Muharram 16, 1330
I. Requesting the Hadith Pertaining to the Ghadir Incident
You have repeatedly referred to the Ghadir incident. Please narrate its story from Sunni sources so that we may look into it, Wassalam.
Muharram 18, 1330
I. Glitters of Ahadith Relevant to the Ghadir Incident
Relying on the consensus of narrators of hadith, al Tabrani and many others1 have quoted Zaid ibn Arqam saying:
“The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, once delivered a sermon at Ghadir Khumm under the shade of a few trees saying, ‘O people! It seems to me that soon I will be called upon and will respond to the call.2 I have my responsibility3 and you have yours;4 so, what do you say?’ They said: ‘We bear witness that you have conveyed the Message, struggled and advised [the nation]; therefore, may Allah reward you with the best of His rewards.’
He asked them: ‘Do not you also bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger, that His Paradise is just and that His Fire is just, that death is just, that the life after death is just, that the Hour will undoubtedly approach, and that Allah shall bring the dead to life from their graves?’
They said: ‘Yes, indeed, we do bear witness to all of that.’ He said: ‘O Mighty Lord! Bear witness that they have.’ Then he said: ‘O people! Allah is my Master, and I am the mawla (master) of the believers. I have more authority over their lives then they themselves have;5 therefore, to whomsoever I have been a mawla, this (‘Ali) is his mawla;6 O Lord! Befriend whoever befriends him, and be an enemy of whoever sets himself as his enemy.’
Then he said: ‘O people! I am to precede you, and you shall join me, at the Pool [of Kawthar] which is wider than the distance from Basra to San’a; it contains as many silver cups as the stars; and I shall ask you when you join me about the Two Weighty Things, how you shall succeed me in faring with them; the Greatest Weighty Thing is the Book of Allah, the Omniscient, the Sublime, one end of which is in Allah’s hand and the other in yours; so, uphold it so that you may not go astray, and your faith shall not suffer any alteration; and the other are my Ahlul Bayt, for the most Gracious and Knowing has informed me that they both shall never part from each other till they join me at the Pool.’”7
In a section dealing with ‘Ali’s virtues in Al Mustadrak, the author indicates that Zaid ibn Arqam8 is quoted through two sources both of which are held reliable by both Sheikhs: al Hakim says that when the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, returned from his Farewell Pilgrimage, he camped at Ghadir Khumm and ordered the believers to sweep the area under a few huge trees where a pulpit of camel litters was made for him.
He stood and said: “It seems as if I have been called upon and responded to the call, and I enjoin you to look after both the Book of Allah and my Progeny; see how you fare with them after me, for they shall never part from each other till they join me at the Pool.”
Then he added: “Allah, the Dear and Mighty, is my Master, and I am the master of every believer,” then he took ‘Ali by the hand and said: “To whomsoever I have been a master, this ‘Ali is [henceforth] his master; O Lord! Befriend whoever befriends him, and be the enemy to whoever antagonizes him.”
The author quotes this lengthy hadith in its entirety. In his Talkhis, al Thahbi quotes it without commenting on it. Al Hakim, too, quotes it as narrated by Zaid ibn Arqam in his Al Mustadrak, admitting its authenticity. In spite of his intolerance, al Thahbi admits the same in his Talkhis, to which you may refer.
Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal has quoted the same hadith as narrated by Zaid ibn Arqam thus:
“We were in the company of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, when he camped in a valley called Wadi Khumm, and he ordered everyone to gather for prayers in midday heat. He then delivered a sermon to us under the shade of a robe over a rush tree [Juncus spinosus] to protect him from the heat of the sun.
He said: ‘Do you know – or do you bear witness – that I have more authority over a believer’s life than the believer himself has?’ They answered: ‘Yes, indeed, you do.’ He said: ‘Whosoever accepts me as his mawla, ‘Ali is his mawla; O Lord! Befriend whosoever befriends ‘Ali and be the enemy of whomsoever opposes ‘Ali.’”
