Thul-Hijjah 16, 1329
I. His Belief in the Text
II. Requesting More Texts
1) I have believed in the One Who has caused you to dissipate the darkness [of ignorance], clarify what is ambiguous, and made you one of His signs and a facet of His own manifestations.
2) May Allah bless your father, provide me with more such texts, and peace be with you.
Thul-Hijjah 17, 1329
I. Clear Texts Recounting Ten of ‘Ali’s Exclusive Merits
II. Why Rely Upon it
1) Suffices you, besides the hadith of the Household, what Imam Ahmed has indicated in Vol. 1 of his book Al Mustadrak, and al Thahbi in his Concise, who both admit its authenticity, as well as other authors of the sunan from generally accepted avenues. They all quote ‘Umar ibn Maymun saying: “I was sitting once in the company of Ibn ‘Abbas when nine men came to him and said ‘O Ibn ‘Abbas! Either come to debate with us, or tell these folks that you prefer a private debate.’ He had not lost his eye-sight yet. He said: ‘I rather debate with you.’ So they started talking, but I was not sure exactly what they were talking about. Then he stood up and angrily said: ‘They are debating about a man who has ten merits nobody else ever had. They are arguing about a man whom the holy Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has said, ‘I shall dispatch a man whom Allah shall never humiliate, one who loves Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and who is loved by both,’ so each one of them thought to him such an honour belonged.
The holy Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam inquired about ‘Ali. When the latter came unto him, with his eyes swelling in ailment, he salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam blew in his eyes, shook the standard thrice and gave it to him. ‘Ali came back victorious with Safiyya bint Huyay [al Akhtab] among his captives.’” Ibn ‘Abbas proceeded to say, “Then the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent someone with surat al Tawbah, but he had to send ‘Ali after him to discharge the responsibility, saying: ‘Nobody can discharge it except a man who is of me, and I am of him.’” Ibn ‘Abbas also said, “The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, with ‘Ali sitting beside him, asked his cousins once: ‘Who among you elects to be my wali in this life and the life hereafter?’
They all declined, but ‘Ali said: ‘I would like to be your wali in this life and the life to come,’ whereupon he salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam responded by saying: ‘You are, indeed, my wali in this life and the life hereafter.’” Ibn ‘Abbas continues to say that ‘Ali was the first person to accept Islam after Khadija, and that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam took his own robe and put it over ‘Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hussain, then recited the verse saying:
“Allah wishes to remove all abomination from you, O Ahlul Bayt [people of my household] and purify you with a perfect purification (Qur’an, 33:33).”
He has also said: “‘Ali bought his own soul. He put on the Prophet’s garment and slept in his bed when the infidels sought to murder him,” till he says: “The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam went on Tabuk expedition accompanied by many people. ‘Ali asked him: ‘May I join you?’ The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam refused, whereupon ‘Ali wept. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then asked him: ‘Does it not please you that your status to me is similar to that of Aaron’s to Moses, except there is no Prophet after me? It is not proper for me to leave this place before assigning you as my vicegerent.’ The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has also said the following to him: ‘You are the wali of every believing man and woman.’”
Ibn ‘Abbas has said: “The Messenger of Allah closed down all doors leading to his mosque except that of ‘Ali who used to enter the mosque on his way out even while in the state of janaba. The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has also said: ‘Whoever accepts me as the wali, let him/her take ‘Ali as the wali, too.’”
As a matter of fact, al Hakim, having counted the sources from which he quoted this hadith, comments by saying, “This is an authentic hadith according to isnad, yet both Sheikhs did not narrate it this way.” Al Thahbi has quoted it in his Talkhis and described it as an authentic hadith.
2) Clear and irrefutable proofs highlight the fact that ‘Ali was the Prophet’s vicegerent. Have you noticed how the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has named him wali in this life and the life to come, thus favouring him over all his kin, and how he regarded his status to himself as similar to that of Aaron to Moses, without any exception other than Prophethood, and exception which reflects generality?
You also know that what distinguished Aaron from Moses was mostly his being the vizier of his brother, his de facto participation in his brother’s Message, his vicegerency, and the enforcement by Moses of people’s obedience to Aaron as his statement, to which references is included in the Holy Qur’an (20:29-32), and which clearly says: “And let my brother Aaron, from among my household, be my vizier, to support me and take part in my affair,” and his statement:
“Be my own representative among my people; reform them, and do not follow the path of corrupters (Qur’an 7:142),”
and the Almighty’s response:
“O Moses! Granted is your prayer (Qur’an 20:36).”
