The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would, on some occasions, liken some of his Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum to some Prophets. Would that mean that such Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum are like those Prophets in all aspects?
It is authentically reported that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam likened Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Prophets Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam and ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam. He also likened ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Prophets Nuh ‘alayh al Salam and Musa ‘alayh al Salam. And it is known that Prophets Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam, ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam and Nuh ‘alayh al Salam are all higher in status than Prophet Harun ‘alayh al Salam, for they are Prophets of Resoluteness (Ulul ‘Azm).
It follows then that this hadith indicated a merit of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu just as other ahadith mentioned the merits of other Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum and not any allusion to his right to succession.
The explicit text would be if the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made a declaration such as: “‘Ali is the ruler after me”, “‘Ali is your Imam (leader) after me” or “I have appointed ‘Ali as my successor over you”. This is an example of an explicit text. As for the Hadith of manzilah, it cannot be regarded as explicit text.
Their leader (already wet with perspiration): I have already told you the clear-cut evidence at the end of the hadith which your scholars recorded in your recognised books. Your Bukhari recorded it in his Sahih, which according to your belief, is like the Qur’an. The text is what the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam told ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu: “And I should not go without appointing you as my successor.”
I said: The text reported by Bukhari and others does not include this trumped up addition that is falsely attributed to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This fabricated addition also contradicts the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam deeds, for he had assigned other people besides ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to manage the affairs of Madinah in his absence. On one occasion, he sent ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Yemen and he himself remained in Madinah. When he was going on his farewell pilgrimage, he took ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu along with him and assigned another companion to manage the affairs of Madinah in his absence. How could he then say: “I should not leave without appointing you as my successor.”? This is indeed a clear contradiction.
As for your claim that we treat Sahih al Bukhari as equal to the Qur’an, it needs to be clarified in no uncertain terms that we – the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah – never liken anything to the Qur’an. Our only belief is that the ahadith of Sahih al Bukhari are all accepted in view of the exceptionally painstaking and meticulous conditions that Imam al Bukhari followed in verifying each and every hadith of his collection.
Their leader: But there are certainly some ahadith in Sahih al Bukhari which are clearly fabricated. Yet, you claim that all the ahadith of the collection are authentic!
My response: We need to be focused in our discussion. What we are discussing is the clear-cut and explicit proofs on the right of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to leadership immediately after the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam death. You claimed that there are so many proofs to support this yet you have not given a single one.
As for your claim concerning ahadith of Sahih al Bukhari, this will be discussed later, if Allah wills. You will then learn what is the true level of authenticity in this hadith collection, their exceptional accuracy and the extent to which we – the Ahlus Sunnah – are proud of the sciences of hadith, knowledge of the chain of transmitters and the sciences of al Jarh wa al Ta’deel through which Allah preserved and guarded the sunnah of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam throughout the centuries against the liars and forgers.
There was an uproar in the gathering and their leader motioned to them with his hand that they should be quiet. He also signaled to the person in charge of recording the proceedings of the symposium to stop and that the microphones be switched off.
He then suddenly changed his approach that had been hitherto characterised with courtesy into aggressiveness. He might have discovered that practising taqiyyah is not workable with people like me.
Their leader: It seems the doctor – referring to me – is an expert in twisting the proofs. He insisted on twisting clear proofs on the right of Imam ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to leadership after the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and persisted on denying him the right that Allah gave him and which the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commanded that he should be given. However, this is not the first time an injustice would be done to Imam ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Before he was deprived of his right, his wife (Fatimah) al Zahra radiya Llahu ‘anha was beaten so cruelly that she had a miscarriage and later died and her sons were killed and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu was slaughtered like a goat ….”
(He was saying all this in a sad tone. When I noticed that he no longer had interest in debating with me and I felt that his interest had shifted into talking to his Shia audience, I did not want the debate to end like that.)
I interrupted: Excuse me, I think the search for the truth should be through proofs and evidence and not through emotions and tales.
Someone from the audience: Can you not see that we have been enduring you for a while? Can you not see that we have been magnanimous with you? Can you not see that we have been good hosts to you?
I said: I did not come to you as a guest. You invited me for a debate and my presence here was only in response to your invitation.