Al Nisa’i quotes Zaid ibn Arqam saying that when the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam returned from the Farewell Pilgrimage, and having reached Ghadir Khumm, he ordered the ground under a few huge trees to be swept clean. He announced: “It looks like I have been invited [to my Lord’s presence] and I have accepted the invitation, and I am leaving with you the Two Weighty Things, one of them is bigger than the other: the Book of Allah and my Progeny, my Household; so, see how you succeed me in faring with both of them, for they shall never part from each other till they join me at the Pool.”
Then he added: “Allah is my Master, and I am the master (mawla) of every believer.” Taking ‘Ali’s hand, he added saying, “To whomsoever I have been a master, this ‘Ali is his master; O Lord! Befriend those who befriend him, and be the enemy of all those who antagonize him.” Abul-Tufail says: “I asked Zaid: ‘Have you heard these words of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, yourself?”9 He answered that all those who were there under the huge trees had seen the Prophet with their own eyes and heard him with their own ears. This hadith is recorded by Muslim in a chapter on the attributes of ‘Ali in his Sahih from several different narrators ending with Zaid ibn Arqam, but he abridged it and cut it short – and so do some people behave.
Imam Ahmed has recorded this hadith from al Bara’ ibn ‘Azib10 from two avenues saying; it reads: “We were in the company of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam when we camped at Ghadir Khumm. The call for congregational prayers was made. The site of two trees was chosen, and it was swept clean. He performed the noon-time prayers then took ‘Ali by the hand and asked the crowd: ‘Do you not know that I have more authority over the believers than the believers themselves have?’
They answered: ‘Yes, we do.’ He asked: ‘Do you know that I have more authority over every believer than the believer himself has?’ They answered in the affirmative; then he took ‘Ali’s hand and said: ‘Whoever has accepted me as his master, this ‘Ali is his master; O Lord! Befriend whoever befriends him and be the enemy of whoever chooses to be his enemy.’ ‘Umar met him immediately following that and said to him: ‘Congratulations to you, son of Abu Talib! You have become, at dawn and at sunset, the master of every believing man and woman.’”
Al Nisa’i has quoted ‘Ayisha daughter of Sa’d saying that she heard her father saying: “I have heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, on the Day of Juhfa, when he took ‘Ali’s hand and delivered a sermon, praised and adored Allah, then said: ‘O people! I am your wali.’ They said: ‘You have said the truth.’ Then he raised ‘Ali’s hand and said: ‘This is my wali unto you to discharge the responsibilities of my religion on my own behalf, and I support whoever supports him and am the enemy of whosoever chooses to be his enemy.’”
Sa’d is also quoted saying: “We were in the company of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. When he arrived at Ghadir Khumm, those who went ahead of him returned to join him, while he waited for those who lagged behind, till all people assembled. Then he said: ‘O people! Who is your wali?’
They answered: ‘Allah and His Messenger.’ Then he took ‘Ali’s hand, made him rise and said: ‘Whoever has taken Allah and His Messenger as his wali, this (‘Ali) is his wali; O Lord! Befriend whoever befriends him and be the enemy of whoever chooses to be his enemy.’”
The books of traditons recording this incident are numerous and cannot be all cited here. They all contain explicit texts indicating that Ali is the Prophet’s vicegerent and successor, just as al Fadl ibn al Abbas Abu Lahab has said:11
The one to be recognized as the Vicegerent, generation after generation,
After Muhammad, is ‘Ali; for he was his companion in every occasion.
1. Many renowned authorities have admitted its authenticity, so much so that even Ibn Hajar stated the same, quoting al Tabrani and others, in the shubha (allegation) number 11 of the ones which he enumerates on page 25, Section 5, Chapter One, of his book Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa.
2. He has eulogized his own pure soul simply to attract their attention to the fact that time had come to bring his mission to perfection, necessitating the appointment of his successor, and that he is unable to postpone doing so for fear he might be called upon [i.e. die] before discharging such mission which he is to bring to perfection, a mission that is indispensable to his nation.