According to this text, ‘Ali is the Prophet’s vicegerent among his people, his vizier among his kin, his partner in his undertaking – not in Prophethood – his successor, the best among his people, and the most worthy of their leadership alive or dead. They owed him obedience during the Prophet’s lifetime as the Prophet’s vizier, just as Aaron’s people had to obey Aaron during the lifetime of Moses.
Whoever becomes familiar with the status hadith will immediately consider its deep implications without casting any doubt at the gist of its context. The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has made this very clear when he said: “It is not proper for me to leave this place before assigning you as my vicegerent.”
It is a clear text regarding his succession; nay, it even suggests that had the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam left without doing so, he would have done something he was not supposed to have done. This is so only because he was commanded by the Almighty to assign him as his own successor according to the meaning of the verse saying:
“O Messenger! Convey that which has been revealed unto you from your Lord, and if you do not do it, then you have not conveyed His Message at all (Qur’an 5:67).”
Anyone who examines the phrase “then you have not conveyed His Message at all,” then examines the Prophet’s statement: “It is not proper for me to leave this place before assigning you as my vicegerent,” will find them both aiming at the same conclusion, as is quite obvious.
We should also not forget the Prophet’s hadith saying: “You are the wali of every believer after me.” It is a clear reference to the fact that he is the Prophet’s wali and the one who takes his place, as al Kumait, may Allah have mercy on his soul, has implied when he said: “A great Vicegerent, a fountain-head of piety, an educator!” And peace be with you.
Post-humous correspondence confirmed
It was necessary to wait until this point to reveal the extent of ‘Abdul Hussain’s deceit and expose the entire correspondence as a charade. In letter 20 ‘Abdul Hussain listed all the references where the versions of the Hadith could be found. Among those references cited was a Hadith narrated in al Mustadrak of al Hakim vol. 3 pg. 132. This is interesting since the Sheikh al Azhar allegedly researched these narrations and confirms their reliability. However, this is not possible.
‘Abdul Hussain could never have cited a reference to al Hakim’s Mustadrak with page and volume number in any correspondence dated 1329 A.H; since the book had not yet been published! The earliest printed version of al Mustadrak was published in Hyderabad, India in the year 1340 A.H; over ten years after the alleged correspondence and five years after Sheikh Salim al Bishri’s demise! The page and volume numbers cited by ‘Abdul Hussain match the Hyderabad edition of al Mustadrak. So, ‘Abdul Hussain either found a way to travel to the future to cite the volume and page number from al Mustadrak in his correspondence or Sheikh Salim communicated to him from beyond the grave!
Issues with the Isnad
Before addressing the issues pertaining to the Isnad it is important that we clarify that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is one of the greatest of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Companions and he is his beloved cousin and son-in-law. For us, loving ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is part of our faith and any hatred towards him is considered a sign of hypocrisy.
That being said, our love for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is determined by the Shari’ah and not by raw emotions. We accept all the virtues that have authentically been reported in respect to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Unfortunately, due to unsanctioned emotional attachment to our master, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu, people have falsely attributed words to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam which are meant to elevate the status of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. In all honesty, we believe that these people do not realise the lofty status that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu actually occupies; and they feel that they have to compensate the assumed ‘lack of status’ by inventing Ahadith to establish the status they feel he deserves. It is in this light that our investigation of these narrations ought to be viewed.
This narration is found in Musnad Ahmed with the following Isnad:
Yahya ibn Hammad — Abu ‘Awanah — Abu Balj — ‘Amr ibn Maymun — Ibn ‘Abbas
The same narration appears in al Mustadrak with the following Isnad:
Abu Bakr, Ahmed ibn Jafar al Qati’i — ‘Abdullah ibn Ahmed ibn Hanbal — Ahmed ibn Hanbal — Yahya ibn Hammad — Abu ‘Awanah — Abu Balj — ‘Amr ibn Maymun — Ibn ‘Abbas
We notice that the narration in al Mustadrak is in essence the narration in Musnad Ahmed, and that al Hakim narrates it by way of Imam Ahmed. Therefore, any problems with the Isnad in Musnad Ahmed applies equally to the Isnad in al Mustadrak.
