," Abu Bakr is a soft-hearted person and when he stands at your place, he will weep (so he will not be able to lead the prayer)." The Prophet repeated the same order and she gave the same reply. The narrator, Shuba said that the Prophet said on the third or fourth time. "You are (like) the female companions of Joseph. Order Abu Bakr to lead the prayer."
‏حدثنا ‏ ‏بدل بن المحبر ‏ ‏أخبرنا ‏ ‏شعبة ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏سعد بن إبراهيم ‏ ‏قال سمعت ‏ ‏عروة بن الزبير ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏عائشة ‏ ‏رضي الله عنها ‏ ‏أن النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏قال لها مري ‏ ‏أبا بكر ‏ ‏يصلي بالناس قالت إنه رجل أسيف متى يقم مقامك رق فعاد فعادت ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏شعبة ‏ ‏فقال في الثالثة أو الرابعة ‏ ‏إنكن صواحب ‏ ‏يوسف ‏ ‏مروا ‏ ‏أبا بكر
Reference:
     Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 598, Book: Prophets; Page 714, #3384 (Arabic version)
     Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 599, Book: Prophets; Page 714, #3385 (Arabic version)

U'urwa ibn Zubayr ibn A'awam is the son of the companion al-Zubayr, and he was born during the caliphate of Umar. He is known to have hated Imam Ali and he fought against him in the battle of the Camel, just like his father! Did not the prophet say that whoever hates Ali is a hypocrite and whoever loves Ali is a believer. Therefore, this Urwa, whom is considered a good man by the Sunni was a hypocrite because of his hatred for Ali.

ibn Abdul Hadid reported in Sharh Nahjul Balagha that al-Zuhri and Urwa were together and insulted Imam Ali. The news reached al-Hussein so he came to them...

وكان الزهري من المنحرفين عنه، وروى جرير بن عبدالحميد عن محمد بن شيبة قال: شهدت مسجد المدينة، فإذا الزهري وعروة ابن الزبيرجالسان يذكران علياً فنالا منه. فبلغ ذلك علي بن الحسين فجاء حتى وقف عليهما فقال: أما أنت يا عروة، فإن أبي حاكم أباك إلى الله فحكم لأبي على أبيك، وأما أنت يا زهري، فلو كنت بمكة لأريتُك كير أبيك»

وروى عاصم بن أبي عامر البجلي، عن يحيى بن عروة، قال: كان أبي إذا ذكر علياً نال منه

How can you rely on a narration transmitted by Urwa and Aisha, both of which hated Ali!

Narrated 'Aisha: the mother of the faithful believers: Allah's Apostle in his last illness said, "Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in the prayer." I said, "If Abu Bakr stood in your place, he would not be able to make the people hear him owing to his weeping. So please order 'Umar to lead the prayer." He said, "Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in the prayer." I said to Hafsa, "Say to him, 'Abu Bakr is a softhearted man and if he stood in your place he would not be able to make the people hear him owing to his weeping. So order 'Umar to lead the people in the prayer.' " Hafsa did so but Allah's Apostle said, "Keep quiet. Verily you are the companions of (Prophet) Joseph. Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in the prayer." Hafsa said to me, "I never got any good from you."
حدثنا عبدالله بن يوسف، قال: أخبرنا مالك، عن هشام بن عروة، عن أبيه، عن عائشة أم المؤمنين أنها قالت: «إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم قال في مرضه: مروا أبابكر يصلي بالناس.
قالت عائشة: قلت: إن أبابكر إذا قام في مقامك لم يسمع الناس من البكاء! فمرعمرفليصل للناس.
فقالت عائشة: فقلت: لحفصة قولي له: إن أبابكر إذا قام في مقامك لم يسمع الناس من البكاء فمرعمرفليصل للناس. ففعلت حفصة.
فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم: صه، إنكن لأنتنّ صواحب يوسف، مروا أبابكر فليصل للناس.
فقالت حفصة لعائشة: ما كنت لأصيب منك خيراً»
Reference:
     Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 11, Number 684 - Book: Call to prayers

The above narration is also from Urwa ibn Zubayr and therefore is trash because of his hatred of Ali! The guy used to insult him!! How can he be trusted for what he narrates.

According to the following narration, while Abu Bakr was leading the prayer, the prophet came out to the mosque with the help of two men (al-Abbas and Ali) to take over the lead of the prayers from Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr then followed the prayer of the prophet (who was performing it in the sitting position) and the people were following the prayer of Abu Bakr. Here is the narration:

Narrated 'Aisha: When the Prophet, became ill in his fatal illness, Someone came to inform him about the prayer, and the Prophet told him to tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in the prayer. I said, "Abu Bakr is a soft-hearted man and if he stands for the prayer in your place, he would weep and would not be able to recite the Qur'an." The Prophet said, "Tell Abu Bakr to lead the prayer." I said the same as before. He (repeated the same order and) on the third or the fourth time he said, "You are the companions of Joseph. Tell Abu Bakr to lead the prayer." So Abu Bakr led the prayer and meanwhile the Prophet felt better and came out with the help of two men; as if I see him just now dragging his feet on the ground. When Abu Bakr saw him, he tried to retreat but the Prophet beckoned him to carry on. Abu Bakr retreated a bit and the Prophet sat on his (left) side. Abu Bakr was repeating the Takbir (Allahu Akbar) of Allah's Apostle for the people to hear.
‏حدثنا ‏ ‏مسدد ‏ ‏قال حدثنا ‏ ‏عبد الله بن داود ‏ ‏قال حدثنا ‏ ‏الأعمش ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏إبراهيم ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏الأسود ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏عائشة ‏ ‏رضي الله عنها ‏ ‏قالت ‏ ‏لما مرض النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏مرضه الذي مات فيه أتاه ‏ ‏بلال ‏ ‏يوذنه بالصلاة فقال ‏ ‏مروا ‏ ‏أبا بكر ‏ ‏فليصل قلت إن ‏ ‏أبا بكر ‏ ‏رجل ‏ ‏أسيف ‏ ‏إن يقم مقامك يبكي فلا يقدر على القراءة فقال مروا ‏ ‏أبا بكر ‏ ‏فليصل فقلت مثله فقال في الثالثة أو الرابعة إنكن ‏ ‏صواحب ‏ ‏يوسف ‏ ‏مروا ‏ ‏أبا بكر ‏ ‏فليصل فصلى وخرج النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏يهادى ‏ ‏بين رجلين كأني أنظر إليه ‏ ‏يخط ‏ ‏برجليه الأرض فلما رآه ‏ ‏أبو بكر ‏ ‏ذهب يتأخر فأشار إليه أن صل فتأخر ‏ ‏أبو بكر ‏ ‏رضي الله عنه ‏ ‏وقعد النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏إلى جنبه ‏ ‏وأبو بكر ‏ ‏يسمع الناس التكبير ‏ ‏تابعه ‏ ‏محاضر ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏الأعمش
Reference:
     Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 11, Number 680, Book: Adhan; Page 159, #712 (Arabic version)

al-Aswad was one of those who deviated from imam Ali, as ibn Abdul Hadeed reported:

فان «الأسود» من المنحرفين عن أمير المؤمنين الإمام علي عليه السلام

Ibrahim and Sulayman ibn Mahran al-A'amash are also known to be a fraudulent, including in Hadith! Again, these narrations are unreliable.

Narrated 'Aisha: When Allah's Apostle became seriously ill, Bilal came to him for the prayer. He said, "Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in the prayer." I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Abu Bakr is a soft-hearted man and if he stands in your place, he would not be able to make the people hear him. Will you order 'Umar (to lead the prayer)?" The Prophet said, "Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in the prayer." Then I said to Hafsa, "Tell him, Abu i Bakr is a soft-hearted man and if he stands in his place, he would not be able to make the people hear him. Would you order 'Umar to lead the prayer?' " Hafsa did so. The Prophet said, "Verily you are the companions of Joseph. Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in the prayer." So Abu- Bakr stood for the prayer. In the meantime Allah's Apostle felt better and came out with the help of two persons and both of his legs were dragging on the ground till he entered the mosque. When Abu Bakr heard him coming, he tried to retreat but Allah's Apostle beckoned him to carry on. The Prophet sat on his left side. Abu Bakr was praying while standing and Allah's Apostle was leading the prayer while sitting. Abu Bakr was following the Prophet and the people were following Abu Bakr (in the prayer).
‏حدثنا ‏ ‏قتيبة بن سعيد ‏ ‏قال حدثنا ‏ ‏أبو معاوية ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏الأعمش ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏إبراهيم ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏الأسود ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏عائشة ‏ ‏قالت ‏ ‏لما ‏ ‏ثقل ‏ ‏رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏جاء ‏ ‏بلال ‏ ‏يوذنه بالصلاة فقال ‏ ‏مروا ‏ ‏أبا بكر ‏ ‏أن يصلي بالناس فقلت يا رسول الله إن ‏ ‏أبا بكر ‏ ‏رجل ‏ ‏أسيف ‏ ‏وإنه متى ما يقم مقامك لا يسمع الناس فلو أمرت ‏ ‏عمر ‏ ‏فقال مروا ‏ ‏أبا بكر ‏ ‏يصلي بالناس فقلت ‏ ‏لحفصة ‏ ‏قولي له إن ‏ ‏أبا بكر ‏ ‏رجل ‏ ‏أسيف ‏ ‏وإنه متى يقم مقامك لا يسمع الناس فلو أمرت ‏ ‏عمر ‏ ‏قال إنكن لأنتن ‏ ‏صواحب ‏ ‏يوسف ‏ ‏مروا ‏ ‏أبا بكر ‏ ‏أن يصلي بالناس فلما دخل في الصلاة وجد رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏في نفسه خفة فقام ‏ ‏يهادى ‏ ‏بين رجلين ورجلاه ‏ ‏يخطان ‏ ‏في الأرض حتى دخل المسجد فلما سمع ‏ ‏أبو بكر ‏ ‏حسه ذهب ‏ ‏أبو بكر ‏ ‏يتأخر ‏ ‏فأومأ ‏ ‏إليه رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏فجاء رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏حتى جلس عن يسار ‏ ‏أبي بكر ‏ ‏فكان ‏ ‏أبو بكر ‏ ‏يصلي قائما وكان رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏يصلي قاعدا يقتدي ‏ ‏أبو بكر ‏ ‏بصلاة رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏والناس مقتدون بصلاة ‏ ‏أبي بكر ‏ ‏رضي الله عنه
Reference:
     Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 11, Number 681, Book: Adhan; Page 159, #713 (Arabic version)

The Isnad in the above narration also contains al-Aswad, Ibrahim and Sulayman ibn Mahran al-A'amash, all three being unreliable.