Their leader (to me): Do not be incensed by what our friend said. He did not mean to hurt your feeling.
I said: No problem – all praise is due to Allah. Please go on giving me the rest of the proofs that explicitly mention the rights of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to rulership immediately after the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam death.
Their leader: The proofs are many but I am going to give you one more evidence, perhaps Allah will open your heart for the love of Imam ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and other members of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam household. The evidence is ‘Ayat al Tathir’ and the hadith of ‘al Kisa’.
The verse is Allah’s saying:
اِنَّمَا یُرِیْدُ اللّٰهُ لِیُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ اَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ وَ یُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِیْرًا
Allah wishes only to remove al Rijs (evil deeds and sins) from you, O members of the house (of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and to purify you with a thorough purification.
All scholars of tafsir agreed that those who are meant by members of the family are: ‘Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum. This is also agreed to by your authorised narrations.
Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha, the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wife, narrated that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commanded Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha (his daughter): “Bring your husband and your sons to me.” When she brought them, the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam threw a sheet over them and then placed his hand upon them and said: “O Allah, these are members of Muhammad’s family. Bestow Your blessings upon the family of Muhammad as You had done upon the family of Ibrahim. You are indeed worthy of praise, the Mighty.” Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha said that she raised the sheet to join them but the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam pulled her aside by her hand and said: “You are already blessed.”
The verse indicates that evil deeds and sins had been removed from members of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam family, and the hadith indicated that members of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam family are: ‘Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Since Allah has-removed evil deeds from them, this means that they are infallible and, by virtue of their infallibility, they have more right to rulership than others.
My response: It seems you have run out of your ‘countless’ proofs and that is why you are now citing as evidence, texts that are absolutely irrelevant to the point in discussion.
What is the relationship between the verse and the hadith that you have just quoted and the explicit mentioning of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as the leader after the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, whereby the one who opposes it would be regarded as being unjust to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and as a result deserve to be condemned as an apostate?
Undoubtedly, the verse you quoted was revealed in exclusive reference to the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wives, who are pure women, may Allah be pleased with them. Let us have a keen look at these verses and study them closely.
ٰىاَیُّهَا النَّبِیُّ قُلْ لِّاَزْوَاجِكَ اِنْ كُنْـتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ الْحَیٰوةَ الدُّنْیَا وَ زِیْنَتَهَا فَتَعَالَیْنَ اُمَتِّعْكُنَّ وَ اُسَرِّحْكُنَّ سَرَاحًا جَمِیْلًا ﴿٢٨﴾ وَ اِنْ كُنْـتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ اللّٰهَ وَ رَسُوْلَه وَالدَّارَ الْاٰخِرَةَ فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ اَعَدَّ لِلْمُحْسِنٰتِ مِنْكُنَّ اَجْرًا عَظِیْمًا ﴿٢٩﴾ یٰنِسَآءَ النَّبِیِّ مَنْ یَّاْتِ مِنْكُنَّ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَیِّنَةٍ یُّضٰعَفْ لَهَا الْعَذَابُ ضِعْفَیْنِ ؕ وَکَانَ ذٰلِكَ عَلَی اللّٰهِ یسِیْرًا ﴿٣٠﴾ وَمَنْ یَّقْنُتْ مِنْكُنَّ لِلّٰهِ وَ رَسُوْلِه وَ تَعْمَلْ صَالِحًا نُّؤْتِهَآ اَجْرَهَا مَرَّتَیْنِۙ وَ اَعْتَدْنَا لَهَا رِزْقًا کَرِیْمًا ﴿٣١﴾ یٰنِسَآءَ النَّبِیِّ لَسْتُنَّ کَاَحَدٍ مِّنَ النِّسَآءِ اِنِ اتَّقَیْتُنَّ فَلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَیَطْمَعَ الَّذِیْ فِیْ قَلْبِه مَرَضٌ وَّ قُلْنَ قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوْفًا ﴿٣٢﴾ وَقَرْنَ فِیْ بُیُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِیَّةِ الْاُوْلٰی وَ اَقِمْنَ الصَّلٰوةَ وَ اٰتِیْنَ الزَّکٰوةَ وَ اَطِعْنَ اللّٰهَ وَ رَسُوْلَه ؕ اِنَّمَا یُرِیْدُ اللّٰهُ لِیُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ اَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ وَ یُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِیْرًا ﴿٣٣﴾ وَ اذْكُرْنَ مَا یُتْلٰی فِیْ بُیُوْتِكُنَّ مِنْ اٰیٰتِ اللّٰهِ وَ الْحِكْمَةِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ کَانَ لَطِیْفًا خَبِیْرًا
