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This section comprises twenty-seven ahadith, most of which are sahih (authentic). However, several (different) chains of transmission contain words that are inauthentic. These words do not form part of the actual ahadith and were inserted into them. Details will be given in due course.
من كنتُ مولاه فعليٌ مولاه
Whoever’s mawla I am, ‘Ali is his mawla.
The following people have devoted an entire book (to this hadith):
Ibn ‘Asakir in his book Tarikh Dimshaq, Ibn Abi ‘Asim: al Sunnah, Jamal al Din al Zayla’i: Takhrij Ahadith al Kashshaf, and Al Albani in his book Silsilat al Ahadith al Sahihah analysesd the hadith’s various chains of transmission.
Al Kattani in his book Nazm al Mutanathir identifies twenty-five transmitters from the Sahabah. He further states that al Munawi in al Taysir explicitly states—transmitting from al Suyuti and the commentator of al Mawahib al Ludaniyyah—that this hadith is mutawatir (massively-transmitted).
Al Hafiz Shams al Din al Dhahabi in his book Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ says, “This hadith is Hassan ‘ali jiddan (fair and very elevated) and its matn (text) is mutawatir (massively-transmitted).”
Ibn al Jazari in his book Manaqib al Asad al Ghalib says, “This hadith is Hassan sahih from numerous perspectives. It has been massively-transmitted from Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and likewise, from Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. A large number of people transmit it from another large number of people; therefore, whoever deems it da’if (unreliable) deserves no attention, for he has no knowledge of this science.” He then went on to list their names.
The different chains of transmission I have come across are narrated from 75 Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, 26 of which are transmitting in the various books of hadith. Ibn ‘Uqdah mentions 49 chains in his Kitab al Muwalat. When al Albani traced this hadith back to its original sources he did not mention any chains of transmission except via the following (Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum): Zaid ibn Arqam, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, Buraidah ibn al Husayb, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Abu Ayub al Ansari, al Bara’ ibn ‘Azib, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, Anas ibn Malik, Abu Sa’id, and Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. It is quite obvious he missed tens of narrations. It is true, however, that they have no real influence on the original hadith. This is because the vast majority of them are not authentic.
This hadith is narrated by Imam al Tirmidhi (and others) from Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who said, “Whoever’s mawla I am, ‘Ali is his mawla.” Shu’bah doubted this. Al Tirmidhi says, “This hadith is Hassan gharib (fair (and) rare).
This is transmitted by Imam Ahmed—and others—in his Musnad from Abu al Tufayl who said:
‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu gathered the people at al Rahbah (in Kufah) and said to them, “Allah has adjured every Muslim male that heard the proclamation of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the day of Ghadir Khum to stand up and testify what they had heard.”
Thereupon thirty stood up and testified that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam grasped ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu by his hand and said to the people,: ‘Do you know that I am more worthy of the believers than their own selves?’
They replied, ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah!’
Then he said, ‘Whoever’s mawla I am, than this (referring to ‘Ali) is his mawla. O Allah! Show love to that person who loves him and show hate to that person who hates him!’
Abu Tufayl said, “I left and it was as if there was something troubling me inside. I met Zaid ibn Arqam and said to him, ‘I hear ‘Ali saying this and that (referring to the above).’
He replied and said, ‘Why are you in denial? I heard the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying that to him.’” 
The chain of this transmission is sahih (authentic).
This is narrated by Ibn Majah—and others—from ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Sabit — from Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas who said:
Muawiyah came on one of his pilgrimages and Sa’d entered in his presence. They (the people present) brought up ‘Ali, on account of which Muawiyah criticised him(‘Ali).
Sa’d became angry and said, “Are you saying this of a man of whom I heard the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam say, ‘Whoever’s mawla I am, ‘Ali is his mawla.’ And I heard him say. ‘You are to me like Harun was to Musa, except that there will be no Prophet after me.’ And I heard him say, ‘I will give the banner today to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger.’”
Ibn Sabit did not hear directly from Sa’d, according to Yahya ibn Ma’in. This version of the hadith has been corroborated but the different chains of transmissions contain flaws. I have mentioned this in the original work.
The most authentic chain of transmission of this hadith is Zaid ibn Arqam’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu (see above).
