2. Tijani’s proofs for the obligation of following the Ahlul Bayt
Tijani argues that it is necessary to follow the Ahlul Bayt in all matters. He attempts to substantiate his claim by citing a number of ahadith.
a. Hadith al Thaqalayn
The first of his proofs is often referred to as hadith al Thaqalayn:
The Prophetic tradition of the two weighty things:
The messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
O People, I leave amongst you two things which if you follow, you will never go astray. They are the Book of Allah and my Ahlul Bayt [family].
He also said: The messenger of my God is about to come to me and I shall answer. I am leaving with you the two weighty things: The first is the Book of Allah, in which you find guidance and enlightenment, and the people of my household. I remind you, by Allah, of the people of my household… I remind you by Allah of the people of my household.”
If we examine with some care this honourable tradition, which has been cited by the Sihahs of the Sunnis and al Jamaah, we will find that the Shiites alone followed the two weighty things: “The Book of Allah and honourable members of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Household”. On the other hand, the Sunnis and al Jamaah followed the saying of Umar “The Book of Allah is sufficient for us”, but I wish they had followed the Book of Allah without interpreting it in their own ways. If Umar himself did not understand the meaning of al Kalalah and did not know the Qur’anic verse regarding the Tayammum and other rules, so how about those who came later and followed him without the ability to interpret the Qur’anic texts?
Naturally they will answer me with their own quoted saying, and that is: “I have left with you the Book of Allah and my tradition [Sunnah]!”
This tradition, if it were correct – and it is correct in its general meaning – would correspond to the tradition of the two weighty things, because when the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam talked about his Household (Ahl al Bayt) he meant that they should be consulted for two reasons. Firstly, to teach the tradition [Sunnah], or to transmit to people the correct tradition because they are cleared from telling any lies, and because Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala made them infallible in the purification verse. Secondly, to explain and interpret the meanings and aims of the tradition, because the Book of Allah is not enough for guidance. There are many parties who claim to follow the Qur’an but in actual fact they have gone astray, and the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “How many are the readers of the Qur’an whom the Qur’an curses! The Book of Allah is silent and could be interpreted in various ways, and it contains what is vague and what is similar, and to understand it we have to refer to those who are well endowed with knowledge as regards the Qur’an, and to Ahlul Bayt, as regards to the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam traditions.
The Shiites referred everything to the infallible Imams of Ahlul Bayt [the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Household], and they did not interpret anything unless it had a supporting text.
We refer in every case to the Companions, whether it concerns Qur’anic commentary or the confirmation of the Sunnah and its explanation, and we know about the Companions and their interpretations and their personal opinions vis-a-vis the clear texts, and there are hundreds of them, so we cannot rely upon them after what they have done.
If we ask our religious leaders, “Which Sunnah do you follow?” They answer categorically, “The Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam!”
But the historical facts are incompatible with that, for they claim that the Messenger of Allah said, “Take my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs after me. Hold firmly to it.” But the Sunnah they follow is often the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, and even the Messenger’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Sunnah which they claim to follow is in fact transmitted by those people.
However, we read in our Sihahs that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam prevented them from writing his Sunnah so that it was not confused with the Qur’an. Abu Bakr and Umar did the same thing during their caliphate, we therefore have no proof for the saying, “I left you my Sunnah!”
