Letter 11 and 12

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Letter 11

 

I. Admiring Our Clear Texts

II. Wondering at Compromising Them With the Majority’s Beliefs

III. Asking for Clear Signs from the Book

 

Thul-Qi’da 1329

1) I have been honoured to receive your highly esteemed letter which I found to be authentic in its mainstream, comprehensible. You have filled your bucket to the brim. The flood of your eloquence has surmounted the highest peaks. I have scrutinized your letter very carefully, and I have found you to be far in vision, firm, strong in argument, outspoken.

2) Having deeply considered your argument and dug deep into your proofs, I found myself in a very dangerous situation: When I look into your proofs, I find them convincing. When I consider your explanations, I find them indicative. When I look at the Imams of the Purified ‘itra, I find Allah and His Messenger commending their status, highlighting its greatness and prestige.

Then when I look at the majority of Muslims, who represent most of this nation, I find them differing from Ahlul Bayt, contrary to the obligation of those proofs. Now I find myself to be split in two parts: one part of me yielding to the proofs, while the other seeking refuge with the majority of Muslims. I have submitted the first to you to lead: it is tame in your hands, while the other has stubbornly rejected you.

3) Could you please, therefore, overcome the latter’s stubbornness with convincing proofs from the Book which could curb it and divert it from yielding to the common beliefs? Peace be with you.

 

Sincerely,

S

 
 

Letter 12

I. Qur’anic Proofs

 

Thul-Qida 1329

You, praise to Allah, have studied the Book thoroughly, becoming acquainted with both its obvious and implied meanings. Has there been anyone praised therein like the Purified ‘itra? Have its perfect verses described any as “purified from all uncleanness”1 other than them?

Has the verse of Purification been revealed in honour of anyone else?2 Has the perfect Revelation commanded love for any others?3 Has Gabriel brought the verse of Mubahala in praise of anyone else?4

Has “Hal Ata” been revealed in praise of others? No! I swear By the Lord Who rightly used it for them, Who is right and fair.5

Are they not “Allah’s Rope” concerning whom He has said: “Hold together to Allah’s Rope and do not be divided (Qur’an, 3:103)”6?

And “the truthful” concerning whom He has said: “Be ye all with the Truthful (Qur’an, 9:119);”7

“Allah’s path” about which He has said: “Do not follow different paths else they should divert you from Allah’s path (Qur’an, 6:153),”8

The ones “entrusted with authority among you (Qur’an, 4:59),”9

The “custodians of Revelation” about whom He says: “Ask the custodians of Revelation when you do not know (Qur’an, 21:7),”10

The believers about whom He says: “Whoever differs from the Messenger, after guidance has been made clear to him, following paths other than those of the Believers, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen and place him in Hell, what an evil refuge (Qur’an, 4:115),”11

And the “guides” about whom He says: “You are a warner, and for each nation there is a guide”?12

Are they not among those upon whom Allah has showered His blessings and to whom He has referred in the Fatiha and the Glorious Qur’an saying “Guide us unto the Right Path, the Path of those whom You have blessed,”13

and He has also said: “These are with those whom Allah has blessed from among the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous (Qur’an, 4:69)”?14

Has He not granted them the general authority? Has He not confined it only to them after the Prophet? Read:

“Your Master is Allah and His Messenger and the Believers who uphold prayers and pay zakat even while prostrating; whoever takes for Master Allah and His Messenger and the Believers, then the Party of Allah are indeed the victorious (Qur’an, 5:58).”15

Has He not made salvation for those who repent and do good deeds dependent upon accepting their guided authority, saying: “I am most Forgiving for those who repent, believe, do good deeds, and received guidance (Qur’an, 20:82)”16?

Isn’t their wilayat part of the “trust” about which the Almighty says: “ We offered the trust unto the heavens, the earth, and the mountains, but they all refused to bear it out of extreme fear, then man bore it: he is most unjust, most ignorant (Qur’an, 33:72)”?17

Have they not been the “peace” wherein Allah has commanded everyone to enter, saying, “O ye who believe! Enter in peace all of you, and do not follow the steps of Satan (Qur’an, 2:208)”18.

Are they not the “blessing” concerning whom Allah the Sublime has said, “You will be questioned on that Day about the Blessing (Qur’an, 102:8)”19?

Has not the Messenger of Allah (S) been commanded to convey all of this? Has Allah not emphasized conveying it in such a language which sounded like threatening, saying, “O Messenger! Convey that which has been revealed unto you, and if you do not do it, then you have not really conveyed His Message at all, and Allah shall protect you from (mischievous) people (Qur’an, 5:70)”?20

Has not the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, conveyed it on the Ghadir Day, having reached its plains and delivered the Message, whereupon Allah revealed this congratulating verse: “Today have I completed your religion for you, perfected My blessing unto you, and accepted Islam as your religion (Qur’an, 5:4)”?21

Have you noticed what your Lord did with the person who openly denied their authority saying, “O Allah! If this Message is truly from Thee, then let stones fall upon us22 like rain from the skies, or cause a severe torment to befall upon us”? Allah hurled a Sijjil stone at him as He had done with the Fellows of the Elephant. He revealed these verses on that occasion: “

A person questioned about a penalty to befall the unbelievers which cannot be warded off: (a penalty) from Allah, Lord of the Ways of Ascent (Qur’an, 70:1­2).” People will certainly be questioned about such authority when they are resurrected as indicated in the explanation of the verse saying: “And follow in their footsteps, for they have the authority (Qur’an, 37:24).”23

There is no room to wonder any longer, then, especially when we discern the fact that their authority has been sanctioned by Allah unto people through His prophets, providing proofs and arguments for it, as indicated by the explanation of His saying:

“And ask the Messengers whom We sent before thee (Qur’an, 43:45).”24

Nay! Allah has even taken for it a promise on the Day of Alasto from the souls of His creatures even before creating their physical forms, as referred to in this verse:

“When thy Lord drew forth from the children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants, making them promise, asking them: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said: ‘Yes! We testify!’ This is so lest you should say on the Day of Judgment: ‘Of this we were never mindful (Qur’an, 7:172)’.”25

Through their intercession has Allah granted forgiveness to Adam who learned the words of repentance referred to in Chapter 2, Verse 37, of the Holy Qur’an.26

“Allah does not expose them to torture,”27

for they are the security of the inhabitants of earth and mankind’s means towards Him. They are the ones of whom people are jealous and about whom Allah says:

“Should they feel jealous of them because Allah Has granted them His favours (Qur’an, 4:54)”?28

They are the ones who are “deeply grounded in knowledge” about whom He says: “Those who are deeply grounded in knowledge say:

‘We believe (Qur’an, 3:7)!’”29

They are the ones who will be upon the Heights and to whom Allah refers when he says,

“Upon the Heights are men who know all by their marks (Qur’an, 7:48).”30

They are the men of truth about whom He says:

“Among the Believers are men who fulfilled their promise unto Allah; some of them have passed away, while others are waiting, and they have not changed in the least (Qur’an, 33:23).”31

They are the ones who glorify Allah continuously. About them He has said:

“He is Glorified in the early morning and during the night by men who are not diverted, by either trade or selling, from mentioning Allah, the saying of prayers, or the paying of zakat: they fear the Day when hearts and sights are overturned (Qur’an, 24:36­37).”32

Their houses are the ones mentioned in Allah’s verses saying:

“In houses which Allah permitted to be elevated and His Name be recited therein.”33

Allah has made their niche, in Surat An-Nur (Qur’an, 24:35),34 an example for His own Light:

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is a niche, within it is a Lamp: the lamp is enclosed in glass; the glass is as (bright as) a brilliant star lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well­nigh luminous, though fire scarcely touches it: Light upon Light! Allah guides whom He will to His Light: Allah sets forth parables for men, and Allah knows all things.

They are the foremost in accepting the faith and implementing it, and they are the nearest to Allah, as He indicates in Chapter 56, verses 10 and 11.35 They are those who testify to the Prophet’s truthfulness (Qur’an, 4:69).36 They are the martyrs and the virtuous. Regarding them and their followers has Allah said:

“Among Our creation is a nation calling unto the right guidance through the truth, and they are most just therein” (Qur’an, 7:181).37

Also, Allah has said the following about their party and about that of their enemies:

“Inhabitants of the Fire are not equal to those of Paradise: inhabitants of Paradise are the victorious.”38

About both parties He has also said:

“Should We treat those who believe and do good deeds as We treat those who cause corruption on earth, or should We equal the virtuous to the corrupt (Qur’an, 38:28)?”39

He has also said the following verse concerning both parties:

“Do those who commit bad deeds surmise that We will treat them like We treat those who believe and do good deeds, in life and in death? Ill is their judgment.”40

About them and their supporters He has said:

“Those who believe and do good deeds are the best of creation (Qur’an, 98:7).”41

About them and their adversaries Allah has said:

“These are two opponents who differed regarding their Lord: those who disbelieve will be clothed with clothes of fire: boiling liquid shall be poured on their heads (Qur’an, 22:19).”42

Regarding them and their enemy, Allah has revealed these verses: “Is this who has been a believer like unto him that who has been an evil­doer? They are not equal. As for those who believe and do good deeds, their abode shall be Perpetual Gardens, a reward for their good deeds. As for those who cause corruption, their abode is Hell-fire; every time they want to get out of it, they are turned back into it and is said to them:

‘Taste the torment of the Fire in which you disbelieved (Qur’an, 32:19­ 20).’”43

Concerning them and those who boasted of providing water for the pilgrims and looking after the Haram mosque, Allah has revealed this verse:

“Do you count the providing of the pilgrims with water and the maintenance of the Haram mosque equal to (the value of) those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and fight in the Way of Allah? They are not equal in the eyes of Allah, and Allah does not lead the wrong­doers (Qur’an, 9:19).”44

About their triumph in many trials and the magnitude of their patience, the Almighty says:

“Among people is one who sells his life in return for Allah’s Pleasure; Allah is Clement towards His servants (Qur’an, 2:207).”45

Regarding their endeavour in the way of Allah and their toil, Allah has said:

“Allah has traded the believers’ lives for Paradise: they fight in the Way of Allah and they kill or get killed. It is His true Promise in the Torah, the Gospel and the Qur’an: who fulfils his promise better than Allah? Rejoice, therefore, for your bargain; that is the great victory. Those who turn (to Allah) in repentance, worship Him, and praise Him, wander in devotion to the Cause of Allah, bow down and prostrate in prayer, enjoin goodness and forbid evil, and observe the limits set by Allah (they do rejoice). So, proclaim the glad tidings to the Believers (Qur’an, 9:111­112).”

“Those who (in charity) spend of their possessions by night and by day, in secrecy and in public, have their reward with their Lord: on them there shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve (Qur’an, 2:274).”46

They truly say only the truth. The Truthful Himself, blessed be His Name, has borne witness to that, saying:

“Those who have brought forth the truth, believing therein, are indeed the God­fearing (Qur’an, 39:33).”47

They are the faithful relatives of the Messenger of Allah (S), his kinfolk, whom Allah Has chosen for His beautiful care and great attention, saying:

“And warn your near in kin (Qur’an, 26:214).”

They are his relatives, and

“Relatives have the priorities according to the Book of Allah” (Qur’an, 8:75; see also 33:6).

On Doomsday, they will ascend to his rank and join him in the perpetual gardens of felicity as witnessed by Allah’s statement:

Those who believe and whose families follow them in faith – to them shall We join their families: We shall never deprive them (of the fruit) of aught of their deeds, (yet) each is in pledge for his deeds. (Qur’an, 52:21)48

They have the right dues as the Qur’an has stated:

“And give the near in kin his dues (Qur’an, 17:26),”

and they have the fifth: nobody’s responsibility will be cleared until he defrays it:

“Know ye this: whatever ye obtain of spoils, its fifth goes to Allah, the Messenger, and the (Messenger’s) kinfolk (Qur’an, 8:41).”

They are the ones upon whom Allah’s favours have been bestowed as implied in this verse:

“What Allah has bestowed on His Apostle – (and taken away) from them – for this ye made no expedition with either cavalry or camelry, but Allah gives power to His apostles over any He pleases, and Allah Has power over all things (Qur’an, 59:7).”

They are Ahlul Bayt addressed by Allah thus:

“Allah desires to remove all abomination from you, Ahlul Bayt, and purify you with a perfect purification (Qur’an, 33:33).”

They are the family of Yasin whom Allah greets in the Glorious Qur’an thus:

“Peace be unto the family of Yasin (Qur’an, 37:130).”49

And they are the family of Muhammad upon whom greetings and peace have been enforced by Allah Who says:

“Allah and His angels send greetings unto the Prophet: O ye who believe! Send greetings unto him and many salutations (Qur’an, 33:56).”50

Some people asked the Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny,

“O Messenger of Allah! We know how to greet you with peace, but how can we greet you with prayers?” He, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, answered, “Say: ‘O Allah! Send blessings unto Muhammad and the family of Muhammad,’” according to the hadith. It was then understood then that greeting them was part of the prayers enjoined by this verse. This is why learned men have included the verse quoted above among others in their praise. Ibn Hajar has listed it in part 11 of his Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa among verses in their praise,51 peace be upon them. A good resort for them and a good reward: Gardens of Eden with gates wide open to receive them.52

Who can compete with them? In the sun is meaning and heat,

Parching, exerting the one who dares to compete.

Allah has chosen them for His favours, and they are the ones who are faster than all others in doing good deeds; they inherit the Book of Allah; about them He has said the following therein:

“Among men is one who wrongs his own self (by ignoring the Imams), and one who seeks righteousness (by following the Imams), and one who is faster than others in doing good deeds by the Will of Allah (who is the Imam himself): this indeed is Allah’s great favour (Qur’an, 35:32).”53

These verses which demonstrate the Imams’ virtues and merits must suffice. Ibn ‘Abbas has said:

“In praise of ‘Ali alone, three hundred verses were revealed.”54

Others say that one fourth of the Holy Qur’an has been revealed in their praise. This comes as no surprise when we consider the fact that they and the Qur’an are twin brothers who do not separate from one another.

Be satisfied for now with what we have stated here of the perfect verses of the Holy Qur’an. Take them easily going and returning, making the advent of morning beams, easily and nicely, forgiving and at ease, from someone very well acquainted therewith, for none can tell you better than one endowed with experience, and peace be with you.

 

Sincerely,

Sh

 

Footnotes

 

1. As it ruled in its departure therefrom according to the Almighty’s statement:

“Allah wishes to remove all abomination from you, members of Ahlul Bayt ‘alayh al Salam and purify you with a perfect purification (Qur’an, 33:33).”