We find another narration in Sunnan Abi Dawud:

حدثنا عبدالله بن محمّد النفيلي، ثنا محمد بن سلمة، عن محمد بن إسحاق، قال: حدثني الزهري، حدثني عبدالملك بن أبي بكر بن عبدالصمد بن الحرث بن هشام، عن أبيه عن عبدالله بن زمعة، قال: لما استعزّ برسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم وأنا عنده في نفر من المسلمين دعاه بلال إلى الصلاة فقال: مروا من يصلي بالناس.
فخرج عبدالله بن زمعة فإذا عمر في الناس ـ وكان أبوبكر غائباً ـ فقلت: يا عمر، قم فصل بالناس. فتقدم فكبر.
فلما سمع رسول الله صلى الله عليه [واله] وسلم صوته، وكان عمررجلاً مجهراً. فقال: أين أبوبكر؟ يأبى الله ذلك والمسلمون، يأبى الله ذلك والمسلمون.
فبعث إلى أبي بكر، فجاء بعد أن صلى عمرتلك الصلاة فصلى بالناس
حدثنا أحمد بن صالح، ثنا ابن أبي فديك، قال: حدثني موسى بن يعقوب، عن عبدالله بن إسحاق، عن ابن شهاب، عن عبيدالله بن عبدالله بن عتبة: أن عبدالله بن زمعة أخبره بهذا الخبرقال: لما سمع النبي صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم صوت عمرـ قال ابن زمعة ـ خرج النبي حتى أطلع رأسه من حجرته ثم قال: لا لا لا، ليصل للناس ابن أبي قحافة؛ يقول ذلك مغضبا»

The Isnad in the above narration contains al-Zuhri and I already mentioned his hatred to Imam Ali.

According to the above narration, when Bilal told the prophet that it was time for the prayers, the prophet told him to find someone else to lead the prayers [because the prophet was very ill]. Abdullah asked Umar to lead the prayers since he could not find Abu Bakr. When the prophet heard the voice of Umar leading the prayer, he asked: "where is Abu Bakr?". The prophet wanted Abu Bakr to lead the prayers instead, so he asked the people to go find him.

Here is another version from Sunnan ibn Majjah and Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Musnad:

حدثنا علي بن محمد، ثنا وكيع، عن إسرائيل، عن أبي إسحاق عن الأرقم بن شرحبيل، عن ابن عباس، قال: «لّما مرض رسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم مرضه الذي مات فيه كان في بيت عائشة فقال: أدعوا لي علياً.
قالت عائشة: يا رسول الله، ندعو لك أبابكر؟ قال: ادعوه.
قالت حفصة: يا رسول الله، ندعو لك عمر؟ قال: ادعوه.
قالت أم الفضل: يا رسول الله، ندعو لك العباس ؟ قل: نعم.
فلما اجتمعوا رفع رسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم رأسه فنظر فسكت. فقال عمر: قوموا عن رسول الله.
ثم جاء بلال يؤذنه بالصلاة، فقال: مروا أبابكر فليصل بالناس. فقالت عائشة: يا رسول الله، إن أبابكر رجل رقيق حصر، ومتى لا يراك يبكي والناس يبكون، فلو أمرت عمر يصلي بالناس ؟
فخرج أبوبكر فصلى بالناس، فوجد رسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم من نفسه خفة، فخرج يهادي بين رجلين ورجلاه تخطان في الأرض، فلما رآه الناس سبحوا بابي بكر، فذهب ليستأخر فأومأ إليه النبي أي مكانك.
فجاء رسول الله فجلس عن يمينه وقام أبوبكر، وكان أبوبكر يأتمّ بالنبي والناس يأتمّون بأبي بكر.
قال ابن عباس: وأخذ رسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم من القراءة من حيث كان بلغ أبوبكر.
قال وكيع: وكذا السنة.
قال: فمات رسول الله في مرضه ذلك»

In Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal:

عبدالله، حدثني أبي، ثنا يزيد، أنا سفيان ـ يعني ابن حسين ـ، عن الزهري، عن أنس، قال: «لما مرض رسول الله صلى الله عليه [واله] وسلم مرضه الذي توفي فيه أتاه بلال يؤذنه بالصلاة، فقال بعد مرتين: يا بلال، قد بلغت، فمن شاء فليصل ومن شاء فليدع.
فرجع إليه بلال فقال: يا رسول الله، بابي أنت وأمي، من يصلي بالناس ؟
قال: مرّ أبابكر فليصل بالناس.
فلما أن تقدم أبوبكر رفع عن رسول الله الستور قال: فنظرنا إليه كأنه ورقة بيضاء عليه خميصة، فذهب أبوبكر يتأخّر وظن أنه يريد الخروج إلى الصلاة، فاشار رسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم إلى أبي بكر أن يقوم فيصلي، فصلى أبوبكر بالناس، فما رأيناه بعداً

The next narration testifies that the two men that helped the prophet reach the mosque were indeed al-Abbas and Ali ibn Abi Talib.

Narrated Az-Zuhari: Ubaidullah bin 'Abdullah told me that 'Aisha had said, "When the Prophet became sick and his condition became serious, he requested his wives to allow him to be treated in my house, and they allowed him. He came out leaning on two men while his feet were dragging on the ground. He was walking between Al-'Abbas and another man." 'Ubaidullah said, "When I was informed by Ibn 'Abbas of what 'Aisha had said, he asked me whether I knew who was the second man whom 'Aisha had not named. I replied in the negative. He said, 'He was 'Ali bin Abi Talib."
Reference:
     Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 761, Book: Gifts; Page 537, #2088 (Arabic version)

Here is another narration of al-Bukhari:

حدثنا أحمد بن يونس ، قال : حدثنا زائدة ، عن موسى بن أبي عائشة ، عن عبيدالله بن عبدالله بن عتبة ، قال : « دخلت على عائشة فقلت : ألا تحدثيني عن مرض رسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم ؟
قالت : بلى ، ثقل النبي صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم فقال : أصلّى الناس ؟ قلنا : لا ، هم ينتظرونك .
قال : ضعوا لي ماء في المخضب ، قالت : ففعلنا فاغتسل ، فذهب لينوء فأغمي عليه .
ثم أفاق ، فقال : أصلى الناس ؟ قلنا : لا ، هم ينتظرونك يا رسول الله .
قال : ضعوا لي ماء في المخضب ، قالت : فقعد فاغتسل ، ثم ذهب لينوء فأغمى عليه .
ثم أفاق فقال : أصلى الناس ؟ قلنا : لا ، هم ينتظرونك يا رسول الله .
فقال : ضعوا لي ماء في المخضب ، فقعد فاغتسل ، ثم ذهب لينوء فاغمي عليه .
ثم أفاق فقال : أصلى الناس ؟ فقلنا : لا ، هم ينتظرونك يا رسول الله . والناس عكوف في المسجد ينتظرون النبي صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم لصلاة العشاء الآخرة .
فارسل النبي صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم إلى أبي بكر بان يصلي بالناس ، فاتاه الرسول فقال : إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم يامرك أن تصلي بالناس . فقال أبوبكرـ وكان رجلاً رقيقاًـ : يا عمر ، صل بالناس . فقال له عمر : أنت أحق بذلك . فصلى أبوبكر تلك الأيام .
ثم إن النبي صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم وجد من نفسه خفة ، فخرج بين

Muhammad ibn Ishaq reported in his book The Life of the Messenger of God the following:

Ibn Shihab said, Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Abdur Rahman b. al-Harith b. Hisham told me from his father from Abdullah b. Zama'a b. al-Aswad b. al-Muttalib b. Asad that when the Apostle was seriously ill and I with a number of Muslims was with him, Bilal called him to prayer, and he told us to order someone to preside at prayer. So I went out and there was Umar with the people, but Abu Bakr was not there. I told Umar to get up and lead the prayers, so he did so, and when he shouted Allah Akbar, the Apostle heard his voice, for he had a powerful voice, and he asked where Abu Bakr was, saying twice over, "God and the Muslims forbid that." So I was sent to Abu Bakr and he came after Umar had finished that prayer and presided. Umar asked me what on earth I had done, saying, "When you told me to lead the prayer, I thought that the Apostle had given you orders to that effect; but for that I would not have done so." I replied that he had not ordered me to do so, but when I could not find Abu Bakr I thought that he (Umar) was most worthy of those present to lead the prayer.

Here is the account made by some westerners on this event. Sir William Muir reported in his book The Life of Mohammed, London, 1877:

It is related that on one occasion Abu Bakr happened not to be present when the summons to prayer was sounded by Bilal, and that Umar having received, as he erroneously believed, the command of Mohammed to officiate in his room, stood up in the mosque, and in his powerful voice commenced the Takbir, "Great is the Lord!" preparatory to the service. Mohammed overhearing this from his apartment, called out with energy, "No! No! No! The Lord and the whole body of believers forbid it! None but Abu Bakr! Let no one lead the prayer but only he."

