Author(s): Ayatullah Jafar Subhani
Translator(s): Mahmud Farrokhpey
Publisher(s): ABWA Publishing and Printing Center
Category: Prophethood Imamate Miscellaneous information: Leading The Ummah.
By: Ja’far Subhani.
Translator: Mahmud Farrokhpey.
Editor: Tahereh Ansari.
Proofreader: Andalib Abbas.
Publisher: ABWA Publishing and Printing Center.
This book offers some profound reasons by resorting to Qur’anic verses and to prophetic narrations in order to explain the issue of leadership, illustrating that the Divine verdict concerning the Islamic Leadership was quite different from the view that was brought up in the Saqifah convention.
The invaluable legacy of the Household [Ahl al-Bayt] of the Prophet (may peace be upon them all), as preserved by their followers, is a comprehensive school of thought that embraces all branches of Islamic knowledge. This school has produced many brilliant scholars who have drawn inspiration from this rich and pure resource. It has given many scholars to the Muslim ummah who, following in the footsteps of Imāms of the Prophet’s Household (‘a), have done their best to clear up the doubts raised by various creeds and currents within and without Muslim society and to answer their questions. Throughout the past centuries, they have given well-reasoned answers and clarifications concerning these questions and doubts.
To meet the responsibilities assigned to it, the Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly (ABWA) has embarked on a defence of the sanctity of the Islamic message and its verities, often obscured by the partisans of various sects and creeds as well as by currents hostile to Islam. The Assembly follows in the footsteps of
the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and the disciples of their school of thought in its readiness to confront these challenges and tries to be on the frontline in consonance with the demands of every age.
The arguments contained in the works of the scholars belonging to the School of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) are of unique significance. That is because they are based on genuine scholarship and appeal to reason, and avoid prejudice and bias. These arguments address scholars and thinkers in a manner that appeals to healthy minds and wholesome human nature.
To assist the seekers of truth, the Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly has endeavored to present a new phase of these arguments contained in the studies and translations of the works of contemporary Shī‘ah writers and those who have embraced this sublime school of thought through divine blessing.
The Assembly is also engaged in edition and publication of the valuable works of leading Shī‘ah scholars of earlier ages to assist the seekers of the truth in discovering the truths which the School of the Prophet’s Household (‘a) has offered to the entire world.
The Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly looks forward to benefit from the opinions of the readers and their suggestions and constructive criticism in this area.
We also invite scholars, translators and other institutions to assist us in propagating the genuine Islamic teachings as preached by the Prophet Muhammad (S).
We beseech God, the Most High, to accept our humble efforts and to enable us to enhance them under the auspices of Imām al-Mahdī,
His vicegerent on the earth (may Allah expedite his advent).
We express our gratitude to Āyatullāh Ja'far Subhani, the author of the present book, and Dr. Mahmud Farrokhpey, its translator. We also thank our colleagues who have participated in producing this work, especially the staff of the Translation Office.
Cultural Affairs Department
Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
The issue of Leadership is one of the most significant issues in Islam, on which the prosperity of the ummah is dependent. This is because the beloved Prophet of Islam laid the foundations of the religion and presented it to the Muslims in its perfect form, but put the task of its continuity and maintenance upon the shoulders of his future successors. The recognition of these leaders, however, has a tremendous impact on the destiny of the Muslims.
While the Holy Prophet's body wan not yer buried, there appeared disagreements among the ummah over the issue of leadership and during the Saqifah convention there arose two different views. Finally, through various deceitful diplomacies the immigrant sector which had five or three representatives seized the rein of leadership.
Now, the burning question is the following: could the Divine verdict be seen only in those two points of view or had the Prophet already solved the problem of leadership through the Divine Revelation much earlier than the muhajirin (immigrants) or the Ansar could have found the chance to delve upon such a delicate issue?
This book offers an answer
to such a question and will offer some profound reasons by resorting to Qur’anic verses and to prophetic narrations in order to explain the issue of leadership, illustrating that the Divine verdict concerning the Islamic Leadership was quite different from the view that was brought up in the Saqifah convention.
The position of leadership, given its special sacredness, belongs exclusively to the infallible, i.e. flawless persons who have Divine education and are introduced to the ummah through Allah via the Prophet (S).
This book was written more than twenty years ago for the interested youth and has been taught in Tehran several times and is now presented to interested readers after elaborate editorial work. I hope it can guide the readers in the right direction.
Qom, the Imam Sadiq Institute
Zil Haijah 7, 1415
The leadership of the ummah after the demise of the Holy Prophet is of utmost significance, which should be dealt with in a calm manner free of any prejudice.
The first question which was raised upon the demise of the Prophet (sa,) and which is still an important issue, has been the topic of the social and political leadership of the Muslims after the Prophet’s demise. This is because, without any doubt, the Prophet of Islam has been a great leader for all Muslims and there are many of Quranic verses which lead us to the magnanimity and greatness of this great person. Here are some samples:
﴿ یا أَیُّهَا الَّذِینَ آمَنُوا أَطِیعُوا اللَّهَ وَ أَطِیعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَ أُولِی الأَْمْرِ
“Obey Allah and obey the apostle and those in authority from among you”. (1)
﴿ النَّبِیُّ أَوْلی بِالْمُؤْمِنِینَ مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ ﴾
“The Prophet has a greater claim on the faithful than they have themselves”. (2)
Among the branches of this magnanimity is doing justice in the Islamic community. While in Medina, the great prophet of Islam managed court room affairs, both internally by himself and externally through his representatives. The Holy Quran orders Muslims to accept the Prophet’s judgments on legal cases without questioning
﴿ فَلا وَ رَبِّکَ لا یُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّی یُحَکِّمُوکَ فِیما شَجَرَ بَیْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لا یَجِدُوا فِی أَنْفُسِهِمْ حَرَجاً مِمَّا قَضَیْتَ وَ یُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِیماً﴾
“But no! By your Lord! They do not believe in reality until they make you a judge of that which had become a mutter disagreement amongst them, and then do not find any impediment in their hearts regarding what you have decided and submit with entire submission”.(3)
The Prophet’s leadership of the ummah included his management of Islam’s financial and economic issues. He performed such tasks on his own and was instructed by God to do so in the following verse:
﴿ خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوالِهِمْ صَدَقَهً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَ تُزَکِّیهِمْ بِها... ﴾
“Take alms out of their property, you would cleanse and purify them”. (4)
In accordance with the content of such Quranic verses, their corresponding narrations, as well as the Prophet’s own personal life style, the Prophet was a great leader for the Muslims and the nation, a great governor for the society, and a policymaker for the ummah. He carried out
the same tasks that an absolute governor would. It should be noted that his leadership was bestowed upon him by God without being chosen by the people for such a huge position.