2. Nay! Nobody else can claim that at all. They have been selected for it; so, nobody can reach their station nor dream of attaining their achievements.

3. Nay! Allah has selected them for it and preferred them over all others, saying:

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘I do not ask you for any reward other than being kind to my kin,’ and whoever attains a good deed [being kind to them], We shall certainly increase him in goodness; verily, Allah is Forgiving [to those who are kind to them], Appreciative [of such kindness] (Qur’an, 42:23).”

4. Nay! The verse of Mubahala was revealed specifically in their praise. Allah, the Dear One, says therein:

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘Let us bring our sons and your sons,… (Qur’an, 3:61).”

5.  This is a reference to the revelation of Ayat al ’Asr (Chapter of Time) regarding them and their foes, and whoever wishes to be familiar with this matter as dealt with in the verse of purification, verse of mubahala, the verse enjoining kindness to the Prophet’s kin, and the verse of time, he must refer to our own statement in this regard, for it is the remedy for every ailment. It brings the foes back to their senses, and it provides knowledge for those who do not know, and praise be to Allah.

6. In his commentary on the meaning of this verse in his Al Tafsir al Kabir, Imam al Tha’labi quotes Aban ibn Taghlib reporting that Imam Ja’far al Sadiq ‘alayh al Salam has said:

“We are Allah’s rope about which He has said: ‘And uphold Allah’s rope all of you together, and do not be separated (Qur’an, 3:103)’.”

Ibn Hajar has included this verse among others revealed in their praise, being the fifth in the series of verses which he enumerates in Chapter 11 of Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa. While explaining its meaning, the author quotes al Tha’labi, as you have heard above, citing Imam Ja’far al Sadiq ‘alayh al Salam. Imam al Shafi’i is quoted in Rashfatul Sadi by Imam Abu Bakr ibn Shihabud-Din as having said:

When I saw people being carried away to the seas of misguidance and ignorance by their sects,

I boarded, in the Name of Allah, the Ark of Salvation, that is, the Household of the Chosen One, the Seal of Prophets.

And I upheld Allah’s Rope, and it is obedience to them, as He has commanded us to uphold to the Rope.

7. The “truthful” here are Allah’s Messengers and the Imams of his purified progeny, according to our consecutive sahihs, and as supported by al Hafiz Abu Na’im and Muwaffaq ibn Ahmed, and transmitted by Ibn Hajar in his explanation of Chapter 5, Section 11, of Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa, page 90, quoting Imam Zaynul ‘Abidin ‘alayh al Salam in a statement quoted above (see Letter No. 6).

8. Imams al Baqir and al Sadiq ‘alayh al Salam used to always say: “The RIGHT PATH here is the Imam, and do not follow diverse paths (imams of misguidance) for they will divert you from His Path (and we are His Path).”

9. In his authentic sahih, the trusted authority of Muslims, Muhammad ibn Ya’qub al Kulayni, has quoted Burayd al ’Ajli saying: “I asked Abu Ja’far (Imam Muhammad al Baqir, as) about the verse saying:

‘Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and those charged with authority among you (Qur’an, 4:59),’

and he answered me by saying:

‘Have you not observed those (Jews) who are given a portion of the (knowledge of the) Book? They are invited to the Book of Allah so that it might decide between them, then a party among them turns back (therefrom), and they withdraw (Qur’an, 3:23),’

how they believe in sorcerers and tyrants instead, and how they say to those who disbelieve that they are closer to the Straight Path than the Believers? They tell the imams of misguidance and the callers unto the Fire that their guidance is more accurate than that of Muhammad’s progeny;

‘Have you not seen those to whom a portion of the Book has been given? They believe in idols and false deities and say of those who disbelieve: These are better guided in the path than those who believe. Those are they whom Allah has cursed, and whoever Allah curses, you shall never find for them any helper. Or have they a share in the kingdom? But then they would not give people even the speck in a date stone (Qur’an, 4:51-53),

‘ nor will they ever own aught of Allah’s domain, that is, Imamate and Caliphate, ‘… or do they envy the people for what Allah has bestowed upon them of His own favours (Qur’an, 4:54)?’

We are the ones who are envied because of the Imamate which Allah has bestowed upon us rather than anyone else among His creation;

‘We bestowed upon the descendants of Ibrahim (Abraham) the Book and the Wisdom, and We provided them with a great kingdom (Qur’an, 4:54),’

meaning He made some of them messengers, prophets, and imams; so, how can they recognize its existence to the descendants of Ibrahim while denying it to the descendants of Muhammad (S)?!”

“Among them are those who believed in it, and among them are those who turned away therefrom, and Hell suffices for a torment (Qur’an, 4:55).”

10. Explaining this chapter, al Tha’labi quotes Jabir saying the following in his book Al Tafsir al Kabir: “When this Chapter was revealed, ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam said: ‘We are the people of remembrance,’ and this is the case with all the Imams of guidance.” The Bahraini scholar has quoted in Chapter 35 more than twenty authentic ahadith bearing this meaning.

11. Ibn Mardawayh, in his explanation of this Chapter, has indicated that “… to argue with the Messenger” in this context means to dispute with him regarding ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam, and the guidance referred to in the verse “… after guidance has been made manifest to him” is the guidance provided by ‘Ali, peace be upon him.” In his Tafsir, al ’Ayyashi states something almost similar to this, and the sahihs are consecutive from the sources of the purified progeny in stating that “the path of the believers” is the path of their own (progeny), peace be upon them.

12. Explaining this verse in Al Tafsir al Kabir, al Tha’labi quotes Ibn ‘Abbas saying: “When this verse was revealed, the Messenger of Allah (S) put his hand over his chest and said: ‘I am the warner and ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam is the guide, and through you, O ‘Ali, guidance is achieved.’” Many scholars of exegesis and authors of books of traditions quote Ibn ‘Abbas and Muhammad ibn Muslim saying: “I asked Abu ‘Abdullah (Imam Ja’far al Sadiq ‘alayh al Salam) about the implications of this verse and he answered: ‘Each Imam is the guide of his time.’ Imam Abu Ja’far al Baqir has said the following regarding its explanation: ‘The warner is the Messenger of Allah, and the guide is ‘Ali,’ then he adds: ‘By Allah, imamate shall remain with us till the Hour approaches.’”

13. In his exegesis of Surat al Fatiha, al Tha’labi, in his Al Tafsir al Kabir, quotes Abu Buraydah saying that “al sirat al mustaqim (the Straight Path) is the path of Muhammad (S) and his progeny ‘alayh al Salam.” Interpreting this sura, Waki’ ibn al Jarirah quotes Sufyan al Thawri through a chain of narrators including al Sadi, Asht, Mujahid, all quoting Ibn ‘Abbas saying: “‘Guide us to the Straight Path’ means ‘Guide us to the love for Muhammad and his progeny.’”

14. The Imams from among Ahlul Bayt ‘alayh al Salam are without any argument the masters of siddiqs, martyrs, and the righteous.

15. Scholars of exegesis are unanimous, as al Qawshaji, imam of the Ash’aris, has admitted in his chapter on “Sharh al Tajrid,” saying that this verse was revealed in honour of ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam when he offered charity while engaged in the ceremonial supplication performing the prayers. In his sahih, al Nisa’i quotes ‘Abdullah ibn Salam testifying to its revelation in honour of ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam. This view is supported by the author of Al Jami’ Baynal Sihah al Sitta while explaining Surat al Ma’ida [Chapter of Table of Viands]. Al Tha’labi has indicated its revelation in honour of the Commander of the Faithful in his book Al Tafsir al Kabir, as we will explain when we discuss it.

16. In Chapter 11, Part One, of his Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa, Ibn Hajar states: “The guidance referred to in Chapter 8 which states: ‘I am all-Forgiving for those who repent, believe, and do good deeds, then seek guidance,’ according to Thabit al Banni, means the seeking of guidance from the household of the Prophet (S).’” This is narrated from Abu Ja’far al Baqir, too. Ibn Hajar has narrated several ahadith testifying to the salvation of those who seek and act upon their guidance, peace be upon them. He also refers to what he quotes from al Baqir’s statement referring to the conversation between Imam al Baqir ‘alayh al Salam and al Harith ibn Yahya in which the Imam says: “O Harith! Have you not seen how Allah has made it clear that repentance, belief, and good deeds are not sufficient without seeking guidance from our authority?’ then he, peace be upon him, quotes his grandfather the Commander of the Faithful saying: “By Allah! If a man repents, believes, and does good deeds, but he does not seek guidance from our authority, nor recognizes our rights, all of these things will be utterly in vain.’” Abu Na’im the hafiz quotes Awn ibn Abu Jahufah who in turn quotes his father narrating a similar tradition from ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam. Al Hakim has published similar ahadith from Imams al Baqir and al Sadiq ‘alayh al Salam, and from Thabit al Banni and Anas ibn Malik.

17. Refer to the meaning of this verse in Al Safi, and in ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim’s Tafsir, and to the traditions narrated by Sunnis explaining its meaning as compiled by the Bahraini scholar in Chapter 115 of his work Ghayat al Maram.

18. In chapter 224 of Ghayat al Maram, the Bahraini scholar quotes twelve traditions from our sahihs testifying to the fact that this verse was revealed regarding ‘Ali’s government and that of the Imams among his descendants, barring the leadership of all others. In Chapter 223, he states that al Asfahani al Amawi narrates the same about ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam quoting various sources.

19. In Chapter 48 of his Ghayat al Maram, the Bahraini scholar quotes three ahadith narrated by Sunnis testifying to the fact that the “bliss” here is what Allah has blessed people through the government of His Messenger (S), that of the Commander of the Faithful and Ahlul Bayt ‘alayh al Salam. In Chapter 49, he quotes twelve ahadith from our sahihs reflecting the same; so, refer to it if you wish.

20. Only one Sunni faqih among the authors of books of traditions, namely Imam al Wahidi, while commenting on Surat al Ma’ida in his book Asbab al Nuzul, quotes Abu Sa’id al Khudri saying: “This verse was revealed on the Day of Ghadir Khumm in honour of ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib ‘alayh al Salam.” Imam al Tha’labi has included it in his Tafsir from two sources, and al Hamawani al Shafi’i includes it in his Fara’id from various sources from Abu Hurairah, and it is transmitted by Abu Na’im in his book Nuzul al Qur’an from two sources: Abu Rafi’ and al A’mash, both quoting ‘Attiyah. In Ghyat al Maram, there are nine ahadith narrated by Sunnis and eight authentic ones by Shi’as conveying the same meaning; so, refer to it in Chapters 37 and 38.

21. This text is stated by Imam Abu Ja’far al Baqir ‘alayh al Salam, succeeded in narrating it by Imam Abu ‘Abdullah al Sadiq ‘alayh al Salam. According to authentic narrations, Sunnis have included six ahadith in their own books of traditions that in the end quote the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, quite clearly emphasizing this very theme. Its explanation exists in Chapters 39 and 40 of Ghayat al Maram.

22. Imam al Tha’labi has detailed the explanation of this matter in his Al Tafsir al Kabir, and it is transmitted by the Egyptian scholar al Shiblinji who details ‘Ali’s biography in his book Nur al Absar, page 171, where he, too, explains it in detail. Al Halabi mentions it at the conclusion of his chapter “Hijjatul Wada’” in Vol. 3 of his book Al Sira al Halabiyya. Al Hakim narrates it in “Tafsir al Ma’arij” in his Al Mustadrak, page 502, Vol. 2.

23. Al Daylami, as is the case with the explanation of this verse in Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa states that Sa’id al Khudri quotes the Prophet (S) saying: “Follow in their footsteps, for they are responsible concerning ‘Ali’s wilayat.” Al Wahidi, as is the case with the author of Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa, explains this verse by saying: “It has been narrated regarding Allah’s statement: ‘Follow in their footsteps, for they are responsible…,’ that the responsibility referred to here is regarding ‘Ali’s government and that of Ahlul Bayt ‘alayh al Salam,’” adding: “For Allah commanded His Prophet (S) to make people aware of the fact that he does not ask them for any rewards for conveying His Message other than being kind to his kin…, that is, they will be asked if they properly submitted to their wilayat as the Prophet (S) had instructed them, or if they lost it and discarded it, thus becoming subject to Allah’s demands and the consequences of such discarding.” Ibn Hajar includes it in Chapter 11 of his Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa among the verses revealed in their praise, being number 4 in such sequence, and he elaborates on it a great deal.

24. Refer to what Abu Na’im al Hafiz has quoted in his Hilyat al Awliya, and to what is recorded by al Tha’labi, al Nisaburi, and al Barqi regarding its meaning in their own tafsir books, and to what Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al Hamawini and other Sunnis have said. Also refer to what Abu ‘Ali al Tibrisi has said while explaining its meaning in his book Mujma’ul Bayan fi Tafsir al Qur’an, quoting the Commander of the Faithful ‘alayh al Salam. What Chapters 44 and 45 of Ghayat al Maram state in this meaning is something that dispels all doubts.

25. Our own discourse about Ahlul Bayt ‘alayh al Salam, while explaining this verse, testifies to this fact.

26. Ibn al Maghazli al Shafi’i quotes Ibn ‘Abbas saying: “When the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, was asked about the words which Adam had received from his Lord and whereby his repentance was accepted, he (S) said: ‘He [Adam] asked Him by the prestige He held for Muhammad, ‘Ali, Fatima, al Hassan, and al Hussain, and thus did He accept his repentance and forgive him.’” This is what we know for a fact to be the meaning of this verse.

27. Refer to Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa by Ibn Hajar who interprets the verse of the Almighty: “Allah would not torment them…” as verse 7 of those revealed in their honour as recorded in Chapter 11 of the said book where the author endorses our own view stated here.

28. This is admitted by Ibn Hajar who counts this verse among the ones revealed in their honour, numbering it 6 in Chapter 11 of his Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa. Ibn al Maghazli al Shafi’i, as indicated in the explanation of this verse in Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa, quotes Imam al Baqir ‘alayh al Salam saying: “By Allah, we are the ones who are envied.” In Chapters 60 and 61 of Ghayat al Maram, as many as thirty authentic ahadith are recorded in this meaning.

29. This is quoted by Thiqatul-Islam Muhammad ibn Ya’qub al Kulayni who quotes an authentic hadith from Imam al Sadiq ‘alayh al Salam saying: “We are a people the obedience to whom has been mandated by Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime; we are the ones who are deeply rooted in knowledge, and we are the ones who are envied. Allah Almighty has said: ‘Or should they envy (certain) people for what Allah has granted them out of His own favour?’” This has also been quoted by al Sheikh in his Tahthib, also quoting Imam al Sadiq, peace be upon him.