3. Since the appointment of his brother weighs heavily against those who compete, envy, create dissension and hypocrisy, he, peace be upon him and his progeny, desired, before making such an announcement, to first apologize to them in the hope that that might touch and unify their hearts and in apprehension of their speeches and deeds; he said: “And I am responsible,” so that they might come to know that he receives orders, and that he is responsible to discharge them; therefore, he simply has to do so. Imam al Wahidi, in his book Asbabul Nuzul, quotes Abu Sa’id al Khudri saying: “The verse ‘O Messenger! Convey that which has been revealed unto you from your Lord’ was revealed on Ghadir Khumm day in reference to ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib ‘alayh al Salam.”
4. By saying “You, too, are responsible,” he, peace be upon him and his progeny, may have implied, as quoted by al Daylami and others and stated in Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa and other books from Ibn Sa’id, that they should follow in their footsteps, since they are responsible regarding ‘Ali’s wilayat. Imam al Wahidi has said: “They are responsible regarding the wilayat of ‘Ali and Ahlul Bayt.” Thus, the purpose of his saying “and you, too, are responsible” is to threaten those who would dispute the authority of his wali and wasi.
5. Many have contemplated upon this sermon, giving it due attention, and they have come to know that its gist is nothing other than a reference to the fact that ‘Ali’s wilayat is as much a root of the faith as his own responsibility as the Imam, for the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam first put the question: “Do not you bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger?” Then he said: “The Hour is approaching; there is no doubt about it, and Allah shall certainly bring to life those who are in the graves,” following that with a statement in which he mentioned the wilayat so that it would be understood that the latter bears the same significance like the matters about which he has asked them and to which they have agreed. This is obvious to all the discreet who are familiar with the methods and objectives of speech.
6. His statement: “I am the mawla” is an outspoken testimony to a significant fact. The meaning of “mawla” is: one who is “awla,” foremost in status, superior. Thus, the meaning of his statement is: “Allah is superior to me, and I am superior to the believers, and whoever considers me to be superior to him must also consider ‘Ali as such.”
7. This wording of the hadith is quoted by al Tabrani, Ibn Jarir, al Hakim al Tirmithi, from Zaid ibn Arqam. It is transmitted by Ibn Hajar from al Tabrani and others in this exact wording, without questioning its authenticity; so, refer to page 25 of Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa.
8. Refer to page 21 of Al Khasa’is al ’Alawiyya, where the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is quoted saying: “To whomsoever I have been the wali, this (‘Ali) is his wali.
9. Abul-Tufayl’s question is obviously indicative of his amazement at this nation’s overlooking this matter regarding ‘Ali in spite of the hadith it narrates from its Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in his honor on the day of the Ghadir. As if suspicious of the accuracy of the narrated hadith, he went ahead and inquired of Zaid, having heard him narrate the same, “Did you hear it from the Messenger of Allah?!” His tone is that of someone amazed, bewildered, and skeptical. Zaid answered him that all individuals present under those trees had, indeed, seen the Prophet with their eyes and heard him with their ears; so, Abul-Tufayl then knew that the matter was just as al Kumait, may Allah be merciful unto his soul, says:
On the day of the dawh, the dawh of the Ghadir,
Caliphate was made for him manifest and clear,
Only if the throngs opted to obey;
Yet I have never seen such a day,
Nor have I seen such right
Trampled upon, discarded outright;
But the men had sold it, and I never saw
Such a precious thing to sale would go…
10. This occurs on page 281 of his Al Khasa’is al ’Alawiyya, in a chapter dealing with ‘Ali’s status in the eyes of Allah, the Exalted, the Omniscient, and also on page 25 of another chapter enjoining acceptance of his wilayat and warning against bearing animosity towards him.