Analysis of Hadith al Thaqalyn
To begin with it would be prudent to reproduce the hadith as it appears in Sahih Muslim and let that be our frame of reference:
عن يزيد بن حيان قال انطلقت أنا وحصين بن سبرة وعمر بن مسلم إلى زيد بن أرقم فلما جلسنا إليه قال له حصين لقد لقيت يا زيد خيرا كثيرا رأيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وسمعت حديثه وغزوت معه وصليت خلفه لقد لقيت يا زيد خيرا كثيرا حدثنا يا زيد ما سمعت من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال يا ابن أخي والله لقد كبرت سني وقدم عهدي ونسيت بعض الذي كنت أعي من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فما حدثتكم فاقبلوا وما لا فلا تكلفونيه ثم قال قام رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يوما فينا خطيبا بماء يدعى خما بين مكة والمدينة فحمد الله وأثنى عليه ووعظ وذكر ثم قال أما بعد ألا أيها الناس فإنما أنا بشر يوشك أن يأتي رسول ربي فأجيب وأنا تارك فيكم ثقلين أولهما كتاب الله فيه الهدى والنور فخذوا بكتاب الله واستمسكوا به فحث على كتاب الله ورغب فيه ثم قال وأهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي فقال له حصين ومن أهل بيته يا زيد أليس نساؤه من أهل بيته قال نساؤه من أهل بيته ولكن أهل بيته من حرم الصدقة بعده قال ومن هم قال هم آل علي وآل عقيل وآل جعفر وآل عباس قال كل هؤلاء حرم الصدقة قال نعم
Yahya ibn Habban narrates, “Hussain ibn Sabrah, ‘Amr ibn Muslim and I all went to visit Zaid ibn Arqam. As we sat at his side Hussain (ibn Sabrah) said to him, ‘O Zaid! You witnessed much good. You saw the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam you heard his speech, participated in military campaigns with him and prayed behind him in Salah. O Zaid! You witnessed such good; relate to us some of what you had heard from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.’
He responded, ‘O my nephew! By Allah, I have become very old and a long time has passed (since the Prophet’s passing) and I have forgotten some of what I used to remember from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Accept from me what I relate and do not impose upon me (to narrate) what I no longer remember.’
He went on to say, ‘One day the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stood up to deliver a sermon at a watering stop known as Khumm, which is situated between Makkah and Madinah. He praised and glorified Allah, admonished and reminded us and said, “Listen O people, I am merely a human being. A Messenger from my Lord will soon approach me and I will respond to his call. I am leaving behind two weighty things; the First is the Book of Allah which contains guidance and illumination. So accept the Book of Allah and hold firmly to it.”
He emphasized practising on the Book of Allah and holding firmly onto it. Then he said, “(And the second is) My family (Ahl Bayti). I remind you of Allah with regards to fulfilling the rights of my family. I remind you of Allah with regards to fulfilling the rights of my family.”’
Hussain said to Zaid, ‘O Zaid! Who is his family? Are his wives not part of his family?’
Zaid responded, ‘His wives are part of his family, but his family (in terms of blood relation) are those whom charity is unlawful for.’
Hussain asked, ‘Who are they?’
Zaid replied, ‘They are the family of ‘Ali, family of ‘Aqil, family of Jafar, and the family of Ibn ‘Abbas.’
Hussain then asked, ‘Is it not permitted to give charity to all of them?’
Zaid replied, ‘Yes.’”
If we examine the various elements mentioned in the hadith we realise the following:
- The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was about to depart from this world.
- The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam left behind two weighty things.
- He advised how to deal with each of these weighty things differently.
- One of them is the Book of Allah; which he exhorted towards in terms of holding on to and abiding by its injunctions.
- The second was his family, the Ahlul Bayt for whom the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam invoked our fear in Allah in terms of respecting them, honouring them, and safeguarding them.
Now that hadith cited by Tijani is placed in its proper context we realise that this was said at Ghadir Khumm. The next task is to identify the meaning of the term Ahlul Bayt and to whom this term applies. The reader will notice that Tijani appears to present this narration as proof for the absolute obedience to Ahlul Bayt vis-à-vis the Sunnah. The term Ahlul Bayt used in the hadith has been applied to various meanings according to its context. In a sense it could refer to one’s followers, specifically those who are knowledgeable among them. It also refers to a man’s entire family, and this mode of expression is consistent with the Qur’an’s usage of the term Ahlul Bayt. By the admission of Zaid ibn al Arqam radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the narrator of this hadith, the wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are included in the definition of the term Ahlul Bayt.
The question now arises as to the meaning of this hadith? Tijani and those who think like him are inclined to think that this refers to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu specifically, whereas this stands in stark contrast with reality since the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would not have used such an encompassing phrase if he only intended a particular individual. It is quite evident that this hadith be understood in a framework other than that which Tijani argues from.
One of the ways of understanding this narration is that it refers to the people of knowledge and piety among the Ahlul Bayt who hold onto the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet. This is what is referred to in the version of the hadith, “O People! I leave amongst you what if you hold onto it you will never go astray, the Book of Allah and my offspring, the people of my household (Ahlul Bayt).” This version of the hadith has been called into question in terms of its reliability since the narrators are not all sound.