So according to the above narrations, we can conclude the following:

  1. The prophet was so ill that he could not lead the morning congragational prayer.

  2. Some narrated that the prophet asked Abu Bakr to lead the congregational prayer, while others narrated that the prophet asked the Muslims to find someone to lead the prayer, without specifiying the name.

  3. According to the narrations in which the prophet did not choose a particular person to lead the prophet, Abdullah b. Zama'a went out looking for Abu Bakr as his choice for leading the prayer. As Abu Bakr was not present, he asked Umar to lead the prayer instead, making Umar think that this was the order of the prophet.

  4. According to other narrations, the prophet requested the prayer to be led by Abu Bakr.

  5. When the prophet heard the voice of Umar, he immediately asked where Abu Bakr was and said: "God and the Muslims forbid that." The prophet was referring to Umar leading the prayer.

  6. Abu Bakr was later found and started leading the prayer.

  7. In the middle of the prayer led by Abu Bakr, the prophet came out of his house with the help of his uncle al-Abbas and his cousin Ali. Both of his legs were dragging on the ground, to interrupt the lead of Abu Bakr.

  8. Abu Bakr moved off and the prophet took the lead of the prayer. Abu Bakr was following the prayer of the prophet and the people were following Abu Bakr's prayer.

    ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said that al-Shafi'i made that point:

    صرح الشافعي بانه صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم لم يصل بالناس في مرض موته في المسجد إلا مرّة واحدة، وهي هذه التي صلى فيها قاعدا، وكان أبوبكر فيها أوّلاً إماماً ثمّ صار ماموماً يسمع الناس التكبير

The essence of the story is that Abu Bakr seemed to have started to lead the congregational prayer, which was soon after interrupted and taken over by the prophet himself. It is not however clear whether the prophet really named Abu Bakr to lead the prophet. It is however easy to find out the truth with logic and reasonning.

As for the Isnad of these reports, I will not burden myself with it. Please refer to this online document yourself. You will however realize that many of those in the different chain of transmission are people who hated Imam Ali, just like Aisha did, people who were fraudulent and unreliable, people who fought Ahlul Bayt.

Justification of the caliphate of Abu Bakr
As stated earlier, most (if not all) of Sunnis scholars (contemporary ones and those who have passed) refer to this event to justify the caliphate of Abu Bakr and state that the prophet intended Abu Bakr to be his successor. With all due respect to all of them, this is nothing new from their part. They have used many other groundless reports to support other claims, such as:
  1. Follow those who will come after me, Abu Bakr and `Umar (read more)
  2. Adhere to my sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly-guided successors after me... (read more)
  3. Verily, my Companions are like the stars (nujum) in the sky (read more)
What is the weight of this event compared to the many hadith which explicitly show that the prophet desired and appointed Ali as his successor?? I am not going to repeat myself here.

Here are the sayings of some of the scholars that use this story to justify Abu Bakr's caliphate. al-Qadi A'addud ad-Deen al-Lijee:

The prophet made Abu Bakr the imam of the congregational prayer...and that is why Ali said: "the prophet chose you over us regarding how to conduct our religion and why should we not do the same?"
إنه صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم استخلف أبابكر في الصلاة وما عزله فيبقى إماماً فيها ، فكذا في غيرها ، إذ لا قائل بالفصل ، ولذلك قال علي رضي الله عنه : قدّمك رسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم في أمر ديننا ، أفلا نقدمك في أمر دنيانا؟ !

This is a ludicrous fabrication (attributed to Ali) as we have seen in this chapter clear narrations reporting how Ali (and Banu Hashim in general) were opposed to the outcome of al-Saqifa (the caliphate of Abu Bakr) and did not recognize his caliphate for six months, and how Ali kept defending his right of the caliphate throughout his life. This same Abu Bakr came to give allegiance to Ali on the day of Ghadeer Khum in the presence of the prophet. Besides, how could someone lower than Ahlul Bayt in status (virtues, qualities and qualifications) have authority over them (by being a caliph)?? Did not the prophet tell the companions to unconditionally adhere to Ahul Bayt and the Quran in order not to stray off? Did he not tell the companions that Ahlul Bayt are like the ark of Noah, whoever embarks in it is saved and whoever does not embark in it goes astray?

Bearing in mind all of these authentic hadith and historical events, it becomes clear that Ali would not have uttered such nonsense. In addition to that, how could Ali say such thing when Abu Bakr and Umar attacked the house of Ahlul Bayt when Ahlul Bayt, the banu Hashim and many other companions refused to give the baya'at to Abu Bakr?? It is crystal clear that the above narration is a fabrication.

al-Asfahani said that the prophet made Abu Bakr lead the prayer on his behalf when he was sick...and the prophet did not remove Abu Bakr from this task until he passed...

النبي استخلف أبابكر في الصلاة أيام مرضه ، فثبت استخلافه في الصلاة بالنقل الصحيح ، وما عزل النبي أبابكر عن خلافته في الصلاة ، فبقي كون أبي بكر خليفة في الصلاة بعد وفاته ، وإذا ثبت خلافة أبي بكر بعد وفاته في الصلاة ثبت خلافة أبي بكر بعد وفاته في غير الصلاة لعدم القائل بالفصل

This is a lie! As we have seen above, Abu Bakr just started the prayers when the prophet got out with the help of two people to take the lead of the prayer. The prophet interrupted Abu bakr and removed him from this task. Abu Bakr ended up following the prayer of the prophet.

Using this event to justify the caliphate of Abu Bakr is irrational and ludicrous, and this is without even scrutinizing the numerous isnad of the reports, which is very studious. You don't need to read all the books of history and hadith to come to this conclusion. With sufficient history background and unbiased analytical thinking, you will reach the same conclusion. In the next section, I will show you how this event could not have happened as reported in the books.

There is more on the page of Logic and Reason in the section: The Sunni view to qualify for the caliphate.

Analysis of the story and refutation

This story has many holes and raises many questions. Let's analyze it and determine what could have really happened.

  1. The military detachement of Usama ibn Zayd:
    Before this alleged event (the request for Abu Bakr to lead the prayers), the prophet appointed the young Usamah ibn Zayd ibn Haritha, as the commander in chief of a military detachement that was to be sent immediately to al-Sham (Syria) to fight the Roman army. Most of His companions were ordered to join the expedition, except Ali ibn Abi Talib and other companions from Bani Hashim. Abu Bakr, Umar Ibn Khattab, Abu Obaydah, Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas, Talha, Zubayr, Khalid bin al-Walid, and many others were part of this expedition. The above link is provided for more details.

    1. So on one hand, Abu Bakr was one of those to join the expedition of Usamah, and on the other hand, the prophet requested Abu Bakr to come lead the prayers (at some point) because he was so ill to lead it. The prophet was already very ill when he ordered the army to form and proceed. So basically, the prophet did not plan ahead to keep someone around to lead the prayer, in case he got so ill that he could not lead it. This is unacceptable. The prophet knew well what he was doing. He gave clear instructions as whom must join Usama's army and ordered them to leave immediately. There is no reason, whatsoever, to call back someone (Abu Bakr in this case) from the army just so he can lead the prayer on behalf of the prophet. Did not the prophet leave his Ahlul Bayt with him in Medina? His Ahlul Bayt were there and they were far more qualified than Abu Bakr to lead the congregational prayer. They were purer, they never worshipped idols, they were more pious, they were more knowledgeable, they were more faifhful to Allah and His prophet, they were the image of the prophet.

      Don't you think that such a mistake or misplan will give a reason for the hypocrites or weak believers to doubt the prophet's decisions? They had already questioned Usama's appointment! Do you think the prophet's decision to form this army came from him?? Of course not! The prophet does not speak or decide out of his own desire or whims. The prophet is always guarded by the angel who protects him and guides him. The prophet knew well he was dying and that his demise was coming closer and closer, which is why he wanted the army out and on their way before this happened. Is it plausible to claim that later, he realized that there was no one to lead the prayer, so he called upon ABu Bakr to come?

    2. What prevented the prophet from requesting one of the members of Ahlul Bayt to lead the prayers?? If ibn Umm Maktoom was given such privilege before, why not give this merit to Ali? Was not Ali good enough? How about his uncle al-Abbas or Ammar ibn Yassir or Salman al-Farisi or Bilal ibn Rabah?

    3. Why could not Ali, who is far more superior than Abu Bakr, lead the congregational prayer? Why not al-Hussein or al-Hassan? Were they not good enough to lead the prayers? Was Abu Bakr worthier of this honor?? Come on, think about it without extremism. Ahlul Bayt were with the prophet in Medina and they were worthier than anyone else to lead the congregational prayer on behalf of the prophet, if needed. There was no reason to call out Abu Bakr to leave the army he was ordered to join so he can lead the prayer. Besides, would someone inferior to Ahlul bayt in all areas lead them in prayers??? Is there a need for me to elaborate on this? How could Abu Bakr lead Ahlul Bayt in prayer when Abu Bakr must obey Ahlul Bayt by Allah's order, as they are the second of the Thaqalayn and Ulil Amr???

    4. The young competent Usama was the commander of Abu Bakr. This means that Usama would lead the congregational prayer: Usama is the imam and Abu Bakr follows him in prayer. How could Abu Bakr be led in prayers by Usama, yet Abu Bakr will lead Ahlul Bayt in prayer, knowing that Ahlul Bayt are superior to Usama?? Can you see how ludicrous this would seem??

    5. When the chapter of al-Bara' was revealed. The prophet asked Abu Bakr to take the chapter and go read it to the pilgrims in Makah. But a divine revelation instructed the prophet to call Abu Bakr back and send Ali instead. There is a lesson to learn here. Gibreel told the prophet that no one should proclaim a revelation on his behalf except Ali. How then could Abu Bakr lead the prayers on behalf of the prophet when Abu Bakr was not even allowed to proclaim the revelations of the prophet? Is not leading the prayer more important than proclaiming revelations?