11. These are among poetic lines composed as the answer of al Walid ibn ‘Uqbah ibn Abu Ma’it, quoted by Muhammad Mahmud al Rafi’i in his Introduction to Sharh al Hashimiyyat, page 8.
The second round of correspondence around the sermon delivered at Ghadir Khumm revives the opportunity to build on what has been ‘exchanged’ in recent correspondence. It allows for the debate to pursuit a new course, and initiates a shift in the portrayal of the character of Sheikh Salim al Bishri.
The background to the incident of Ghadir Khumm has already been discussed, along with the meaning of the term Mawla. Since the details have been discussed earlier, we will suffice by the mere facts below.
It has been established that this sermon was not delivered during Hajj, but at a resting place near Juhfah. Those who came for Hajj from different parts of the Arabian Peninsula had taken off in their respective directions, and it was only the people of Madinah who accompanied him here. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stopped to rest and to replenish water supplies, not specifically for the purpose of addressing his companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had received a number of complaints during Hajj about ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and since this was an internal matter he addressed it when only the people of Madinah were present. After reminding the Companions of the general rights of the Ahlul Bayt, the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ensured that the relationship with ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu specifically was repaired. His salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam family includes his wives, and Banu Hashim.
The Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Wasiyyah (bequest) to be cautious with the rights of Ahlul Bayt is very similar to his Wasiyyah to uphold the rights of the Ansar. Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates:
خرج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وقد عصب على رأسه حاشية برد ـ قال فصعد المنبر ولم يصعده بعد ذلك اليوم فحمد الله وأثنى عليه ثم قال أوصيكم بالأنصار فإنهم كرشي وعيبتي وقد قضوا الذي عليهم وبقي الذي لهم، فاقبلوا من محسنهم وتجاوزوا عن مسيئهم
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came out with his head wrapped in a piece of cloth. He ascended the pulpit which he never ascended after that day. He glorified and praised Allah and then said, “My Wasiyyah to you is that you take good care of the Ansar as they are my close companions and trusted friends. They have fulfilled their obligations and rights which were enjoined on them but there remains what is for them. So, accept their goodand overlook their failings.”
The version found in Sahih Muslim is worded thus:
عن أنس بن مالك أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال إن الأنصار كرشي وعيبتي وإن الناس سيكثرون ويقلون فاقبلوا من محسنهم واعفوا عن مسيئهم
The Ansar are my close companions and my trusted friends. The people are going to increase in number whereas they (the Ansar) would become less and less, so appreciate their good and overlook their failings.
These are the people whose favour upon the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and support of him, warranted that he salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam advise the Ummah to honour their rights and obligations.
It is necessary, prior to evaluating the narrations cited in this letter, to point out some of the gross oversights and major misrepresentations in this round of correspondence in al Muraja’at.
He begins by quoting a narration found in al Mujam al Kabir of al Tabarani whose chain, he claims, is unanimously accepted as authentic. In the footnotes he goes on to cite Ibn Hajar al Haytami as having authenticated this narration in al Sawa’iq al Muhriqah. The truth is that al Haytami declared the Hadith of Ghadir authentic in general, not a specific version of it. Furthermore, Ibn Hajar al Haytami does not undertake an investigation on the reliability of these chains, he relies on the grading of others.
The chain of transmission for the narration for this particular narration is problematic as we shall demonstrate later.
Ayat al Tabligh and the sermon at Ghadir Khumm
The sermon at Ghadir Khumm has been tied in with the verse of Surah al Ma’idah, dubbed Ayat al Tabligh:
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا الرَّسُوْلُ بَلِّغْ مَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ وَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُۥ وَاللَّهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكٰفِرِيْنَ
O Messenger! Convey that has been revealed to you from your Lord. For if you do not, then you will not have conveyed His message. And Allah will protect you from the people [have no fear]. Indeed, Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.
‘Abdul Hussain alleges that this verse was revealed in connection with the sermon given at Ghadir Khumm. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was warned that if he did not declare ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu his successor he would have failed his mission, claims ‘Abdul Hussain.
