Succession of the Prophet and the issue of Qirtas | sunni perspective
28th March 2019
As the Prophet lay on his deathbed with his companions by his side, he tells them “Let me write for you something, after which you never go astray” to which one of the companions, reportedly to be Umar ibn Khattab, replies “The Prophet is delirious (hajara), the book of God is enough”. This results in an argument amongst the companions who raise their voices in his presence leading to the Prophet ordering them to leave. This incident known as the incident of the paper (qirtas) or the calamitous day of Thursday (raziyat yawm al khamis) and is narrated by authentic sources both Shia and Sunni with slight variations. It would be valid to pose the question as to what the Prophet wanted to write down and why some companions did not want him to do so.
For Shaykh Umar Ramadhan, the incident of Qirtas does not undermine the Sunni view of succession to the Prophet. He employed a range of arguments to support his view; linguistic evidence in addition to looking at the chain of narrators and analysing the historical context after this incident. He did point out that there exists a minority opinion amongst Sunni scholars that the companions were wrong in their actions in denying the Prophet his request.