    6. What is the wisdom of asking Abu Bakr to lead the prayer on behalf of the prophet? The prophet actions are also lessons to learn and are always based on logic. What virtues or qualities Abu Bakr had that Ahlul Bayt did not have to deserve such merit? We all know that Abu Bakr himself is obliged to unconditionally obey and follow Ahlul Bayt just like he obeys and follows the prophet, according to Hadith al-Thaqalayn. So how could he deserve this merit more than Ahlul bayt? We also know that the prophet appointed Ali as his successor at Ghadeer Khum and all the companions congratulated him, including Abu Bakr and Umar. How then can Abu Bakr lead Ali in prayer on behalf of the prophet??? Do you see all the holes in the alleged story?? So Abu Bakr had nothing to deserve this merit, therefore there is no reason the prophet would call him from the camp to lead the prayer. The prophet does not just decide out of desire to pick anyone to lead the prayers. There is a reason for everything he does and this reason is divine!

  2. It has been reported in Sahih al-Bukhari that the prophet kept asking whether the people prayed and those present with him responded in the negative. So he would ask for some water so he can perform the Wudu'. And every time he performed the Wudu', he would faint. This happened three times. This shows that the prophet intended to lead the prayers himself.
    حدثنا أحمد بن يونس، قال: حدثنا زائدة، عن موسى بن أبي عائشة، عن عبيدالله بن عبدالله بن عتبة، قال: «دخلت على عائشة فقلت: ألا تحدثيني عن مرض رسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم ؟
    قالت: بلى، ثقل النبي صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم فقال: أصلّى الناس ؟ قلنا: لا، هم ينتظرونك.
    قال: ضعوا لي ماء في المخضب، قالت: ففعلنا فاغتسل، فذهب لينوء فأغمي عليه.
    ثم أفاق، فقال: أصلى الناس ؟ قلنا: لا، هم ينتظرونك يا رسول الله.
    قال: ضعوا لي ماء في المخضب، قالت: فقعد فاغتسل، ثم ذهب لينوء فأغمى عليه.
    ثم أفاق فقال: أصلى الناس ؟ قلنا: لا، هم ينتظرونك يا رسول الله.
    فقال: ضعوا لي ماء في المخضب، فقعد فاغتسل، ثم ذهب لينوء فاغمي عليه.
    ثم أفاق فقال: أصلى الناس ؟ فقلنا: لا، هم ينتظرونك يا رسول الله. والناس عكوف في المسجد ينتظرون النبي صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم لصلاة العشاء الآخرة.

    فارسل النبي صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم إلى أبي بكر بان يصلي بالناس، فاتاه الرسول فقال: إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم يامرك أن تصلي بالناس. فقال أبوبكرـ وكان رجلاً رقيقاًـ: يا عمر، صل بالناس. فقال له عمر: أنت أحق بذلك. فصلى أبوبكر تلك الأيام.

    ثم إن النبي صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم وجد من نفسه خفة، فخرج بين
    رجلين أحدهما العباس لصلاة الظهر وأبوبكر يصلي بالناس، فلما رآه أبوبكر ذهب ليتأخر فأومأ إليه النبي صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم بأن لا يتأخر.
    قال: أجلساني إلى جنبه، فأجلساه إلى جنب أبي بكر. فجعل أبوبكريصلي وهو يأتم بصلاة النبي صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم، والناس بصلاة أبي بكر والنبي صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم قاعد.
    قال عبيدالله: فدخلت على عبدالله بن عباس فقلت له: ألا أعرض عليك ماحدثتني عائشة عن مرض النبي صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم ؟ قال: هات.
    فعرضت عليه حديثها، فما أنكر منه شيئاً، غيرأنه قال: أسمت لك الرجل الذي كان مع العباس ؟ قلت: لا، قال: هو علي»

    In the above report, it is written that the prophet called for Abu Bakr to lead the prayer. But Abu Bakr suggested that Umar leads the prayer. But instead, Umar responded: "you (Abu Bakr) deserves this merit more than I". So it is a matter of deserving this merit. When you compare the virtues of Abu Bakr to Ahlul Bayt, who do you think deserves this merit to lead the prayer over the Muslims? Come on, be honest. Is it rational to say that Abu Bakr deserves this merit more than Ahlul Bayt when Abu bakr has none of the virtues of Ahlul Bayt??? The scholars have themselves admitted that nobody among the companions of the Messenger of Allah has possessed as many virtues as Ali ibn Abu Talib has. Just read part 1 of the virtues of Ali.

    Now, if the prophet truly ordered Abu Bakr to lead the prayer, would he make such a suggestion to Umar??? Don't you tell me that Abu Bakr did this out of modesty or because he is a softhearted man and if he stood in the place of the prophet, he would not be able to make the people hear him owing to his weeping. Who in his right mind would refuse such an honorable request from the prophet of Allah?

    It is also reported that when the prophet used to feel weak, the Muslims would come to him and he will lead them in prayers while sitting. Here is an example:

    'A'isha reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) fell ill and some of his Companions came to inquire after his health. The Messenger of Allah (may peace he upon him) said prayer sitting, while (his Companions) said it (behind him) standing....
    عن عائشة، قالت: «اشتكى رسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلّم فدخل عليه ناس من أصحابه يعودونه، فصلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم جالساً فصلوا بصلاته قياماً»
    Reference:
         Sahih Muslim, Book 004, #0822, Book: Book of prayers

    Jabir reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) was ill and we said prayer behind him and he was sitting. And Abu Bakr was making audible to the people his takbir...
    وعن جابر: «اشتكى رسول الله صلى الله عليه [وآله] وسلم فصلّينا وراءه وهوقاعد وأبوبكر يسمع الناس تكبيره»
    Reference:
         Sahih Muslim, Book 004, #0824, Book: Book of prayers

    The only thing that could have prevented the prophet from performing the prayers while sitting this time is because he was fainting too often, according to the above narration? So if this narration is true, then the prophet certainly needed someone to lead the congregational prayer on his behalf, and from logic, this person could not have been Abu Bakr, as discussed above. Abu Bakr's responsibility was to be under the commandment of Usama, as the prophet instructed.

  3. Here is a narration reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Musnad, from ibn Abbas, and here are the takeaway points:

    • The prophet was in the house of Aisha when this event took place.
    • The prophet called for Ali first.
    • Then Aisha asked the prophet if she needs to get her father Abu Bakr and the prophet agreed.
    • Then Hafsa asked the prophet if she needs to get her father Umar and the prophet agreed.
    • Then Um al-Fadel asked the prophet if she needs to get al-Abbas and the prophet agreed.
    • Then the prophet looked for Ali in the room and did not see him but did not say anything.
    • Then Bilal asked permission to start the prayer and the prophet asked Abu Bakr to lead the prayer.

    حدثنا عبد الله حدثني أبي ثنا وكيع ثنا إسرائيل عن أبي إسحاق عن أرقم بن شرحبيل عن بن عباس قال : لما مرض رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم مرضه الذي مات فيه كان في بيت عائشة فقال ادعوا لي عليا قالت عائشة ندعو لك أبا بكر قال ادعوه قالت حفصة يا رسول الله ندعو لك عمر قال ادعوه قالت أم الفضل يا رسول الله ندعو لك العباس قال ادعوه فلما اجتمعوا رفع رأسه فلم ير عليا فسكت فقال عمر قوموا عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فجاء بلال يؤذنه بالصلاة فقال مروا أبا بكر يصلي بالناس فقالت عائشة ان أبا بكر رجل حصر ومتى ما لا يراك الناس يبكون فلو أمرت عمر يصلي بالناس فخرج أبو بكر فصلي بالناس ووجد النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم من نفسه خفة فخرج يهادي بين رجلين ورجلاه تخطان في الأرض فلما رآه الناس سبحوا أبا بكر فذهب يتأخر فأومأ إليه أي مكانك فجاء النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم حتى جلس قال وقام أبو بكر عن يمينه وكان أبو بكر يأتم بالنبي صلى الله عليه و سلم والناس يأتمون بأبي بكر قال بن عباس وأخذ النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم من القراءة من حيث بلغ أبو بكر ومات في مرضه ذاك عليه السلام وقال وكيع مرة فكان أبو بكر يأتم بالنبي صلى الله عليه و سلم والناس يأتمون بأبي بكر.

    We have seen in a previous narration that it is Abu bakr who asked Umar to come lead the prayer instead (rather than Aisha), but Umar refused because he saw that Abu bakr deserved this merit more than him. We have an inconsistency here. Note that the prophet asked for Ali and when the prophet looked for him in the room, he did not see him. Where is Ali? Why was he not in the room? Also, were not Abu Bakr and Umar supposed to be in the military detachment of Usama. As we have said earlier, the prophet neither needed Abu bakr nor Umar, to lead this prayer because there were other people who deserved such merit far more than him, and these people are the Ahlul Bayt, the second of the Thaqalayn, whom Abu Bakr and Umar owed an unconditional obedience, just like they owed it to the Quran. That is exactly why the prophet called for Ali. But where was Ali??? Unfortunately, this narration does not provide more details.