The important point is to know who resumed the Islamic leadership after the Prophet’s demise and to realize who should have been the social and political leader of the Islamic society in order that such a society does not revert or encounter chaos.
No doubt, a system such as the worldwide and eternal system of Islam had calculated this significant topic carefully in advance and the great prophet of Islam had not ignored this critical matter and had deemed it necessary for all Muslims to follow and obey the legitimate custodians of authority.(1) There is a concensus with regard to this view. The point is that Muslims should recognize the characters of their rulers whose obedience has been demanded so that they can obey their rulers accordingly.
A group of Muslims contend that the great prophet had appointed the successor after him, by God’s commands, bestowing upon him the socio-political affairs of the society.
A second group holds the view that God let people elect their own leaders upon the Prophet’s demise. The Shiites adhere to the first view and the Sunnites hold the second.
If we confine ourselves to discussing who got the position of leadership upon the Prophet’s demise and how he was elected to such a position, whether he was appointed by the Prophet or elected by people, then such
a discussion will be nothing but a historical issue, which would not be of any interest for the present generation after the lapse of fourteen centuries (however such a recognition was of utmost significance at that period).
But if we look at the issue from another angle and consider it not from the socio-political aspect of the Islamic community on the Prophet’s demise, considering the Prophet the supreme source for the Islamic principles and paying heed to the characters of those who could be a source for the distinction between the permitted affairs and the prohibited ones and who could handle the issues of enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong, then the recognition of the Imam and the discussion on Imamate and the religious leadership would be the issue for every Muslim and nobody would be exempt from such a recognition. Let us consider what all these mean:
There is no doubt that the Prophet’s leadership was not exclusively of a socio-political nature. Rather as we can see in the verses of the holy Quran, he was the teacher of the holy Quran,(1) describer of Quranic issues(2) and announcer of divine precepts (commands)(3).
Based on the consensus of the Islamic community and the Quranic text, the Prophet’s behavior in teaching the Islamic ordinances are strong documents for his greatness.
In the fourth chapter of the present book, it is clearly shown that upon the demise of the great prophet, the people’s need for education had not ceased and Islam had not yet accomplished
its perfection; therefore, it still was in need of infallibe leaders. That is why after the Prophet’s demise someone had to lead the people and resume the leadership of the ummah in scientific and educational aspects to the point when the Islamic revolution could flourish.
Now we should find out who these proper administrators could be so that the Islamic community could benefit from their thoughts, behavior and statements in all times, and through their guidance the Islamically lawful issues could be distinguished from the unlawful ones, and in this way people could get familiarized with their religious duties.
It is essential for every Muslim to try to identify such leaders, and it is the objective of the present book to make known to Muslims which individuals could be the Prophet’s rightful successors.
To bring up the question of “leadership of Islam after the Prophet’s demise” at this time is not meant to excite people over their religious opinions or to emphasize their differences. Rather, under the present conditions, the religious differences should not be pointed out. After all a writer’s life is more precious than to be spent on prejudiced issues. Our aim is to found the basis of a logical and scientific research devoid of any prejudice or dogmatism so that all classes and sects of Muslims can tolerate one another and can, in this way, put an end to the disturbances that the enemies of Islam bring forth.
In bringing up such issues concerning the leadership of the ummah, two basic
principles will be taken into account:
1) Recognizing facts related to the significant issue of the Prophet's successor;
2) Emphasizing the importance of unity among Muslim communities, and the necessity to bring Muslims together in order to put an end to the enemy's pernicious instigations.
This book was being taught to virtuous youth throughout 1972-1973(1351-1352) on Friday nights at Bani Fatemah mosque (Husainiyyeh) on Amir Kabir street in Tehran. This teaching was an instrument used to familiarise the youth with the Ahl-ul-bayt and the genuine successors of the holy prophet.
Due to the continual demand for these lessons, we decided to print them in two different parts. Here we will present you with the first part of the lessons in 24 chapters. We hope to have the second part printed and ready within a short period of time.
Qom, The Seminary,
14 Rab al-thani 1394 / 6 Ordibehesht 1354
Unity of Muslims is a recognized fact and no wise scholar would ever doubt its significance since Muslims, who follow one divine book and share a common understanding of Islamic laws, do not have to be enemies of one another.
In the past, this unity was not considered crucial, whereas now, that the satanic troops of universal oppression and colonialism have entered the Islamic territories to expand their domination over Muslims, no wise man ever would undermine the need for this unity.
Which brave Muslim could ever look at the Muslims’ calamity in Palestine, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kashmir, Chechnya or other parts of the world and remain silent
The Muslims of the world make up one fourth of the world’s population. They are among the richest populations of the world in the areas of manpower, mineral deposits and rich Islamic culture. Such a population, rich in material and spiritual resources, could play a significant role in the world politically and can help other nations financially disregarding geographical boundaries which have been set up by the opponents of the Islamic unit. They could better their conditions through cultural and economic exchanges and could, in this way, resume their previous supremacy. However, the issue of recognition of the Imams must not hinder this unity.
At times, deceived or gullible youth severely criticize attempts by devoted scholars in the study of Islamic unity by saying:
“The discussion over whether caliphate belonged to Abu Bakr or Ali (as) is a useless issue, for neither we can turn back time, nor will the Prophet’s true, genuine successor be brought back to life to receive what he deserved and rise to the throne of Caliphate. So it would be better to bring this debate to an end and concentrate on other issues!”