O Prophet (Muhammad (salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say to your wives: “If you desire the life of this world and its glitter, then come, I will make a provision for you and set you free in a handsome manner (divorce). But if you desire Allah and His Messenger, and the home of the hereafter then verily Allah has prepared for those who do good amongst you an enormous reward.” O wives of the Prophet! Whoever of you commits open immorality, the torment for her will be doubled, and that is ever easy for Allah. And whosoever of you is obedient to Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and does righteous good deeds, We shall give her, her reward twice over, and We have prepared for her a noble provision (Paradise). O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allah), then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner. And remain in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the days of ignorance, and perform salah, and give zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah wishes only to remove al Rijs (evil deeds and sins) from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and to purify you with a thorough purification. And remember (O you the members of the Prophet’s family, the Graces of your Lord), that which is recited in your houses of the verses of Allah and al Hikmah. Verily Allah is Most Courteous, Well Acquainted with all things.
If we study the above verses deeply, we will realise that Allah’s saying: “Allah wishes only to remove al Rijs (evil deeds and sins) from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet)”, does not constitute an independent verse but a part of a verse that speaks about the mothers of the faithful, the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam blessed wives. The succeeding verses also continue speaking about them. This is the clearest evidence that the verse was revealed exclusively in reference to the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wives.
All praise is due to Allah that this statement is only a part of a verse, and not a separate one, thereby denying the liars the opportunity to fabricate their lies. This is the opinion of the Muslim scholars.
As regards the Hadith of Kisa, the most that can be inferred from it, is that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam included ‘Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hussain among members of his family so that they could also be covered by the divine blessing manifested in the removal of evil deeds and thorough purification.
That is why when Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha wanted to enter under the garment he told her: “You are already blessed.”
As for the claim of some people that the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wives, may Allah be pleased with them, are not members of the Prophet’s household, nothing could be further from the truth. What is understood directly from the words of the above verses clearly refute this claim. And the Qur’an is the authority over every Muslim.
There is also another verse that indicates that the wives are indeed among members of one’s family. Consider Allah’s saying concerning Prophet Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam and his family, though the only member of the family he had then was his wife:
رَحْمَتُ اللّٰهِ وَبَرَکٰتُه عَلَیْكُمْ اَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ
The Mercy of Allah and His Blessings be on you, O members of the family (of Ibrahim).
Allah also said about Prophet Musa ‘alayh al Salam:
فَلَمَّا قَضٰی مُوْسَی الْاَجَلَ وَسَارَ بِاَهْلِه
Then when Musa had fulfilled the term and travelled with his family.
Though the only person with whom he travelled was his wife.
There are authentic ahadith in which families of al ‘Abbas, ‘Aqil and Jafar are regarded as part of the Prophet’s household. All these families are forbidden from taking zakat after the death of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam until the Last Hour.
In order not to have any misconception about the ‘Ayat al Tathir’ we need to note an important point:
If we agree, for the sake of argument, that ‘Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu are the only members of the Prophet’s family, though this is incorrect, nothing in the hadith explicitly indicated that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu should be the leader after the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. If this had been true, then the rulership would need to be shared by the four: ‘Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum, but not even a foolish person would agree to this.
There is also nothing in the verse or in the hadith that indicates the infallibility of these four people. The utmost indication is that they are purified from sins and evil deeds. Though, this does not mean that they could not be affected by forgetfulness, mistakes and misjudgments. Therefore, infallibility is one thing and purification from evil deeds is something else.
 Surah al Ahzab: 33
 Surah al Ahzab: 28-34
 Surah al Hud: 73
 Surah al Qasas: 29