30. While explaining this verse in his Tafsir, al Tha’labi quotes Ibn ‘Abbas saying: “The ‘a’raf’ is an elevated place of the Sirat whereupon al ’Abbas, Hamzah, ‘Ali and Ja’far of the two wings identify the ones who love them by the sign of the whiteness of their countenance, and the ones who hate them by its blackness.” Al Hakim, too, has quoted ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam saying: “We shall stand, on the Day of Judgment, between Paradise and Hell, and we shall recognize those who support us by their mark and would let them enter Paradise, and we shall recognize those who hate us also by their marks.” Salman al Farisi is quoted saying: “I have heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, saying: ‘O ‘Ali! You and the wasis from your descendants are on the A’raf.’” This is supported by the hadith quoted by Dar Qutni at the conclusion of Part Two, Chapter 9, of Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa. It indicates that ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam delivered a lengthy address to the six persons assigned by ‘Umar to be in charge of the shura in which he stated: “I ask you in the Name of Allah if anyone among you has been told similarly to what I was told by the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, and that is: ‘O ‘Ali! You are the one who will designate the destination of every person on the Day of Judgment either to Paradise or to Hell’?” They responded: “No, indeed.” Ibn Hajar states the following: “The meaning of this hadith is what is narrated by Antarah from Imam ‘Ali al Rida ‘alayh al Salam who quotes the Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny, saying the following to ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam: ‘O ‘Ali! You are the one who will assign people to either Paradise or Hell on the Day of Judgment, telling Hell which one is hers and which one is not.’” Ibn Hajar says: “Ibn al Sammak narrates that Abu Bakr has said to ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam, may Allah be pleased with both men, “I have heard the Messenger of Allah saying: ‘Nobody can pass on the Sirat except the one permitted by ‘Ali.’”

31. In Section 5, Chapter 9, of Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa, Ibn Hajar, while discussing ‘Ali’s assassination, indicates that when ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam was on the pulpit in Kufa, he was asked to explain the verse in which this phrase occurs: “Men who proved truthful to their promise to Allah,” and he answered by saying: “O Lord! Forgive them; this verse was revealed in honour of myself, my uncle Hamzah, and my cousin ‘Ubaidah ibn al­Harith ibn al­Muttalib. ‘Ubaidah died a martyr in Badr; Hamzah died a martyr on Uhud; as to myself, I am awaiting a most painful death, when this shall be drenched from the blood of this,” pointing with his hand to his beard and head respectively; “It is a true promise made to me by my beloved Father of al­Qasim, peace be upon him and his progeny.” Al­Hakim, while interpreting this verse as quoted in al Tibrisi’s Mujma’ul Bayan fi Tafsir al Qur’an, cites ‘Umar ibn Thabit quoting Abu Ishaq quoting ‘Ali, peace be upon him, saying: “On our own behalf was this verse revealed: ‘Men who proved truthful to their promise to Allah…,’ and I by Allah am waiting, and I have never changed aught.”

32. Mujahid and Ya’qub ibn Sufyan quote Ibn ‘Abbas’s interpretation of the verse saying “And when they see trade or amusement, they rush to it, leaving you standing (for prayers alone),” thus: “Dahyah al­Kalbi once came from Syria on a Friday with a merchandise of foodstuff and he came to a place called Ahjar al­Zayt where he announced his presence by beating drums to invite people to him. People, therefore, rushed to him, leaving the Prophet (S) standing on the pulpit preaching with only ‘Ali, al­Hassan, al Hussain, Fatima, Salman, Abu Tharr, and al­Miqdad. The Prophet (S) then said: ‘Allah has cast a look at my mosque on a Friday, and had it not been for the presence of these persons, He would have set the city on fire and hurled stones at its inhabitants as He did with the people of Lut.’ Allah has revealed in honour of those who remained with the Messenger of Allah at the mosque the verse saying: ‘Praising Him therein, during the night and at early dawn, men whom neither trade nor sale can divert.’”

33. Al Tha’labi, while discussing the meaning of this verse in his Al Tafsir al Kabir, quotes Anas ibn Malik and Burayd saying: “The Messenger of Allah (S) once read the verse saying ‘… in houses which Allah has desired that they should be elevated, and His Name shall be mentioned therein,’ whereupon Abu Bakr stood up and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Is this house (then he pointed to the house where ‘Ali and Fatima where living) among them?’ The Prophet (S) answered: ‘Yes; one of their choicest.” In Chapter 12 of Ghayat al Maram, there are nine authentic ahadith through which the light of dawn shines.

34. This is a reference to the verse saying: “The similitude of His Light is a Lamp…” Ibn al Maghazli al Shafi’i has quoted ‘Ali ibn Ja’far in his Manaqib saying: “I asked the father of al Hassan (Imam al Kazim, peace be upon him) about the verse saying ‘… like a niche wherein a lamp…,’ and he, peace be upon him, answered: ‘The niche is Fatima, the Lamp symbolizes al Hassan and al Hussain, and ‘the glass is like a shining star,’ indicates that Fatima shone like a star among all the women of the world, receiving its fuel from a blessed tree, the family-tree of Ibrahim (Abraham), neither of the east nor of the west, neither Jewish nor Christian, ‘its oil almost shines (by itself),’ indicates that knowledge almost speaks of itself even when no fire touches it, ‘light upon light,’ wherein there is one Imam after another, ‘Allah guides whomsoever He pleases to His Light,’ implies that Allah guides to our wilayat whomsoever He pleases.’” Suffices such an interpretation to be coming from a member of the household upon whom the revelation descended.

35. Al Daylami, as in hadith 29, Part Two, Section 9, of Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa by Ibn Hajar, quotes ‘Ayesha, al Tabrani, Ibn Mardawayh, all citing Ibn ‘Abbas saying that the Prophet (S) has said: “The foremost in believing in the Prophets are three men: Joshua son of Nun who was the foremost in believing in Moses ‘alayh al Salam; the one referred to in Chapter Yasin who was the foremost in believing in Christ ‘alayh al Salam, and the foremost in believing in Muhammad is ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib ‘alayh al Salam.” This hadith is quoted by al Muwaffaq ibn Ahmed and the faqih Ibn al Maghazli, both quoting Ibn ‘Abbas.

36. Ibn al Najjar, as in hadith 30 referred to in Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa quotes Ibn ‘Abbas saying that the Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “The siddiqs are three: Ezekiel, who was the foremost to believe [in Moses] from among the descendants of Pharaoh; Habib al Najjar, who is referred to in Chapter Yasin, and ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib ‘alayh al Salam.” Abu Na’im and Ibn ‘Asakir, as in hadith 31 referred to in Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa quotes Ibn Abu Layla saying that the Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “The siddiqs are three: Habib al Najjar, the believer referred to in Chapter Ali Yasin as saying: ‘O my people, follow the Messengers;’ Ezekiel, who was the foremost to believe [in Moses] from among the descendants of Pharaoh, who said: ‘Do you kill a man just for saying that his Lord is Allah?’ and ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib ‘alayh al Salam, who is the best of them.’” Sahihs are consecutively reported in stating that he is the supreme siddiq and the greatest faruq.

37. The most distinguished among Sunni Imams, namely Muwaffaq ibn Ahmed, has quoted Abu Bakr ibn Mardawayh citing ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam saying: “This nation will be divided into seventy-three groups; with the exception of one, all the rest will go to Hell; this (lucky) group is the one in whose honour Allah, the Exalted and the omni-Scient, has said: ‘Among those whom We have created is a group that guides towards righteousness, and through righteousness (alone) do they achieve equity,’ and they include me and my Shi’as.”

38. In his Amali, Sheikh al Tusi correctly quotes the Commander of the Faithful saying that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, once recited the following verse: “The companions of the Fire are not equal to those who are the companions of Paradise,” whereupon he explained saying: “The companions of Paradise are those who have followed me and recognized the authority of ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib ‘alayh al Salam after me.” He was asked: “What about the companions of the Fire?” He answered: “These include the ones who are dissatisfied with his (‘Ali’s) government, those who shall violate the covenant and fight him after my demise.” This hadith is quoted by al Saduq from ‘Ali, peace be upon him. Abul-Mu’ayyad Muwaffaq ibn Ahmed has quoted Jabir saying that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, has said: “By the One in whose hands my soul is, this (‘Ali) and his Shi’as are the winners on the Day of Judgment.”

39. Refer to the meaning of this verse in ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim’s tafsir if you wish, or Chapters 81 and 82 of Ghayat al Maram.

40. This verse descended to honor al Hamzah, ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam, and ‘Ubaidah who came out to battle ‘Utbah, Shaybah, and al Walid. The believers are Hamzah, ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam, and ‘Ubaidah, and the ones who committed wrong deeds are ‘Utbah, Shaybah, and al Walid. There are many authentic ahadith supporting this argument.

41. Suffices you for proof the fact that Ibn Hajar has admitted its revelation in their own honor, counting it among the verses in their favour, numbering it 11 among such verses in Part One, Chapter 11, of his Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa; so, refer to it to see the verses we have quoted in reference to this verse in the chapter dealing with Sunnis giving credence to Shi’as in our book Al Fusul al Muhimma.

42. Al Bukhari, in his explanation of the Qur’anic Chapter dealing with hajj, on page 107, Vol. 3, of his sahih, quotes ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam saying: “I am the first to kneel down to submit a complaint before Allah on the Day of Judgment.” Al Bukhari then quotes Qais saying: “On their behalf this verse was revealed: ‘These are two opponents who have brought their case before their Lord.’ They are the ones who came out on Badr to battle ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam and his two companions, Hamzah and ‘Ubaidah, namely Shaybah ibn Rabi’ah and his two fellows ‘Utbah ibn Rabi’ah and al Walid ibn ‘Utbah.” On the same page, he quotes Abu Tharr saying that he used to swear by the verse referring to the two opponents who disputed about their Lord which was revealed in honour of ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam and two of his companions, and about ‘Utbah and both of his companions when they came out to duel at Badr.

43. This verse was revealed on behalf of the Commander of the Faithful ‘alayh al Salam versus al Walid ibn ‘Uqbah ibn Abu Ma’it, without any argument. This is ascertained by traditionists and endorsed by scholars of exegesis. Imam Abul-Hassan ‘Ali ibn Ahmed al Wahidi, while discussing this verse in his book Asbab a-Nuzul, quotes Sa’id ibn Jubayr citing Ibn ‘Abbas saying that al Walid ibn ‘Uqbah ibn Abu Ma’it once said to ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib ‘alayh al Salam: “I am stronger than you; my speech is more eloquent, and I am faster than you in raising an army.” ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam said: “Say no more, for you are none other than a debauchee,” whereupon the verse “Is that who is a believer similar to that who is a debauchee? They certainly are not alike,” was revealed, describing ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam as the believer and al Walid ibn ‘Uqbah as the debauchee.

44. This verse was revealed in honour of ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam, his uncle al ’Abbas, and Talhah ibn Shaybah who started thus bragging: “I am in charge of the House (Ka’ba); I have its keys, and mine is its covering cloth.” Al ’Abbas said: “I am the one in charge of siqaya and maintenance.” ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam said: “I do not know what you both say, for I have said my prayers in the company of the one [Prophet Muhammad, S] who leads the jihad six months prior to anyone else among all people,” whereupon Allah revealed the verse cited above. This is stated by Imam al Wahidi while explaining the meaning of this verse in his book Asbab al Nuzul citing al Hassan al Basri, al Sha’bi, and al Qurtubi. He also quotes Ibn Sirin and Murrah al Hamadani saying that ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam said the following to al ’Abbas once: “Aren’t you going to migrate? Aren’t you going to join the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny?” He answered: “Do not I have a responsibility that is superior to the migration? Do not I provide water to the pilgrims of the House of Allah and maintain its Haram?” whereupon this verse was revealed.

45. On page 4, Vol. 3, of his Al Mustadrak, al Hakim quotes Ibn ‘Abbas saying: “‘Ali has bartered his own life and has, indeed, put on the Prophet’s garb.” Al Hakim testifies to the authenticity of this hadith according to the endorsement of both Sheikhs, although the latter did not narrate it themselves. In his Talkhis al Mustadrak, al Hakim admits the same on the said page, quoting Imam ‘Ali ibn al Husain ‘alayh al Salam saying: “The first to barter his life for the Pleasure of Allah is ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib ‘alayh al Salam who slept in the bed of the Messenger of Allah (S),” then he quoted a few verses of poetry attributed to ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam beginning with these:

I have safeguarded with my own life and strength

That of the best who walked on the surface of earth,

And circled the Ancient House, though alone,

And also around the [Black] Stone.

46. Traditionists, scholars of exegesis, and authors who have written about the causes of revelation of the Holy Qur’an have all quoted Ibn ‘Abbas explaining the verse reading: “Those who spend their wealth in charity at night, during the day, in secrecy, and in the open,” by saying: “This verse was revealed in honour of ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib ‘alayh al Salam who had once in his possession four dirhams; he spent one of them in the Cause of Allah at night, one during the day, one in secrecy, and in public also one; therefore, this verse was revealed to appreciate what he did.” Imam al Wahidi, too, has quoted this hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas in his book Asbabul-Nuzul. He also quotes Mujahid narrating it, and he transmits it from al Kalbi in more detail.

47. The one who has brought forth the truth is the Messenger of Allah, and the one who has believed therein is the Commander of the Faithful ‘alayh al Salam, according to the hadith of al Baqir, al Sadiq, al Kazim, al Rida, peace be upon all of them, as well as by Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn al hanafiyyah, ‘Abdullah ibn al Hassan, the martyred Zaid ibn ‘Ali ibn al Hussain, and ‘Ali ibn Ja’far al Sadiq ‘alayh al Salam. The Commander of the Faithful used to use this verse as a testimonial. Ibn al Maghazli, in his Manaqib, quotes Mujahid saying: “The one who has brought the truth is Muhammad (S), and the one who has believed in him is ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam.” Both huffaz, that is, Ibn Mardawayh and Abu Na’im, have quoted it, and so have others.

48. In his exegesis of Surat al Tur on page 468, Vol. 2, of his authentic Al Mustadrak, al Hakim quotes Ibn ‘Abbas paraphrasing the verse reading: “And those who believe and whose families follow them in faith, to them shall We join their families: nor shall We deprive them (of the fruit) of aught of their good deeds; yet each individual is pawned to what deeds he has done,” by saying: “Allah shall elevate the status of a believer’s descendants so that they would be able to join him in Paradise, even if they may be in a lower station,” then he recited the same verse again and said: “Allah says He will not decrease their rewards aught.”