The holders of such a view have ignored the brilliant consequences of such discussions, contending that they are absurd and act as obstacles which complicate Islamic unity. We think that such a view is deeply rooted in the lack of recognition of the Imams and stems from a tendency towards Sunnism or Wahabism. If we aimed at identifying the Prophet's successor vis-à-vis a false
substitute, then such discussions could rightly be considered as unproductive and obstacles in the way of Islamic unity.
In Shi’ite ideology, where Imamate is considered as the continuation of Prophethood, such discussions are of utmost significance. According to this ideology, an Imam's tasks would not encompass only the above affairs; rather, an Imam would be able to elucidate divine rules and Quranic issues. He has the knowledge required to classify between matters Islamically acceptable or unacceptable after the Prophet's death.
Who can be an Islamic authority? Who can teach us the Islamically recommended tasks and the prohibited ones? Who can we resort to when we are faced with an issue which was not been brought up during the Prophet's time? Whose judgment can we rely on? (1)Who should the Islamic Ummah refer to when they are faced with difficulty in interpretating the Quran? Who should they follow as their guide? (2)
This is where the question of the Prophet’s successor becomes a burning and urgent issue, because under such circumstances an Imam guides the Ummah on issues of Islamic knowledge, principles, and Islamic commands. We would never reach a desired result unless we identify the true Imam with valid reasoning.
If Muslims shared all the Islamic principles and practical laws, the need for an Imam would never present itself so urgently. However, there are disagreements among Muslims in nearly every Islamic issue.
Now what is our task? We who have appeared on the face of the earth fourteen centuries after the Prophet (S)? Do we
have to refer to this or that Sahabi (for instance Abu Hanifah or Shafei) when we want to settle an Islamic issue or do we refer and resort to Imam Ali and his dearest offspring's who are, in the belief of Shiites, the most sacred, learned and honorable ones and who are appointed to their positions by the Prophet (S).
Answers to such questions are presented in the discussions on the issues of Welayat (the Imam's successors) and the recognition of Imams. The results of such investigations would put an end to our confusion and bewilderment.
Even if we put aside the question of the caliphate and the issue of government and leadership of the Innocent Imams, which was their natural right, only an investigation into the true identity of the Prophet’s successor is of utmost significance, and is related to the Muslims` prosperity.
For this reason, we have to sum up the issues which we will take up in the next chapters: suppose we were to put aside the issues of caliphate and the Islamic leadership, we can firmly assert that in accordance with the Prophet's explicit confirmations and according to the Holy Quran, after the Prophet's passing the only scientific and religious sources for Muslims are the Innocent ones.
This is because the Prophet at different junctures had referred to the unbreakable bond between the holy Quran and the Innocent ones:
“أَیّها النّاس إنّی یوشک أن ادعی فاجیب و إنّی تارک فیکم الثقلین کتاب الله وعترتی کتاب الله حبل ممدود من السماء
إلی الأرض و عترتی أَهل بیتی و أنّ اللطیف أخبرنی أنّهما لن یفترقا”
“O People! I will soon join God. I will leave with you two valuable things: one is the Book of God and the other one is my kinfolk. The Book of God is the divine inspiration and the cord of salvation which has stretched to the Earth from the sky and my kinfolk are my family members and my God has informed me that the two will never separate”
On the days of Arafah and Ghadir the great Prophet, who was unwell at the time, announced in front of a huge crowd of his sahabah (close followers)
“هذا علیٌّ مع القرآن و القرآن مع علی لا یفترقان”
“Ali is with Quran and the Quran is with Ali the two will never separate”(1)
Documents for narration of Thaqalain are too numerous to be listed here. The cleric Allamah Mir Hamed Husain, in the twelfth volume of his book, called “Abaghat Al-Anwar”, which was printed in India, has presented these documents. This book was reprinted in six volumes in Isfahan several years ago.
A pamphlet has also been published on this issue by Darol Taqrib of Egypt. In this regard, Sheikh Shaltut, the religious leader of Al-Azhar, has nulled the necessity of following any of the four religions and has issued the verdict that every Muslim could follow any of the four.
Here is his Islamic verdict:
He was asked: some believe that every Muslim has to follow one of the four religions in his prayers and
transactions; however, Shi’ites of twelve Imams and Zaidies are not among the four. Your honor, do you believe in such a segregation and do you advise people not to follow Shi’ism?
Concerning this, he answered:
1. Islam has not deemed it compulsory for its followers to follow a specific religion (in minor issues). We believe every Muslim can follow any religion which is authentic. Any follower of the four religions can change his or her religion freely. There is no prohibition in this regard.
2. The Ja’fari religion, known as the 12-ers – the base of Shi’ism, is one of the religions which can easily be adopted like other religions of Islam.
Thus, it is appropriate for all Muslims to be aware of this fact and stop showing prejudice against a specific religion. This is because God’s religion and tradition is not dependent on a specific religion. The Islamic leaders are highly capable of deducing Islamic commandments on tradition (Ijtihad). All of them are loved by God. Those who are not well-informed in religious issues are allowed to follow learned authorities and carry out what they have stipulated in their book; and in this regard there is no difference between prayers and transactions(1).
Caliphate, from the view point of Sunnit scholars, is a social position for which only talents for specific purposes are reckoned as significant and urgent.
On the other hand, Imamate, from a Shia perspective, is a divine position which is occupied by God’s appointment and is equal to the position of
the Prophet in many respects.
Concerning the issue of Imamate, there are two views among scholars: one is specific to the Sunnite scholars and the other is held by the Shiite scholars:
Sunnite scholars hold that Imamate is a widespread sponsorship of Muslim religious and mundane affairs. An Imam or a caliph, in their view, is an individual who held this position after the Prophet’s death and who would solve any problem Muslims might encounter.
They define Imamate in the following manner: (1)
“الإمامه رئاسه عامه فی أُمور الدین و الدّنیا خلافه عن النبی”
In the Sunnite view, this great religious and social position is a social asset which is bestowed upon a caliph by people for he is elected by the people.
The limits and boundaries of a caliph are clearly specified in the above definition.
a) Sponsorship of religious affairs:
This phrase indicates that people's religious problems are solved by the caliph. For instance, the spread of Islam across the globe through holy wars is among an Imam's tasks.
b) Sponsorship of mundane affairs:
An Imam or a caliph should preserve people's security through armies and should secure the borders.
