Prerogative of Imamat lies only with Allah the High

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لَمَّا كَانَ النَّبِيُّ ﷺ يَعْرِضُ نَفْسَهُ عَلَى القَبَائِلِ جَاءَ اِلَى بَنِي كِلَابٍ فَقَالُوا نُبَايِعُكَ عَلٰى اَنْ يَكُونَ لَنَا الْاَمْرُ بَعْدَكَ فَقَالَ الْاَمْرُ لِلهِ فَاِنْ شَاءَ كَانَ فِيكُمْ وَ كَانَ فِي غَيْرِكُمْ فَمَضَوْا وَ لَمْ يُبَايِعُوهُ وَ قَالُوا لَا نَضْرِبُ لِحَرْبِكَ بِاَسْيَافِنَا ثُمَّ تَحْكُمُ عَلَيْنَا غَيْرَنَا

“When the Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) used to present himself before the tribes, he came to the Bani Kelaab. They said, ‘We will pay allegiance on the condition that the affair (Imamate) will be handed to us after you.’ He (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) responded, ‘The affair is for Allah. If He wishes, it will be in you and it can be for other than you.’ They went away and did not pay allegiance, saying, ‘We will not fight your battles with our swords since you want to make others rule over us’.”

Note:

In Jahiliyyah, Arabs were having Hajj. In fact, Hajj was there right from the time of Hazrat Adam (peace be upon him). During Jahiliyyah, the pagans had a mixed religion. Some things were taken from divine religions while others were taken from human practices and customs. Right from the beginning of Islam, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) had the habit of meeting tribes coming for Hajj. Once he met Bani Kelaab. (Umm al-Baneen r.a. belonged to this tribe). They said to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) that we will pay allegiance to you on the condition that you will hand over the rule to us after your death. Please pay attention: It was that time when Islam was new and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) needed help from every possible quarter. Not like the time of martyrdom when there were hundreds of thousands of Muslims or like today, when there are millions. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) replied, “The affair (of Imamate) is for Allah the High. If He wishes, it can be in you or it can be for other than you.” They went away and didn’t pay allegiance to him.  They said that we don’t want to fight for you as tomorrow you will appoint someone else as the rulers.

When the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) went for the Battle of Tabuk, he left behind Ali (peace be upon him) as his successor. Prior to that, Ali (peace be upon him) had participated in all wars. In this battle, the internal situation of Madina was very hostile. Tabuk was far from Madinah and to return quickly in an emergency was very difficult.

References:

1.    Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 23, p. 74, H. 23

2.    al-Manaaqeb of Ibn Shahr Aashob (r.a.)

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