There is another way of looking at it, and this seems to be a more accurate representation of the hadith of Zaid ibn Arqam radiya Llahu ‘anhu, especially if the wording is considered. According to this understanding the hadith calls for love for the Ahlul Bayt, respecting them, honouring them, and safeguarding them.
The Ahlul Bayt, in terms of the Sunni understanding, refers to the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam entire family, whereas according to the Twelver Shia it applies only to twelve individuals among them. Interestingly, Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha is excluded from the twelve. The view of Ahlus Sunnah is further supported by the clarification of Zaid ibn Arqam radiya Llahu ‘anhu, who was a follower of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, when he pointed out that the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wives were part of the Ahlul Bayt, as well as the members of the four famous lines mentioned in the hadith.
Tijani’s contention is that it applies exclusively to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his sons radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. The problem with this reasoning is that there is nothing to substantiate the exclusive application to one part of the family since comprehensive form of expression Ahlul Bayt encompasses the other branches as pointed out by the narrator, Zaid ibn Arqam radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
In addition to this, we know that not all his relatives were on Islam. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructed us to hold onto the Ahlul Bayt, was the command then to hold onto to every person who subscribes to the Ahlul Bayt even if they oppose the Qur’an and the Sunnah? No doubt this view is incorrect. Therefore, he instructed us to follow those from the Ahlul Bayt who hold onto the Book of Allah and the Sunnah. In this regard we also understand the hadith, “You must follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Khalifas after me. Hold on to it with your molar teeth!”
As well as the hadith:
إني لا أدري ما بقائي فيكم فاقتدوا باللذين من بعدي وأشار إلى أبي بكر وعمر
“Indeed, I do not know how long I will remain amongst you. Therefore, follow the two after me,” and he pointed to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.
Collectively these ahadith encourage holding onto the Sunnah and cannot be understood to apply exclusively to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Al Qari comments on the meaning of the words, “holding onto,” as they appear in the weaker narrations bearing the words, “my ‘itrah,” and the narrations about the Khalifas respectively:
Intended by them are the people of knowledge, those who study his biography, those who know his methodology and know its ruling and its wisdom.
Ibn Malik says, “The meaning of holding onto the ‘itrah is to love them and follow their guidance and their lifestyles.” Jamal al Din adds, “When it does not contradict the din.”
Some scholars say:
The ‘itrah of a man is his household and his close kin. The word ‘itrah has many usages. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam explained it with his words, “My Ahlul Bayt,” so that it could be known that he intended with it his progeny, his close relatives, and his wives.
It is similar to Allah’s instruction to the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wives in the verse:
وَاذْكُرْنَ مَا يُتْلٰى فِيْ بُيُوْتِكُنَّ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللّٰهِ وَالْحِكْمَةِ
And remember what is recited in your houses of the verses of Allah and wisdom.
The word, ‘wisdom’, carries the meaning of ‘Sunnah’.
So the meaning of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam words, “You must follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Khalifas,” according to al Qari:
It is because they only practice my Sunnah. His ascribing (the Sunnah) to them was either because of their knowledge of it, or because their extracting rules and principles from it and their choosing it.
Ibn Rajab says:
This is his prediction about what was going to occur in his Ummah after him in terms of disputes in the fundamentals and branches of the din, and in terms of statements and actions and beliefs. This supports what was narrated from him about the splitting of his Ummah into seventy odd branches and that all of them were in the fire besides one, that group being the group that followed him and his Sahabah.
Similarly, in this hadith there is the instruction to hold onto his Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Khalifas after him at the time of the splitting of this Ummah.
The Sunnah is the chosen path and that includes holding onto what the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the Rightly Guided Khalifas were upon in terms of beliefs, and actions, and statements. This is the complete Sunnah and it was for this reason that the predecessors used the term to include all of that.
From the aforementioned we conclude that the command to hold onto the Sunnah of these people refers to holding onto what they have with them in terms of knowledge and this knowledge was not restricted to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu or his sons after him. How could that be when the hadith proving this has been narrated by others besides ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his sons?