Abu Nuaim, after quoting a phrase from this narration, points out that this narration — with this wording — is only known with this Isnad; by way of Abu Balj, from ‘Amr.
Abu Balj Yahya ibn Sulaim
The narrator in question is Abu Balj; his full name is Yahya ibn Sulaim (or Ibn Abi Sulaim) al Fazari al Kufi. Opinions varied among the scholars in terms of his reliabilty as a narrator.
Some of the scholars like Ibn Ma’in, Ibn Sa’d, and al Nasa’i were inclined to accepting his narrations.Others, like al Bukhari and al Juzajani considered him weak in general. Though, others say that his level is tolerable, his solitary narrations cannot be relied upon.
Imam Ahmed, Ibn Hibban, Ibn ‘Adi, Ibn ‘Abdul Barr, al Dhahabi all agree that the narration of his via ‘Amr ibn Maymun, from Ibn ‘Abbas wherein he mentions that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructed the companions — with the exception of ‘Ali — to cover up their doors which led to the Masjid, is an unreliable narration.
This brings us to the authentication of this narration by al Dhahabi in his abridgement of al Mustadrak. The reality is that al Dhahabi’s abridgement of al Mustradrak was his first academic work, one that he compiled at the beginnng of his career in the field of Hadith. Mizan al I’tidal is a much later work of his. Therefore, his authentication of this narration is officially retracted.
Hafiz ibn Rajab al Hanbali has provided another perspective on this Isnad. He points out that there is a subtle defect in this chain citing Hafiz ‘Abdul Ghani ibn Sa’id al Azdi of Egypt. He suggests that Abu Balj might have erred in naming the teacher from whom he received this narration; confusing it with another by the name of Maymun. This teacher of his is Abu ‘Abdullah Maymun Mawla ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Samurah, who is considered a weak narrator.
Abu ‘Abdullah Maymun Mawla ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Samurah
Yahya ibn Ma’in said Maymun Mawla ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Samurah is worthless as a narrator. Furthermore, al Dhahabi provides a sample of his baseless narrations and it comes as no surprise that he lists the detail of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructing that all doors — besides the door of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu — leading into the Masjid be sealed up.
To test Hafiz ibn Rajab’s theory we listed all the narrations from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu which have been narrated by ‘Amr ibn Maymun. Initially we used Tuhfat al Ashraf by Hafiz Abu al Hajjaj al Mizzi which is an encyclopeadic index of all the narrations found in the six canonical collections. Then it occurred to us to expand the scope of the sources so we refered to Ithaf al Maharah by Hafiz Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalani wherein he indexed all the narrations appearing in eleven major sources beyond the six canonical collections. These include: Musnad al Darimi, Sahih ibn Khuzaimah, Sahih ibn Hibban, al Muntaqa of Ibn Jarud, Mustakhraj Abi ‘Awanah, al Mustadrak, Sunan al Daraqutni, al Muwatta’, Musnad al Shafi’i, Musnad Ahmed, and Sharh Ma’ani al Athar.
The findings of this investigation appear to support Ibn Rajab’s theory as the narrations from Ibn ‘Abbas in all seventeen collections from ‘Amr ibn Maymun is solely by way of Abu Balj. Furthermore, the only narrations which appear in these collections are parts of this lengthy narration. No other details have been narrated by this chain.
This means that all the major students of ‘Amr ibn Maymun do not corroborate what Abu Balj narrates from ‘Amr ibn Maymun, which increases the likelyhood of this being an undeliberate error on the part of Abu Balj Yahya ibn Sulaim.
The textual inconsistencies with this Hadith
Before addressing the textual inconsistencies with this Hadith it is necessary to point out the extent of ‘Abdul Hussain’s deceit. The author mentions that the Hadith speaks about ten merits for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu yet he only lists nine. As a matter of fact the Hadith lists more than ten merits as we shall point out shortly.
1. Sahl ibn Sa’d reported that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said on the Day of Khaybar:
I would certainly give this flag to a person at whose hand Allah would grant victory and who loves Allah and His Messenger; and Allah and His Messenger love him also. The people spent the night thinking as to whom it would be given. When it was morning the people hastened to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam all of them hoping that it would be given to him.