Consider the timeline and what Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha relates:
عن عائشة قالت كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يحرس حتى نزلت هذه الآية والله يعصمك من الناس فأخرج رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم رأسه من القبة فقال لهم يا أيها الناس انصرفوا فقد عصمني الله
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to be guarded until this verse was revealed, “Allah will protect you from the people.” So the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stuck his head out from the room and said, “O people! You may leave, for Allah has undertaken to protect me.”
This narration suggests that this verse was revealed early on in Madinah. What need would the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam have for the promise of protection for conveying now: at the end of his life, after he fulfilled his responsibility and Islam was well-established?
Another verse from Surah al Ma’idah was revealed during the Hajj which heralded the completion of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam mission.
جاء رجل من اليهود إلى عمر بن الخطاب فقال يا أمير المؤمنين آية في كتابكم تقرءونها لو علينا معشر اليهود نزلت لاتخذنا ذلك اليوم عيدا قال أي آية قال اليوم أكملت لكم دينكم وأتممت عليكم نعمتي ورضيت لكم الإسلام دينا فقال عمر إني لأعلم المكان الذي نزلت فيه واليوم الذي نزلت فيه نزلت على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في عرفات في يوم جمعة
A Jewish man came to ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu and said, “O Amir al Mu’minin! There is a verse in your Book which you recite; if it had been revealed to us Jews we would have taken that day as a festival.”
He said, “Which verse is that?”
The Jewish man resonded saying, “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”
‘Umar said, “I know the place where it was revealed and the day on which it was revealed. It was revealed to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam at ‘Arafat, on a Friday.”
The Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sermons during Hajj are well-known. Why did he not appoint his successor during Hajj? How is it possible that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is threatened with incompletion of his mission if he does not announce ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as his successor, whereas Allah already revealed to him that the religion was complete and that his mission had been fulfilled?
Consider the damning consequences of associating the divine warning with announcing ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam successor. The intial tone of the verse is sombre. Was the final Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent only to announce that he would be succeeded by ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu? What about all the good that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam taught? What did the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam endure harships in Makkah for; Tawhid or the succession of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu? He was driven out of Makkah because his teachings were incompatable with the idolatery that was being perpetrated in and around the Sacred Ka’bah; yet the most pressing demand of conveying from his Lord is about his successor? Does that not trivialize twenty-three years of striving and toil? Was the only significant revelation from his Lord the Imamah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he was admonished? Is the most important task of the Final Prophet announcing the Imamah of ‘Ali? Reflect!
Furthemore, if this verse were revealed when ‘Abdul Hussain claims it was, then it proves that all the previous verses which, he claims, prove the Imamah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu do not prove it. It would be redundant to warn the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam regarding the nomination of his successor if it was already spelled out in the Qur’an.
Worse still, it portrays the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam a coward. What consequence did he have to after Allah promised him protection; that he resorted to an ambiguous term as Mawla instead of appointing his successor in unambiguous terms. The ambigity of this term forced the Shia to resort to mental gymnastics to prove their desired meaning for this term. Consider it carefully.
Would the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam need to “first apologize to them in the hope that that might touch and unify their hearts and in apprehension of their speeches and deeds” after they had pledged their lives and wealth for his service? Who was it that stood bravely at Badr? Whose lives were spent at Uhud? Who are those who placed their hands in his under the tree at Hudaybiyyah pledging to die for his cause, on account of which Allah revealed:
لَّقَدْ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنِ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ إِذْ يُبَايِعُوْنَكَ تَحْتَ الشَّجَرَةِ فَعَلِمَ مَا فِيْ قُلُوْبِهِمْ فَأَنزَلَ السَّكِيْنَةَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَثٰبَهُمْ فَتْحًا قَرِيْبًا
Certainly was Allah pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you, [O Muhammad], under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquillity upon them and rewarded them with an imminent conquest.