In Tijani’s framework of understanding, Hadith al Thaqalayn is in conflict with the hadith of holding to the Book and Sunnah. Since the version of the hadith of holding on to the Book and Sunnah appears with an interrupted chain he infers that the concept of the Book and Sunnah is a Sunni construct and the Book and Ahlul Bayt is the Shia understanding. He does not realise that he has subconsciously associated the Sunnah with the Khalifas. Secondly he ignores the obligation of following the Sunnah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He does not realise that his reasoning inherently denies the need to follow to Sunnah. This is the result of his inability to understand hadith al Thaqalayn in its proper context.
The Qur’an encourages returning to the Sunnah:
لَقَدْ مَنَّ اللّٰهُ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيْهِمْ رَسُوْلًا مِّنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُوْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيْهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِنْ كَانُوْا مِنْ قَبْلُ لَفِيْ ضَلَالٍ مُّبِيْنٍ
Certainly did Allah confer (great) favour upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book (i.e., the Qur’an) and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error.
Al Shafi’i said:
Allah mentions the Book and that is the Qur’an, and he mentions the wisdom and I heard from someone I am pleased with from the people of knowledge of the Qur’an, he said, “The wisdom refers to the Prophet’s Sunnah.”
Similar instructions are to be understood from the verse:
وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُوْلُ فَخُذُوْهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوْا وَاتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيْدُ الْعِقَابِ
And whatever the Messenger has given you—take; and what he has forbidden you—refrain from. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.
Muhammad Jawwad al Maghniyyah, a senior contemporary Imami scholar, says in the Tafsir of this verse:
Allah says: Practice the Qur’an! If you do not find in it a clear text for what you intend then return to the prophetic Sunnah!
When we study these verses alongside the previous ahadith, which encourage holding onto the Sunnah of the ‘itrah and the Khalifas because of their knowledge of the Sunnah, we know with certainty that there is harmony in understanding the instruction to follow the Sunnah, the Rightly-guided Khalifas and the ‘itrah.
Al Kulayni narrates in his book Usul al Kafi from Ayub ibn al Hurr, who said:
I heard Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq) saying, “Everything returns to the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Every hadith that does not agree with the Book of Allah is vanity.
Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq), he said:
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam addressed us at Mina and said, “O People! Whatever comes to you from me in agreement with the Book of Allah then I said it. And what comes to you (from me) opposing the Book of Allah I did not say it.”
From Ibn Abi ‘Umair, from some of his companions, who said, I heard Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq) saying:
Whoever opposes the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has become an unbeliever.
From Aban ibn Taghlib, from Abu Jafar (al Baqir):
He was asked about something and he answered. Then the man said, “The jurists do not say this!”
He said, “Woe unto you! Do you recognise the jurist only? Indeed, the jurist, the true jurist, is the ascetic in this world, and desirous of the hereafter, and the one who holds onto the prophetic Sunnah!”
Their senior scholar in the field of transmitter biographical information, in his book Rijal al Kashshi, forwards from Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq) saying:
Fear Allah and do not accept upon us what opposes the word of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam because when we speak we say, “Allah says, and the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam says.”
Yunus said when the books of the companions of Abu ‘Abdullah (al Sadiq) were presented to Abu al Hassan (al Rida) he denied many of the ahadith saying that they could not have been from the ahadith of Abu ‘Abdullah, he said:
Indeed Abu al Khattab has forged (ahadith) upon Abu ‘Abdullah. May Allah curse Abu al Khattab and the companions of Abu al Khattab who inserted these ahadith (into the hadith collections) and those who up until today insert in the books of the companions of Abu ‘Abdullah! Therefore, do not accept from us anything in conflict with the Qur’an. For indeed, when we speak we speak in conformity with the Qur’an and in conformity with the Sunnah. Either from Allah or from his Messenger do we speak! We do not say, “Such and such a person said,” and then our speech becomes contradictory.
Can anyone doubt, after the aforementioned, that the members of the Ahlus Sunnah are the true followers of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam by following the Qur’an and the Sunnah?
The meaning of ‘itrah in the Prophet’s statement in the previously cited hadith of al Thaqalayn is to return to my household so that they may teach you, firstly, my Sunnah, or so that they may transmit to you the authentic ahadith because they were above lying on account of the verse of Tathir.
The purpose of infallible according to Tijani is to avoid the possibility of error, whether deliberate or accidental in the transmission of the hadith of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The problem with this reasoning is that it required fallible narrators to prove the infallibility of the infallibles. Not only is that a paradox but an exercise in futility.