Another very good chain of transmission is the one reported by Imam Ahmed in his Musnad and Fada’il al Sahabah. It is as follows:
ثنا محمد بن جعفر، ثنا شعبة، عن أبي إسحاق، قال: سمعت سعيد بن وهب قال: نشد علي الناس، فقام خمسة أو ستة من أصحاب النبي ﷺ فشهدوا أن رسول الله ﷺ قال: من كنت مولاه فعلي مولاه.
Muhammad ibn Jafar reported to us — Shu’bah reported to us — from Abu Ishaq who said, “I heard Sa’id ibn Wahb say:
‘Ali adjured the people (to testify). Five or six Companions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stood up and testified that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Whoever’s mawla I am, ‘Ali is his mawla.”
This chain of transmission is authentic, however, the different chains of transmissions of this version contain flaws. I have mentioned this in the original work.
This has been reported by al Nasa’i al Kubra and Khas’is ‘Ali from ‘Abdul Malik ibn Abi Ghaniyyah who said — al Hakm narrated to us from — Sa’id ibn Jubayr — from Ibn ‘Abbas — from Buraidah.
This chain of transmission is authentic. Al Hakam’s name is Ibn ‘Utaybah. It also has other chains of transmission. I have mentioned them in the original work.
Imam Ahmed (and others) narrates in his Musnad and Fada’il al Sahabah from Hansh ibn al Harith ibn Laqit al Nakha’i al Ashja’i from — Riyah ibn al Harith who said:
A group of people came to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu at al Rahbah (near Kufah) and said, “As-salamu ‘alaykum ya molana.”
He replied, “How can I be your mawla when you are a nation of Arabs?”
They said, “We heard the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying on the day of Ghadir Khum, ‘Whoever’s mawla I am, than this (referring to ‘Ali) is his mawla.’
Riyah said, “When they left I followed behind them and asked, ‘Who are these people?’
They replied, ‘A group from the Ansar. Among them was Abu Ayub al Ansari.”
This hadith has a good (jayyid) chain. Ibn Hibban regards Riyah ibn al Harith as reliable. Al Albani also believed it to have a good (jayyid) chain.
This is also narrated by Imam Ahmed (and others) in his Musnad and Fada’il al Sahabah from Yahya ibn Hammad — from Abu ‘Awanah — from Abu Balj — from ‘Amr ibn Maymun who said, “I was seated with Ibn ‘Abbas when a group of nine people approached and said…”
He then goes on and mentions a lengthy hadith in which there are baseless additions that are not authentic. Just as I have explained this in the original work, I also explained that some of the huffaz (hadith masters) were deceived by the apparent soundness of the chain; and, as such, they elevated it. Amongst them are: al Iraqi, al Hakim, al Dhahabi, and al Albani. There exists, however, a defect which they were unaware of. Imam Ahmed judged it to be munkar (unacceptable).
It has other chains of transmission which are not authentic. I have made mention of this in the original work. As for the other chains they all contain flaws.
In short, the hadith appears via seventy-five Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. The Hadith of ‘Ali, Zaid ibn Arqam, Buraidah, and Abu Ayub al Ansari’s radiya Llahu ‘anhum are authentic. The other chains of transmissions are weak and unreliable. However, the aforementioned (authentic) chains strengthen them.
The following people—among others—have openly stated that it is mutawatir (massively-transmitted): al Munawi, al Suyuti, al Kattani, al Dhahabi, and Ibn al Jazari.
Imam al Tirmidhi said, “This hadith is Hassan gharib (fair (and) rare).”
The following people have authenticated it: al Hakim, Ibn Hibban, al Tahawi, al Dhahabi, al ‘Iraqi, Ibn Hajar, al Busiri, and al Albani. Imam Ahmed ibn Hajar al Haythami classified it as Hassan (good).
The following people have classified it as weak and unreliable: Abu Dawood al Sijastani, Abu Hatim al Razi, Imam al Bukhari, Ibrahim al Harbi, ibn Hazm, and al Zayla’i.
The following words in the hadith are authentic:
أتعلمون أني أولى بالمؤمنين من أنفسهم؟ قالوا: نعم يا رسول الله. قال: من كنت مولاه فهذا مولاه. اللهم وال من والاه، وعاد من عاداه.
(The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:) “Do you know that I am more worthy of the believers than their own selves?”