When we carefully analyze this definition and consider the caliph's tasks, we can conclude that Sunni scholars consider an Imam a usual governor and a social leader who is elected to secure general security and justice, and in this way only the Imam's knowledge and capability are required (neither a comprehensive knowledge of the Islamic commandments, nor a divine immunity against error is necessary).
However, in every society there are
cases of corruption; in every corner of society there are wrong-doers who engage in gambling or who drink wine; there are aggressors who steal public wealth or commit sexual crimes.
Therefore, after the Prophet's death there should be a capable man who should stop the wrongdoings through the application of divine punishments. These and many other such tasks weigh over the shoulders of the Imam who resumes the Prophet's tasks when the latter passes away.
In addition, there are other affairs related to the expansion of Islam across the globe which are issues related to people's religion. For instance, one of the missions of an Imam is to secure Islamic borders and to spread monotheism across the globe through holy wars with an army equipped with powerful weapons.
You might ask who is responsible for people's religious questions. They would answer: the Prophet's close friends, who have learned such issues from the Prophet, are responsible for such affairs.
If the Imam's task was only to settle such mundane affairs, he would not need any moral virtues except for social capabilities, let alone widespread knowledge or immunity against sins.
Unfortunately, from a Sunnite perspective the Imam's spiritual position has so drastically degenerated that an individual such as Baghiani is allowed to speak of a caliph as the Prophet's successor, an individual who can engage in sins and still remain the leader of an Ummah. He writes: (1)
“لایخلع الإمام بفسقه و ظلمه بغصب الأموال و تناول النفوس المحترمه و تضییع الحقوق و تعطیل الحدود”
An Imam is never
removed from his position because of involvement in the disobedience of God, or for confiscation of people's possessions, or for killing people or for disruption of people's rights. Rather, it is the people's job to make his wrongdoings right or even to lead him towards the right direction!
We will not even wonder when we see a scholar such as Mohaqiq Taftazani judge the caliph of the Prophet in the following manner:
It is never required for Imams to be immune against sins or to be the best of the Muslims. The Imam's disobedience and his lack of Islamic knowledge would never end in his resignation(1).
The reasons for such judgments concerning the caliph of Islam lie in the assumption that an Imam should be elected as a usual governor. His only requirement is the ability to manage people's affairs and to suppress the aggressors.
His moral corruption or his involvement in sins are not considered relevant to his job.
The Shiite scholars rely on another view. This view states: Imamate is a kind of divine jurisprudential guardianship or walayah which is bestowed upon the Imam by God. In other words: Imamate, like prophethood, is assigned to an individual by God.
Based on this assumption, Imamate is a continuation of Prophethood with the difference that the Prophet is the founder of shariah (i.e. the divine Islamic law) and the Imam is the describer of divine Islamic law. The Imam follows the path of the Prophet in all affairs except for the issue of revelation. All the
requirements of a prophet (such as knowledge of, Islamic principles and practical laws, Islamic commandments, immunity against sins) are shared by an Imam.
The holders of this view state: If it is true that the Prophet brought an extensive and complex divine system for people and imparted to people all the Islamic knowledge, there should be a capable individual after the Prophet who can analyze all those principles. Such a task could not be carried out except through thorough knowledge.
It is also a fact that while the Prophet lived all the Islamic commandments were revealed to him by God but due to specific conditions a series of problems had to be addressed by the Imam who had to enjoy divine revelation. The Shiite believe that an Imam should be aware of and informed on the affairs of Islamic jurisprudence.(1)
But why should an Imam be innocent and infallible? Sunnites recognize an Imam as the teacher and instructor of the Ummah, however, education should be practical and should be carried out by the instructor. If the instructor himself were to break laws, how could he influence others to the right path? This view holds: since the Ummah could never recognize a sponsor so innocent and well informed, an Imam should be appointed by God.
Now we should find out which one of the two views is correct and well founded and is in harmony with the verses of the Holy Quran and with the Prophet's authentic narrations.
The rational and narrative reasons all
lead us to the fact that the Imam's position, like the one of the Prophet:
• is a divine position;
• the Imam should be appointed by God; and
• he should have all the conditions and characteristics of the Prophet except for the ability to receive revelations.
Now let us present our reasons:
During his lifetime the beloved Prophet of Islam put forward the basic and practical principles of Islam which consequently led to the completion of the sacred religion of Islam. But are these principles enough without an Islamic authority who has the ability to solve people's problems? Definitely not. Rather, there should have been an infallible Imam, after the Prophet, who could in the light of the Holy Quran, deal with new situations, especially those situations which did not arise during the Prophet’s lifetime.
After his prophethood, the Prophet spent thirteen years in Mecca struggling with idolatry, during which, due to the lack of proper conditions, he was unable to teach people the Divine rulings; therefore he spent most of his energy trying to inform people of the Islamic principles and the issues related to the Creator and resurrection. Since the issues of ‘Islamically permitted and forbidden acts’ could not be raised at the time, they were postponed to a later date.
Upon his entry into Medina, the Prophet was faced with insurmountable obstacles.
His life in Medina did not exceed ten years but during this time he personally took part in twenty seven Holy Wars against the idolaters and the Jews of Medina and
Kheybar. His precious time was also spent on fighting with the infidels and hypocrites.
All the events caused the Prophet to present only an introduction of the Islamic principles. Therefore, he allowed his successors to explain and meditate related issues.
In surah Maidah we read:
﴿ الْیَوْمَ أَکْمَلْتُ لَکُمْ دِینَکُمْ ﴾
“This day I have perfected for you your religion(1)“
This surah was revealed to the Prophet on the tenth year of his prophethood. The issues of resurrection and the Islamic principles were perfected by the Prophet up to the time of the revelation of this verse.
Now we must think. Who could satisfy all the needs of the Ummah based on these principles after the Prophet?
Adopting the right ways to deal with events, which will arise until Doomsday, based on the verses of the Holy Quran, or limited narrations related to us by the Prophet are huge problems indeed and beyond the conceivable power of ordinary people.
This is because the number of Quranic verses which deal with jurisprudential issues is not more than three hundred and the number of the narrations which are narrated from the Prophet concerning the issues of permitted and forbidden acts does not exceed four hundred.
