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Advice of Scholars - KHALÎFAS OF MUSLIMS

Hadrat Imâm-i Rabbânî says in the  67th letter of the second volume of his Maktûbât:

After the last Prophet Muhammad Mustafâ, the Khalîfa of Muslims, that is, our Prophet’s representative and the Muslims’ leader is Hadrat Abû Bakr-i Siddîq. After him comes Hadrat ’Umar ul Fârûq. Next comes Hadrat ’Uthmân-i Zinnûrein, and then Alî bin Abî Tâlib. The order of superiority among these four is analogous to the order of their caliphates.

All the Sahâba and the Tâbi’ûn said that of these the Shaikhayn [the first two] were higher than the other two. This unanimity has been communicated by our îmâms of dîn. For example, Imâm-i Shâfi’î’s saying is well known. Abul-Hasan-i Ash’arî, one of the leaders of the Ahl as-sunnat, said, “It is certain that the Shaikhayn are higher than all the Ummat. He who disbelieves this fact is either ignorant or stubborn. ”

Imâm-i Alî said, “He who holds me superior to Abû Bakr and ’Umar is a slanderer. As slanderers are to be beaten, I will beat him. ” Hadrat Abdulqâdir-i Geilânî reported in his book Gunya-tut-tâlibîn: Our Prophet said, “I asked of Allâhu ta’âlâ that Alî become the Khalîfa after me. Angels said: ‘‘O Muhammad! It will happen as Allâhu ta’âlâ wills. Abû Bakr-i Siddîq is the Khalîfa after you. ” Abdulqâdîr-i Geilânî reported again: Hadrat Alî said that the Prophet said to him, “After me Abû Bakr will become the Khalîfa. Then ’Umar, then ’Uthmân and then you will become the Khalîfa. ”

Imâm-i Hasan ‘radiy-Allâhu anh’ is higher than Imâm-i Husayn. (These two people are Hadrat Alî’s sons. ) The savants of Ahl as-sunnat have declared that in knowledge and ijtihâd Hadrat Âisha (the Prophet’s blessed wife, our mother) is superior to Hadrat Fâtima (the Prophet’s blessed daughter, and Hadrat Alî’s blessed wife). Hadrat Abdulqâdir-i Geilânî wrote in his book Gunya, “Hadrat Aisha is higher. ” To this faqîr (Imâm-i Rabbânî means himself), in knowledge and ijtihâd Hadrat Âisha is higher, but in zuhd and in withdrawing from the world Hadrat Fâtima is higher. It is for this reason that Hadrat Fâtima was called Betûl (very pure). As for Hadrat Âisha, she used to teach the Sharî’at to the Sahâba. The Sahâba used to learn the Sharî’at by asking her.