They replied, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah!”
Then he said, “Whoever’s mawla I am, than this (referring to ‘Ali) is his mawla. O Allah! Show love to that person who loves him and show hate to that person who hates him!”
Aside from this, all the other additional wordings are not authentic. Such as the addition:
وانصر من نصره، واخذل من خذله.
… And help whoever helps him. And forsake whoever forsakes him.
Ibn Taymiyyah went out of his way to prove this (addition) is a flat-out lie according to all muhaddithin. We have already mentioned that several people have authenticated the first portion (of the du’a’), which reads:
اللهم وال من والاه، وعاد من عاداه.
O Allah! Show love to that person who loves him and show hate to that person who hates him!
The second portion (of the du’a’) reads:
وانصر من نصره، واخذل من خذله.
… And help whoever helps him. And forsake whoever forsakes him.
This has also been authenticated by al Hakim, and others. However, the correct opinion is that it is not authentic, but not to the level of being completely untrue. The reason why ibn Taymiyyah considers it a lie is because it contradicts historic reality; for there is no difference of opinion regarding the acceptance of which the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam having made a du’a’.
Another addition in the text is regarding the verse:
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ
O Messenger, announce that which has been revealed to you from your Lord…
When the above-mentioned verse was revealed, Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam addressed everyone at Ghadir Khum. He then went on to mention the hadith.
This is not reliable and completely unsubstantiated. In fact, al Albani unequivocally states this narration is a lie.
Similarly, the additions wherein ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu congratulates him and says to him:
أصبحتَ وأمسيتَ مولى كل مؤمن ومؤمنة.
You have become the mawla of every male and female believer.
This is reported by ‘Ali ibn Zaid ibn Jud’an who is da’if (unreliable). Similarly, it has been reported from both Matar al Warraq and Shahar ibn Hawshab, both of whom are also da’if (unreliable).
Finally, the addition regarding the verse:
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِيْ
This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you…
The hadith of Abu Hurairah from Matar al Warraq and Shahar ibn Hawshab (both of whom are unreliable) indicates that when the hadith of al muwalat, i.e. ‘man kuntu mawlahu…’ was mentioned, Allah revealed the above-mentioned verses at Ghadir Khum. It also appears with a false chain of transmission from Ibn ‘Asakir, as in the hadith of Abu Sa’id. In fact, al Albani classified this hadith as a fabrication.
Not only is this hadith used as evidence for the Imamah (leadership) of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, but it is also used to prove that he is more deserving of the Caliphate, and that whoever opposes him is an enemy of Allah.
The reality of this hadith has been explained by Hassan ibn Hassan ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu, an Imam from the Ahlul Bayt. Ibn Sa’d in his al Tabaqat al Kubra narrates with an authentic chain of transmission the following hadith:
أخبرنا شبابة بن سوار الفزاري قال أخبرني الفضيل بن مرزوق قال سمعت الحسن بن الحسن يقول لرجل ممن يغلو فيهم ويحكم أحبونا لله فإن أطعنا الله فأحبونا وإن عصينا الله فأبغضونا. قال فقال له رجل إنكم قرابة رسول الله وأهل بيته فقال ويحك لو كان الله مانعا بقرابة من رسول الله أحدا بغير طاعة الله لنفع بذلك من هو أقرب إليه منا أبا وأما والله إني لأخاف أن يضاعف للعاصي منا العذاب ضعفين وإني لأرجو أن يؤتى المحسن منا أجره مرتين.ويلكم اتقوا الله وقولوا فينا الحق فإنه أبلغ فيما تريدون ونحن نرضى به منكم ثم قال لقد أساء بنا آباؤنا إن كان هذا الذي تقولون من دين الله ثم لم يطلعونا عليه ولم يرغِّبونا فيه. قال فقال له ألم يقل رسول الله ﷺ لعلي من كنت مولاه فعلي مولاه؟ فقال أما والله إن لو يعني بذلك الإمرة والسلطان لأفصح لهم بذلك كما أفصح لهم بالصلاة والزكاة وصيام رمضان وحج البيت. ولقال لهم أيها الناس هذا وليكم من بعدي. فإن أنصح الناس كان للناس رسول الله ﷺ ولو كان الأمر كما تقولون إن الله ورسوله ﷺ اختارا عليا لهذا الأمر والقيام بعد النبي ﷺ إن كان لأعظم الناس في ذلك خطأ وجرما إذ ترك ما أمره به رسول الله ﷺ أن يقوم فيه كما أمره أو يعذر فيه إلى الناس.
