by ‘Allamah Shams al Haq Afghani
All praise is due to Allah, He is sufficient for all our needs and salutations upon his chosen servants.
I have read the book on Hadith al Thaqalayn which was authored by Molana Muhammad Nafi’, in which he has gathered all the asanid of the Hadith al Thaqalayn. There are some narrations which only mention the Book of Allah, whilst others mention the Sunnah as well. There is no contradiction between the two, as the second type of narrations are detailed versions of the first type, which are abbreviated. There is also a third type of narration, in which the Sunnah is replaced with the words “my Ahlul Bayt” or “‘itrati”. The first two types are correct and are corroborated by the Qur’an. This is because wherever the phrase:
اَطِيْعُوْا اللّٰهَ وَ اَطِيْعُوْا الرَّسُوْلَ
Obey Allah and obey his Rasul.
appears, it confines the success of humanity to the compliance of the dictates of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. If a third source did exist, then it is impossible that the Qur’an would have omitted it at junctures such as these. In fact, failing to mention the Ahlul Bayt—who the Shia believe to be incumbent to obey—at junctures like these would open the doors to deviation, which contradicts the guiding nature of the Qur’an.
The narrations in which Ahlul Bayt or ‘itrah are mentioned, are neither authentic as far as the isnad are concerned, nor are they acceptable as far as their implication is concerned.
As far as the aspect of the isnad is concerned, apart from the narration reported by Zaid ibn Arqam radiya Llahu ‘anhu which appears in Sahih Muslim, all of the remaining narrations have been criticised by all the scholars of hadith. It is for this very reason that Imam al Bukhari did not consider this hadith worthy of being entered into his authentic compilation. Imam Nasa’i who did report this narration in his Sunan al Kubra then omitted it in his Sunan al Mujtaba, in which he took it upon himself to only mention authentic narrations.
The narration reported by Imam Muslim is contradictory, and it is well known that when contradiction appears with regards to the text of a narration, and the correct version cannot be proven in light of evidence, then the validity of that narration will be flawed. The contradiction that appears in the narration of Muslim is that in one narration the noble consorts of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are included as part of the Ahlul Bayt, whereas they are excluded in another narration. In addition, Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu admitted that he had aged and was quite likely to have forgotten.
If we were to accept the validity of this narration then too it does not fulfil the intended purpose, as it contradicts the above mentioned first two types of narrations as well as the explicit verses of the Qur’an, which will obviously be given preference over it. The least that could be said is that the command of holding onto and following the Qur’an and Sunnah, which has been established from the Qur’an, is clear cut and beyond any doubt, whereas there is uncertainty regarding the second thiqal mentioned in the hadith: Is it the Sunnah or is it the Ahlul Bayt? Thus, the Sunnah should be given preference as it is in conformity to the Qur’an.
As far as the implication of the narration is concerned, the narration mentioning ‘itrah is still incorrect as the actual purpose of Ghadir Khum was to refute the objections against ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, which were based upon enmity. The wording used:
اللهم وال من والاه و عاد من عاداه
O Allah, be a befriend those who befriend him and bear enmity for those who bear enmity for him.
indicates that the Ahlul Bayt are to be loved and should not become a target for one’s enmity. Hence the necessity of loving the Ahlul Bayt can be established from this narration, but not the incumbency of their obedience. Further, the specification of the Ahlul Bayt—by pinpointing its members—cannot be found in any narration. Therefore if it includes all of them, whether they are believers or non-believers, pious or impious then the command to obey them would be an illogical one and the narration will thus be classified incorrect as far as its message and meaning is concerned.
There is yet another dimension to this subject; the obedience of any human—be it a Nabi or a non-Nabi—is only incumbent as far as his commands and orders are concerned. It does not extend to his person. As far as obeying the commands is concerned, it is not binding and necessary until it is proven and established beyond doubt to be the actual sayings and commands of that individual. As for the Ahlul Bayt, none of their commands were systematically compiled and recorded. If the commands of one or two individuals from amongst them were compiled, then there are thousands whose commands are unknown. Moreover, if the obligation of following the Nabi and the Ahlul Bayt is of the same level, then what difference remains between the Nabi and the non-Nabi?
Anyway, I am of the opinion that the book Hadith al Thaqalayn is unmatched with regards to this subject. Both parties can benefit tremendously on condition of honesty. It is my heartfelt supplication that Allah accepts this service that was rendered to the Muslim community by the compiler.
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