  4. When did the prophet get out of his room?? According to Sahih al-Bukhari:
    Narrated 'Aisha: When Allah's Apostle became seriously ill, Bilal came to him for the prayer. He said, "Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in the prayer." I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Abu Bakr is a soft-hearted man and if he stands in your place, he would not be able to make the people hear him. Will you order 'Umar (to lead the prayer)?" The Prophet said, "Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in the prayer." Then I said to Hafsa, "Tell him, Abu i Bakr is a soft-hearted man and if he stands in his place, he would not be able to make the people hear him. Would you order 'Umar to lead the prayer?' " Hafsa did so. The Prophet said, "Verily you are the companions of Joseph. Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in the prayer." So Abu-Bakr stood for the prayer. In the meantime Allah's Apostle felt better and came out with the help of two persons and both of his legs were dragging on the ground till he entered the mosque. When Abu Bakr heard him coming, he tried to retreat but Allah's Apostle beckoned him to carry on. The Prophet sat on his left side. Abu Bakr was praying while standing and Allah's Apostle was leading the prayer while sitting. Abu Bakr was following the Prophet and the people were following Abu Bakr (in the prayer).
    ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏قتيبة بن سعيد ‏ ‏قال حدثنا ‏ ‏أبو معاوية ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏الأعمش ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏إبراهيم ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏الأسود ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏عائشة ‏ ‏قالت ‏
    ‏لما ‏ ‏ثقل ‏ ‏رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏جاء ‏ ‏بلال ‏ ‏يوذنه بالصلاة فقال ‏ ‏مروا ‏ ‏أبا بكر ‏ ‏أن يصلي بالناس فقلت يا رسول الله إن ‏ ‏أبا بكر ‏ ‏رجل ‏ ‏أسيف ‏ ‏وإنه متى ما يقم مقامك لا يسمع الناس فلو أمرت ‏ ‏عمر ‏ ‏فقال مروا ‏ ‏أبا بكر ‏ ‏يصلي بالناس فقلت ‏ ‏لحفصة ‏ ‏قولي له إن ‏ ‏أبا بكر ‏ ‏رجل ‏ ‏أسيف ‏ ‏وإنه متى يقم مقامك لا يسمع الناس فلو أمرت ‏ ‏عمر ‏ ‏قال إنكن لأنتن ‏ ‏صواحب ‏ ‏يوسف ‏ ‏مروا ‏ ‏أبا بكر ‏ ‏أن يصلي بالناس فلما دخل في الصلاة وجد رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏في نفسه خفة فقام ‏ ‏يهادى ‏ ‏بين رجلين ورجلاه ‏ ‏يخطان ‏ ‏في الأرض حتى دخل المسجد فلما سمع ‏ ‏أبو بكر ‏ ‏حسه ذهب ‏ ‏أبو بكر ‏ ‏يتأخر ‏ ‏فأومأ ‏ ‏إليه رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏فجاء رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏حتى جلس عن يسار ‏ ‏أبي بكر ‏ ‏فكان ‏ ‏أبو بكر ‏ ‏يصلي قائما وكان رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏يصلي قاعدا يقتدي ‏ ‏أبو بكر ‏ ‏بصلاة رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏والناس مقتدون بصلاة ‏ ‏أبي بكر ‏ ‏رضي الله عنه
    Reference:
         Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 11, Number 681, Book: Adhan; Page 159, #713 (Arabic version)

    The narration says that the prophet felt better, yet he stepped out of his room with the help of al-Abbas and Ali, and his feet were dragging on the ground till he entered the mosque. Why would he come out in that state when Abu Bakr stood for the prayers? Then the prophet took over the lead from Abu Bakr.

    1. Why would the prophet leave his room in his extremely frail and death-threatening state, after [according to the narrations] having insisted to have Abu Bakr lead the prayers, and after reprimanding his two wives, Aisha and Hafsa?? Did he realize something was happening against his will?

    2. Was the prophet really feeling better??? According to the reports, he needed the help of two people, Ali and Al-Abbas to get to the mosque and on top of that, his feet were dragging on the ground till he entered the mosque. Does this indicate that the prophet was feeling any better?? Yet, he decided to step out and take over the lead of the prayer.

  5. Many scholars use this event to justify the caliphate of Abu Bakr. Umar ibn Abdel Aziz asked al-Hassan al-Bassri (in Ansab al-Ashraf) if the prophet made Abu Bakr his successor. So al-Hassan told that there is no doubt in that and justified it with this incident:
    «هل كان رسول الله استخلف أبا بكر ؟ »
    فقال الحسن : «أو في شك صاحبك ؟! والله الذي لاالله إلاّ هو لاستخلفه حين أمره بالصلاة دون الناس ولهو كان أتقى لله من أن يتوثب عليها»

    There are many of these sayings from the Sunni scholars. This is in fact their strongest justification. They have even reported narrations from Imam Ali saying that the prophet did not suddenly die. Bilal used to come to him to get permission for the prayer and the prophet would ask him to have Abu Bakr lead the prayer and when the prophet died, the Muslims said that the prophet made him his successor (in Ansab al-Ashraf by al-Bassri):

    عن علي بن أبي طالب : (ان رسول الله (ص) لم يمت فجأة كان يأتيه بلال في مرضه، فيؤذنه بالصلاة، فيقول: فهاتوا أبا بكر أن يصلي بالناس وهو يرى مكاني فلمّا قبض نظر المسلمون، فرأوا ان رسول الله (ص) قد ولاّه أمر دينهم، فولّوه أمر دنياهم)

    He (al-Bassri in the same book) also reported another narration from Ali:

    قال علي : لـمّا قبض رسول الله (ص) نظرنا في أمرنا، فوجـدنا النبي(ص) قد قدّم أبا بكر في الصلاة، فرضينا لدنيانا من رضي به رسول الله(ص) لديننا فقدّمنا أبابكر

    You can see how many of them justified the caliphate of Abu Bakr by strongly referring to this incident, which was a plot against the prophet, as you will see. These narrations and sayings can be easily refuted and trashed, because trash is where they belong to! Not only have they attributed lies to the prophet, but they have attributed lies to Ahlul Bayt! What a calamity indeed!!!

    First, if the prophet intended to make Abu Baker his caliph, why would he order Abu Bakr to join the army of Usama for a battle against the Romans in al-Sham??? Are we not accusing the prophet of delusion or forgefulness??? Wouldn't he have asked Abu Bakr specifically to stick around??? Yes, he would have, but he did not because he wanted him out of Medina, along with Umar.

    Second, and as I have said before, by ordering Abu Bakr to join the army of Usama means that Usama is the imam during the prayer. Yes, Abu Bakr follows him during the prayer. How could Abu Bakr be led in prayers by Usama, yet Abu Bakr will lead Ahlul Bayt in prayer, knowing that Ahlul Bayt are superior to Usama?? Can you see how ludicrous this would seem??

    Third, Abu Bakr used to be led in prayer by others in the past, as reported in Sahih al-Bukhari. Salim, the servant of Hudhayfa used to be the imams of the early Muhajireens and other companions in the Mosque of Quba, and among them were Abu Bakr and Umar...

    أن سالماً مولى أبي حذيفة كان يؤمّ المهاجرين الاولين و أصحاب النبي(ص) في مسجد قباء فيهم أبو بكر و عمر ...)

    Fourth, if Ali said all of this, why did Ahlul Bayt refuse to give allegiance to Abu Bakr for 6 months?? Abu Bakr ordered Umar to take some people with him to force them to accept Abu Bakr as their caliph. Many of the companions who refused the caliphate of Abu Bakr were hiding in the house of Ali. And the only reason he pledged allegiance to him 6 months later is avoid bloodshed! The fact is Abu Bakr never accepted his caliphate. If you read the chapter of the caliphate, you will understand why. But let me give you an exerpt:

    Abu Tufayl Ammer ibn Wathila narrated: "I was standing by the door the day of the Shura and the voices got louder among the six nominated companions. I heard Ali say: 'the people payed allegiance to Abu Bakr and by Allah I am more worthy and more entitled to this position than him. But I listened and obeyed lest the people become Kuffar and cut the throats of one another. Then the people payed allegiance to Umar and by Allah I am more worthy and more entitled to this position than him. But I listened and obeyed lest the people become Kuffar and cut the throats of one another. And now you want to pay allegiance to Uthman....I am going to present an argument that no one can reject it or refute. Then he said: '
    Has anyone been the brother of the prophet other than me?
    Does anyone have an uncle like my uncle Hamza, the Lion of Allah and the Master of martyrs?
    Does anyone has a brother like my brother Ja'afar with the two wings he uses to fly with in Heaven?
    Does anyone have two sons like mine, al-Hassan and al-Hussein, the leaders of the youth of Heaven?
    Does anyone has a wife like my wife Fatima, the daughter of the prophet?
    Is there anyone among you who fought the polytheists of Quraysh with more fierce than me in every difficult moment experienced by the prophet?
    Has anyone been more useful to the prophet than me when I slept on his bed to save him?
    Has anyone taken the Khums other than myself and Fatima?
    Is anyone pure in the Book of Allah besides me when prophet closed all the doors of the Muhajireens and kept my door open, then my uncles, al-Abbas and Hamza asked the prophet about his action and the prophet told them that Allah closed all the doors and kept my door open?
    Has anyone who held a conference with the prophet 12 times when verse 58:12 (O ye who believe! When ye hold conference with the messenger, offer an alms before your conference. That is better and purer for you. But if ye cannot find (the wherewithal) then lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful)?
    Can anyone besides me claim to be the last one to be with the prophet until I put him in his grave?
    They all said 'No'.
    عن زافر عن رجل عن الحارث بن محمد عن أبي الطفيل عامر بن واثلة قال: كنت على الباب يوم الشورى، فارتفعت الأصوات بينهم فسمعت عليا يقول: بايع الناس لأبي بكر وأنا والله أولى بالأمر منه، وأحق به منه، فسمعت وأطعت مخافة أن يرجع الناس كفارا يضرب بعضهم رقاب بعض بالسيف، ثم بايع الناس عمر وأنا والله أولى بالأمر منه وأحق به منه فسمعت وأطعت مخافة أن يرجع الناس كفارا يضرب بعضهم رقاب بعض بالسيف، ثم أنتم تريدون أن تبايعوا عثمان إذا أسمع وأطيع، إن عمر جعلني في خمسة نفر أنا سادسهم لا يعرف لي فضلا عليهم في الصلاح ولا يعرفونه لي كلنا فيه شرع سواء وايم الله لو أشاء أن أتكلم ثم لا يستطيع عربيهم ولا عجميهم ولا المعاهد منهم ولا المشرك رد خصلة منها لفعلت، ثم قال: نشدتكم بالله أيها النفر جميعا أفيكم أحد آخى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم غيري؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، ثم قال: نشدتكم الله أيها النفر جميعا أفيكم أحد له عم مثل عمي حمزة أسد الله وأسد رسوله وسيد الشهداء؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، ثم قال: أفيكم أحد له أخ مثل أخي جعفر ذي الجناحين الموشى بالجوهر يطير بهما في الجنة حيث شاء؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: فهل أحد له سبط مثل سبطي الحسن والحسين سيدي شباب أهل الجنة؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد له زوجة مثل زوجتي فاطمة بنت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم؟ قالوا: اللهم لا. قال: أفيكم أحد كان أقتل لمشركي قريش عند كل شديدة تنزل برسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم مني؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد كان أعظم غنى عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حين اضطجعت على فراشه ووقيته بنفسي وبذلت له مهجة دمي؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد كان يأخذ الخمس غيري وغير فاطمة؟ قال: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد كان له سهم في الحاضر وسهم في الغائب غيري؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أكان أحد مطهرا في كتاب الله غيري حين سد النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أبواب المهاجرين وفتح بابي فقام إليه عماه حمزة والعباس فقالا: يا رسول الله سددت أبوابنا وفتحت باب علي، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: ما أنا فتحت بابه ولا سددت أبوابكم بل الله فتح بابه وسد أبوابكم؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد تمم الله نوره من السماء غيري حين قال: { وآت ذا القربى حقه} قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد ناجاه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم اثنى عشرة مرة غيري حين قال الله تعالى: { يا أيها الذين آمنوا إذا ناجيتم الرسول فقدموا بين يدي نجواكم صدقة} قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد تولى غمض رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم غيري؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد آخر عهده برسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حين وضعه في حفرته غيري؟ قالوا: اللهم لا.