Shababah ibn Siwar al Fizari informed us that — Fudayl ibn Marzuq said:
I heard Hassan ibn Hassan saying to a man who used to show excessive love to them, i.e. the Ahlul Bayt, “Woe unto you people! Love us (only) for the pleasure of Allah. If we are obedient to Allah, then love us. And if we are disobedient to Allah, then do not love us.”
The man said to Hassan, “You are related to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and from his family!”
Hassan said, “Woe unto you! If Allah were to prevent anyone from not worshipping Allah on account of his familial relationship with the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then those that are paternally and maternally closer to him than us would (also) benefit. By Allah, I fear that a sinner from among us will be given double punishment. Still, I hope that a good-doer among us will be given his reward twice. Woe unto you! Fear Allah and speak the truth about us, for this is closer to what you (actually) desire. We are well-pleased if that comes from you.”
He continued saying, “If what you people are saying (about us) is considered to be a part of Allah’s Din, and our forefathers neither informed us about it nor encouraged us, then surely they have wronged us!”
The man said to him, “Did the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam not say to ‘Ali, ‘Whoever’s mawla I am, ‘Ali is his mawla?’”
Hassan responded and said, “By Allah! If, by that statement, he intended (for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu) a position of leadership and authority, he would have clearly expressed it, just as he clearly expressed (the injunctions of) salah, Zakat, fasting in Ramadan, and Hajj. Similarly, he would have said, ‘O people! This (referring to ‘Ali) is your leader after me,’ for the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wished well for everyone and was the most benign, considerate, and caring person. If it had been as you people are saying; that Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam chose ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu for this matter after Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; then ‘Ali would be guilty of having committed the biggest mistake and crime! Since it was he that abandoned a command that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructed him to carry out.”
The chain of transmission for this hadith is jayyid (good). Fudayl ibn Marzuq, the person narrating the story, is a Shia.
Similarly, al Khallal—and others—also narrate this hadith.
Abu Nuaim al Asbahani says:
If they attempt to prove (‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu Imamah) and say, “The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, ‘Whoever’s mawla I am, ‘Ali is his mawla,’ it will be said to him: We accept this narration from you, however, we say that this is a clear virtue in favour of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The meaning of which is, ‘whoever Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is the mawla of, ‘Ali and the believers are his mawla. The proof of this is in Allah’s words:
وَالْمُؤْمِنُوْنَ وَالْمُؤْمِنٰتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَآءُ بَعْض
The believing men and believing women are allies/friends of one another.
Allah also says:
وَالَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَآءُ بَعْضٍۚ
And those who disbelieved are allies/friends of one another.
The word al wali and al mawali mean one and the same thing. The proof of this is in the words of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala:
ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ مَوْلَى ٱلَّذِيْنَ ءَامَنُوْا وَأَنَّ الْكَٰفِرِيْنَ لَا مَوْلٰى لَهُمْ
That is because Allah is the ally/friend of those who have believed and because the disbelievers have no ally/friend.
In other words, they have no wali (ally). They are His slaves and He is their Protector, Ally, and Friend. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala merely intended that they have no ally.
فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ مَوْلٰىهُ وَجِبْرِيْلُ وَصٰلِحُ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ
then indeed Allah is his Ally, and Gabriel and the righteous of the believers.
In another place, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:
اللَّهُ وَلِيُّ ٱلَّذِيْنَ ءَامَنُوْا يُخْرِجُهُمْ مِّنَ الظُّلُمٰتِ إِلَى النُّوْرِ
Allah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darknesses into the light.
Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala also says:
وَمَن يَّتَوَلَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُوْلَهُۥ وَالَّذِيْنَ ءَامَنُوْا فَإِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْغٰلِبُوْنَ
And whoever is an ally of Allah and His Messenger and those who have believed – indeed, the party of Allah – they will be the predominant.
This is a form of praise from Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He encouraged people to show love towards him and also encouraged his friendship. This is on account of the hypocrites prejudice and hatred towards him. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also said:
لا يحبك إلا مؤمن ولا يبغضك إلا منافق.