Never can an ordinary man, with his limited knowledge, deal with the ever increasing events and occurrences of the present day Islamic community; rather, a capable man would be required to solve the problems with his Divine education.
Such a learned man must be immune to all sorts of sins so that he could be trusted by
all. Such a person should be appointed by God.
Another interpretation of the issue of the perfection of religion that could be offered here is the continuity of the mission. This is because, according to numerous narrations, this verse was revealed to the Prophet on the day of Ghadir when Ali (as) was appointed by the Prophet as the Caliph Imam, his successor. Without an Imam there was no guarantee for the religion of Islam to continue with its existence. The chances existed that Islam would cease to exist were it not for the Imams. Because of this, Ali (as) was appointed by the Prophet to continue the Prophet's mission.
However, it should be noted that, after the Prophet’s demise divine revelation came to an end. This is because all of man’s needs, up to resurrection, were taken care of by the Prophet. But there are jurisprudential affairs which show themselves each day and should be resolved by the Prophet's successor.
Considering all this, we should admit that all of God's commands related to Islam were revealed to the Prophet during his lifetime. However, due to the limited years of prophethood and due to the daily problems he faced, he was unable to teach the Ummah all that he had received from Allah. Under such circumstances, the Prophet had to teach his successor, who like himself was innocent, all that he had received from God concerning the Divine commands and Islamic practical laws. Naturally, such a knowledgeable person, who is innocent flaw less,
could only be appointed by Allah. The Ummah could never appoint such a person.
When we say that the Prophet had to “teach” his successor the Divine issues, the word “teach” is not a usual word; rather this was the complete capturing of his successor's soul, so that he could learn all that the Prophet was about to teach him.
In the end, it should be noted that Muslims, after the expansion and spread of Islam all over of the globe, were faced with unprecedented problems and new issues, which were never brought up at time of the Prophet.
The discovery of solutions to such issues through the Holy Quran or narrations is problematic and disputable. Under such conditions, it is up to a direct recipient of the Divine revelation to interpret the verses of the Holy Quran and the narrations and to issue the proper verdict.
One of the problems of the Sunnite community is that they want to interpret all Islamic affairs by the limited number of Quranic verses.
They feel hindered and frustrated in many cases when they are unable to solve problems and they resort to analogy, which everyone knows to be baseless when answering the needs of the Ummah. However, if there was a qualified individual who could get the solutions from the Prophet and could resolve people's problems, he could put an end to such chaos, which exist to this day and would guide people to the right path.
If analogies could be resorted to only under rare occasions, we
could say Islam permits us to solve the rare problems via analogies. But, on the other hand, if the very basis of Islam lay on guesses, we would have introduced to the world the legal and moral system of Islam on a baseless foundation. Then how could we expect the people of the world to carry out the Islamic legal and moral system when we doubt the Divine inspiration for such commands?
There are numerous cases of ignorance by religious leaders in history. Scientific calculations will lead us to the fact that there should be among the Ummah a learned, well informed and knowledgeable Imam who could protect and secure the very treasure of Divine commands and let people know of Divine instructions.
Here are some cases of ignorance on the part of the Caliphs:
1. In the presence of the Prophet's companions Omar ordered a pregnant woman who had committed adultery to be stoned. However, the order was annulled by Imam Ali (as) under the pretext that the woman was guilty but the unborn child was in fact innocent.
2. The Caliph ordered a man who had committed adultery to be stoned. This man and his wife were living in different cities. The Islamic punishment for such a crime is torture by whipping and not stoning.
This time too the verdict was annulled by Imam Ali (as).
3. Five wrongdoers were brought to the Caliph for having committed fornication. The Caliph ordered each one to receive whips. Imam Ali (as) was present. He said each
one has got a special case and punishment. One is a non-Muslim infidel who should be killed because he was living in a Muslim community but had violated his obligations; the second one was a married man who had to be stoned; the third one was a young bachelor who had to receive whips; the fourth one was a bachelor slave who had to receive half the punishment for a free person; and the fifth was insane, who had to be released.
4. At the time of Abu Bakr, a Muslim man had drunk wine, but claimed that he was living among a group who used to drink wine and that he did not know drinking wine was prohibited in Islam. Abu Bakr and his aid Omar were puzzled and had to refer to Imam Ali (as) for a solution. Imam (as) said: ‘let this man be brought to the gathering of Ansars to see if any one of them had recited to him the verse on the prohibition of drinking wine. If it is found out that he has previously been exposed to such a verse he should be punished or else he should be released.’
5. A married woman was arrested because she had committed adultery; therefore, she was ordered to be stoned. But Imam Ali (as) asked for more investigation. The woman was ordered to be put on trial once again so that she could present the reasons for her crime. She said she had taken her husband's camels
to the pasture and got extremely thirsty in the desert. She then had asked a man to give her some water, but he had said that he would give her water only if she slept with him. Since she had been on the verge of death because of her thirst, she had accepted such an abominable act. At this time, Imam Ali (as) quoted this Quranic text:
﴿ فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ غَیْرَ باغٍ وَ لا عادٍ فَلا إِثْمَ عَلَیْهِ ﴾
“A person who commits something, not for sin or aggression but because of emergency, is innocent” (1)
The total of such cases in the history of Caliphs is so numerous that one might gather them in a whole book. Who could be responsible for such verdicts? Such dealings had not occurred while the Prophet was still alive so that people might hear the right verdicts from the direction of revelation. After the Prophet’ who could protect the treasure of God's commands? Could it be said that God had left people on their own and had stopped His kindness and generosity from people(2)?
It cannot be disputed that the issue of leadership is a delicate issue for the Islamic community. It was the dispute over this very significant topic that caused the division of the Islamic community into two sectors and brought forth deep disagreements between the two.
Now this question is raised: why didn’t the Prophet talk about leadership which was to arise after him, but had discussed nearly everything including the obligatory and
optional duties for the Islamic community? Could we ever believe that the Prophet could have ignored such a delicate issue and have left the people in sheer darkness?
The Sunnite scholars claim that the Prophet had not said anything, either positive or negative concerning the Imams or whether or not such positions should be elected.