49. This is the third verse of the ones enumarated by Ibn Hajar in Chapter 11 of his Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa. The author goes on to say that a group of scholars of exegesis have quoted Ibn ‘Abbas saying: “The implication of this verse is to send salutations unto Muhammad’s Progeny ‘alayh al Salam.” Ibn Hajar says that al Kalbi, too, has given it the same meaning, then he adds: “Al Fakhr al Razi has stated that the Prophet’s Progeny constitutes his [‘Ali’s] peer in five instances: Allah has greeted him by saying: ‘Peace be unto you, O Messenger, and unto the Progeny of Yasin,’ in sending prayers unto him and them in tashahhud, sadaqa, and tahara, when the Almighty says: ‘Taha,’ that is, tahir, purified, and: ‘… purifies you with a perfect purification;’ in loving them, saying: ‘Follow me so that Allah may love you,’ and also: ‘Say: I do not ask you for any reward other than being kind to my kin.’”

50. Al Bukhari has quoted it in his tafsir of the holy Qur’an, in Vol. 3 of his Sahih, in a chapter dealing with the verse “Allah and His angels send salutations unto Muhammad,” in his exegesis of Surat al Ahzab. It is also quoted by Muslim in a chapter on sending greetings unto the Prophet (S) in his book on prayers in Vol. 1 of his Sahih, and it is quoted by all traditionists from Ka’b ibn ‘Ajrah.

51. Refer to the second of these verses on page 87.

52. Al Tha’labi, while discussing its meaning in his Al Tafsir al Kabir, quotes hadith in which the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, says: “Tuba is a tree in Paradise whose root is in my home and whose branch overshadows the residents of Paradise.” Some people asked: “O Messenger of Allah! We have asked you before about it, and you told us that its root is in ‘Ali’s home and its branch is above the residents of Paradise,” whereupon he, peace be upon him and his progeny, said: “Aren’t my home and ‘Ali’s the same?”

53. Thiqatul-Islam al Kulayni has quoted in an authentic hadith Salim saying that he once asked Abu Ja’far (Imam al Baqir) about the meaning of the verse: “Then We let those whom We have selected from among Our servants inherit the Book.” The Imam, peace be upon him, explained it as follows: “The one who rushes to do good deeds is the Imam; the one who is moderate is the one who knows the value of the Imam; and the one who does injustice to his own self is the one who is not aware of the significance of the Imam.” Something similar to this is cited from Imams Abu ‘Abdullah al Sadiq ‘alayh al Salam, Abul-Hassan al Kazim, and Abul-Hassan al Rida, peace be upon them, who are quoted by al Saduq and by many others among our narrators. Ibn Mardawayh quotes ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam explaining this verse thus: “The ones implied in this verse are we,” and the details are available in our book Tanzil al Ayat, as well as in Ghayat al Maram.

54. This is quoted by Ibn ‘Asakir from Ibn ‘Abbas, as stated in Section 3, Chapter 9, page 76, of Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa.

 
 

Discussions

Acceptance of spurious narrations

The first part of the correspondence begins with Sheikh Salim al Bishri allegedly accepting these narrations wholeheartedly. Had ‘Abdul Hussain included some form of resistance on the part of Sheikh Salim al Bishri it might have been more convincing. It is significantly odd that the Sheikh al Azhar would have asked for references for narrations which were more ambiguous, yet here he appears to have been bought and sold on the soundness of these narrations.

What becomes increasingly strange is that he sought no clarification of other clear reports which suggest that responsibility for the Ummah will be shared among others besides ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

Hudhayfah radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

اقتدوا باللذين من بعدي أبي بكر وعمر

Follow the example of the two after me, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.[1]

 

Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha relates:

 

عائشة قالت قال لي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في مرضه‏‏ ادعي لي أبا بكر وأخاك حتى أكتب كتابا فإني أخاف أن يتمنى متمن ويقول قائل أنا أولى‏ ويأبى الله والمؤمنون إلا أبا بكر

When the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was suffering from that illness from which he succumbed to, he said, “Summon Abu Bakr and your brother, so that no one will desire afterwards or aspire to Abu Bakr’s role.”

He went on, “Allah and the believers would not allow it to be otherwise.”[2]

 

‘Irbad ibn Sariyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates:

 

وعظنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم موعظة وجلت منها القلوب وذرفت منها العيون فقلنا يا رسول الله كأنها موعظة مودع فأوصنا قال أوصيكم بتقوى الله والسمع والطاعة وإن تأمر عليكم عبد فإنه من يعش منكم فسيرى اختلافا كثيرا فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء الراشدين المهديين عضوا عليها بالنواجذ

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam gave us a sermon by which our hearts were filled with fear and tears came to our eyes. So we said, “O Messenger of Allah! It is as though this is a farewell sermon, so counsel us.”

He salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “I counsel you to have taqwa (fear) of Allah, and to listen and obey [your leader], even if a slave were to become your leader. Verily he among you who lives long will see great controversy, so you must keep to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khalifas. Cling to it with your molar teeth…”[3]

 

If one considers these texts, among so many others, would the Sheikh al Azhar not at least sought clarification on these narrations? The lack of resistance and overwhelming acceptance appears all too convenient.

 

Hadith evidence before Qur’anic evidence

Anyone familiar with source methodology in Islamic texts would be aware of the phenomenon of forged ahadith. As such, the natural progression for academic discourse is to commence with the verses in the Qur’an which are categorically clear, then verses which are less categorical though remain suggestive, then the Prophetic ahadith.

We have previously alluded to the deficit of evidence from the Qur’an which support the ‘Abdul Hussain argument. He has finally come around to presenting proofs from the Qur’an after having prepared the framework that will achieve his preconceived outcome. What is particularly eye-catching is the sheer abundance of narrations that have been cited to support the claim. If one reconsiders for a moment it appears almost as if the Qur’an—within the paradigm of ‘Abdul Hussain’s discussion—has been exclusively revealed for establishing the Imamah of said individuals from the Ahlul Bayt. Since the alleged evidence from the Qur’an occurs in such abundance, why begin with Hadith evidence which stands the risk of being debated in terms of acceptance?

The reader is kindly requested to approach the verses from a position of objectivity and neutrality. This is the only way to be shielded from a flawed hermeneutic.

 

Abundance of verses in praise of Ahlul Bayt

‘Abdul Hussain commences this round of correspondence claiming that none have been mentioned in the Qur’an as much as the Ahlul Bayt. While this statement is not objectionable at face value, there are a few underlying assumptions that need to be clarified which sheds light on the flawed hermeneutic we hinted at earlier.

At the outset, the Ahlus Sunnah have intense love for the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam blessed family. This is a matter where there is no dispute. Sunni’s maintain that their love and respect for the Ahlul Bayt is kept in check with the regulators of the Shari’ah and is motivated by revealed texts. Additionally, loving the Ahlul Bayt is seen separate from infallibility or the pre-eminent mandate to lead the Ummah.

The second underlying principle concerns those intended by the term Ahlul Bayt. The term Ahlul Bayt—within the Sunni paradigm—applies to the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wives, and those members from his family who accepted Islam upon whom Zakat is prohibited; Banu Hashim and Banu al Muttalib. This definition has been understood from Hadith al Thaqalayn narrated by Zaid ibn Arqam in Sahih Muslim.[4] Even if ‘Abdul Hussain were alive he ought to have no objection to this definition since it was he who initially cited Hadith al Thaqalayn.

Finally, the Ahlus Sunnah do not view the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam blessed family and his noble Companions as adversaries, or as significant others. They are both accorded the love, respect, and admiration as demanded by revealed texts. Bearing this in mind, a merit for the Companions is not a score against the blessed family. Similarly, virtues accorded to the Ahlul Bayt does not detract from the Sahabah; may Allah be pleased with them all.

 

The Verse of Purification

‘Abdul Hussain cites the first of the verses which—according to his claim—exhibit the pre-eminence of the Ahlul Bayt and proves that following them in all religious matters is necessary. The verse which he cites is referred to as Ayat al Tathir, or the Verse of Purification.

 

إِنَّمَا يُرِيْدُ اللّٰهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيْرًا

Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.[5]

 

This is actually a portion of a verse which occurs amidst a series of verses addressing the Prophet’s wives.

While we agree with ‘Abdul Hussain in his claim that this refers to the Ahlul Bayt, we disagree that they are unique in this regard. Allah has revealed the following in praise of the participants at Badr:

 

إِذْ يُغَشِّيْكُمُ ٱلنُّعَاسَ أَمَنَةً مِّنْهُ وَيُنَزِّلُ عَلَيْكُمْ مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءً لِّيُطَهِّرَكُمْ بِهِ وَيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ رِجْزَ ٱلشَّيْطٰنِ وَلِيَرْبِطَ عَلٰى قُلُوْبِكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتَ بِهِ الْأَقْدَامَ

Behold! He caused slumber to overcome [all of you] as a security from Him. Moreover He sent down upon you from the sky, water to purify you thereby; and to remove from you the defilement of [the whisperings of] Satan, and to gird your hearts, and set firm [your] feet thereby.[6]

 

It is evident from the verse above that—contrary to what ‘Abdul Hussain claims—the accolade of purification is not unique to the Ahlul Bayt. It is, in fact, a trait which is also shared by the valiant participants at Badr.

Some have argued that the verse in al Ahzab applies to ‘Ali, Fatimah, Hassan, and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum exclusively as it was they whom the Prophet gathered under his cloak, praying for them to purified. Thus it does not apply to the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wives.

The absurdity of this claim is exposed by the parlance of the Qur’an, in addition to the placement of this verses as it is preceded and succeeded by verses addressing the wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam specifically. As a matter of fact, the verse commences addressing the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wives, and immediately addresses them after mentioning purification.

In another verse of the Qur’an, Allah while informing us of Musa ‘alayh al Salam says:

 

إِذْ قَالَ مُوْسٰى لِأَهْلِه إِنِّيْ اٰنَسْتُ نَارًا سَاٰتِيْكُمْ مِّنْهَا بِخَبَرٍ

[Mention] when (Prophet) Musa said to his family [his wife], “Indeed, I have perceived a fire. I will bring you from there information.”[7]

 

This verse appears repeatedly with slight variation in wording in many places in the Qur’an. It refers to the incident where Musa ‘alayh al Salam was traveling with his wife. They had become concerned as they entered unfamiliar territory and Musa ‘alayh al Salam told his wife that he had seen a fire. The part that concerns us is that Musa ‘alayh al Salam was only traveling with his wife. Therefore, the term Ahl, here, was used exclusively for his wife.

In another verse we find:

قَالَتْ مَا جَزَاءُ مَنْ أَرَادَ بِأَهْلِكَ سُوءًا إِلَّا أَنْ يُسْجَنَ…

She said, “What is the recompense of one who intended evil for your Ahl (wife) but that he is imprisoned…”[8]

 

This verse refers to the complaint against Yusuf ‘alayh al Salam by the wife of the ‘Aziz of Egypt to her husband. She accused him of making inappropriate advances towards her. Again the word has been used exclusively for the wife.

While in Surah Hud, we find even clearer usage of the word Ahlul Bayt:

 

قَالُوْٓا أَتَعْجَبِيْنَ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللّٰهِ رَحْمَتُ اللّٰهِ وَبَرَكٰتُهُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ إِنَّهُ حَمِيْدٌ مَّجِيْدٌ

They said, “Are you amazed at the decree of Allah? May the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you, Ahlul Bayt (people of the house). Indeed, He is Praiseworthy and Honourable.”[9]

 

In this verse the angels are addressing Sarah, the wife of Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam, giving her the glad tidings of the son to be born to her. Again, the term Ahlul Bayt is used for the wife. The angels conclude the dialogue supplicating for her. It is interesting to note the transition of pronoun from feminine to masculine when Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam is included in the supplication.

If we study the style and language of the verse above, it solves the dilemma raised by some. They argue that the transition from a feminine pronoun to a masculine pronoun in the verse in Surah al Ahzab denotes a change of discourse. However, the verse in Surah Hud addresses this superficial problem and proves that this transition is conventional when the entire family unit is being addressed. Furthermore, the Qur’an is coherent and consistent. The verses preceding Ayat al Tathir, and those succeeding it, all include the wives. Why then should they be excluded?

The argument in light of Hadith al Kisa, where the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam took ‘Ali, Fatimah, Hassan, and Hussain under his cloak, is counterproductive. If anything, it lends itself to the understanding that they were not originally included by the address in Surah al Ahzab, hence the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam later supplicated for them, on the grounds that they are also his family, may Allah be pleased with them and elevate their status.

To sum up, we concur that Ayat al Tathir refers to the Ahlul Bayt. Only we believe it to apply to them in their entirety and that the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wives are intended in the first degree. We disagree that this spiritual purification was exclusive to the Ahlul Bayt since the verse in Surah al Anfal speaks of spiritual purification for the heroes of Badr as well. Lastly, the process of purification is a virtue, but not one that qualifies one for incumbent leadership of the Muslims after the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam demise, nor does it confer upon them legal authority.

 

Ayat al Mawaddah

‘Abdul Hussain goes on to suggest that the obligation to love has not been revealed in respect of anyone besides them, citing the verse in Surah al Shura

قُل لَّا أَسْئَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبٰى وَمَنْ يَقْتَرِفْ حَسَنَةٌ نَّزِدْ لَهُ فِيْهَا حُسْنًا إِنَّ اللّٰهَ غَفُوْرٌ شَكُوْرٌ

Say [to them]: I do not ask of you any reward for this except goodwill [that is expected] among close relatives. And whoever commits a good deed—We will increase for him good therein. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Appreciative.[10]

 

In the footnotes ‘a good deed’ is interpreted as loving them and Allah’s forgiveness is promised—based on this interpretation—for those who love them; and it is this that Allah is ever appreciative for.

Before providing the correct understanding of this verse. It is necessary that we reiterate that the obligation of loving the Prophet’s family is undoubtedly a religious duty. Again we confirm that loving the blessed family applies to the Ahlul Bayt in its entirety.

Having said that we ought to point out that the virtues and merits of Ahlul Bayt are many, but does this verse refer to the Ahlul Bayt? To answer this question we seek the guidance of a member of the Ahlul Bayt, the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam cousin, ‘Abdullah ibn al ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.

When asked about this verse, Sa’id ibn Jubayr responded, “To be kind to the family of Muhammad.” Immediately Ibn ‘Abbas interjected saying, “No, you have jumped to a hasty conclusion. There was no clan among the Quraysh to whom the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not have some ties of kinship.” He then interpreted this part of the verse as

 

فنزلت عليه إلا أن تصلوا قرابة بيني وبينكم

Except that you uphold the ties of kinship that exist between me and you.[11]

 

The verse ought to be understood as an instruction to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to say to the disbelievers from the Quraysh: I do not ask you for anything in return for this message and sincere advice which I bring to you. All I ask of you is that you withhold your evil from me and let me convey the Message of my Lord. If you will not help me, then do not prevent me, for the sake of the ties of kinship that exist between you and I.