Only a believer will love you and only a hypocrite will hate you.
It has also been reported from Sufyan ibn ‘Uyanah that ‘Ali and Usamah once got into an argument.
‘Ali said to Usamah, “You are my mawla.”
Usamah responded and said, “I am not your mawla; the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is my only mawla.”
The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then said, “Whoever’s mawla I am, ‘Ali is his mawla.”
This is similar to when people say: ‘so and so is the mawla of Banu Hashim and the mawla of Banu Umayyah.’ The reality of them is one. What has been reported by Ibn ‘Uyaynah is supported by the following hadith:
حدثنا عبد الله بن جعفر قراءة قال: حدثنا يونس بن حبيب حدثنا داود حدثنا شعبة عن سعد بن إبراهيم قال: سمعت عبد الرحمن الأعرج قال شعبة: ولا أعلم إلا عن أبي هريرة t أن رسول الله ﷺ قال: الأنصار وقريش ومزينة وجهينة وغفار وأسلم وأشجع بعضهم موالي بعض ليس لهم مولى دون الله ورسوله.
Shu’bah said, “I do not know from Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu except that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, ‘The Ansar, Quraysh, Muzaynah, Ghifar, Aslam, Ashja’ are mawali (allies) of one another. They have no mawla save Allah and His Messenger.’”
The meaning of these narrations clarifies the implication of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam statement, “Whoever’s mawla I am, ‘Ali is his mawla,” since the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that all of these tribes are mawali (allies) of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and his Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
 Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, 42/187.
 Ibn Abi ‘Asim: al Sunnah, 2/604.
 Jamal al Din al Zayla’i: Takhrij Ahadith al Kashshaf, 2/234.
 Al Albani: Silsilat al Ahadith al Sahihah, 4/1750.
 Al Kattani: Nazm al Mutanathir, 194.
 Ibid., 195.
 Al Imam al Dhahabi: Siyar ‘Alam al Nubala’, 8/335.
 Ibn al Jazari: Manaqib al Asad al Ghalib, pg. 12.
 Jami’ al Tirmidhi, #3713
 Imam Ahmed: Musnad Ahmed, 4/370.
 Imam ibn Majah, #121.
 Yahya ibn Ma’in: Tarikh ibn Ma’in – Riwayat al Duri, 3/87.
 ‘Corroboration,’ or ‘parallelism’ refers to a narration which corroborates that a certain person had heard a hadith from a certain teacher by serving as evidence that a different student had heard the same hadith from that teacher. [translator’s note]
 Imam Ahmed: Musnad Ahmed, 5/366 and Fada’il al Sahabah, #1021.
 Imam al Nasa’i: al Sunan al Kubra, #8412, #8413, 8466; Khasa’is ‘Ali, #81, #82.
 Imam Ahmed: Musnad Ahmed, 5/419 and Fada’il al Sahabah, 2/967.
 Al Albani: Silsilat al Ahadith al Sahihah, 4/340.
 Imam Ahmed: Musnad Ahmed, 1/330 and Fada’il al Sahabah, #1167.
 Al Albani: Silsilat al Ahadith al Sahihah, 2223.
 A munkar hadith in the early period of hadith criticism it meant a hadith that was either uncorroborated or broken with other similar narrations either in its isnad or its meaning. In the later period, it came to mean a hadith that had only one chain of transmission without that isnad being strong enough to justify accepting it. [translator’s note]
 Ibn Taymiyyah: Minhaj al Sunnah, 7/55.
 Surah al Ma’idah: 67.
 Al Albani: Silsilat al Ahadith al Da’ifah, #4922.
 Surah al Ma’idah: 3.
 Al Albani: Silsilat al Ahadith al Da’ifah, #4923.
 Al Tabaqat al Kubra, 5/319-320.
 Al Khallal: al Sunnah, 2/350.
 Surah al Tawbah: 71.
 Surah al Anfal: 73.
 Surah Muhammad: 11.
 Surah al Tahrim: 4.
 Surah al Baqarah: 257.
 Surah al Ma’idah: 56.
 Abu Nuaim al Asbahani: al Imamah, pg. 217-218.
 Imam al Tahawi: Sharh Mushkil al Athar, 11/48-49; ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, 42/238.