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Where is ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib?”
They replied, “O Messenger of Allah, his eyes are sore.”
He then sent for him and he was brought and the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam applied saliva to his eyes and invoked blessings and he was cured, as if he had no ailment at all. He was then given the flag.
‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, “O Messenger of Allah, shall I fight them until they are like us?”
Thereupon the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Advance cautiously until you reach their open places, thereafter invite them to Islam and inform them what is obligatory for them from the rights of Allah, for, by Allah, if Allah guides even one person through you that is better for you than to possess the most valuable of the camels.”
The general meaning of this element of the narration appears to be corroborated. There are, however, slight variations in the way the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam statement to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is worded.
2. Jabir radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates:
When the Prophet returned from the ‘Umrah of Ji’irranah, he sent Abu Bakr to lead the Hajj. We departed with him and when he was in al ‘Arj, the Iqamah for morning prayers was said, and before he could say the Takbir to commence the prayer he heard the grunting of a camel behind him, and so he paused and said, “This is the grunting of the camel of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Perhaps he will join the Hajj [this year], since he is here we will rather pray behind him.”
However, it was ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu on his camel. Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu said to him, “(Have you come) as a leader or as messenger?”
He said, “No, as a messenger sent by the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam with (Surah) al Bara’ah to recite it to the people in the stations of Hajj.” And thus we went to Makkah.
One day before the Day of Tarwiyah Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu stood up and addressed the people telling them about their rituals. When he finished, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, stood up and recited the [ultimatum in Surah] al Bara’ah to the people until he finished it. Then we went out with him and on the Day of ‘Arafah. Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu stood up and addressed the people, telling them about the rituals. When he finished, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, stood up and recited the [ultimatum in Surah] al Bara’ah to the people until he finished it. Then on the Day of Sacrifice, we departed and when Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu returned, he addressed the people, telling them about their departure (Ifadah), sacrifice, and rituals. When he finished, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, stood up and recited the [ultimatum in Surah] al Bara’ah to the people until he finished it. On the first day of Departure (12th of Dhul-Hijjah), Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu stood up and addressed the people, telling them how to stone the Jamarat, and teaching them their rituals. When he had finished, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, stood up and recited the [ultimatum in Surah] al Bara’ah to the people until he finished it.
We learn from this incident that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu prayed behind Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu throughout the Hajj without objection; just as he sat, listening to the sermons of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu throughout this Hajj. If this was reason for ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu nomination why did he have to follow Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu? As for the statement that none can convey except a family member of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam it was merely upholding the Arab custom when announcing an ultimatum, especially since the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had pledged sanctuary to many tribes who remained on their old ways.
3. The element wherein the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam offers his relatives to be his Wali in this life and the next is only found in the narrations that we have already discussed in the previous letters. This is the common ground between this narration and the ones in our previous discussion. One might assume that this narration corroborates that which is mentioned in the earlier ones. The question is which version? Each version has unique details that excludes each narration from supporting the other. The meaning of the word Wali will be discussed. The other narration about Mu’akhat (bonds of brotherhood), “You are my brother in the world and the Hereafter,” is considered baseless. Tirmidhi, Ibn ‘Adi, and Hakim all narrate it from a narrator called Hakim ibn Jubayr — from Jami’ ibn ‘
Hakim ibn Jubayr is a weak narrator, whilst Jami’ ibn ‘Umair is a known fabricator about whom Ibn Hibban said:
He is a Rafidi who fabricates ahadith.
Ibn Numair said about him:
He was of the most deceitful people.
Ibn Taymiyyah says about the ahadith of the mu’akhat:
It appears that all of them were fabricated.
4. Al Tirmidhi cites the narration from Abu Balj that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the first to accept Islam. Immediately thereafter he indicates that this narration is narrated with an uncorroborated Isnad, hinting to the fact that it cannot be relied upon independantly. He goes on to say that the scholars have differed over who was the first person to accept Islam. He attempts to harmonise between conflicting narrations by saying that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the first among the youth to accept Islam and that his age was around 8 at the time. Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu would the be the first adult male to accept Islam. To support this he presents another narration wherein he states that a man from the Ansar commented that Zaid ibn Arqam said, “The first to accept Islam was ‘” ‘Amr ibn Murrah said, “I mentioned that to Ibrahim al Nakha’i, and he disagreed saying, ‘The first to accept Islam was Abu Bakr.’”
