According to another authentic tradition related by Umm Salama and others, the Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) also predicted that Husain would be killed at Taff (Karbala).1 Fifty years later the painful event took place as predicted.
He also repeatedly predicted that after his demise, his Family would face death, calamities, and exile, and gave some details.2 What he had predicted later came true exactly.
In this connection, a question may be asked: although ‘Ali, with his extraordinary bravery and profound knowledge in addition to his kinship to God’s Messenger (UWBP), greatly deserved to be Caliph, why did he not precede the others in holding the caliphate, and why did Islam experience such disorder during his caliphate?
A n s w e r : A supreme spiritual pole from the Prophet’s (UWBP) Family is reported as having said: “The Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) had desired that ‘Ali be Caliph, but it was made known to him from the Unseen that the will of God Almighty was different. He then abandoned his desire, submitting himself to God’s will.”3
One of the reasons God’s will was different could have been that after the Prophet’s (UWBP) demise when the Companions were more than ever in need of alliance and unity, if ‘Ali had taken the leadership it would most probably have aroused in many persons and tribes a tendency to compete, because of his uncompromising nature, and fearless, ascetic, heroic, and independent character, and widely known courage – as was the case during his caliphate – and divisions among the believers would have resulted.
Another reason for the delay of ‘Ali’s caliphate was the following: at the time of his caliphate, the Muslim community, which had expanded rapidly through the intermingling of many tribes and peoples, possessed such traits as reflected the opinions of the seventy-three sects that the Noble Messenger (UWBP) had predicted would evolve in due time.4 Therefore, in the face of such disturbances, someone was needed with the wondrous strength, courage, respectability and sagacity of ‘Ali, who had behind him the force of the respected Hashimites and the Prophet’s (UWBP) Family, so that he could resist the sedition. And indeed he did so, in a fashion conformable to the prediction of the Prophet, who had said to him: “I have
al-Haythami, Majma’ al-Zawa’id, ix, 188; Musnad, vi, 294.
Ibn Maja, Fitan, 34.
Daylami, Musnad al-Firdaws, v, 316; Suyuti, Tarikhal-Khulafa’, 64.
Tirmidhi, Iman, 18; Abu Da’ud, Sunna, 1; Ibn Maja, Fitan, 17; Darimi, 75.