Ibn Kathir has cited this narration and used it to interpret this verse. He then points out a peculiar narration which is found in the Tafsir of Ibn Abi Hatim with its chain to Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

‘Ali ibn Hussain — a man (Ibn Abi Hatim withheld the name) — Hussain al Ashqar — Qais — al A’mash — Sa’id ibn Jubayr — Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu who said that when this verse was revealed the Companions asked the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “O Messenger Of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who are those whom Allah has enjoined upon us to love?”

He replied, “Fatimah and her children.”

Ibn Kathir comments on this narration saying, “This chain is unreliable. In addition to the anonymous narrator, his teacher, Hussain al Ashqar, is a fanatic Shia, whose narrations in this regard are unreliable. Furthermore, the narration suggests that this verse was revealed in Madinah and this is farfetched. On the contrary, it was revealed in Makkah and Fatimah had no children then. In fact she only wed ‘Ali after the Battle of Badr in the second year after Hijrah.”[12]

 

This is the same Hussain ibn al Hassan al Ashqar whose narrations appeared in our discussions on earlier correspondence. He has been discredited by al Bukhari, Abu Zur’ah—who considered him completely unreliable—and Abu Hatim. Al Juzajani calls him an extremist Shia accused of cursing the Companions. Ibn ‘Adi has pointed out the fact that he was known to have narrated many baseless narrations.[13]

This clarifies that the instruction was to the Quraysh, the one deserving of love in this instance is the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the underlying cause was their blood relationship to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Furthermore, even if the verse applied to the Ahlul Bayt it calls for loving them; there is nothing to suggest absolute obedience to them or that their leadership is mandated.

 

Ayat al Mubahalah

Mubahalah is a term in Arabic which refers to resolving an issuer of great significance by supplicating against the opposing party.

This refers to the verse in Surah Al ‘Imran:

 

فَمَنْ حَآجَّكَ فِيهِ مِنۢ بَعْدِ مَا جَآءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْاْ نَدْعُ أَبْنَآءَنَا وَأَبْنَآءَكُمْ وَنِسَآءَنَا وَنِسَآءَكُمْ وَأَنفُسَنَا وَأَنفُسَكُمْ ثُمَّ نَبْتَهِلْ فَنَجْعَل لَّعْنَتَ اللّٰهِ عَلَى الْكٰذِبِيْنَ

Then whoever argues with you about it after [this] knowledge has come to you—say, “Come, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves, then supplicate earnestly [together] and invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars [among us].[14]

 

The reason for the call to Mubahalah is that a delegation from the Christians of Najran (in the south of the Arabian Peninsula) came to Madinah to debate about ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam, claiming that he was divine and the son of Allah. In this regard many verses from Surah Al ‘Imran were revealed. When the debate had reached a point that the Christians were unwilling to admit their error, Allah commanded the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to engage in Mubahalah.

Hudhayfah radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates:

 

عن حذيفة قال جاء العاقب والسيد صاحبا نجران إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يريدان أن يلاعناه قال فقال أحدهما لصاحبه لا تفعل فوالله لئن كان نبيا فلاعنا لا نفلح نحن ولا عقبنا من بعدنا‏.‏قالا إنا نعطيك ما سألتنا وابعث معنا رجلا أمينا ولا تبعث معنا إلا أمينا‏. فقال ‏لأبعثن معكم رجلا أمينا حق أمين فاستشرف له أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال ‏قم يا أبا عبيدة بن الجراح فلما قام قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏هذا أمين هذه الأمة

Al ‘Aqib and al Sayed, the rulers of Najran, came to the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam with the intention of invoking Allah’s wrath by means of supplication. One of them said to the other, “Do not do this. By Allah, if he is indeed a Prophet and we do this, neither we, nor our offspring after us will be successful.”

Then both of them said (to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), “We will give what you should ask but you should send a trustworthy man with us, and do not send any person with us but an honest one.”

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “I will send an honest man who is truly trustworthy.”

Then every one of the Companions of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam hoped to be that person.

Then the Prophet said, “Stand up, O Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah.”

When he got up, the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “This is the Amin of this Ummah.”[15]

 

Another element in this incident is narrated by Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam went out one morning wearing a striped cloak. His grandson Hassan approached him, and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam embraced him under the cloak, then his brother Hussain came and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam covered him with the cloak as well. Thereafter Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha approached and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did the same with her and soon thereafter ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu approached, and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam gathered him under the cloak as well. He then supplicated to Allah to rid them of defilement and to purify them.[16]

This is the complimentary element to Ayat al Tathir. The details have been covered under that discussion.

There is, however, another element related to Ayat al Mubahalah which has been raised by the Shia and there is no harm addressing it here. They claim that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu has been equated to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in this verse by virtue of the words, “ourselves and yourselves,” which form part of the verse. The Nafs [self] being referred to here refers to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu according to the Shia since it is inconceivable that one would call one’s self. Therefore the Nafs, by necessity, has to refer to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

They further claim that since ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu has been equated to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam it is a clear indication of his pre-eminent role as leader after the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam demise.

This interpretation appears to arise out of a deficiency in grasping the style of Arabic used in the Qur’an, as well as the underlying cultural convention of including one’s son-in-law among one’s children. This in addition to the fact that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was raised by the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in his own home.

The idea of addressing one’s self is evident in many passages in the Qur’an. These are example where the words Nafs applies to one’s self. These will include examples that demonstrate the fact that two parties referred to as Nafs are not necessarily equal.

 

فَطَوَّعَتْ لَهُ نَفْسُهُ قَتْلَ أَخِيْهِ فَقَتَلَهُ فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ الْخٰسِرِيْنَ

And his own Nafs [soul] prompted him to the murder of his brother, so he killed him and became among the losers.

 

In this verse Allah is referring to the son of Adam ‘alayh al Salam who killed his own brother. The Nafs here referred to himself. It was not some separate entity.

ثُمَّ أَنْتُمْ هَٰٓؤُلَاءِ تَقْتُلُوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ

Then, you are those [who are] killing one another.[17]

 

Nafs is used here for the collective. It certainly does not mean that every individual who makes up the collective is equal. The summary is that applying the word Nafs to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is unconventional, and even if it were acceptable, it does not put ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on equal footing.

Until this point the error has been understanding a verse incorrectly, although there might have been a remote connection in some way to the Ahlul Bayt. However, in what follows the evidence that ‘Abdul Hussain furnishes is completely isolated from the Ahlul Bayt that if any person were to read from the Mushaf they would have absolutely no indication that these verses are connected to Ahlul Bayt in any way.

To overcome this obstacle the Shia have resorted to an alternative strategy; that is to fabricate an episode which links members of the Ahlul Bayt to verses of the Qur’an. Therefore, the verse will only lend itself to their desired meaning if it is accompanied by the forged narration. The extent of their forgeries will be revealed in the pages that follow.

 

Surah al Dahr

In the footnotes, a comment is made on the verse of poetry cited by ‘Abdul Hussain, that the Surah beginning with Hal Ata (Surah al Dahr, also known as Surah al Insan) has been revealed regarding ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his children.

Suffice to say that this Surah was revealed in Makkah by consensus. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu only wed Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha after the Battle of Badr in the second year after Hijrah. His children were only born much later. The historical inaccuracy disproves the notion that this Surah was revealed about these noble individuals.

Al Tha’labi quotes a narration by way of:

Al Qasim ibn BahramLayth ibn Abi Sulaim — Mujahid — Ibn ‘Abbas

 

And again by way of:

Al Kalbi — Abu Salih — Ibn ‘Abbas

 

In this narration he relates an incident wherein Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma were ill. The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, with some other Companions, went to visit them. The visitors suggested ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu make a vow to Allah: if He were to cure them, he would perform some good action. Thereafter ‘Ali, Fatimah, and their servant Fiddah vowed to Allah that they would fast for three days if He would cure Hassan and Hussain.

After they were cured ‘Ali and Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma began to fast. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu had also borrowed barley from a Jewish person, from which Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhu baked bread. Each night, at the time of breaking their fast, someone came to ask food and they gave over their supper. The first night it was a pauper, the second night, an orphan and the third a captive of war. The narration continues that Jibril ‘alayh al Salam descended with this Surah, and their description appears in the verse:

 

يُوْفُوْنَ بِالنَّذْرِ وَيَخَافُوْنَ يَوْمًا كَانَ شَرُّهُ مُسْتَطِيْرًا وَيُطْعِمُوْنَ الطَّعَامَ عَلٰى حُبِّهِ مِسْكِيْنًا وَّيَتِيْمًا وَأَسِيْرًا

They [are those who] fulfil [their] vows and fear a Day whose evil will be widespread. And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive.[18]

 

It does not come as a surprise to know that the narrators in both chains are compromised.

 

Al Qasim ibn Bahram

Al Qasim ibn Bahram has been declared weak by al Daraqutni, and Ibn Hibban has included him in his compendium of unreliable narrators.[19]

 

Layth ibn Abi Sulaim

Layth ibn Abi Sulaim[20] has been discussed in our previous discussions. He was considered unreliable as well.

 

Muhammad ibn Sa’ib al Kalbi

Appearing in the second chain is al Kalbi. His complete name is Muhammad ibn Sa’ib al Kalbi, who, in addition to his extreme form of Shi’ism, was accused of forging Hadith.[21]

As a matter of fact, this chain: al Kalbi — Abu Salih — Ibn ‘Abbas forms part of what is known as Silsilat al Kadhib (the chain of lies).[22]

 

The Rope of Allah

 

وَاعْتَصِمُوْا بِحَبْلِ اللّٰهِ جَمِيْعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوْا

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided.

 

‘Abdul Hussain’s citations reveals the inconsistencies of the Shia. A few pages back, he listed so many narrations—claiming that they were Mutawatir—on Hadith al Thaqalayn. If he really accepted them as Mutawatir, they disprove his reasoning here. Those narrations refer to the Book of Allah as His rope suspended from the heavens.[23]

The editor saw it fit to quote Imam Jafar al Sadiq interpreting the Rope of Allah in this verse as the Ahlul Bayt. He has not been able to provide any reference besides the Tafsir of al Tha’labi whose Tafsir combines all sorts of narration. A casual reference like this is insufficient to prove that the narration to Jafar al Sadiq is reliable. The problem is compounded when one considers the fact that Jafar al Sadiq did not witness the revelation of the Qur’an. Whereas there are individuals who witnessed the revelation of the Qur’an, and who understood its context, and were aware of whom or what the verses were addressed to. The conclusion is based on a premise that is presumed fact, whereas the premise itself requires proof.

‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu seems to have a different view since he has described the Qur’an as “Allah’s firm rope and His straight path”.[24]

Al Suyuti has referenced the opinion of Ibn Mas’ud to numerous sources. He has also interpreted the Rope of Allah as the Qur’an.[25]

Other opinions on what the Rope of Allah refers to range from:

  • the majority of Muslims,
  • the religion in general,
  • the covenant with Allah,
  • sincerity. [26]

As far as the Ahlus Sunnah are concerned, these remain opinions. What would make one opinion more deserving than another? Opinions which can be traced to the era in which the Qur’an was revealed hold much more weight than later opinions; since that generation is the primary audience to receive the Qur’an. So it stands to reason that they would be in the best position to understand the Qur’an in terms of its language and context. In this case we have a number of individuals from that generation explaining the Rope of Allah to mean the Book of Allah. This, in addition to the fact that these opinions can be reliably traced back to the Companions, lends credibility to this particular understanding.

The poetry which has been attributed to al Shafi’i by the editor in support of ‘Abdul Hussain’s interpretation cannot be reliably traced back to him. As a matter of fact, these do not feature in his anthology of poems. It becomes more suspicious when these verses of poetry allude to the narration of the Ark of Nuh, which was earlier proven to be a forgery. What makes matters worse still is that the poor level of language in those verses of poetry are not in harmony with the level of Arabic of a scholar who is an accepted authority on the language. At best these might be incorrectly ascribed to him, though the possibility of forgery seems more likely.

 

The Truthful Ones

 

يٰأَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ أٰمَنُوْا اتَّقُوْا اللّٰهَ وَكُوْنُوْا مَعَ الصّٰدِقِيْنَ

O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with those who are true.[27]

 

‘Abdul Hussain suggests that this verse applies to the Ahlul Bayt exclusively. The editor takes the claim further saying that it is restricted to the Imams, based on the Mutawatir reports in their reliable collections.

The truth is that these verses appear at the end of Surah al Tawbah, where Allah gives the details of the expedition of Tabuk. In this expedition, three of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum remained behind in Madinah without excuse. The Munafiqin who remained behind presented false excuses to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and they were let off the hook. However, these three Companions, refused to give false excuses and were excommunicated for a period of over fifty days. During this period they were tempted by offers from neighbouring Kings, to abandon the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and join the disbelievers. However, these three Companions remained firm, hoping in Allah; and on account of their blunt honesty and truthfulness to the cause of Islam, they were not only forgiven but had their forgiveness announced in the Qur’an for all to read until eternity. Allah placed this verse immediately after recounting their ordeal.

Ka’b ibn Malik, who was one of the three, retells the story in great detail. Below is an excerpt of his account of what occurred:

 

After I had offered my Fajr prayer on the early morning of the fiftieth day of this boycott on the roof of one of our houses, and had sat in the very state which Allah described as, “The earth seemed constrained for me despite its vastness,” I heard the voice of a proclaimer from the peak of the hill Sal’ shouting at the top of his voice, “O Ka’b ibn Malik, rejoice.”

I fell down in prostration and came to know that there was (a message of) relief for me. The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had informed the people about the acceptance of our repentance by Allah after he had offered the Fajr prayer. So the people went on to give us glad tidings and some of them went to my Companions in order to give them the glad tidings. A man spurred his horse towards me (to give the good news), and another one from the tribe of Aslam came running for the same purpose and, as he approached the mount, I received the good news which reached me before the rider did. When the one whose voice I had heard came to me to congratulate me, I took off my garments and gave them to him for the good news he brought to me. By Allah, I possessed nothing else (in the form of clothes) except these garments, at that time. Then I borrowed two garments, dressed myself and came to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam On my way, I met groups of people who greeted me for (the acceptance of) repentance and they said, “Congratulations on the acceptance of your repentance.” I reached the mosque where the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was sitting amidst people. Talhah ibn ‘Obaidullah got up and rushed towards me, shook hands with me, and greeted me. By Allah, no person stood up (to greet me) from amongst the Muhajirin besides him.