5. There is no disagreement that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was under the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam This issue has already been discussed in detail under letter 12.
6. The details of the events during the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Hijrah here are not consistent with what has been accurately recorded. ‘Abdul Hussain has conviently abridged the story, deliberately omitting the fact that Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was mentioned as the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam companion on the Hijrah. ‘Abdul Hussain’s deceit aside, this version of events is inaccurate since it gives the impression that Abu Bakr came to the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam house looking for him and it was ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu who gave him directions. If one considers the detailed preparations that Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu had made it becomes evident that the details mentioned in this version are inaccurate.
Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha narrates:
Some Muslims emigrated to Abyssinia and Abu Bakr also prepared himself for the emigration, but the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said (to him), “Wait, for I hope that Allah will allow me also to emigrate.”
Abu Bakr said, “May my father and mother be sacrificed for you. Do you expect to emigrate (soon)?”
The Prophet said, “Yes.”
So Abu Bakr waited to accompany the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and fed two she-camels he had on the leaves of an acacia tree regularly for four months. One day while we were sitting in our house at midday, someone said to Abu Bakr, “Here is the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, coming with his head and a part of his face covered with a cloth at an hour he never used to come to us.”
Abu Bakr said, “May my father and mother be sacrificed for you, (O Prophet)! An urgent matter must have brought you here at this hour.”
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came and asked permission to enter, and he was allowed. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam entered and said to Abu Bakr, “Let those who are with you excuse themselves.”
Abu Bakr replied, “There is no stranger; they are your family. Let my father be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of Allah!”
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “I have been allowed to leave (Makkah).”
Abu Bakr said, “Shall I accompany you, O Messenger of Allah, May my father be sacrificed for you?”
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Yes,”
Abu Bakr said, “O Messenger of Allah! May my father be sacrificed for you. Take one of these two she camels of mine.”
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “I will take it only after paying its price.”
So we prepared their baggage and put their journey food in a leather bag; and Asma’ bint Abi Bakr cut a piece of her girdle and tied the mouth of the leather bag with it. That is why she was called Dhat al Nitaqayn.
Then the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Abu Bakr went to a cave in a mountain called Thawr and remained there for three nights. ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr, who was a young intelligent man, used to stay with them at night and leave before dawn so that in the morning, he would be with the Quraysh in Makkah as if he had spent the night among them. If he heard of any plot contrived by the Quraysh against the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Abu Bakr, he would understand it and (return to) inform them of it when it became dark. ‘Amir ibn Fuhayrah, the freed slave of Abu Bakr used to graze a flock of sheep for them and he used to take those sheep to them a while after the ‘Isha prayer. They would sleep till ‘Amir awakened them when it was still dark. He used to do that in each of those three nights…
How would the son of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu know where to find his father if Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu himself was in the dark as to the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam whereabouts when he left for Hijrah?
The inconsistencies are becoming increasingly evident.
7. The original narration that addresses the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam leaving ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu behind on the expedition of Tabuk has been added to. Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates:
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam left Ali ibn Abi Talib behind for the Battle of Tabuk. He said, “O Messenger of Allah! Are you leaving me behind with the women and the children?”
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Does it not please you that you are to me, in the position Harun was to Musa (when he left to speak to his Lord) except that there is no Prophet after me?”
The phrases, “It is not proper for me to leave this place before assigning you as my vicegerent,” and “You are the wali of every believing man and woman,” do not exist in the authentic versions.The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam undertook many journeys and he did not leave ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu behind. As a matter of fact when he went for Hajj — which was after Tabuk — he did not leave ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu behind. Add to this that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was left behind to look after the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam family specifically. He was put in charge of the women and children. How does that give him authority over every believing man and woman? This is further evidence that the details mentioned here do not align with what is mentioned in the rigourously authenticated narrations.
8. The authentic versions mention that it was Abu Bakr’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu door which the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ordered to be kept open and all others besides it be sealed. Abu Sa’id Al Khudri relates:
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam delivered a sermon and said, “Allah gave a choice to one of (His) slaves either to choose this world or what is with Him in the Hereafter. He chose the latter.”
Abu Bakr began to weep.
