Succession of the Prophet and the issue of Qirtas
Following on from the last meeting of the Centre for Intra Muslim Studies (CIMS) on the issue of qirtas, where the opinions of various Sunni scholars were presented, this meeting gave the Shia position. Qirtas refers to the disputed incident between the Shia and the ahl al-Sunna, whereby the Prophet asked for a something to be written down on his death bed but was refused by his companions. Shaykh Mahmood Dhalla, from the Al Mahdi Institute, presented the view dominantly held by the Shia.
The incidence of qirtas raises the question of whether the Prophet intended to leave a last testament and, if so, what was he going to convey. This is the ideological diving line between the Shia and the Sunni. Shaykh Mahmood Dhalla contended that it is clear that the Prophet intended to appoint Imam Ali as his successor in his last testament but was prevented from doing so. Shaykh Mahmood argued that this is proved by several indications during the Prophet’s life that conveyed Imam Ali as the rightful successor. One of these events is the sermon given by the Prophet at ghadeer in which he said, ‘Whoever’s master I am, Ali is his master.’ According to Shaykh Mahmood the statements of the Prophet during his lifetime regarding Imam Ali support the view that Imam Ali was the leader after him and that during the Prophet’s last days that was the message which he was trying to convey.