Allama Askari’s The Saqifa provides a comprehensive look at one of the most pivotal moments in Islamic history. Allama Askari meticulously examines the political coup that occurred immediately upon the death of the Prophet whose consequences influenced the entirety of early Islamic history, enabling us to see this fateful event in an entirely new light. It is obligatory reading for anyone who is interested in understanding the political, social, and religious factors that acted on the formative period of the Islamic community. It is vital reading for those who are interested in determining exactly what happened throughout the political process that unfolded after the passing of the Prophet up until the death of Uthman, that led to the investiture of the office of the leadership of the community, so as to be able to evaluate the legitimacy of the process.
Allama Askari is not very well known in the West yet, but this book should change that. He was a scholar whose intellectual stature towered above all others in his own field. Allama Askari was to Islamic historiography what Alama Tabatabai was to tafsir and what Ayatollah Khomeini was to Shi’a political science, both theoretical and practical. These three were the giants in the Shia intellectual pantheon of the 20th century.
From the Preface by Blake Williams: “… a word of caution is called for, as the book is intellectual dynamite. Its thesis is a dangerous one, and it is put forward by a most preeminent scholar whose qualifications are second to none when it comes to historical research and analytical insight. ... Chapter by chapter, Allama Askari drives his thesis home with irresistible force. And he does so with an almost exclusive use of Sunni sources, which is a technique he pioneered.”