A research in the history of Islam will reveal to us that the Prophet on occasions had mentioned that the issue of leadership after him is related to God and that he had nothing to offer in this regard.
Now let us see some such cases:
When the head of a tribe, called Akhnas, said to the Prophet that he would protect the Prophet on condition that he would be promised the leadership of the Ummah after the Prophet's death, the Prophet replied
“الأمر إلی الله یضعه حیث یشاء”
the problem of leadership is God's business; He would select anyone who He would see appropriate. Upon hearing such an answer, the tribe leader despaired and sent the Prophet this message: it is useless for me to suffer but for others to be the leaders(1).
We also read in history that the sacred Prophet wrote a letter to the governor of Yamameh, inviting him to his religion. He too had the same request as Akhnas. The Prophet, likewise, rejected his demand, saying
“لا ولا کرامه “
“such an act is beyond self respect and magnanimity”(2)
All these would attest to the fact that the Prophet not only was not silent towards the issue of Islamic leadership
but had also emphasized the appointive nature of such a position.
The gravity of the leadership of Ummah is not an issue for us only; even at the advent of Islam everyone was concerned aboute it. For instance, when the second Caliph was dying due to the strikes of Abu Lulu, his son, Abdullah Ibn Omar, saw his father at his deathbed and asked him to appoint a successor for himself and not to leave Muhammad's Ummah without a leader.
The same message was sent to the second Caliph by Aisha, the Prophet's wife, begging him to appoint a successor. Could we claim that the two had realized the significance of the issue of leadership, but the Prophet had not realized the gravity of such an act?!
A glimpse on the life of the Prophet will reveal the fact that he was always concerned with this issue; during his ten year stay in Medina, he never left this town without appointing a temporary substitute for himself.
He did not want the people to be without a leader in his absence. Is it fair then to say that such a prophet had not said anything concerning his successor when he had been so sensitive to such an issue?
The Prophet would select a governor for any place or location which he captured. Then how could we claim that the Prophet had ignored such an important issue?
Frequent narrations and the history of Imamate attest to the fact that the prophethood and Imamate were announced to people on
the same day: the day when the Prophet was assigned to announce his prophethood to his relatives was the same day as he appointed his substitute.
The prestigious interpreters and narrators of Islam write: when the holy verse(1)
﴿ وَ أَنْذِرْ عَشِیرَتَکَ الأَْقْرَبِینَ ﴾
was revealed onto the Prophet, he ordered Ali (as) to prepare some food to entertain the Prophet's relatives. Forty five members of Bani Hashem were to gather at the meeting. On the first day, the Prophet could not announce his prophethood due to Abi Lahab's baseless talk. The second day the same nuisance was repeated. When the guests had eaten their food the Prophet rose. After praising God and admitting His uniqueness, he said:
I am God's messenger for you and for all nations. I have brought blessings for you, valuable for both this life and the Hereafter. My God has ordered me to invite you to this religion and anybody among you who can help me will be my successor.
At this moment, nobody rose to support the Prophet except for Ali Ibn Abi Talib. The Prophet ordered Ali to sit down. At that time, the Prophet repeated his statement two or three times. Again no one rose in support apart from Ali (as).
At this time the Prophet, addressing his relatives, declared
“إنَّ هذا أخی و وصیی و خلیفتی فیکم، فاسمعوا و أطیعوا”
“Ali is my brother and my successor among you. You are to obey him.”(2)
This portion of history is so obvious that nobody except for Taymiyyah, who expressed his
enmity towards the Prophet and his household, has been doubtful of its authenticity.
This narration, besides being proof of Imam Ali’s (as) Imamate, is the most authentic testimony to the fact that the issue of Imamate is not decided by the Ummah. It also shows that the successor was so great that both the positions of prophethood and Imamate were announced to the Prophet's relatives on the same day. This event took place in the third year of prophethood and up to that day the Prophet's invitation to Islam took place through special meetings with people, until fifty people had accepted the new religion.
The Islamic legal system always needs to be explained however vivid and obvious it may seem. In the same way that laws of countries require interpretation by qualified experts. The Holy Book and its commands need clarification, even if they had been spelled out by the Prophet himself. Tens and hundreds of cases have been witnessed where there have been disputes over the meaning of the verses of the Holy Quran and over Islamic narrations.
Is the Islamic religion, which is eternal, not in need of a prominent leader who is well aware of the Prophetic knowledge and whose judgment could be used as a base?
Was the presence of such a leader not necessary for putting an end to disputes and the realization of the Islamic unity?
In Omar’s time, a man came to the Islamic court saying that it had been only six months since he had
married his wife, but that she had given birth to a healthy child.
The judge ordered the woman to be stoned. On the way, the woman saw Ali (as) and asked for help, saying she was innocent and had not slept with any one else except for her husband. Ali (as) became aware of the error of the judge. He ordered the man in charge of stoning to return to the mosque. Addressing the Caliph and reproaching him, Ali (as) said: what kind of judgment is this? The Caliph answered: six months ago the two got married and now his wife has given birth to a child. Ali (as) said: don’t you know, that the Holy Quran says:
﴿ وَ حَمْلُهُ وَ فِصالُهُ ثَلاثُونَ شَهْراً ﴾
“and bearing him and weaning him was thirty months”(1).
The Caliph replied: Yes. Then Ali (as) said: Hasn't the Quran regulated two whole years for breast feeding the child when it says
﴿ وَ الْوالِداتُ یُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلادَهُنَّ حَوْلَیْنِ کامِلَیْنِ ﴾
“And the mothers should suckle their children for two whole years”(2)
The Caliph replied: Yes. Imam Ali (as) then replied: When we subtract 24 months, required for breast-feeding, from thirty months, six months will remain and during this time a woman might give birth to a healthy child.
Imam Ali (as), by using two verses of the Holy Quran, came to the conclusion that no man could arrive at. Can we then claim that the Prophet of Islam did not have any plan for this Divine book which is an eternal light
It might be claimed that such a rare occasion would not hurt Islamic unity. Then we could reply that the cases of dispute and disagreements were not among the rarest things; rather, the disagreements might arise concerning most of Muslims’ everyday affairs. However, these disagreements and disputes could not be neglected.
