Why didn't the Prophet (pbuh) nominate his successor? It would have saved the religion a massive divide, saving precious lives.
Thank you for writing to us.
It is only an assumption that nominating a successor would have prevented a division somehow. Division happens due to incorrect approaches of people. There are some very explicit directives of religion about which there are no two opinions, and yet people find ways to violate them. Islam encouraged the Muslim community to run its affairs based on mutual consultation, and that is what happened after the Holy Prophet (pbuh) passed away. It never wished that people should think alike in all matters. There can be differences in who deserves to lead the community, and there is nothing wrong with it. The problem arises when we develop a sectarian and communal mindset solely based on our emotions and try to get rid of people who have a different opinion or understanding. So, divisions can arise even if a successor is appointed, as is the Shia community's belief. They believe that the Prophet (pbuh) actually appointed Ali (ra) as his successor. Yet, they say that the other companions of the Prophet Muhammad (sws) refused to accept this appointment. Of course, we disagree with this. Our position is that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) did not appoint any successor. It was one of those matters that was left to the Muslim community to decide through mutual consultation, and they did make a decision.
Hope this helps.