    Fifth, the prophet has made Ahlul Bayt and the Quran the two weighty things for us to adhere to with no condition in order not to stray off. Therefore, he made it incombent upon every Muslims to unconditional follow and obey these two if they desire to remain on the straight path (Hadith al-Thaqalyn). Therefore, how could Abu Bakr be the caliph when Abu Bakr himself must unconditionally obey Ahlul Bayt just like they obey the prophet??? What about the appointment of Ali as the master of all believers and the successor of the prophet at Ghadeer Khum??? Do you understand now how all these narrations are pure lies attibuted to the prophet and Ahlul Bayt so they can support and justify his illegitimate caliphate??? Only the hypocrites and haters of Ahlul Bayt would do such a thing!!!

    Sixth, if the prophet's intention was to make Abu Bakr his successor, why would come out while still in great pain, carried by al-Abbas and Ali, with his feet dragging on the floor, to interrupt Abu Bakr's lead of the prayer and take over??? Wouldn't the prophet have made a stronger statement just by letting Abu Bakr finish the prayer?

    Seventh, Abu Bakr NEVER used this event to support his claim of the caliphate at any moment during his reign! Neither during the Saqifa plot nor when Ahlul Bayt refused to pledge allegiance to him. The Saqifa meeting turned into a heated dispute and fight, and even then, there was no mention of this event by Abu Bakr. However, in Umar's own words, this is what happened (Abu Bakr is giving the speech):

    Abu Bakr said: 'O Ansar! You deserve all (the qualities that you have attributed to yourselves, but this question (of Caliphate) is only for the Quraish as they are the best of the Arabs as regards descent and home, and I am pleased to suggest that you choose either of these two men, so take the oath of allegiance to either of them as you wish.
    فقال ما ذكرتم فيكم من خير فأنتم له أهل ولن يعرف هذا الأمر إلا لهذا الحي من ‏ ‏قريش ‏ ‏هم أوسط ‏ ‏العرب ‏ ‏نسبا ودارا وقد رضيت لكم أحد هذين الرجلين فبايعوا أيهما شئتم

    If Abu Bakr had considered his leading of the prayer on behalf of the prophet as a justification for his caliphate, why did he not use it in his argument? Why did he ask the Ansars to give the Baya'at to either Umar of Abu Ubaydah?

    Moreover, according to the following sources: al-Imamat wal Siyassat, al-Sawai'iq al-Muhriqa, al-Riyad al-Nadhira, Kanz al-Ummal, Abu Bakr said the following when the Muslims pledged the allegiance to him:

    ...أقيلوني، أقيلوني، فلست بخيركم

    Would he have said this if the prophet truly intended to have Abu Bakr as his successor?

    Even after Abu Bakr assumed the caliphate, he never uttered it against his opponents from Banu Hashim and many other companions. (The event of al-Saqifah)

    And then, while on his death bed, he said (Tarikh al-Tabari, al-Imama wal Siyasa):

    وددت أني سألت رسول الله لمن هذا الأمر، فلا ينازعه أحد، وددت أني كنت سألت: هل للأنصار في هذا الأمر نصيب

    Would he be asking this question if the prophet's intention was truly to have Abu Bakr as his successor???

  6. As seen on some of the narrations of the first section, some narrated that the prophet asked Abu Bakr to lead the congregational prayer, while others narrated that the prophet asked the Muslims to find someone to lead the prayer, without specifiying the name. But when the prophet heard Umar's voice, he interrupted the prayer and asked for Abu Bakr.

    What was Umar doing there?? Was he not supposed to be in Usama's army?? Did he not hear the order of the prophet? Or was he one of those who criticized the prophet's appointment of Usama? If Umar was not there and someone else was chosen to lead the prayer, would the prophet have stopped him as well? Besides, it is possible for the prophet to ask anyone to lead the prayer on his behalf??

    In the same narration, the prophet asked where Abu Bakr was. Did the prophet forget that he ordered Abu Bakr to be in Usama's army?? Can we attribute such a thing to the prophet? Does the prophet forget knowing he is the prophet of Allah and the master of all prophets? Is the prophet losing his mind? Is this what the Quraish want you to believe?? This reminds me of the calamity of Thursday. The prophet knows what he is doing at all moment. These are pure accusations concocted by people to support the caliphate of Abu bakr.

    Also, when the prophet heard the voice of Umar, did he forget that Umar was supposed to be in the army of Usama? Did he not order him? Did he not realize it? Why didn't he ask Umar what he was doing there?

    As I said earlier, this entire story is not sound. It raises lots of questions and is demeaning to the prophet!

  7. ibn Abdul Hadeed al-Mu'utazili reported a different version of the story and here are the keypoints:
    • The prophet ordered the Ansars and Muhajireens (including Abu Bakr) to join the army of Usama.
    • During that time, Ali was transitioning to the successorship.
    • He wanted to ensure that no one challenges the transition of the caliphate to Ali.
    • Aisha informed Abu Bakr that the prophet was dying and sent after him from Usama's army.
    • It was narrated from Ali that Aisha requested Bilal to tell Abu Bakr to lead the prayer because it was narrated that the prophet asked for someone, without any appointment, to lead the prayer.
    • Then the prophet stepped out of the room with the help of Ali and Fadel ibn al-Abbas to take the lead of the prayer.
    • Since then, this incident was used to justify his caliphate.
    • Allegiance was pledged to him based on this incident, and Ali blamed Aisha for it.
    • Ali used to repeatedly remind his companions and used to say that the prophet did not say to Aisha and Hafsa that they were like the female companions of Joseph but because of this incident and out of anger against her (Aisha), because Aisha and Umar planned to make their respective fathers the successor of the prophet. That is why the prophet got out of his room to the Mosque...

    فلما ثقل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم في مرضه ، أنفذ جيش أسامة وجعل فيه أبابكر وغيره من أعلام المهاجرين والأنصار ، فكان علي عليه السلام حينئذ بوصوله إلى الأمرـ إن حدث برسول الله حدث ـ أوثق ، وتغلب على ظنه أن المدينة ـ لو مات ـ لخلت من منازع ينازعه الأمر بالكلية ، فياخذه صفواً عفواً ، وتتم له البيعة فلا يتهيّا فسخها لورام ضدّ منازعته عليها. فكان من عود أبي بكر من جيش أسامة بإرسالها إليه وإعلامه بان رسول الله يموت ما كان ، ومن حديث الصلاة بالناس ما عرف . فنسب عليّ عليه السلام إلى عائشة أنها أمرت بلالاً ـ مولى أبيها ـ أن يامره فليصل بالناس ، لأن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم كما روي قال : « ليصلّ بهم أحدهم » ولم يعين ، وكانت صلاة الصبح ، فخرج رسول الله وهو في آخر رمق يتهادى بين علي والفضل بن العباس ، حتى قام في المحراب ـ كما ورد في الخبرـ ثم دخل ، فمات ارتفاع الضحى ، فجعل يوم صلاته حجة في صرف الأمر إليه ، وقال : أيكم يطيب نفساً أن يتقدم قدمين قدمهما رسول الله في الصلاة؟! ولم يحملوا خروج رسول الله إلى الصلاة لصرفه عنها ، بل لمحافظته على الصلاة مهما أمكن .
    فبويع على هذه النكتة التي اتهمها عليّ عليه السلام على انها ابتدأت منها.
    وكان عليّ يذكر هذا لأصحابه في خلواته كثيراً ويقول : انه لم يقل صلى الله عليه وآله وسلّم إنكن لصويحبات يوسف الأ إنكاراً لهذه الحال وغضباً منهاً ، لأنها وحفصة تبادرتا إلى تعيين أبويهما ، وإنه استدركها بخروجه وصرفه عن المحراب ، فلم يجد ذلك ولا أثر ، مع قوّة الداعي الذي كان يدعوإلى أبي بكر ويمهد له قاعدة الأمر وتقرر حاله في نفوس الناس ومن اتبعه على ذلك من أعيان المهاجرين والأنصار ... فقلت له رحمه الله : أفتقول أنت : ان عائشة عيّنت أباها للصلاة ورسول الله لم يعيّنه ؟! فقال : أمّا أنا فلا أقول ذلك ، ولكن علياً كان يقوله ، وتكليفي غير تكليفه ، كان حاضراً ولم أكن حاضراً .... »

    In another narration, ibn Abdul Hadeed al-Mu'utazili reported:

    ibn Abdul Hadeed al-Mu'utazili asked his sheikh: "are you saying that Aisha told her father to lead the congregational prayer without the prophet's order?"
    The Sheikh replied: "I did not say that, but Ali used to say that. Ali was present and I was not present."
    سألت الشيخ أفتقول أنت أنّ عائشة عيّنت أباها للصلاة ورسول الله لم يعيّنه ؟ فقال : أمّا أنا فلا أقول ذلك ، لكن عليّاً كان يقوله ، وتكليفي غير تكليفه ، كان حاضراً ولم أكن حاضراً.