I said to myself, “What is this old man weeping for, if Allah gave a choice to one (of His) slaves either to choose this world or what is with Him in the Hereafter and he chose the latter?”
(However) that slave was Allah’s Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; he was referring to himself. Abu Bakr was more knowledgeable than us.
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “O Abu Bakr! Do not cry.”
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then added, “Abu Bakr has been my greatest benefactor with his property and company. If I were to take a Khalil (close friend) other than Allah, I would certainly have taken Abu Bakr. It is enough that we share the Islamic bond of brotherhood and friendship. No door leading into the Masjid is to be left open besides the door of Abu Bakr.” 
A similar narration to this is also recorded from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma in Sahih al Bukhari. As a matter of interest al Bukhari has included the wording of the Hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu under the chapter-heading where he cites the Hadith of Abu Sa’id al Khudri radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He is alluding to the fact that the narration which mentions that only the door of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is to be left open is an anomalous version.
9. What is the meaning of Mawla? Ibn Taymiyyah has a thorough discussion on the meaning of this term. He writes:
There is nothing in the statement which clearly indicates that the word (Mawla) means the khalifah. That is because the word Mawla is similar to the word wali. Allah says:
إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللّٰهُ وَرَسُوْلُهُ وَالَّذِيْنَ اٰمَنُوْا
Your [Wali] ally is none but Allah, and also His Messenger and those who have believed. 
وَإِنْ تَظَاهَرَا عَلَيْهِ فَإِنَّ اللّٰهَ هُوَ مَوْلَاهُ وَجِبْرِيْلُ وَصَالِحُ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ بَعْدَ ذٰلِكَ ظَهِيْرٌ
But if you support one another against him – then indeed Allah is his [Mawla] protector, as well as Jibril and all righteous believers, and the angels, moreover, are [his] assistants. 
Allah explains that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is the wali (friend) of the believers and that they are his friends as well. In the same manner Allah is the friend of the believers and they are His friends, and likewise the believers are friends of one another, since friendship is the opposite of enmity and it is established from two sides.
If one of the two friends is greater than the other in status then his friendship is a form of goodwill and the friendship of the other is a form of obedience and worship. This is similar to the way Allah loves the believers and they love Him. Friendship is therefore the opposite of enmity, warring, and deception. The disbelievers do not love Allah and (instead) oppose Him and His Messenger and take Him as an enemy.
لَا تَتَّخِذُوْا عَدُوِّيْ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاءَ
Do not take My enemies and your enemies as allies.
In similar manner Allah says:
فَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوْا فَأْذَنُوْا بِحَرْبٍ مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَرَسُوْلِهٖ
If you do not, then be informed of a war (against you) from Allah and His Messenger.
Allah is the friend of the believers and their Mawla, removing them from the darkness to the light. If that is the case then the meaning of Allah being the friend of the believers and their Mawla, and the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam being their friend and their Mawla, and ‘Ali (also) being their Mawla, refers to friendship, good relationship and support.
The believers have pledged to Allah and His Messenger such allegiance that excludes the possibility of enmity. This ruling, however, applies to all believers. ‘Ali is included among the believers, whose description is that they take other believers as their friends and allies and they take him as their friend and ally.
This hadith therefore establishes ‘Ali’s allegiance inwardly and affirms that he is deserving of friendship inwardly and outwardly. This dispels whatever has been said against him by his enemies from the Khawarij and the Nawasib.
There is nothing in the hadith to prove that the believers have no other Mawla besides ‘Ali. How can that be inferred when the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had many Mawlas, namely, the pious believers—which includes ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu by way of priority—who took him as their friend? The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that the tribes of Aslam, Ghifar, Muzaynah, Juhaynah, Quraysh, and the Ansar, had no Mawla besides Allah and his Messenger. Allah made them the Mawlas of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam just as He made the pious believers His Mawlas, and Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam their Mawla.
In summary, there is a slight difference between Wali and Mawla, and a significant difference between these terms and Wali (governor). The meaning of Wilayah (the opposite of enmity) is at one end of the spectrum, and the term wilayah referring to leadership is at the other. The wilayah spoken of in the hadith refers to the former and not the latter. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not say, “Whoever I am his wali (governor) ‘Ali is his wali.” The word used (in the hadith) is “Whoever’s Mawla I am, ‘Ali is his Mawla.”
