The first political, yet conspiratorial, conference that was held in Islam was the Saqifah Conference, which was held immediately after the passing away of the Holy Prophet (s) and before his holy body was buried.
All political conferences in the world may gain success in their endeavors, and the names of their members may be recorded in the immortal list of the patriotic loyalists only when they adopt the genuine objectives that are sought after by the nations for the purpose of procuring their independency and freedom as well as maintaining the other economical and educational rights. However, if such conferences fail to regard such purposes and the conferees seek after personal gains, such as winning power or snatching the fortunes of their homelands, they will most certainly devastate the constituents of their nations, rip apart their unity, and cast them in bottomless abyss.
The first political, yet conspiratorial, conference that was held in Islam was the Saqifah Conference, which was held immediately after the passing away of the Holy Prophet (s) and before his holy body was buried. The dispute of the conferees came to a head, since all of them tried his best to take over power but none of them said a single word of demanding to observe the interest of the Muslim nation or to guarantee its rights after it had been exposed to the astounding misfortune of losing the Holy Prophet, their actual savior. No single historical document has conveyed a decisive situation of any of these conferees, even if such situation would have been demanding that the election of the next ruler should be postponed until the situations of the nation would return in good order and only then, the publics would elect a leader.
A swift look into the history of Islam demonstrates obviously the scope of the huge struggle for leadership of the Muslim nation between theMuhajirun  under the leadership of Abu-Bakr, and theAnsar  under the leadership of Sa‛d ibn ‛Abadah. Under that Saqifah (i.e. shed), Abu-Bakr’s voice was heard shouting and addressing the Ansar with the following words: “We are the leaders and you are the vicegerents.” As understood by some critical analysts, these words came to raise hopes for gaining the next leadership in the Ansar or to express a bribe offered to them by Abu-Bakr.
However, the most unanimous point with regard to the members of this conspiratorial meeting was that none of them paid the least attention to the custody of Muslims and none looked deeply in their social affairs and in what should be the best for them in their present and future. In other words, all such issues were thrown in the wastebasket. In conclusion, the members of that conference dedicated all their concerns to their personal interests, leaving the public interests and the safety of the Muslim nation behind their backs.
Owing to his diplomacy, tactfulness, and coarseness of his patron and the builder of his government; namely, ‛Umar ibn al-Khattab, Abu-Bakr won the struggle and could seize power. However, homage was not paid to him as the next leader of the Muslim nation by many great personalities at top of whom was the chief of the Holy Prophet’s Household and the divinely designated leader and commander of the faithful believers; namely, Imam ‛Ali ibn Abi-Talib, as well as many other dignitaries like the great companion of the Holy Prophet ‛Ammar ibn Yasir, the notable person Abu-Dharr al-Ghifari, the loyal companion Salman al-Farisi whom the Holy Prophet (s) attached to himself, and many other important personalities.
By means of violence and austerity, ‛Umar coerced the publics to pay homage to Abu-Bakr as the successor of the Holy Prophet (s).
The details of these incidents will be investigated through a free analysis in this book as a result of the conclusions to which I have reached through my deep exploration of the historical documents involved.
Impartially and away from any sectarial inclination or proclivity, I can say that the Saqifah conspiratorial conference has undeniably kindled inextinguishable seditions among Muslims and cast them in grave cataclysms.
All the terror-stricken events that have been suffered by Muslims were direct outcomes of the Saqifah conspiracy. One of these shocking events was the tragedy of Karbala’ in which the Holy Prophet’s privilege with regard to his descendants was extremely violated when the swords of the Umayyad tyrants and their fans cut off the heads of the Holy Prophet’s descendants and threw their bodies headless on the desert of Karbala’. They then made the veiled women of the Holy Prophet’s Household suffer various kinds of humiliation and disgrace that were too bitter to be described.
Referring to this horrible event, Shaykh Kashif al-Ghita’, a Shi‛ite master scholar, composed a poetic line, saying:
By Allah I swear this: The tragedy of Karbala’ would not have taken place had it not been for their Saqifah. The like of such branches were only the outcome of that origin.
Likewise, Paul Salamah, a famous Lebanese poet, has composed the following couple of verses:
Under that Saqifah, many events followed in succession,
bringing into surface many tendencies and hidden feelings.