Tijani claims that those intended by the words Ahlul Bayt are the Imams of the Twelvers from the sons of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, after Hassan, from the line of Hussain to Jafar al Sadiq. According to them Imamah continues with Musa ibn Jafar al Kazim, in contrast to the Ismailiyyah who consider to continuity of Imamah to be with his son, Ismail ibn Jafar.
Then another sect emerged, the Kaysaniyyah, who consider Imamah to have continued with Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah. Then a group followed them and claimed that the Ahlul Bayt is ‘Abbas and his sons. This group is known as al Rawandiyyah.
There are also other sects who subscribe to the Ahlul Bayt and each of these sects claims the right for itself, and that it is following the path of the Ahlul Bayt, and it declares the other groups as unbelievers or innovators. Also, each one of them claims to take the authentic Sunnah from those who they believe the Imamah passed through them. How does the idea of adhering to an infallible overcome this diverse interpretation and multiple claims of leadership? How do we determine which of these interpretations of Ahlul Bayt to follow?
b. The Hadith, “My Ahlul Bayt are like the Ark of Noah.”
Then Tijani cites the second hadith and says:
The Prophetic tradition of the Ship:
The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, Behold! My Ahlul Bayt are like the Ark of Noah, whoever embarked in it was saved, and whoever turned away from it was drowned.
In another hadith:
My Ahlul Bayt are like the Gate of Repentance of the children of Israel; whoever entered therein was forgiven.
Analysing the Hadith, “My Ahlul Bayt are like the Ark of Noah.”
This hadith revolves around a series of weak and abandoned narrators. In the chain is Hassan ibn Abi Jafar and he is matruk (suspected of forgery), and ‘Ali ibn Zaid who is a weak transmitter.
In al Tabrani’s chain of this hadith appears ‘Abdullah ibn Dahir and he is matruk.The editor of the published version of Fada’il al Sahabah of Ahmed agrees because a narrator in the chain Mufaddal ibn Salih al Nahhas al Asadi who the scholars of verification grade as weak. Al Dhahabi says about him, “Mufaddal is weak.”
Tijani referenced the second hadith to Majma’ al Zawa’id by al Haythami but when we referred to the book we found:
From Abu Dharr, who said, the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The likeness of my Ahlul Bayt is the likeness of Noah’s ark. Whoever boards it is saved and whoever lags behind drowns. And whoever fights at the end of days he is like the one who fights Dajjal.” This is narrated by al Bazzar and Tabrani in the three. In al Bazzar’s sanad is al Hassan ibn Abi Jafar al Jafari and in Tabrani’s sanad is ‘Abdullah ibn Dahir and both of them are matruk.
From Ibn ‘Abbas, he said, the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The likeness of my Ahlul Bayt is the likeness of Noah’s ark. Whoever boards it is saved and whoever lags behind drowns.” This is narrated by al Bazzar and Tabrani and in it is al Hassan ibn Abi Jafar and he is matruk.
From ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The similitude of my Ahl al Bay is the similitude of Noah’s ark. Whoever mounts it is saved and whoever lags behind drowns.” This is narrated by al Bazzar and in it is Ibn Lahi’ah and he is a weak transmitter.
From Abu Sa’id al Khudri, he said, I heard the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying, “The example of my Ahl al Bay amongst you is the example of Noah’s ark. Whoever mounts it is saved and whoever lags behind drowns. And the example of my Ahl al Bay amongst you is the example of the door of Hittah amongst the Bani Isra’il. Whoever enters it is forgiven.’ This is narrated by Tabrani in the al Saghir and in al Awsat and in it is a group (of transmitters) I do not know.
If Tijani actually referred to Majma’ al Zawa’id it means that he knowingly cited spurious narrations. That speaks volumes for his objectivity in proving an undeniable tenet of his faith!
c. The Hadith, “Whoever wishes to live and die like me…”
The third narration which he presents is the following:
The Prophetic tradition: “He who wishes to live like me.”