  8. In light of this conspiracy, I have to remind you of the following 2 narrations:
    Abdullah ibn Umar narrated that the prophet stood up and delivered a sermon, and pointed in the direction of the house of Aisha, and said: "Fitna (trouble/sedition) is right here," saying three times, "and from where the side of the Satan's head comes out."
    عن عبد الله بن عمر بن الخطاب قال: (قام رسول الله خطيبا فأشار نحو مسكن عائشة فقال: (ههنا الفتنة، ههنا الفتنة، ههنا الفتنة - ثلاثا - من حيث يطلع قرن الشيطان)

    Abdullah ibn Umar narrated that the prophet of Allah emerged from the house of Aisha and said. "The pivot of disbelief is from here, where the horns of Satan will rise."
    خرج رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من بيت عائشة فقال : إن الكفر من هاهنا من حيث يطلع قرن الشيطان

    Was not the conspiracy of Aisha a Fitna indeed?? Is it surprising that Aisha would do such a thing? Aisha was a very jealous woman and her jaleousy led her commit many misdeeds:

    1. Did not her extreme jealousy deeply disturb the prophet?
    2. Did she not conspire (with Hafsa) against the prophet?
    3. Did she not hate Ali ibn Abi Talib who is from Ahlul Bayt??? This by itself is a huge SIN.
    4. Did she not reject the caliphate of Ali??
    5. Did she not fight Ali under the pretext of avenging the blood of Uthman ibn Affan??? She fought Ahlul bayt for Allah's sake!
    6. Did she not raise her voice on the prophet of Allah??

    Clearly, Aisha did not want to see Ali become the caliph of the Muslims after the prophet. She hated him to the bones! So is it far-fetched to believe that she conspired?

  9. So far we have only looked at the Sunnis sources. Let's now look into the Shia'a sources.

    In al-Irshad by Shaikh al-Mufid and A'alam al-Wara by al-Tabursi:

    The prophet was in the house of Um Salam where he spent one or two days. The Aisha came to her and asked her if she could move him to her house so she can take over his care. She got the permission from all the wives as well. The prophet was moved to the house of Aisha, where he remained ill for several days and got worse. Bilal came to him for the morning prayer while the prophet was deep in his illness and pain. Bilal called out for the prayer.
    وكان إذ ذاك في بيت أم سلمة (رض)، فأقام به يوما أو يومين فجاءت عائشة إليها تسألها أن تنقله إلى بيتها، لتتولى تعليله، و سألت أزواج النبي(ص) في ذلك، فاذنّ له فانتقل (ص) إلى البيت الذي تسكنه عائشة واستمرّ به المرض فيه أياماً، وثقل، فجاء بلال عند صلاة الصبح و رسول الله(ص) مغمور بالمرض، فنادى الصلاة رحمكم الله

    In Khasa'i al-A'immat according to the narration of al-Majlissi:

    When the illness of the prophet got worse, he called upon Ali to come. The prophet rested his head on Ali's lap and the prophet fainted.
    لما ثقل في مرضه دعا عليا فوضع رأسه في حجره واغمي عليه فاذن بالصلاة الحديث

    Shaikh al-Mufid reported in al-Irshad:

    فقالت عائشة: مروا أبا بكر .
    قالت حفصة : مروا عمر .
    فقال رسول الله(ص) حين سمع كلامهما و رأى حرص كل واحدة منهما على التنويه بأبيها وافتنانهما بذلك ورسول الله(ص) حي : «اكففن فانكنَّ كصويحبات يوسف» .
    ثم قام مبادراً خوفاً من تقدم أحد الرجلين وقد كان أمرهما بالخروج مع اسامة، ولم يك عنده شك انّهما قد تخلفا فلما سمع عائشة وحفصة ما سمع علم أنهما متأخران عن أمره، فبدر لكفّ الفتنة و ازالة الشبهة فقام عليه الصلاة والسلام وانه لايستقل على الارض من الضعف فأخذ بيده علي بن أبي طالب والفضل بن العباس فاعتمد عليهما ورجلاه تخطان الارض من الضعف فلمّا خرج الى المسجد وجد أبا بكر قد سبق الى المحراب فأومأ إليه بيده أن تأخر عنه، فتأخر أبو بكر، وقام رسول الله(ص) مقامه، فكبّر وابتدأ الصلاة التي كان قد ابتدأها أبو بكر، ولم يبن على مامضى من فعاله فلمّا سلّم انصرف الى منزله، واستدعى أبا بكر وعمر وجماعة ممن حضر بالمسجد من المسلمين ثم قال: ألم آمركم أن تُنفذوا جيش اسامة ؟
    فقالوا: بلى يا رسول الله .
    قال: فلم تأخرتم عن أمري .
    قال أبو بكر: إني خرجت ثم رجعت لاجدّد بك عهداً .
    وقال عمر : يا رسول الله إني لم أخرج، لاني لم أحب أن أسأل عنك الرّكب .
    فقال النبي(ص): نفّذوا جيش اسامة نفّذوا جيش اسامة، يكررها ثلاث مرات، ثمّ اغمي عليه من التعب الذي لحقه والأسف الذي ملكه ...

Conclusion
Firs of all, as far as the story goes, there are many inconsistencies. One can really not know for sure what happened unless some other Hadith are brought in. For example:
  1. Some narrations say that the prophet ordered to have someone (no name specified) to lead the prophet:
    مروا من يصلي بالناس

    Then Abdullah ibn Za'amat came out and found Umar outside (Abu bakr was absent). Abdullah asked Umar to come lead the prayer.

    فخرج عبدالله بن زمعة فإذا عمر في الناس ـ وكان أبوبكر غائباً ـ فقلت: يا عمر، قم فصل بالناس. فتقدم فكبر.

    When the prophet heard the voice of the Umar, he refused to let Umar lead the prophet. He then asked to get Abu Bakr instead:

    فلما سمع رسول الله صلى الله عليه [واله] وسلم صوته، وكان عمررجلاً مجهراً. فقال: أين أبوبكر؟ يأبى الله ذلك والمسلمون، يأبى الله ذلك والمسلمون.

  2. Others narrate that the prophet ordered that Abu Bakr lead the prayer:
    مروا أبابكر يصلي بالناس

  3. Others narrate that the prophet requested that Ali comes to him:
    أدعوا لي علياً

    Then Aisha and Hafsa asked the prophet if their respective father could also come:

    قالت عائشة: يا رسول الله، ندعو لك أبابكر؟ قال: ادعوه.
    قالت حفصة: يا رسول الله، ندعو لك عمر؟ قال: ادعوه.

So what really happened? If the prophet called for Ali to come, why would Aisha and Hafsa ask the prophet whether they could call their respective fathers? What business do they have in this matter? And if they did so, how could the prophet accept their request when the prophet ordered them to be in Usama's army to head to al-Sham for a battle against the Romans??? Is the prophet delusional, God forbid??? So really, just by realizing the different inconsistencies, the story has many questions to answer! If the prophet ordered anyone to lead the prayer, what is Umar doing outside?? Was he not supposed to be in the army of Usama? Is not his presence against the order of the prophet, and therefore a disobedience??

Then some narrations say that when Abu Bakr started the prayer, the prophet got out with the help of two men. He interrupted the prayer of Abu bakr and took the lead. Other reports narrate that Abu Bakr continued to lead the prayer till the end. Here again, we have inconsistencies. So who do we believe?

Furtheremore, the Isnads of all the narrations have serious problems: some of the transmitters are enemies of Ahlul bayt and others are fraudulent. Therefore, these narrations can't as reliable as we hope.

One powerful Hadith will solve this dilemma: Hadith al-Thaqalayn. This Hadith is simple, clear but powerful. This Hadith will help us extract what makes sense and what does not make sense. In this Hadith, the prophet is commanding his Ummah to adhere to two heavy things if they wish not to stray off: the Quran and Ahlul Bayt. These two will never separate until they meet him at the Fountain. Therefore, for a true believer to remain on the straight path, he has no choice but to follow Ahlul bayt and the Quran. This Hadith makes the following rational points:

  1. Unconditional obedience to Ahlul Bayt:
    The believers must adhere to Ahlul Bayt just like they adhere to the Quran. Adherence to the Quran is unconditional, therefore adherence to Ahlul Bayt is also unconditional. This is supported by many other Hadith:
    "Whoever obeys 'Ali, obeys me, whoever obeys me, obeys Allah, whoever disobeys 'Ali disobeys me, whoever disobeys me, disobeys Allah"

    من أطاعني فقد أطاع الله عز وجل ومن عصاني فقد عصى الله ومن أطاع عليا فقد أطاعني ومن عصى عليا فقد عصاني.