In one of its surahs the Holy Quran(1) has explained how ablution must be performed. What's more, Muslims used to see how the Prophet did his ablution everyday. However, after the Prophet’s death, the Quran was published in many far away lands which resulted in different interpretations of the verses by various scholars. Verses related to jurisprudential issues were also discussed. Consequently, there were complete disagreements on the verse which dealt with the performance of ablution – this disagreement exists today: the Shiites and Sunnites perform it quite differently.
If there had existed among Muslims an innocent and infallible Islamic leader, who knew the Islamic principles well, such a dispute, which later divided the Muslims into two fractions, would have never arisen and Islamic unity would have been secured.
One of the Islamic penal laws is the cutting of the thief's hand under special conditions which are stipulated in jurisprudential books. Until a few years ago, when Islam was in its glory days and the Islamic governments adopted their penal systems based on the Quran and the western penal systems had not found their way into the Islamic countries, the only punishment for a thief was the cutting of his hand.
But this case too, unfortunately is one over which Islamic scholars do not completely agree, even after fourteen centuries of Islam.
At the time of Mo’tasim Abbasi, when Islam was two centuries old, the Islamic scholars disagreed on the interpretation of the verse which dealt with the cutting of a thief's hand, for it was unclear which part of the hand should be cut. The Caliph then had to resort to Imam Jawad (as). He said a thief's four fingers should be cut. When he was asked for the reason the Imam (as) replied: God says in the Holy Quran
وَ أَنَّ الْمَساجِدَ لِلَّهِ
“Places of prostration belong to God”
He added “one of those places is the palm of the hand which should touch the ground at the time of prostration which should not be cut because it belongs to God”.
Were there such a great scholar among the Ummah, who could decide on such delicate issues, many of the Muslims’ problems would not exist, the Ummah would go its straight path and they would not waste their time over absurd issues.
The Holy Quran is the basic source for any correct Islamic interpretation and nothing in the world is equal to it. If we ever received two contradictory explanations from the Prophet, we would accept the one which was in harmony with the Quran.
But are all the Quranic verses on the same footings regarding clarity? Isn't there a verse in the Quran which will need the interpretation of an infallible?
Such a claim would
be issued by one whose contact with the Quran is superstitious and whose heart is not linked with the Quran. It is a fact that most of the Quranic verses are clear and that some of the ambiguous verses are made clear with the help of other clear verses .(1)However, there are some verses in the Quran which were ambiguous since they were revealed or have become so because of the distance in time from the revelation. What could be done regarding such verses? Should there not be a scholar who can decode such ambiguous verses?
When Imam Ali (as) dispatched Ibn Abbas to reason with the Khawarej, he ordered him not to use Quranic verses. His rationale was that if he were to use a verse for a reason they would use another verse to contradict what he might say(2). The Imam certainly did not mean the whole of the Quran; rather, he was referring to the ambiguous verses.
For these reasons it is urgent that there be an innocent Imam among the Ummah, who is well-aware of the Islamic principles and who could be a final judge in disputes.
If there were not such an authority available, some portions of the Quranic verses would be subject to erroneous interpretations, and this would cause Muslims to divide.
Hisham Ibn Hakam, Imam Sadiq's distinguished student, an expert in literary debate and discourse in the second century reasons in the following manner for the necessity of an Imam among the Ummah for judgment in difficult
One day he had a discussion over the issue of having an Imam among the Ummah with Amr Ibn Obayd, head of the Moatazelah sect and the religious leader of Basrah.
Hisham asked him to answer his questions even if they were simple and clear.
Q: Do you have eyes?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: What do you do with them?
A: I see people and colors.
Q: Do you have ears?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: What do you do with them?
A: I hear voices and noises.
Q: Do you have a nose?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: What do you do with it?
A: I smell with it.
Hisham then continued asking questions related to other human sense organs. Then he continued:
Q: Do you have a heart?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: What is its function in human life?
A: I recognize, through it, anything that goes on in my body.
Hisham then added: if any one of the human senses made a mistake, a man would resort to his heart to resolve the doubt.
Hisham then came to the following conclusion: Could God leave the human society with no resort to whom they may refer when He has created human hearts to resolve the errors of the human sense organs?(1).
Imam Sadiq (as) describes the characteristics of the Prophet's successor in the following manner:
“After the Prophet, there should be an Imam who could protect the Islamic principles from any damage”(2).
One day, in the presence of Imam Sadiq (as), Hisham Ibn Hakam debated with a Syrian scholar asking him: Has God appointed a successor for the Prophet
or not? The scholar replied: Yes, He has, and such a successor is the interpreter of the Quran and the Prophet's statements. Then, Hisham asked the Syrian scholar if the Quran and narrations would suffice for settling disputes. He answered: yes. Then Hisham asked: If it is enough, why do you and I disagree on many issues even if we are two branches of the same tree? Why have we selected a different direction? At this time the Syrian scholar had to confess to the truth of Hisham's statements(1).
On the day when the great Prophet of Islam passed away, there were three enemies who threatened Islam from both inside and outside and the fear was that they might attack Islam.
The internal danger was due to the hypocrites of Medina and its suburbs who had intended to kill the Prophet when he was returning from the holy war of Tabuk. They had planned to startle the Prophet's camel so that he might lose his life.
Aware of their nasty intentions, the Prophet could easily foil their intrigues. However, for the general good, he never told anyone except for selected friends such as Hothaifah about these conspiracies.
A group of hypocrites were awaiting the Prophet's death. Exposing them, the Holy Quran says,
﴿.نَتَرَبَّصُ بِهِ رَیْبَ الْمَنُونِ ﴾
‘therefore continue to remind … you are not a soothsayer, or a mad-man’ or do they say: A poet, we anticipate for him the evil accidents of time”(2) we are waiting for his death and for the
decline of his religion.
A group of enemies were under the illusion that with the Prophet's death Islam would cease to expand. Some others thought with the weakening of Islam they could revert to their ideology of the pre-Islamic age.
