Two schools emerge following the death of the Prophet ﷺ:
One theorizes that the link with the Divine had ended. The Muslim community could now depend only on its own resources, with just the mix of old and recently established sociopolitical hierarchies. They also referred to old and recently established practices and mores as guides for the future.
The second believes that the Divine intended that His link with the community and the spiritual, political, and military leadership was to continue via the Prophet’s ﷺ family. This group became known as the followers of Ali, namely ‘The Twelvers.’ In this school of thought, reference is made to facts such as:
- Ali عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ being the first male to accept the faith, at age 13, and that he was the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet ﷺ.
- Ali عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ helping trick assassins sent to kill the Prophet on the eve of the flight to Medina.
- Quranic verses such as 33:33.
- The event at Ghadir Khumm.