The word Mawla cannot refer to wali (governor) since friendship is established mutually. Indeed, the believers are the friends of Allah and He is their Mawla (guardian).
As for the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam being more worthy of them (the believers) than themselves, this is only established for the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as it is a unique feature of his prophethood. If we assume that he instated a khalifah to be the leader after him that would not mean he is more worthy of every believer than himself in the same manner that the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wives will not be his wives. If this meaning was intended then he would have said, “Whoever I am more worthy of him than himself, ‘Ali is more worthy of him than himself,” but no one has said this and no one has transmitted this, and its meaning is definitely false. The Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam being more worthy of every believer than himself is an established matter in his life and death.
The Caliphate of ‘Ali, on the assumption of its existence, only came into being after the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam death. It did not exist during the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam life. Therefore, it is not possible for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to have been the khalifah during the era of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he could not therefore be more worthy of every believer than himself, rather, he could not have been the Mawla of any believer if what is intended is the Caliphate. This is amongst the factors which prove that Caliphate was not intended. The fact that he is a friend of every believer is established during the era of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, whose implementation was not postponed until the Prophet’s demise as opposed to the Caliphate which could only come into effect after the demise of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Therefore, it is known that this (what is mentioned in the hadith) is not that which the Rafidah intend.
‘Ali being the Mawla of every believer is true during the life of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his death, and even after the death of ‘Ali. Even today ‘Ali remains the “Mawla” of every believer even though he is not the governor over the people. In a similar manner all the believers are friends of one another living and deceased.
10. ‘Abdul Hussain has omitted the fact that in this narration Ibn ‘Abbas includes the fact that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was present at the Bay’ah al Ridwan in which Allah praises all who were present. This is an accolade which includes close to 1500 of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
11. The incident of Hatib ibn Abi Balta’ah concludes this narration. The point being mentioned here was that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was also present at Badr, as were over 300 of his brothers radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Obviously this is counterproductive to ‘Abdul Hussain’s mission so he simply omitted it in his correspondence. If the Sheikh al Azhar had studied the narration he would have raised an objection stronger than ours!
The remaining discussions take shape over the course of the next series of ‘correspondence’. It would be best if these issues are addressed comprehensively over the course of the pending discussions.
 See letter 20 of al Muraja’at.
 Musnad Ahmed, vol.1 pg.331 (old Egyptian print); vol.5 pgs.178-181 (Risalah edition).
 Al Mustadrak, vol. 3 pg. 132.
 Al Hilyah, vol. 4 pg. 153.
 Al Majruhin by Ibn Hibban, vol. 3 pg. 113, al Kamil by Ibn ‘Adi, vol. 9 pg. 80, al Du’afa wal Matrukin by Ibn al Jawzi, vol.3 pg. 196, Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 4 pg. 384, Tahdhib al Tahdhib by Ibn Hajar, vol. 12 pg. 47.
 Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 4 pg. 235.
 Tuhfat al Ashraf, vol. 4 pg. 649.
 Ithaf al Maharah, vol. 6 pg. 660-661.
 Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Jihad, Hadith: 2942; Sahih Muslim, Fada’il al Sahabah, Hadith: 2406.
 Sunan al Nasa’i, Kitab al Hajj, Hadith: 2993.
 EARLIER REFERENCE
 Mizan al I’tidal by al Dhahabi: vol. 1, p. 421, Hadith: 1552.
 Minhaj al Sunnah, vol. 7, p. 361; Refer also to al Silsilat al Mawdu’ah by al Albani, vol. 1, p. 355-366.
 Al Tirmidhi, Abwab al Manaqib, Hadith: 3734.
 EARLIER REFERENCE
 Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Libas, hadith: 5807.
 Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Fada’il, Hadith: 3503; Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Fada’il, Hadith: 2404.
 Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 3654.
 Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Salah, Hadith: 467.
 Surah al Ma’idah: 55
 Surah al Tahrim: 4
 Surah al Mumtahinah: 1
 Surah al Baqarah: 279
 Refer to Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Manaqib, Bab dhikr Aslam, wa Ghifar, wa Muzaynah, wa Juhaynah, wa Ashja’, Hadith: 3321.
 Minhaj al Sunnah, vol. 7 pgs. 322-325.