Since that day, many inclinations have dispersed
just like the branches of fresh boxthorn that are thorny and barbed.
If truth be told, the Saqifah conspiratorial conference was the exordium of all the devastating catastrophes that have been suffered by Muslims since the dawn of their history and hitherto.
It seems disloyal to the nation, history, and science to keep some of such grave events, which are strongly connected to our intellectual and doctrinal lives, concealed from people or to enfold their affairs and causes without exposing them to study and analysis. In fact, concealment of such events is eradication of facts, seducing the nation into ignorance, elimination of the reason-based judgments, and exclusion of the scientific methodologies in forming a free opinion about the events.
The Saqifah conspiratorial conference has been one of the most sensitive events in the history of Muslims; it is therefore indispensable to study it honestly and truthfully on the light of intellectuality and science, away from sectarial inclinations. Certainly, to study and ponder over this event, along with its details, will beget fruitful outcomes to the Muslim nation, one of which should be reunification and concord.
It is also illogic to agree with those who claim the necessity of canceling out, ignoring, and avoiding investigating any aspect of this event because, as they justify, it causes damage to the dignity of some Sahabah (companions of the Holy Prophet) and injures their standings and holiness. Assuredly, such claim is irrelevant, because any scientifically based research is too fair to intend offense to any person, because it is required to demonstrate the facts that are concealed from people.
What really causes damage, disunity, and offense is deception and concealment of the truth by casting curtains on whatever is expected to benefit people and correct their doctrines and beliefs.
Thus, to demonstrate the facts of history as exactly as they are and clear of telling lies or showing malice neither sows disunity nor beaks off any tie.
Supported by the most authenticated scientific and historical documents, this book, in the first parts of it, discusses the attitude of Islam to caliphate (i.e. religious and civil succession to the Holy Prophet), proving that it is inseparable part of the Muslims’ lives, since it was highly stressed by the Holy Prophet (s) who also highlighted its necessity and it is thus an essential element in the political and social lives of Muslims to the extent that they cannot attain normal progression without it. Through the discussion of this topic, I will prove that the Holy Prophet (s), having adopted a positive course with regard to the next leadership of the Muslims, designated Imam ‛Ali ibn Abi-Talib (‛a) as the next leader of the Muslims and the commander-in-chief of their progression. He thus imparted to him many clear-cut names and descriptions like wasi (successor),bab madinat al-‛ilm (the door to the city of knowledge), and amir al-mu’minin (the commander of the faithful believers).
The book then discusses the gravest seditious ordeal with which the Muslims were tried severely; namely, the event of the Saqifah conspiratorial conference, objectively, comprehensively, and away from any emotional or sectarial tendencies. After that, the book deals with some relevant issues.
Most certainly, none of these discussions carries any intention of disuniting or breaking off the ties of Muslims; rather, they are serious discussions of the most critical event in the political history of Muslims.
Embarkation upon such topics that are related to our doctrines is required to be impartial and dissociated from any reckless propensity that leads to misleading, destruction, disuniting, or ripping asunder the unity of Muslims.
Proudly, Islam opposes intellectual stagnancy and calls to giving way to free thinking in investigating the course of events. Moreover, Islam has nothing at all to do with imitation in doctrines; rather, all Muslims are required to look with the eye of full awareness to the facts of events and to open wide the horizons of their thought with regard to their doctrinal and historical issues. The Umayyad and ‛Abbasid dynasties, purposefully, fabricated traditions that are related to the doctrines and history of Muslims in order to invent justifiable foundations for their governments that were basically founded on oppression and tyranny as well as humiliating and suppressing the Muslims.
Unfortunately, the doctrinal affairs of Muslims were deliberately intermixed with many other topics and fabrications that lack any amount of accuracy. In view of that, it is necessary to investigate such issues with full awareness and consideration so as to maintain Islam and save its genuineness and dignity.
Title: The Saqifah Conspiracy: An Analytic Study of the Most Critical Event in the Political History of Islam
Author(s): Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi
Translator: Badr Shahin
Publisher: ABWA Publishing and Printing Center
Length: 130 pages
Pub. Date: 2011