The Messenger of Allah H said: “Whoever wishes to live and die like me, and to abide in the Garden of Eden after death should acknowledge Ali as his patron and follow Ahlul Bayt after me, for they are my Ahlul Bayt and they have been created out of the same knowledge and understanding as myself. Woe unto those followers of mine who will deny the Ahlul Bayt their distinctions and who will disregard their relationship and affinity with me. May Allah, never let them benefit from my intercession.”
Analysing the Hadith, “Whoever wishes to live and die like me…”
This hadith is fabricated. Its transmitters are all unknown with the exception of Ibn Abi Rawwad:
Everyone besides Ibn Abi Rawwad is unknown. I do not find (any scholar) who mentions them. However, I am of the opinion that Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn Yazid ibn Sulaym is in actual fact Ibn Muslim al Ansari al Atrabalsi, also known as Ibn Abi al Hanajir. Ibn Abi Hatim says, “We wrote him as a saduq (average transmitter).” There is some biographical information about him in Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir. As for the rest of them I do not recognise them. Therefore, one of them fabricated this hadith which is apparent in its falseness and make up. The merit of ‘Ali is beyond having to prove it with such fabrications which the Shia cling onto and blacken their books with tens of them citing them in order to establish that which no one today denies and that is the merit of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Tijani indicates in the footnotes to the sources of this hadith include al Hilyah of Abu Nu’aym, and Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, but he concealed their evaluation of these two narrations that they are weak. So much for fair representation and avoiding prejudice!
Abu Nu’aym said about it, “(This is a) strange (hadith),” indicating to its weakness.
Ibn ‘Asakir narrated it in his Tarikh and said about it, “This is a contradictory hadith and it has more than one unknown transmitter.”
He confirms his ignorance when he says:
It is worth noting here that at the early stage of my research, I felt doubtful about the authenticity of this tradition and I thought it carried a great threat to those who are not in agreement with Ali and Ahlul Bayt, especially when the tradition does not allow any scope for interpretation. I became rather worried when I read the book “Al lsabah” in which Ibn Hajar al Asqalani gives the following commentary on the tradition: “…I based the tradition on what Yahya ibn Ya’la al Muharibi had said, and he is feeble.” In fact Ibn Hajar removed some of the doubt that remained in my minds for I thought that Yahya ibn Ya’la al Muharihi fabricated the tradition and could not be a reliable transmitter. But Allah—Praise be to Him the Most High —wanted to show me the whole truth. I read a book entitled Ideological discussions on the writings of Ibrahim al Jabhan. This book clarified the situation and it became apparent to me that Yahya ibn Ya’la al Muharibi was a reliable transmitter of Hadith and the two Sheikhs, Muslim and al Bukhari depended on what he transmitted. I myself followed his case and found that al Bukhari cited a few traditions transmitted by him regarding the Battle of al Hudaybiyah, and they were put in Volume 3, Page 31. Muslim also cited a few traditions in his Sahih Volume 5 in a chapter entitled “The Boundaries” Page 119. Even al Dhahabi, with all his restrictions, considered him a reliable transmitter, together with the Imams of al Jarh and al Ta’deel (criteria applied to Hadiths to find out the reliable and unreliable transmitter), and of course the two Sheikhs [Muslim and al Bukhari] used him as a reliable reference. So why all this intrigue, falsification and deception about a man who was considered to be a reliable transmitter by the authors of al Sihah?
Tijani repeatedly exposes his ignorance. The hadith he cites, “Whoever wants to live my life,” is not transmitted by way of the narrator Yahya ibn Ya’la al Muharibi. Rather, Tijani confuses the hadith we are discussing with another hadith which reads:
Whoever wishes to live my life and die my death and live the everlasting garden which Allah promised me, he planted its trees with his own hands; let him take ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib as his guardian. Indeed, he will not remove you from guidance and he will not enter you into misguidance.
It appears that Tijani merely followed his guru, ‘Abd al Hussain al Musawi, in his book al Muraja’at when he mentioned the same hadith and also brought Ibn Hajar’s statement about Ya’la al Muharibi and said:
I say: This is strange from someone the like of al ‘Asqalani as Yahya ibn Ya’la al Muharibi is reliable by consensus.
In Tijani’s haste to relate this statement of Musawi he overlooked the fact the he was referring to a different hadith!