Ka’b said that he never forgot (this good gesture of) Talhah. Ka’b further said, “I greeted the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam with Salam and his face was beaming with pleasure.

He salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Rejoice with the best day you have ever seen since your mother gave you birth.”

I said, “O Messenger of Allah! Is this (good news) from you or from Allah?”

He said, “No, it is from Allah.”

And it was common with the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that whenever he was happy, his face would glow as if it were a part of the moon and it was from this that we recognized it (his delight).

As I sat before him, I said, “I have placed a condition upon myself that if Allah accepts my Tawbah, I would give up all of my property in charity for the sake of Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam!”

Thereupon Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Keep some property with you, as it is better for you.”

I said, “I shall keep with me that portion which is in Khaybar.”

I added, “O Messenger of Allah! Verily, Allah has granted me salvation because of my truthfulness, and therefore, repentance obliges me to speak nothing but the truth as long as I am alive.”

Ka’b added, “By Allah, I do not know anyone among the Muslims who has been granted truthfulness better than me since I said this to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. By Allah! Since the time I made a pledge of this to Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, I have never intended to tell a lie, and I hope that Allah would protect me (against telling lies) for the rest of my life. Allah, the Exalted, the Glorious, revealed these verses:

Allah has already forgiven the Prophet, the Muhajirin, and the Ansar who followed him in the hour of difficulty after the hearts of a party of them had almost inclined [to doubt], and then He forgave them. Indeed, He was to them Kind and Merciful.

And [He also forgave] the three who were left behind [and regretted their error] to the point that the earth closed in on them in spite of its vastness and their souls confined them and they were certain that there is no refuge from Allah except in Him. Then He turned to them so they could repent. Indeed, Allah is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.

O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with those who are true.

Ka’b continued, “By Allah, since Allah guided me to Islam, there has been no blessing more significant for me than this truth of mine which I spoke to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and if I were to tell a lie I would have been ruined as were ruined those who had told lies, for Allah described those who told lies with the worst description He ever attributed to anybody else[28]

 

If we consider this narration, it gives a clear idea of the context in which this verse was revealed.

Nonetheless, this interpretation is further supported by a narration from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma who interpreted the truthful ones in this verse to mean: The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum.[29]

The Qur’an also refers to the Muhajirin as the truthful ones:

 

لِلْفُقَرَآءِ الْمُهٰجِرِيْنَ الَّذِيْنَ أُخْرِجُوْا مِنْ دِيٰرِهِمْ وَأَمْوٰلِهِمْ يَبْتَغُوْنَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَرِضْوٰنًا وَّيَنْصُرُوْنَ اللّٰهَ وَرَسُوْلَهُ أُولَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ الصّٰدِقُوْنَ

For the poor emigrants who were expelled from their homes and their properties, seeking bounty from Allah and [His] approval and supporting Allah and His Messenger, [there is also a share]. Those are the truthful.[30]

 

The ones intended by this verse primarily are the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Although, the comprehensive expression used in the verse allows for the inclusion of others in a secondary capacity provided they possess the traits espoused by this verse. Even the sequence suggests this. Consider that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was mentioned, then his Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum were mentioned immediately after him, the Muhajirin, the Ansar, those who followed him in the most trying expedition, then the three who remained behind. The instruction is then given to fear Allah and be with the truthful ones. Immediately thereafter Allah admonishes those who lagged behind without excuse.

There is no interruption in the Qur’anic address which would suggest the inclusion of anyone else. The expedition of Tabuk was one where ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not participate because the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructed him to remain behind in Madinah and see to the affairs of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Though he is not included in the admonishment, it serves as a further indication of the error of applying this verse to the Ahlul Bayt, or the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt specifically.

The editor’s claim that this verse applies exclusively to the Imams is one without any evidence to support it. The only narrations that could be cited in this regard are narrated by way of Muhammad ibn al Sa’ib al Kalbi[31] who was accused of lying and forging narrations.[32] And by way of Ahmed ibn Sabih al AsadiMufaddal ibn SalihJabir — Abu Jafar.

 

Ahmed ibn Sabih

Ahmed ibn Sabih has been declared weak[33] by the scholars of Hadith.

 

Mufaddal ibn Salih

Mufaddal ibn Salih is also a weak narrator[34] and is one of the narrators of the fabricated Hadith comparing the Ahlul Bayt to the Ark of Nuh ‘alayh al Salam.[35]

 

Jabir ibn Yazid al Ju’fi

Jabir is the famous Jabir ibn Yazid al Ju’fi from Kufah, about whom Abu Hanifah said:

I have never seen a greater liar than Jabir al Ju’fi.[36]

 

He was accused of lying by many of the Hadith critics, including his peers.[37]

One wonders if these are the Mutawatir narrations that the editor was referring to, which appear in their sound collections.

 

The Path of Allah and the Way of Allah

‘Abdul Hussain refers to them as such based on the verse in Surah al An’am:

 

وَأَنَّ هٰذَا صِرٰطِيْ مُسْتَقِيْمًا فَاتَّبِعُوْهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوْا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَنْ سَبِيْلِهِ ذٰلِكُمْ وَصٰىكُمْ بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُوْنَ

And, [moreover], this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous.[38]

 

Ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

 

عن عبد الله بن مسعود قال خط لنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم خطا ثم قال هذا سبيل الله ثم خط خطوطا عن يمينه وعن شماله ثم قال هذه سبل قال يزيد متفرقة على كل سبيل منها شيطان يدعو إليه ثم قرأ وَأَنَّ هٰذَا صِرٰطِيْ مُسْتَقِيْمًا فَاتَّبِعُوْهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوْا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَنْ سَبِيْلِهِ

The Messenger of Allah drew a line with his hand (in the sand) and said, “This is Allah’s path, leading straight.” He then drew lines to the right and left of that line and said, “These are the other paths, on each path there is a devil who calls to it.” He then recited, “And, [moreover], this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way.”[39]

 

This parable is further explained by the narration of Nawwas ibn Sam’an, who reports that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

عن النواس بن سمعان الكلابي قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏إن الله ضرب مثلا صراطا مستقيما على كنفى الصراط داران لهما أبواب مفتحة على الأبواب ستور وداع يدعو على رأس الصراط وداع يدعو فوقه ‏‏والله يدعو إلى دار السلام ويهدي من يشاء إلى صراط مستقيم والأبواب التي على كنفى الصراط حدود الله فلا يقع أحد في حدود الله حتى يكشف الستر والذي يدعو من فوقه واعظ ربه

Indeed Allah has made a parable of the straight path: At the sides of the path there are walls with open doors, each door having a curtain. There is a caller at the head of the path calling, and a caller above it calling. And Allah invites to the abode of peace and guides whomever He wills to the straight path. The doors which are on the sides of the path are the Hudud (limitations) of Allah; no one breaches the Hudud of Allah except that the curtain is lifted, and the one calling from above it is his Lord’s admonisher.[40]

 

Imam Ahmed has related a lengthier narration from Nawwas ibn Sam’an radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

ضرب الله مثلا صراطا مستقيما وعن جنبي الصراط سوران فيهما أبواب مفتحة وعلى الأبواب ستور مرخاة وعلى باب الصراط داع يدعو يا أيها الناس هلموا ادخلوا الصراط المستقيم جميعا ولا تفرقوا وداع يدعو من فوق الصراط فإذا أراد الإنسان أن يفتح شيئا من تلك الأبواب قال ويحك لا تفتحه فإنك إن فتحته تلجه فالصراط الإسلام والسوران حدود الله والأبواب المفتحة محارم الله وذلك الداعي على رأس الصراط كتاب الله والداعي من فوق الصراط واعظ الله في قلب كل مسلم

Allah has given a parable of the straight path, and on either side of this path, there are two walls containing open doors. On these doors there are curtains that are lowered down. On the entrance of this path there is a caller announcing, “O people! Come and enter the straight path all together and do not divide.” There is also another caller that announces from above the path, who says, when a person wants to remove the curtain on any of these doors, “Woe to you! Do not open this door, for if you open it, you will enter it.” The (straight) path is Islam, the two walls are Allah’s set limits, the open doors lead to Allah’s prohibitions, the caller on the entrance of the path is Allah’s Book, while the caller from above the path is Allah’s admonition in the heart of every Muslim.[41]

 

There is no sound evidence from al Baqir or al Sadiq radiya Llahu ‘anhuma that they interpreted this verse as such. Even if it is proven from them, their authority is still to be proven. That, against the backdrop of the Hadith of Nawwas, wherein the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam clarified the Path to mean Islam, clearly demonstrates the desperate measures to which ‘Abdul Hussain—and the rest of the Shia for that matter—resort to in order to prove their doctrine.

 

Those entrusted with Authority

 

يٰأَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ أٰمَنُوْٓا أَطِيْعُوْا اللّٰهَ وَأَطِيْعُوْا الرَّسُوْلَ وَأُوْلِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ فَإِن تَنٰزَعْتُمْ فِيْ شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوْهُ إِلَى اللّٰهِ وَالرَّسُوْلِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُوْنَ بِاللّٰهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْأٰخِرِذٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَّأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيْلًا

O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.[42]

 

‘Abdul Hussain claims that this verse in Surah al Nisa’ applies to the Ahlul Bayt, hence conferring upon them religious authority. Again, the conclusion relies on a preconceived premise. The evidence presented to indicate that the Imams are the ones entrusted with authority only originates from the statement of the Imams in the Shia texts.

‘Abdul Hussain undertook to only provide evidence which was mutually acceptable. Unfortunately, he has failed to do so in most cases. In the rare cases that he has presented mutually acceptable evidence, it does not support the claim unless it is twisted beyond the fabric of its reality. Evidence that is so farfetched can hardly convince the Shia who approach the subject objectively let alone Sunnis trained in the scholarly tradition.

According to the Shia, the Imams have been divinely appointed and no one can stand in their place. This means that leadership on the basis of Ijtihad is invalid. Conversely, if it can be proven that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instituted appointments based on Ijtihad, it proves that the Shia understanding is flawed.

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma said that this verse was revealed in connection with ‘Abdullah ibn Hudhafah ibn Qais ibn ‘Adi when the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed him as the commander of a Sariyyah (army detachment).[43]

‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates:

 

عن علي رضى الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بعث جيشا وأمر عليهم رجلا وأمرهم أن يسمعوا له ويطيعوا فأجج نارا وأمرهم أن يقتحموا فيها فأبى قوم أن يدخلوها وقالوا إنما فررنا من النار وأراد قوم أن يدخلوها فبلغ ذلك النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال‏ لو دخلوها أو دخلوا فيها لم يزالوا فيها وقال لا طاعة في معصية الله إنما الطاعة في المعروف

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent an army and appointed a man as a commander for them and he commanded them to listen to him and obey. He kindled a fire and ordered them to jump into it. A group refused to enter into it and said, “We escaped from the fire; a group intended to enter into it. When the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was informed about it, he said, “Had they entered into it, they would have remained in it. There is no obedience in matters involving disobedience to Allah. Obedience is in matters which are good and universally recognized.”[44]

 

If we consider this narration carefully, it suggests that obedience to an authority is restricted to matters which are not in disobedience to Allah. The verse tells us that if we dispute something we ought to refer it back to Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This combination is only possible if the authority spoken of in this verse is a person of Ijtihad. The Imams are said to be infallible. The two are mutually exclusive.

Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

 

عن أبى هريرة رضي الله عنه قال‏‏ قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم‏ ‏كانت بنو إسرائيل تسوسهم الأنبياء كلما هلك نبى خلفه نبى وإنه لا نبى بعدى وسيكون بعدى خلفاء فيكثرون قالوا‏‏ يا رسول الله فما تأمرنا‏؟‏ قال‏‏ ‏‏أوفوا ببيعة الأول فالأول ثم أعطوهم حقهم واسألوا الله الذى لكم فإن الله سائلهم عما استرعاهم

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The Banu Isra’il were ruled by the Prophets. When one Prophet died, another succeeded him. There will be no Prophet after me. Khalifas will come after me, and they will be many.”

The Companions said, “O Messenger of Allah, what do you command us to do?”

He said, “Fulfil the pledge of allegiance to which is sworn first (then swear allegiance to the others). Concede to them their due rights and ask Allah that which is due to you. Allah will call them to account in respect of the subjects whom He had entrusted to them.”[45]

 

Why would the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam grant authority to elected leaders if the Qur’an already specified whom the leaders were going to be?

Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

اسمعوا وأطيعوا وإن أمر عليكم عبد حبشي كأن رأسه زبيبة

Listen and obey even if the person placed in authority over you is an Abyssinian slave whose head is like a raisin.[46]

 

These are many more narrations that serve a common meaning: Obedience to a leader without specifying who the leader is. Furthermore, the leadership and authority being spoken of here demands obedience as long as nothing sinful is instructed. These descriptions stand at stark contrast to what ‘Abdul Hussain would have us believe.

Furthermore, the verse immediately after it suggests that all matters which are disputed ought to be referred back to Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Why would this be necessary in the presence of a living Imam who is the authority?

The next Hadith undeniably disproves the interpretation presented by ‘Abdul Hussain.

‘Ubadah ibn al Samit radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

دعانا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فبايعناه فكان فيما أخذ علينا أن بايعنا على السمع والطاعة في منشطنا ومكرهنا وعسرنا ويسرنا وأثرة علينا وأن لا ننازع الأمر أهله قال ‏‏ إلا أن تروا كفرا بواحا عندكم من الله فيه برهان

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam called us and we took the oath of allegiance to him. Among the injunctions he made binding upon us was: Listening and obedience (to the leader) in our pleasure and displeasure, in our adversity and prosperity, even when somebody is given preference over us, and without disputing the delegation of powers to a man duly invested with them; except when you have clear signs of his disbelief for which you have a proof of from Allah.[47]

 

This Hadith clearly indicates that authority—as advocated in this verse—is a matter which warrants obedience. However, that authority has limitations. Those limitations, by necessity, prove that the person granted that authority acquires it by Ijtihad and not divine instatement; unless ‘Abdul Hussain is willing to admit that clear disbelief is logically possibility for one of the Imams.

 

The Custodians of Revelation

‘Abdul Hussain dubs them the Custodians of Revelation in reference to the verse in Surah al Nahl:

 

وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ إِلَّا رِجَالًا نُّوْحِيْٓ إِلَيْهِمْ فَسْئَلُوْٓا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُوْنَ

And We sent not before you except men to whom We revealed [Our message]. So ask the people of the message if you do not know.[48]

 

Taking sequence and structural elements into account we find that the people of the message referred to in this verse are the people of scripture.

Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma interpreted this verse as follows:

 

When Allah sent Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as a Messenger, the Arabs, or some of them, denied him and said, “Allah is too great to send a human being as a Messenger,” so Allah revealed:

Have the people been amazed that We revealed [revelation] to a man from among them, [saying], “Warn mankind and give good tidings to those who believe that they will have a [firm] precedence of honour with their Lord?”[49]

And He revealed:

And We sent not before you except men to whom We revealed [Our message]. So ask the people of the message if you do not know.[50]

meaning, ask the people of the previous Books, were the Messengers that were sent to them humans or angels? If they were angels, then you have the right to find this strange, but if they were human, then you have no grounds to deny that Muhammad is a Messenger.[51]

 

From this narration we learn the context in which the verse was revealed and it is in harmony with the sequence and structure of the verses preceding and succeeding it.

In the verses which follow Allah refers to the Qur’an as the Remembrance [Dhikr]. The narration cited by the editor, by way of al Tha’labi could not be accurately traced. Even so, the statement of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “We are the Ahl al Dhikr,” in no way specifies the Ahlul Bayt, nor the Imams after him. This pronoun seems to apply to the people of knowledge in general; and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is included among the knowledgeable of this Ummah.

It is interesting to note that the transmission of the Qur’an, in terms of the way it is recited, has been taken up by other than the Ahlul Bayt. If this verse meant that the Ahlul Bayt were the sole custodians of revelation—as ‘Abdul Hussain argues—we would expect to find chains of transmission for the Qur’an which are exclusive to the Imams. However, no such recitation exists.

 

The Believers

‘Abdul Hussain refers to them as the believers mentioned in Surah al Nisa:

 

وَمَنْ يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُوْلَ مِنْۢ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدٰى وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيْلِ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلّٰى وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ وَسَآءَتْ مَصِيْرًا

And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows other than the way of the believers, We will give him what he has taken and drive him into Hell, and evil it is as a destination.[52]

 

Is ‘Abdul Hussain implying that everyone besides them are not believers? Have the believers been limited to three individuals during the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam lifetime? Was his mission such a failure that only his son-in-law and two grandchildren were the only people to believe in his message? Did all those around him oppose him?

Why did ‘Abdul Hussain even bother to foster relations with the Ahlus Sunnah when the capacity for salvation was restricted to such a few? Did the Companions oppose the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam at Badr? Did they oppose him when they undertook the Hijrah and left behind all their wealth in Makkah? Did they oppose him when they provided shelter for him in Madinah? Did they oppose him when they tied stones to their bellies, digging the Trench?

The narration ascribed to Ibn Mardawayh is untraceable even in secondary sources.

There is nothing to indicate the meaning suggested by ‘Abdul Hussain. On the contrary, the scholars of Fiqh, like al Shafi’i, used this verse to prove the legal status of scholarly concensus, Ijma. The two concepts are seen as inseparable, opposing the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and following a way other than that of the Believers.

The reference to al ‘Ayyashi’s Tafsir is of very little consequence since al ‘Ayyashi was a Shia scholar and relied on Shia narrations. The reason for not accepting these narrations is due to the sheer abundance of fabrications found in these texts.

The issue of accepting the narrations of the Shia will be discussed in forthcoming discussions. It suffices us at this point to remind the esteemed reader that ‘Abdul Hussain undertook to only include narrations which were mutually acceptable. However, the narrations which are being quoted are those which ‘Abdul Hussain knows would be unacceptable to the Ahlus Sunnah.

 

The Guides

 

إِنَّمَآ أَنتَ مُنذِرٌ وَلِكُلِّ قَوْمٍ هَادٍ

You are only a warner, and for every people is a guide[53]

 

At the onset, let us clarify that there is nothing objectionable – from the perspective of Ahlus Sunnah – in referring to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as a guide. He, and his brothers, the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, were all guides for the generations to follow.

‘Irbad ibn Sariyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates:

 

وعظنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم موعظة وجلت منها القلوب وذرفت منها العيون فقلنا يا رسول الله كأنها موعظة مودع فأوصنا قال أوصيكم بتقوى الله والسمع والطاعة وإن تأمر عليكم عبد فإنه من يعش منكم فسيرى اختلافا كثيرا فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء الراشدين المهديين عضوا عليها بالنواجذ

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam gave us a sermon by which our hearts were filled with fear and tears came to our eyes. So we said, “O Messenger of Allah! It is as though this is a farewell sermon, so counsel us.”

He salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “I counsel you to have taqwa (fear) of Allah, and to listen and obey [your leader], even if a slave were to become your leader. Verily he among you who lives long will see great controversy, so you must keep to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khalifas. Cling to it with your molar teeth…”[54]

 

This is further emphasized in the verses in Surah al Tawbah

 

وَالسّٰبِقُوْنَ الْأَوَّلُوْنَ مِنَ الْمُهٰجِرِيْنَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ وَالَّذِيْنَ اتَّبَعُوْهُمْ بِإِحْسٰنٍ رَّضِيَ اللّٰهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوْا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنّٰتٍ تَجْرِيْ تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهٰرُ خٰلِدِيْنَ فِيْهَآ أَبَدًا ذٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيْمُ

And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajirin and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct – Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.[55]

 

This verse confirms that the Muhajirin and Ansar already deserve Allah’s pleasure. It goes on to list a third group which is deserving of Allah’s pleasure; this group follows the previous two. Certainly, the previous two groups serve as guides for the third group.

Furthermore, the responsibility of being a guide does not necessitate leadership. In the previous generations, the guides were not necessarily their leaders. The Banu Isra’il were led by Talut though he was not a Prophet. Similarly, the scholars of Banu Isra’il served as guides, not necessarily leaders.

That being said, does this verse refer to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu specifically? Or is it just another interpolation through misinterpretation for which the Shia are famous? Assuming that it does refer to ‘Ali; how does it extend to the rest of the Imams?

The editor of al Murajaat was quite aware that the connection between ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the ‘Guide’ in this verse is excessively remote. In order to bridge the gap he presented a narration ascribed to al Tha’labi, from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu wherein the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam referred to himself as the ‘Warner’ and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as the ‘Guide’. He goes further to state that this is found in the Sunan works.

The Sunan works, in customary practise, refers to the four famous works of Hadith compiled by Abu Dawood, al Tirmidhi, al Nasa’i and Ibn Majah. The only issue that is debated is which of al Nasa’i’s works is part of the four; his larger collection, also known as al Kubra, or the abridged version, known as al Mujtaba. Reference to any of the other Sunan works usually bears the name of the author to distinguish it, e.g. Sunan al Bayhaqi al Kubra. However, this narration, ascribed by the editor to the Sunan, could not be found in any of the four works, including al Nasa’i’s al Kubra.

The narration can be traced via the Tafsir of al Tabari[56] by way of Hassan ibn Hussain al AnsariMuaz ibn Muslimal Harawi — ‘Ata’ ibn al Sa’ib — Sa’id ibn Jubayr — Ibn ‘Abbas.

Ibn Kathir has criticised this narration both in terms of its unreliable chain, and anomalous meaning.

 

Hassan ibn Hussain al Ansari

Hassan ibn Hussain al Ansari al ‘Urani is seriously compromised as a narrator.

  • Ibn Abi Hatim said that he was not trustworthy, a leading figure among the Shia.
  • Ibn ‘Adi says that his narrations are contrary to what others narrate.
  • Ibn Hibban commented that he attributed baseless narrations to reliable narrators.
  • Al Dhahabi cited this narration as one of those anomalous, uncorroborated, baseless narrations that he was known for.[57]
 

Muaz ibn Muslim

Al Dhahabi said that the identity of Muaz ibn Muslim is not known. This is the case with al Harawi as well. The anonymity of these narrators compounds the problem in this chain, confirming its unreliability.[58]

Furthermore, the reliable scholars who narrate from ‘Ata’ ibn al Sa’ib, from Sa’id ibn Jubayr provide an interpretation contrary to what has been narrated by way of the defective chain.[59]

This is yet another example of how the authority which ‘Abdul Hussain, and others like him, attempt to confer upon ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is unfounded. It is unsupported by the verses of Qur’an and the only connection to these verses are obscure narrations which are significantly unreliable.

 

The Straight Path and Blessed Ones

 

اهْدِنَا الصِّرٰطَ الْمُسْتَقِيْمَ صِرٰطَ الَّذِيْنَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ

Guide us to the straight path – The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favour.[60]
 

وَمَن يُطِعِ اللّٰهَ وَالرَّسُوْلَ فَأُوْلَٰٓئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِيْنَ أَنْعَمَ اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مِّنَ النَّبِيِّ‍يْنَ وَالصِّدِّيْقِيْنَ وَالشُّهَدَآءِ وَالصّٰلِحِيْنَ وَحَسُنَ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ رَفِيْقًا

And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favour of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs, and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions.[61]
 

No doubt, the blessed family of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam have been bestowed with Allah’s Favour. That, however, is not the issue to be discussed. The question is whether they were the ones primarily intended by these verses; and whether its meaning is restricted to them alone.

It is surprising that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu interpreted ‘The Straight Path’ to mean the Book of Allah.[62]A similar interpretation is attributed to Ibn Mas’ud.[63]

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam identified those who earned Allah’s wrath as the Jews, and those who had gone astray as the Christians. His interpretation of the latter part of the verse provides insights on who is meant by those whom Allah has favoured. It can only apply to an entire community, rather than select individuals among them. The contrast of Muslims to Jews and Christians is more apt than contrasting the Imams of Ahlul Bayt with the Jews and Christians.

Furthermore, the explanatory verse in Surah al Nisa’ calls for obedience to Allah and His Messenger without any mention of the Imams of Ahlul Bayt independently. Even if they were intended as ‘those whom Allah had favoured by this verse’, there is no indication of their exclusive mandate to lead, or that the ummah is obliged to follow them independently.

 

Ayat al Wilayah

 

إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللّٰهُ وَرَسُوْلُهُ وَالَّذِيْنَ أٰمَنُوْا الَّذِيْنَ يُقِيْمُوْنَ الصَّلٰوةَ وَيُؤْتُوْنَ الزَّكٰوةَ وَهُمْ رٰكِعُوْنَ

Your Wali is none but Allah and [therefore] His Messenger and those who have believed – those who establish prayer and give Zakat, and they bow [in worship].[64]

 

This is one of the famous verses cited by the Shia for the Imamah of the Ahlul Bayt. The Qur’anic text, however, reveals no connection to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, not even remotely. As expected, ‘Abdul Hussain relies on an alleged Hadith which puts ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in pole position for political leadership.

Again, before addressing the reliability of the narration upon which ‘Abdul Hussain’s warped interpretation rests let us assume its authenticity. The Wilayah mentioned in this verse is limited to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu since it has not been proven that any of the other Imams had given charity whilst praying. The error in this interpretation is glaringly evident from its form, let alone subjecting the narration to academic scrutiny.

The second problem with this verse, assuming that it applies to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, is determining which form of Wilayah is meant. The term Wali traces back to the triliteral root (W-L-Y) and refers both to support, mutual affinity, and friendship, as well as guardianship and authority[65].

The ambiguity in this word does not qualify it to be interpreted either way without subsidiary evidence. Structural elements in this passage of the Qur’an suggest that the interpretation of Wilayah as authority and leadership is inaccurate. This verse is placed between two other verses which prohibit taking the disbelievers as Awliya’ [plural of Wali]. It is known by necessity that Muslims are not to take disbelievers as authorities. As such, the only valid interpretation which is harmonious with the structure of the entire passage is the one which understands the relationship of Wilayah to be based on support, friendship, and loyalty.

So, even if we were to concede that this verse applies to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu exclusively we find no divine mandate for his political leadership or religious authority. Rather it commands us to be sincere in friendship with ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The Ahlus Sunnah advocates support for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, loving him, and maintaining a relationship of affinity.

We have demonstrated that even if we were to concede the reliability of the supporting narration, this verse is problematic in proving the doctrine of Imamah since it does not allow for the inclusion for anyone besides ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu; thus excluding the remaining Imams as well. We have also demonstrated that lexical and structural elements in the verse indicate that Wilayah in this context refers to support and friendship rather than authority and guardianship.

All that remains in exposing the warped interpretation provided by ‘Abdul Hussain is to analyse the authenticity of the narration upon which his interpretation rests.

The narration provided by the editor of al Murajaat relates an incident wherein ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was praying, and a beggar approached him whilst he was in the posture of Ruku’. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu allegedly took a ring off his finger and donated it as a charity to the beggar. The narration goes further to say that it was in regards to this that this verse in Surah al Ma’idah was revealed.

Before we proceed any further let us produce a statement from one of the ‘infallible Imams’. Abu Nuaim relates by way of ‘Abdul Malik ibn Abi Sulaiman, who said that he asked Imam Muhammad al Baqir about this verse, to which he replied, “The ones intended by it are the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Companions.” ‘Abdul Malik says, “I then said to him that people say it refers to ‘Ali?” He responded, “Well, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is included among them (the Companions).”[66]

It seems that al Baqir was either unaware of the context of the revelation of this verse, or that the alleged context was an outright forgery!

The narration is ascribed to four of the Companions: Abu Rafi’, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, ‘Ammar, and ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

 

The narration of Abu Rafi’

The narration by way of Abu Rafi’ is found in the Mujam al Kabir of al Tabarani.[67] Despite this narration concealing some of the common details and providing other details which are absent from the common narrations, it suffers from further problems when considering the chain of transmission.

Al Haythami comments of this chain saying:

 

Appearing in this chain is Muhammad ibn ‘Obaidullah ibn Abi Rafi’ who was considered unreliable by the bulk of the scholars, with the exception of Ibn Hibban. Furthermore, despite the majority of the narrators in this chain being acceptable, it is not free from one Yahya ibn al Hussain ibn al Furat whose identity remains anonymous to me.[68]

 

The narration of ‘Ammar ibn Yasir

The narration from ‘Ammar ibn Yasir is known through a common chain and is found in al Mujam al Awsat of al Tabarani.[69] Commenting on this narration al Haythami says:

There are narrators who remain unknown to me.[70]

The anonymity of a narrator is one of the flaws by which a narration is deemed unreliable. That, however, is not the only flaw in the chain. The unreliability of this narration is further confirmed by the presence of Khalid ibn Yazid al ‘Umari in the chain.