These very individuals are those whom ‘Abdul Hussain describes as, “those who compete, envy [sic], create dissension and hypocrisy [sic].” Whereas Allah says about those whom he is pleased:
فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَرْضٰى عَنِ الْقَوْمِ الْفٰسِقِيْنَ
Allah will never be pleased with a defiantly disobedient people
Is ‘Abdul Hussain’s true personality beginning to reveal itself? Afterall, Taqiyyah (subterfuge) is nine-tenths of the faith according to the Shia. Actually, there is no faith in one who does not practise Taqiyyah.
Has the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam failed in conveying from his Lord when a woman came to him for some need of hers and he instructed her to return to him at another time. She said, “What if I come and do not find you?” as if she wanted to say, “If I found you had already passed away?” and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “If you should not find me, go to Abu Bakr.”?
What about when he appointed Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu to lead the prayer during his illness? Had the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam done a proper job of conveying from his Lord when ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not even realise that he had already been appointed the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam successor?
We have prevoiusly mentioned this narration of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, who stated that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib emerged from the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam home during his final illness:
عن الزهري قال أخبرني عبد الله بن كعب بن مالك الأنصاري وكان كعب بن مالك أحد الثلاثة الذين تيب عليهم أن عبد الله بن عباس أخبره أن علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه خرج من عند رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في وجعه الذي توفي فيه فقال الناس يا أبا حسن كيف أصبح رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال أصبح بحمد الله بارئا فأخذ بيده عباس بن عبد المطلب فقال له أنت والله بعد ثلاث عبد العصا وإني والله لأرى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم سوف يتوفى من وجعه هذا إني لأعرف وجوه بني عبد المطلب عند الموت اذهب بنا إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فلنسأله فيمن هذا الأمر إن كان فينا علمنا ذلك وإن كان في غيرنا علمناه فأوصى بنا فقال علي إنا والله لئن سألناها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فمنعناها لا يعطيناها الناس بعده وإني والله لا أسألها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم
The people said, “O Abu al Hassan; How is the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam this morning?”
He said, “All praise be to Allah, he is well this morning.”
‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib took him by the hand and said to him, “I swear by Allah, in three days’ time you will be a subject. By Allah, I think that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will die of this illness. I recognise the look of death in the faces of the Banu ‘Abdul Muttalib when they are dying. Let us go to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and ask him who will take charge over this matter (Caliphate). If it is for us, then we will know that, and if it is for someone other than us, we will know and he can advise him to look after us.”
‘Ali replied, “By Allah, if we ask him for it and he refuses us, then the people would never give it to us afterwards. By Allah, I will not ask it from the Messenger of Allah.” 
Why would ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu fear something that had already been initiated unless the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam failed in his duty to convey.
It is intriguing that in this narration ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu asks ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu whether someone other than the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam family is going to take charge of the affairs of the Muslims, yet ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not object to the idea of someone else being the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam successor. His statement bears much greater clarity than the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam words, “Whomsoever considers me his Mawla, ‘Ali is his Mawla.”
If anything, this narration reinforces the meaning of what the Prophet meant when he spoke about the lessor of the Two Weighty things: “If it [leadership] is for someone other than us, we will know and he can advise him to look after us.”
The narrations cited by ‘Abdul Hussain
- The narration of Zaid ibn Arqam radiya Llahu ‘anhu in al Mujam al Kabir of al Tabarani.
This Hadith is narrated by way of ‘Abdullah ibn Bukayr al Ghanawi — Hakim ibn Jubayr — Abu al Tufayl — Zaid ibn Arqam…
Appearing in this chain is Hakim ibn Jubayr, who is considered weak. Al Daraqutni and al Nasa’i considered him significantly weak, in addition to the fact that he was known to hold Shia beliefs. Ibn Hibban suggests that the extent of his Tashayyu’ was extreme.
Such a narration would never meet the criteria of being accepted unanimously. Al Haythami has declared this narration weak because of Hakim ibn Jubayr as well.
