نحمده ونصلى ونسلم على رسوله الكريم
In a previous entry we looked at the election of sayyidina Abu Bakr al-SiddiqRA as the Prophet’s first khalifa (successor). I put forward the notion that while outwardly Abu BakrRA was elected through means of consultation and discussion among the Prophet’s senior companions, in reality, it was Allah Most High who inspired the hearts of those companions to gather around Abu BakrRA and recognize him as the Prophet’s rightful successor.
In this entry I would like to present an explicit proof for this doctrine from the mouth of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ himself. In fact, I had already presented it as a footnote to another previous entry on this blog of mine concerning the divine wrath and destruction that visited the opponents of the Prophet ﷺ, namely, Amir b. Tufail and Arbad b. Qays:
“It is reported that when Aamir b. al-Tufail asked the Prophet ﷺ to make him his successor, the Prophet said:
لا, ليس ذلك إليَّ إنما ذلك إلى الله تعالى يجعله حيث يشاء
"No, that is not up to me; that is up to Allah, exalted is He, and He appoints whoever He wills" (Asbab-al-Nuzul of Wahidi; Sura 13:13) Contrary to the view of the Shi'a, this demonstrates that the Prophet ﷺ did not appoint anyone to succeed him but rather left the matter to Allah, knowing that Allah would make, from whomsoever He desired, one to succeed him, and that person ended up being the Prophet's most senior disciple Abu Bakr. At the same time, this saying establishes the fact that the matter of Khilafa is ultimately given by Allah Himself, but through the agency of the elders and learned ones of the community who consult among themselves but reach their decision through guidance from the Holy Spirit. Therefore, while apparently it seems that the Khalifa is appointed through consultation, the reality is that Allah Himself makes the Khalifa through the agency of those who are consulted.”
Now in this entry I shall merely paste the scanned page from al-Wahidi’s Asbab-al-Nuzul p.278:
Ibn 'Abbas said: “This verse and the verse before it (Sura 13:12-13) were revealed about 'Amir ibn al-Tufayl and Arbad ibn Rabi'ah. These two men went to see the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and, as they were coming, one of the prophetic Companions said: 'O Messenger of Allah, here is 'Amir ibn al-Tufayl coming toward you'. He said: 'Leave him, Allah will guide him if He wants good for him'. He proceeded along until he stood in front of the Prophet and said: 'O Muhammad, what do I get if I become Muslim?' He said: 'You get what the Muslims get and you suffer what they suffer'. He said: 'In that case put me in charge after you die'. He said: 'No, that is not up to me; that is up to Allah, exalted is He, and He appoints whoever He wills'.
In summary, the Prophet ﷺ explicitly stated that it was not his prerogative to designate his own successor for after his death – a manifest repudiation of the Shi’ite doctrine – but rather Allah Himself would appoint whomsoever He wishes as the Prophet’s successor.