As for Ibn Hajar’s statement, “In its chain is Yahya ibn Ya’la al Muharibi and his is a weak transmitter,” it appears to be an oversight on the part of Ibn Hajar and instead of saying Yahya ibn Ya’la al Aslami, who is one of the transmitters of this hadith, said, “al Muharibi.” The proof for that is that Ibn Hajar himself grades al Muharibi as reliable in his biography when he said, “Yahya ibn Ya’la ibn al Harith al Muharibi al Kufi is a reliable transmitter,” and he said in the biography of al Aslami, “Yahya ibn Ya’la al Aslami al Kufi is a Shia and a weak transmitter.”
In the chain of the hadith above is Yahya ibn Ya’la al Aslami. Despite Tijani’s powers of observation and in-depth research he failed to distinguish between two ahadith. Therefore, he narrates one hadith and studies the chain of another!
 Then I was guided, p. 151-152.
 Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Fada’il al Sahabah, hadith (5920)
 Sunan al Tirmidhi, Kitab al ‘Ilm, Hadith: 2676; Refer also to Sahih al Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2157.
 Sunan al Tirmidhi, Kitab al Manaqib, Hadith: 3663; Refer also to Sahih al Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2896.
 Mirqat al Mafatih Sharh Mishkat al Masabih, vol. 10, p. 531.
 Op. cit. vol. 10, p. 530; Tuhfah al Ahwadhi, vol. 1, p. 196.
 Surah al Ahzab: 34.
 Tuhfah al Ahwadhi, vol. 7, p. 367.
 Jami’ al ‘Ulum wa al Hukm by Ibn Rajab, p. 120.
 Surah Al ‘Imran: 164.
 Miftah al Jannah fi al I’tisam bi al Sunnah by Jalal al Din al Suyuti, p. 18.
 Surah al Hashr: 7.
 Al Tafsir al Mubin, p. 731.
 Usul min al Kafi by al Kulayni, vol. 1, Kitab Fadl al ‘Ilm, Bab al Akhdh bi al Sunnah wa Shawahid al Kitab, p. 55.
 Ibid, p. 56.
 Rijal al Kashshi, p. 195, al Mughirah ibn Sa’d.
 Therefore, everything the Rafidah ascribe to Abu ‘Abdullah or his father in terms of the claim of the existence of the Mushaf of Fatimah, which is not in agreement with our copy of the Qur’an, or the apostasy of all the Sahabah besides three or seven, or the claim that the Imams have been divinely appointed by Allah and his Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and everything that has been narrated upon his tongue in terms of statements which equates to unbelief, and extremism in relation to the Imams, is a lie and false. The best proof for that is that Abu ‘Abdullah said that Mughirah use to forge statements of unbelief and sacrilege against his father and used to ascribe them to his companions. Then he instructed them to spread it amongst the Shia. Therefore, everything that was in the books of the companions of my father in terms of extremism that is what Mughirah ibn Sa’d inserted in their books. Rijal al Kashshi, p. 196.
 What is strange is that Imamiyyah do return the matters of the religion to the statements of men. Their legal school in terms of the branches (of the religion) relies upon the Jafar’s (al Sadiq) legal school. How can that be if he commands with following the Book (the Qur’an) and the Sunnah and discarding the views of men? Can the Ahlus Sunnah then be rebuked after that for following the Book (Qur’an) and the Sunnah?
 Rijal al Kashshi, p. 195-196.
 Refer to Firaq al Shia by al Nawbakhti, p. 23, 33, 68; al Farq bayn al Firaq by al Baghdadi, p. 60; ‘Aqa’id al Thalath wa al Sab’in Firqah by Abu Muhammad al Yamani, vol. 2.
 Then I was guided, p. 160.
 Refer to Mu’jam al Tabrani al Kabir, Hadith: 2632, 2637, 2638, 12388.
 Fada’il al Sahabah, vol. 2, Hadith: 1402.
 Majma’ al Zawa’id wa Mamba’ al Fawa’id by Al Haythami, vol. 9, p. 167.
 Then I was guided, p. 161.
 Silsilah al Ahadith al Mowdu’ah, vol. 2, p. 298.
 Al Hilyah by Abu Nu’aym, vol. 1, p. 86.
 Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 12, p. 120.
 Al Muraja’at by Musawi, p. 27, in the footnote.
 Taqrib al Tahdhib by Ibn Hajar, vol. 2, p. 319.