 

Khalid ibn Yazid al ‘Umari

He was made out as a liar by both Yahya ibn Ma’in and Abu Hatim al Razi.[71] The problem with his narration becomes exacerbated when Ibn Hibban—known for his leniency in accepting narrators—declares him unreliable on account of narrating baseless narrations and then attributing them to reliable narrators.[72]

 

The narration of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib

The narration by way of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib is only known by way of Musa ibn Qais al HadramiSalamah ibn Kuhayl — ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[73]

 
Musa ibn Qais al Hadrami

The scholars are divided on Musa ibn Qais[74] al Hadrami with some considering him a liar and others merely acknowledging the fact that some of what he narrates is unsubstantiated in addition to the mediocrity of his ability to accurately relate narrations. This, coupled with his excessive attachment to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu might have compromised the integrity of what he narrates especially when it is related to the virtues of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

 
Salamah ibn Kuhayl

Another serious flaw in this chain is the fact that Salamah ibn Kuhayl was only born years after the demise of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The interruption in this chain leaves a huge gap — which is more than sufficient grounds to dismiss this report as well.

 

The narration of Ibn ‘Abbas

After citing this narration with a chain from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, the famous Hadith expert and erudite commentator of the Qur’an, Hafiz Ismail ibn Kathir, states:

 

This has also been narrated by way of ‘Ali, ‘Ammar, and Abu Rafi’. However, all these narrations are completely unreliable due to the weakness of the narrators who appear in the chains of transmission, in addition to the anonymity of many of the narrators.[75]

 

Finally, the narration which appears by way of Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma is narrated via three common chains.[76]

  1. Muhammad ibn Marwan al SuddiMuhammad ibn al Sa’id al Kalbi — Abu Salih — Ibn ‘

We have previously commented on al Suddi and al Kalbi identifying them as unreliable narrators; especially al Kalbi who was exposed for his forgeries. This is the famous Silsilat al Kadhib [Chain of Lies].[77]

 
  1. Abdul Wahhab ibn Mujahid – Mujahid – Ibn ‘Abbas

Abdul Wahhab ibn Mujahid

  • Ibn Kathir states that ‘Abdul Wahhab is unreliable.[78]
  • Yahya ibn Ma’in and Ahmed ibn Hanbal criticised him severely.
  • Al Bukhari—quoting Waki’ ibn al Jarrah—adds that he did not hear any narrations from his father.[79]

So the weakness of ‘Abdul Wahhab is compounded by the fact that he did not hear Hadith directly from his father, Mujahid ibn Jabr, which leaves this chain interrupted.

 
  1. Al Dahhak ibn Muzahim – Ibn ‘Abbas

The problem with this chain is that the two of them did not meet. The interrupted chain renders it unreliable.[80]

 

Ibn Kathir points out the flaw in the understanding of many who think like ‘Abdul Hussain. He says that it is erroneous to interpret the final phrase of the verse “and give Zakat, and they bow” as giving charity whilst in the posture of Ruku’ since if this were the case, then paying the Zakat while bowing would be the best form of giving Zakat. To the extent of our knowledge no scholar from whom religious rulings are taken says this. The verse, therefore, means they attend the prayer in congregation in the Masjids and spend by way of charity on the various needs of Muslims[81]

It is evident to the objective seeker that the argument presented by ‘Abdul Hussain is extremely farfetched. That, in addition to it being the careful connection with a baseless narration.

 

Salvation to those who depend on the authority of Ahlul Bayt

 

وَإِنِّي لَغَفَّارٌ لِّمَنْ تَابَ وَأٰمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صٰلِحًا ثُمَّ اهْتَدٰى

But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes, and does righteousness, and then continues in guidance.[82]

 

‘Abdul Hussain’s deceit appears to be imbued with confidence through his blatant interpolation of the verses of the Qur’an. The verses preceding and succeeding the one he has just cited all relate to the story of Musa ‘alayh al Salam and the emancipation of Banu Isra’il. The entire passage is cohesive in terms of its structure and flow. There is absolutely no mention of Ahlul Bayt.

This verse can only be connected to Wilayah of Ahlul Bayt through unreliable narrations which we are evidently the cornerstone of all the arguments presented thus far. Establishing the religious authority of Ahlul Bayt remains a debt on the shoulders of ‘Abdul Hussain. Naturally, this relegates the quotations from the Imam—which are yet to be proven reliably attributed to them—to the level of ijtihad.

The narration from Thabit al Bunani also remains an interpretation based on Ijtihad, which is also questionably ascribed to him since it appears only by way of ‘Umar ibn Shakir al Basri whom Ibn hajar declared weak.[83]

The ijtihad of Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu stands in contrast to ‘Abdul Hussain’s narrations. He is reliably quoted to have interpreted the repentance in the verse as repentance from Shirk [associating partners with Allah]. He interprets adherence to guidance in this verse to refer to one who does not have doubts.[84] Others have interpreted it as steadfastness on the path of righteousness.[85]

 

Wilayah of Ahlul Bayt is the Amanah [Trust]

 

إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الْأَمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَنْ يَّحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الْإِنْسٰنُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُوْمًا جَهُوْلًا

Indeed, we offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook to] bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant.[86]

 

The absurdity in this type of interpretation becomes increasingly self-evident. If the trust being handed down in this verse referred to the authority of Ahlul Bayt; by necessity it suggests that the heavens and earth refused to bear this trust. Furthermore, this trust would have been the burden of all the earlier nations. Lastly, the description of those who assumed this trust is that they are unjust and ignorant. Why would they be described as such if the trust was to accept the authority of Ahlul Bayt?

The narrations which are meant to support this narration are referenced to famous Shia books of Tafsir, wherein there is complete recognition of the fact that the Qur’anic text was interpolated; especially in respect of the Wilayah of Ahlul Bayt!

 

The Blessing [Pleasure]

 

ثُمَّ لَتُسْئَلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِيْمِ

Then you will surely be asked that Day about the delight.[87]

 

Consider the paradox in that he earlier described the Wilayah of Ahlul Bayt as a burden and obligation to be carried. Now it is interpreted as a blessing and pleasure. If it were the blessing being spoken of here, why would the heavens and earth shy away from enjoying this divine blessing? Furthermore, why would Allah describe human beings with injustice and foolishness for accepting a favour and blessing?

‘Abdullah ibn Zubair relates from his father Zubair ibn al ‘Awwam radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

When this verse was revealed, “Then you will surely be asked that Day about the delight!” Zubair said, “O Messenger of Allah! Which are the delights that we will be asked about, when they (delights) are but the two black things: dates and water?”

He said, “But it is what shall come.”[88]

 

Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates:

 

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال‏‏ خرج رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ذات يوم أو ليلة فإذا هو بأبي بكر وعمر رضي الله عنهما فقال‏ ما أخرجكما من بيوتكما هذه الساعة قالا‏ الجوع يا رسول الله‏.قال‏ وأنا والذي نفسي بيده لأخرجني الذي أخرجكما‏.قوما‏ فقاما معه فأتى رجلا من الأنصار فإذا هو ليس في بيته فلما رأته المرأة قالت‏‏ مرحباً وأهلا فقال لها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏أين فلان‏‏ قالت ذهب يستعذب لنا الماء إذ جاء الأنصاري فنظر إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وصاحبيه ثم قال‏ الحمد الله ما أحد اليوم أكرم أضيافاً مني‏‏ فانطلق فجاءهم بعذق فيه بسر وتمر ورطب فقال‏ كلوا وأخذ المدية فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إياك والحلوب‏‏ فذبح لهم فأكلوا من الشاة ومن ذلك العذق وشربوا فلما أن شبعوا ورووا قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لأبي بكر وعمر رضي الله عنهما‏ والذي نفسي بيده لتسألن عن هذا النعيم يوم القيامة أخرجكم من بيوتكم الجوع ثم لم ترجعوا حتى أصابكم هذا النعيم‏”

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam went out (of his house) one day, or one night, and there he met Abu Bakr and ‘Umar also.

He salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “What made you leave your houses at this hour?”

They said, “It is hunger, O Messenger of Allah.”

He said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, what made you leave, made me also leave, so come along!”

He went along with them to a man from the Ansar, but they did not find him in his house.

When the wife of that man saw the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, she said, “You are most welcome.”

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to her, “Where is so-and-so?”

She said, “He went to fetch some fresh water for us.”

In the meantime, the Ansari came back, saw the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his two Companions and said, “Praise be to Allah, today no one has more honourable guests than I.”

He then went out and brought them a bunch of date fruit, having dates, some still green, some ripe, and some fully ripe, and requested them to eat from it. He then took his knife (to slaughter a sheep).

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to him, “Do not kill a milking sheep.”

So he slaughtered a sheep for them. After they had eaten and drunk to their satisfaction, the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, “By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, you will certainly be questioned about this delight on the Day of Resurrection. Hunger brought you out of your homes, and you do not return to your homes till you have been blessed with this delight.”[89]

 

These narrations clarify what is meant by this verse.

The examples are too many to quote, but the general trend has been demonstrated. None of the verses mentioned are specific in their application to the Ahlul Bayt. Majority of the verses can only be connected to Ahlul Bayt via an unreliable chain. This trend is consistent with every single verse cited by ‘Abdul Hussain Sharaf al Din, and the problems with the narrations remain consistent in all the footnotes provided by the editor.

 

NEXT⇒ Letter 13 and 14


[1] Al Tirmidhi, Kitab al Manaqib, hadith 4023.

[2] Sahih Muslim, Bab min Fada’il Abi Bakr, hadith 2387.

[3] Abu Dawood, Kitab al Sunnah, hadith 4607; al Tirmidhi, Abwab al ‘Ilm, hadith 2676.

[4] Sahih Muslim, Kitab Fada’il al Sahabah, hadith 2408.

[5] Surah al Ahzab: 33

[6] Surah al Anfal: 11

[7] Surah al Naml: 7

[8]  Surah Yusuf: 25

[9] Surah Hud: 73

[10] Surah al Shura: 23

[11] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Tafsir, hadith 4818.

[12] Tafsir ibn Kathir, Surah al Shura: 23-24. vol. 6 pg. 548.

[13] Mizan al Itidal vol.1 pg. 531.

[14] Surah Al ‘Imran: 61.

[15] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Maghazi, Hadith 4380.

[16] Sahih Muslim, Kitab Fada’il al Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, Hadith 2424.

[17] Surah al Baqarah: 85.

[18] Surah al Dahr: 7-8.

[19] Tahdhib al Tahdhib vol. 8 pg. 308.

[20] REFERENCE TO EARLIER DISCUSSION

[21] Al Tarikh al Kabir vol.1 pg. 101; al Majruhin vol.2 pg.253.

[22] Tadreeb al Rawi vol. 1 pg. 181.

[23] REFERENCE TO EARLIER DISCUSSION

[24] Al Tirmidhi, Fada’il al Qur’an, Hadith 3153.

[25] Al Durr al Manthur, vol. 4 pg. 709; Tafsir al Tabari, vol. 5. pg. 646.

[26] Al Durr al Manthur vol. 4 pg. 709 – 714.

[27] Surah al Tawbah: 119.

[28] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Maghazi, hadith 4418; Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Tawbah, Hadith 2767-2769.

[29] Tafsir al Tabari vol.12 pg. 67 ; Tafsir ibn Abi Hatim vol.6 pg. 1906.

[30] Surah al Hashr: 7.

[31] Tafsir al Thalabi vol. 5 pg. 109

[32] REFERENCE TO EARLIER QUOTE

[33] Lisan al Mizan vol.1 pg. 485

[34] Mizan al Itidal vol. 4 pg. 167

[35] REFERENCE TO EARLIER QUOTE

[36] Mizan al Itidal vol. 1 pg. 379

[37] Ibid

[38] Surah al An’am: 153

[39] Musnad Ahmed vol.7 pg. 207, Hadith 4142.

[40] Al Tirmidhi, Kitab al Amthal, Hadith 2859.

[41] Musnad Ahmed vol.29 pg. 181.

[42] Surah al Nisa’: 59.

[43] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Tafsir, Hadith 4584; Sahih Muslim, Bab Wujub Ta’at al Amir, Hadith 1834.

[44] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Ahkam, Hadith 7145; Sahih Muslim, Bab Wujub Ta’at al Amir, Hadith 1840.

[45] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Fitan, Hadith 7053; Sahih Muslim, al Imarah, 1842.

[46] Sahih al Bukhari, al Adhan, Hadith 693.

[47] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Fitan, Hadith 7055; Sahih Muslim, al Imarah, 1840.

[48] Surah al Nahl: 43

[49] Surah Yunus: 2

[50] Surah al Nahl: 43

[51] Tafsir al Tabari vol.12 pg. 107.

[52] Surah al Nisa’: 115

[53] Surah al Ra’d: 7

[54] Abu Dawood, Kitab al Sunnah, hadith 4607; al Tirmidhi, Abwab al ‘Ilm, hadith 2676.

[55] Surah al Tawbah: 100

[56] Tafsir al Tabari vol. 13 pg. 442

[57] Mizan al Itidal vol. 1 pg. 483

[58] Ibid

[59] Tafsir al Tabari vol. 13 pg. 439.

[60] Surah al Fatihah: 6-7

[61] Surah al Nisa: 69

[62] Tafsir al Tabari vol. 1 pg. 173.

[63] Ibid

[64] Surah al Ma’idah: 55

[65] Lisan al ‘Arab pg. 4920

[66] Hilyat al Awliya’ vol.3 pg.185.

[67] Al Mujam al Kabir, vol.1 pg. 321.

[68] Majma al Zawa’id vol.9 pg. 137.

[69] Al Mujam al Awsat narration no. 6232.

[70] Majma al Zawa’id vol. 7 pg. 20.

[71] Mizan al Itidal vol. 1 pg.646.

[72] Ibid

[73] Tafsir ibn Abi Hatim vol. 4 pg. 1162

[74] Mizan al I’tidal vol. 4 pg 217

[75] Tafsir ibn Kathir, Surah al Ma’idah verse 55

[76] Ibid

[77] Tadrib al Rawi vol. 1 pg. 181

[78] Tafsir ibn Kathir, Surah al Ma’idah verse 55

[79] Mizan al I’tidal vol2. Pg.682

[80] Al Jarh wa al Tadil, biography 2024.

[81] Tafsir ibn Kathir, Surah al Ma’idah verse 55.

[82] Surah Taha: 82

[83] Taqrib al Tahdhib, biography no. 4917.

[84] Tafsir ibn Jarir vol. 16 pg. 130.

[85] Tafsir ibn Kathir, Surah Taha, verse 82.

[86] Surah al Ahzab: 72

[87] Surah al Takathur: 8

[88] Al Tirmidhi, Kitab al Tafsir, Hadith no. 3356.

[89] Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Ashribah, Hadith 2038.