    Also verse 4:59 proves the same point:

    O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the last day; this is better and very good in the end.
    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلاً

    The details of this verse are provided in the like provided above. But in summary, Allah is ordering us to obey Him, then to obey the prophet and those in authority. Allah bundled the prophet and Ulil Amr under the same obedience. Therefore, Ulil Amr must be the same as the prophet, when it comes to their characteristics, except, and of course, that they are not prophets. Will Allah order us to obey the prophet on one hand, and on the other hand, to obey people who do not abide by the Quran and the Sunnah, just as the prophet did?? Will Allah order us to obey wrongdoers? Will Allah order us to obey people who do not obey him in every meaning of the word? Of course not! And the only people who have similar characterics as the the prophet are none other than Ahlul Bayt. Otherwise, Allah would not have made them equal to the Quran and worthy of adherence.

  2. Ahlul Bayt cannot differ from the Quran:
    How could Ahlul Bayt differ from the Quran when Allah is ordering us to adhere to them??? It is impossible, right? This point is also supported by other Hadith:
    Ali is with Quran, and Quran is with Ali. They shall not separate from each other till they both return to me by the Pool (of Paradise).

    علي مع القرآن والقرآن مع علي، لن يفترقا حتى يردا علي الحوض

    Ali is with the Truth and the Truth with Ali.
    علي مع الحق والحق مع علي يدور معه حيث دار

    Hadith al-Thaqalayn itself says that Ahlul Bayt and the Quran shall never separate until the Day of Judgement.

  3. Ahlul Bayt are infallible:
    Does not unconditional obedience by itself mean that Ahlul Bayt are infallible? How would Allah order us to adhere to Ahlul Bayt, if they make mistakes, err, lie, or give verdicts based on their own opinions, or even lack the knowledge to comprehend the Quran??? Would Allah order us to adhere to people who can stray us and not have answers to all of our questions?? Of course not. Therefore, they must be infallible.

    Moreover, Allah coupled Ahlul Bayt and the Quran. He made them equal in Hadith al-Thaqalayn. Therefore, they must have the same characteristics. Imagine that Ahlul Bayt are fallible. Therefore, they can misunderstand the Quran and give false interpretations. Is this the kind of the people Allah would order us to follow in order not to stray??

    So, the Quran is infallible, therefore Ahlul Bayt are infallible. The Quran is pure, therefore Ahlul bayt are pure.

    Hadith al-Kisa' proves this point, as Allah purified Ahlul Bayt a perfect purification and removed all forms of uncleaness from them. They are as pure as the prophet.

    The prophet also said:

    My Ahlul-Bayt are like the Ark of Noah. Whoever embarked in it was SAVED, and whoever turned away from it was PERISHED .
    إن مثل أهل بيتي فيكم مثل سفينة نوح، من ركبها نجا ومن تخلف عنها هلك.

    The prophet also said:

    The Prophet said about Ahlul-Bayt: "Do not be ahead of them for you will perish, do not turn away from them for you will perish, and do not try to teach them since they know more than you do!"
    فلا تقدموهما فتهلكوا ولا تقصروا عنهما. فتهلكوا ولا تعلوهم فإنهم أعلم منكم

in addition to that, the prophet also said:
Ali is from me and I am from Ali. No one will execute on my behalf but Ali.
علي مني وأنا من علي، ولا يؤدي عني إلا أنا أو علي

You are my brother in this world and the Hereafter.
أنت أخي في الدنيا والآخرة - قاله لعلي

The prophet said: "Ali and I were created from one light"
خلقت أنا وعلي من نور واحد

The Messenger of Allah said: "Me and Ali are from one tree, and the rest of people are from different trees."
سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول "يا علي، الناس من شجر شتى، وأنا وأنت يا علي، من شجرة واحدة

Do you see how Ali is the same as the prophet, except that he is not a prophet. That is why Allah made Ahlul Bayt an obligation for the believers to obey and follow, just like they obeyed and followed the prophet. Can you see how all these Hadith explain and support one another? With this in mind, how can one accept that the prophet would call after Abu Bakr, who was ordered to be under the commandment of the young Usama ibn Zayd, when Ahlul bayt were present around the prophet and deserved more than anyone else the merit to lead the Muslims in prayer?

How can Abu Bakr lead the prayer when there were people present whom Abu Bakr owed unconditional obedience to?? As I said earlier, Abu Bakr had no virtues that made him deserve such a merit while Ahlul Bayt had all the virtues that made them deserve this merit.

Moreover, how could Abu Bakr lead the prayer when there was Ali around who was the master of all believers after the prophet, the master of the pious, the most knowledgeable of all of them, the most courageous and brave, the purest and cleanest of all, the first of them to enter Islam while he never worshipped any idols, and most impotantly the image of the prophet!

How could the prophet call upon Abu Bakr to lead the prayer when the prophet appointed Ali as his successor at Ghadeer Khum and all the wirnesses congratulated him?? Recall what Imam Ali said about the caliphate (al-Muttaqi al-Hindi in Kanz al-Ummal):

Abu Tufayl Ammer ibn Wathila narrated: "I was standing by the door the day of the Shura and the voices got louder among the six nominated companions. I heard Ali say: 'the people payed allegiance to Abu Bakr and by Allah I am more worthy and more entitled to this position than him. But I listened and obeyed lest the people become Kuffar and cut the throats of one another. Then the people payed allegiance to Umar and by Allah I am more worthy and more entitled to this position than him. But I listened and obeyed lest the people become Kuffar and cut the throats of one another. And now you want to pay allegiance to Uthman....' and started remind people of this virtues..."
عن زافر عن رجل عن الحارث بن محمد عن أبي الطفيل عامر بن واثلة قال: كنت على الباب يوم الشورى، فارتفعت الأصوات بينهم فسمعت عليا يقول: بايع الناس لأبي بكر وأنا والله أولى بالأمر منه، وأحق به منه، فسمعت وأطعت مخافة أن يرجع الناس كفارا يضرب بعضهم رقاب بعض بالسيف، ثم بايع الناس عمر وأنا والله أولى بالأمر منه وأحق به منه فسمعت وأطعت مخافة أن يرجع الناس كفارا يضرب بعضهم رقاب بعض بالسيف، ثم أنتم تريدون أن تبايعوا عثمان إذا أسمع وأطيع، إن عمر جعلني في خمسة نفر أنا سادسهم لا يعرف لي فضلا عليهم في الصلاح ولا يعرفونه لي كلنا فيه شرع سواء وايم الله لو أشاء أن أتكلم ثم لا يستطيع عربيهم ولا عجميهم ولا المعاهد منهم ولا المشرك رد خصلة منها لفعلت، ثم قال: نشدتكم بالله أيها النفر جميعا أفيكم أحد آخى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم غيري؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، ثم قال: نشدتكم الله أيها النفر جميعا أفيكم أحد له عم مثل عمي حمزة أسد الله وأسد رسوله وسيد الشهداء؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، ثم قال: أفيكم أحد له أخ مثل أخي جعفر ذي الجناحين الموشى بالجوهر يطير بهما في الجنة حيث شاء؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: فهل أحد له سبط مثل سبطي الحسن والحسين سيدي شباب أهل الجنة؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد له زوجة مثل زوجتي فاطمة بنت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم؟ قالوا: اللهم لا. قال: أفيكم أحد كان أقتل لمشركي قريش عند كل شديدة تنزل برسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم مني؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد كان أعظم غنى عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حين اضطجعت على فراشه ووقيته بنفسي وبذلت له مهجة دمي؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد كان يأخذ الخمس غيري وغير فاطمة؟ قال: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد كان له سهم في الحاضر وسهم في الغائب غيري؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أكان أحد مطهرا في كتاب الله غيري حين سد النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أبواب المهاجرين وفتح بابي فقام إليه عماه حمزة والعباس فقالا: يا رسول الله سددت أبوابنا وفتحت باب علي، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: ما أنا فتحت بابه ولا سددت أبوابكم بل الله فتح بابه وسد أبوابكم؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد تمم الله نوره من السماء غيري حين قال: { وآت ذا القربى حقه} قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد ناجاه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم اثنى عشرة مرة غيري حين قال الله تعالى: { يا أيها الذين آمنوا إذا ناجيتم الرسول فقدموا بين يدي نجواكم صدقة} قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد تولى غمض رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم غيري؟ قالوا: اللهم لا، قال: أفيكم أحد آخر عهده برسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حين وضعه في حفرته غيري؟ قالوا: اللهم لا.

How could the prophet call upon Abu Bakr to lead the prayer when he already instructed him to join the army and repeatedly told Usama to rush out of Medina and head out towards Syria??

How could the prophet call upon Abu Bakr to lead the prayer when Ahlul Bayt are the best of creations?

That is why the version reported by ibn Abdul Hadeed and the Shia'a make more sense and raises no questions, in light of the undeniable virtues of Ahlul Bayt and Hadith al-Thaqalayn.

Now, is it far-fetched to say that Aisha is the one who planned the whole thing?? Did not history testify that she hated imam Ali to the point that she fought him in the battle of the Camel and hated to see him become the fourth caliph? She hated him so much that she could not pronounce his name! Is this why she wanted to move the prophet from Um Salama's house to hers?

The fact is that the version of most Sunnis makes no sense and is full of inconsistencies and raises tons of question. The original story was tempered with because most of the Muslims at the time hated to see Ahlul Bayt be their caliphs. They were more interested in worldly desires and not the Hereafter. So they tempered with the story to fit their own interest to support the caliphate of Abu Bakr and belittle the importance of Ahlul Bayt as well as deny their rights and virtues.

I believe I have said enough. With an open mind and the willingness to seek the truth, just think about which story makes sense.