Despite the weakness of this chain, there is nothing in it that indicates holding on to the Lesser of the Two Weighty Things. Those elements within this version which are correborated by other narrations would be acceptable, not the narration in its entirety.
- The narration of Zaid ibn Arqam in al Mustadrak.
This is narrated by two chains:
- Al A’mash — Habib ibn Abi Thabit — Abu al Tufayl — Zaid ibn Arqam.
- Kamil Abu al ‘Ala — Habib ibn Abi Thabit — Yahya ibn Ja’dah — Zaid ibn Arqam.
- The narration of Zaid ibn Arqam in Musnad Ahmed.
This is narrated by way of Muhammad ibn Jafar Shu’bah — Maymun Abu ‘Abdullah — Zaid ibn Arqam.
Maymun is an unreliable narrator. We have disvussed him previously.
- The narration of Zaid ibn Arqam in Khasa’is ‘Ali of al Nasa’i.
This is no different from the Hadith in al Mustadrak. The common chain is narrated by way of al A’mash — Habib ibn Abi Thabit — Abu al Tufayl — Zaid ibn Arqam.
Reason for Imam Muslim not including this version
The reason for Imam Muslim not including this version of the Hadith is not due to his prejudice as claimed by ‘Abdul Hussain. The real reason is that it does not meet his criteria. The narration from Habib ibn Abi Thabit is inconsistent and presents with a number of issues which Muslim would have avoided. One cannot expect ‘Abdul Hussain to know this when he cannot even identify authentic narrations from his own legacy.
Habib was well-known for Tadlis, and Irsal: omitting the person whom he received the narration from and attributing it to someone higher in the chain. ‘Ali ibn al Madini has indicated that the narration of al A’mash from Habib ibn Abi Thabit is not very strong, even though they are both reliable narrators in their own right.
It might be asked why does Muslim include narrations in his Sahih, wherein al A’mash narrates from Habib ibn Abi Thabit? After studying all these places in Sahih Muslim it has become apparent that the narration of al A’mash from Habib ibn Abi Thabit was only listed as a supplementary narration, not one that Muslim lists as the primary Hadith of that chapter.
Furthermore, the narrations of al A’mash from Habib ibn Abi Thabit—with the exception of one case where there is an alternative chain for the entire narration—Muslim cites the narrations of other students of Habib as co-narrators from Habib ibn Abi Thabit.
The inconsistency arises when Habib—at times—narrates it from Yahya ibn Ja’dah, from Zaid ibn Arqam and sometimes from Abu al Tufayl, from Zaid ibn Arqam. Other times he narrates it as if he received it from Zaid ibn Arqam directly;whereas he is only known to have heard Hadith from Ibn ‘Abbas and ‘Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anhuma according to ‘Ali ibn al Madini.
The version in Sahih Muslim has been discussed under Letter 8.
- The narration of al Bara ibn ‘Azib in Musnad Ahmed.
‘Abdul Hussain suggests that Imam Ahmed narrates this with two chains. In reality Imam Ahmed only narrates it with a single chain: ‘Affan — Hammad ibn Salamah — ‘Ali ibn Zaid — ‘Adi ibn Thabit — al Bara’ ibn ‘Azib
‘Ali ibn Zaid ibn Jud’an is a weak narrator. He is on ‘Abdul Hussain’s list of 100 and we have discussed him previously. The weakness of ‘Ali ibn Zaid ibn Jud’an is mitigated by the numerous other chains which support the narration. However, only those elements which are corroborated can be accepted, and the additional statements remain unreliable.
- The narration of Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhu in al Nasa’is Khasa’is ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
This has been narrated by way of Musa ibn Ya’qub — Muhajir ibn Mismar — Aisha bint Sa’d — Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Musa ibn Ya’qub is unreliable and has been discredited by a number of experts including Ahmed ibn Hanbal and al Nasa’i. Ibn Hajar states that he was truthful but was affected with a bad memory.
- The narration of Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhu in al Nasa’is Khasa’is ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
This has been narrated by way of Ya’qub ibn Jafar ibn Abi Kathir — Muhajir — Aisha bint Sa’d — Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
This version states that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam delivered this Khutbah on the way to Makkah. This is clearly an error since ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not with the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the journey to Makkah, instead he was in Yemen. Furthermore, the expert Hadith scholar, al Mizzi indicates that Ya’qub ibn Jafar ibn Abi Kathir narrates this Hadith from Musa ibn Ya’qub, from Muhajir.
Wording of the Hadith, “Whomsoever considers me his Mawla, ‘Ali is his Mawla”
There are varying elements of this narration:
- A. I am leaving behind Two Weighty things
- B. Holding on to the Book of Allah
- C. Upholding the rights of Ahlul Bayt
- D. Whomsoever considers me his Mawla, ‘Ali is his Mawla
- E. O Allah, take as friends those who take him as a friend, and take as enemies those who take him as an enemy
- F. And help whoever helps him. And forsake whoever forsakes him
- G. Cause the truth to be with him whichever course he treads
Points A, B and C are all correct and found in Sahih Muslim, as well as the reliable versions of this Hadith.
Point D is correct even if it does not appear in the version of Sahih Muslim as it appears in many of the other sound versions. Al Dhahabi considered this statement Mutawatir.
Point E is contested among the scholars. Al Dhahabi accepts it due to multiple chains.Those who do not accept it point out that almost all the chains that establish this addition are independently not very strong and it is because of corroboration that some accept it.
There is a narration in Musnad Ahmed which seems to indicate that this addition was in fact a supplication made by those who narrated the Hadith rather than it being the words of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Allah Knows Best.
Points F and G are completely unreliable and are only known to appear in narrations with problematic chains.
 Discussions on Letters 8, 36
 Discussions on Letters 26, 38
 Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab Manaqib al Ansar, Hadith no: 3799
 Sahih Muslim, Fada’il al Ansar, Hadith no: 2510
 Surah al Ma’idah: 67
 Al Tirmidhi, Abwab al Tafsir, Hadith no: 3046
 Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al I’tisam, Hadith no: 7268; Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Tafsir, Hadith no: 3017
 Surah al Fath: 18
 Surah al Tawbah: 96
 Al Kafi, vol. 2 pg. 217
 Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al I’tisam bi al Kitab wa al Sunnah, Hadith no: 7360
 Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Maghazi, hadith no. 4182
 Al Mujam al Kabir, vol. 5 pg. 166, Hadith no: 4981
 Al Tarikh al Kabir, vol. 3 bio. 65; al Du’afa wal Matrukin of al Nasa’i, bio. 129; Al Majruhin of Ibn Hibban, vol. 1 pg. 246; Tahdhib al Kamal, vol. 7 pg. 165
 Majma’ al Zawa’id, vol. 9 pg. 164
 Al Mustadrak, vol. 3 pg. 109
 Al Mustadrak, vol. 3 pg. 109
 Musnad Ahmed, vol. 32 pg. 75
 See discussions under Letter 26.
 Al Taqrib, bio. 1084
 Sharh ‘Ilal al Tirmidhi, vol. 2 pg. 800
 Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Masajid, Hadith no: 705
 Sahih Muslim, Hadith no’s: 1194, 2218, 2549
 Al Tirmidhi, Abwab al Manaqib, Hadith no: 3788
 Al ‘Ilal wa Ma’rifat al Rijal, pg. 331
 See discussions under Letter 16
 Khasa’is ‘Ali, Hadith no: 94
 Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 3 pg. 227; al Taqrib, bio. 7026
 Khasa’is ‘Ali, Hadith no: 96
 Tahdhib al Kamal, vol. 32. Pg. 317
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 7 pg. 681 (Dar Hajar edition)
 Musnad Ahmed, vol. 2 pg. 434, Hadith no: 1311 (Risalah edition)