Upon the Prophet’s demise, Abu Sufyan, who had decided to bring forth discrepancy between the Quraysh and Bani Hashim, hypocritically entered Ali's house and asked him for allegiance, telling him: in this way the children of Taym and Adi would not oppose you. Imam Ali (as) realized that he had the intention of creating disagreements among people and causing bloodshed. He, therefore, refused his allegiance and continued with the burial ceremony of the Prophet.(1)
The mosque of Tharar, which was built in the ninth year of Hijra, and was later destroyed by the order of the Prophet, was an underground center for the hypocrites towards the final years of the Prophet. They were connected to Ibn Amer, the enemy of God upon the capture of Mecca. Ibn Amer escaped to Rome from where he could distribute the necessary orders.
In the ninth year of hijra, the Prophet left Medina for Tabuk, extremely concerned with the internal chaos and the coup d’etat which the hypocrites had planned to carry out. Therefore, he appointed Ali (as) as his substitute in Medina and he delivered his historic statement regarding Ali (as):
“أنت منّی بمنزله هارون من موسی”
“You are to me what Harun was to Musa”(2).
Then he reminded Ali (as) to stay in Medina to handle the internal chaos.
are many verses in the Holy Quran which deal with the hypocrites plotting against Islam. All the verses confirm their enmity towards Islam.
When the Prophet passed away, there were many saboteurs living in Medina.
Upon the Prophet's demise, a group of Arabs reverted to their apostasy and were backslidden. By expelling the alms officials, they started their opposition. Although they were not from among the hypocrites, they were weak in their religion, changing to different directions as conditions changed. They tried, in this way, to avoid the newly founded Islam.
With such enemies in the vicinity constantly awaiting opportunities to disrupt Islam, how could the Prophet not consider a successor for himself?
The other two sides of the triangle were two great empires of the time: Rome and Iran. The first military clash took place between the Christian army of Rome in Palestine in the eighth year of Hijra which ended in severe defeat for the Islamic army and in their return to Medina under the command of Khalid Ibn Walid. In this war, the great leaders of the Islamic army were killed: Jaafar Tayyar, Zaid Ibn Harith and Abdullah Rawahah. Such a clear defeat by the army of infidels, would give momentum to Caesar’s army. Every minute there was the danger of their attack to the very center of the newly built Islam.
For this reason, the Prophet along with thirty thousand troops headed to the coasts of Syria in the ninth year of hijra to take part in a military maneuver to
discourage the army from future attacks and to enter into military pacts with some tribes. In this military movement, which was full of various obstacles, no clash took place between the Muslims and the Romans. The Prophet then headed for Medina.
This sort of victory did not convince the Prophet, who was restless to compensate for such defeat. So, a few days prior to his death, he prepared a flag for Osamah Ibn Zaid and ordered his followers to accompany him to the coasts of Syria and start an attack before being taken by surprise by the foreign troops.
All these movements indicate that the Prophet was extremly worried about the north and he predicted that Islam would be attacked by the Roman state.
The other side of this triangle of enmity was the Sassanid Kingdom of Iran. This enmity was so bitter that Khosro Parviz tore up the Prophet's letter in rage and killed the Prophet's ambassador and wrote to the governor of Yemen to kill the new Prophet and send his head to the Madaen court!
Hijaz and Yemen had long been colonies of Iran. But then, due to the advent of Islam the two gained independence and it was probable that the two states stage attacks against Iran.
Although Khosro Parviz passed away while the Prophet was still living, the separation of Yemen and Hijaz and their shores was always in the minds of the kings who reigned after Khosro Parviz, who were worried about the new power whose troops were equipped
with faith, sincerity and unity.
With such powerful enemies, could the Prophet pass away without having nominated a political successor for himself? Reason would not allow us to attribute such negligence to the Prophet.
Every organism is created in this world for a specific purpose. The Creator has provided the creatures with all sorts of equipments for attaining their perfection. The natural sciences would provide us with ample examples in this regard.
The miraculous system of vision, for example, provides us with good examples of God’s concern for the perfection of his creatures. Let us think for a moment about some means of perfection, which we have often neglected. For instance, the Creator put a special curve under man's foot so that he can easily walk. For those whose feet lack such a curve, surgery is required. Each finger differs in length and width. This difference gives man the opportunity to perform delicate tasks. Man can therefore create all sorts of art because of such differences.
Observation of such cases indicates that God has provided man with every kind of equipment which is reckoned significant for his perfection.
Now we are faced with this question:
How could God neglect man's spiritual perfection when He has provided him with all the means for his physical perfection?
In the same way that God appoints prophets, He will also appoint an innocent and infallible Imam who is aware of all Divine secrets.
Such an appointment is considered essential, since it would put to an end to all the disagreements
between the Muslims, and would unite the Muslim community.
Due to negligence, or belief in the absence of an appointment (as sunni scholars claim) on the part of the Muslim community, regarding the Divine appointment after the Prophet’s death, the Muslims were divided to the extent that the unpleasant aftermath of this divide has not disappeared even after fourteen centuries. Even now, unfortunately, the agents of colonialism are still pouring oil over such discrepancies.
However, if the leader of the Muslim community had been appointed by God and Muslims had forgotten their differences, the status of Muslims would have been much better than the present.
Besides this, the presence of an infallible Imam, who posesses Islamic knowledge, is a giant stride toward the moral perfection of the Muslim community.
How can we then assume that God has provided man with every means for his physical perfection, but has altogether forgotten man's moral and spiritual perfection?
Sheikh al-Raees Avicenna, in his book “Shafa”, has given us reasons for the presence of prophets among the ordinary community(1). However, as we have previously said, this statement clarifies the reason for the presence of both prophets and Imams among human societies.
Liberty and freedom are among the sweetest and most delicate words that man has ever used and heard. The very word “freedom” with its fabulous tone, brings forth in man gaiety and happiness and excites wonderful feelings in him.
The most exalted aspiration for man is to unlock the chains of bondage and slavery and to struggle against
colonialism in order to arrive at the lofty mount of freedom. Man's enthusiasm for freedom has forced him to give many sacrifices.
We must now try to establish which one of the two views concerning Imamate is compatible with the principles of democracy. Should an Imam be elected through elections, the Islamic High council or should he be appointed directly by God and the Prophet without people's involvement.
Some assume that the first view is compatible with the principles of freedom. If we consider the position of the Prophet's successor to be an elective one then we can be proud of the fact that the principles of liberalism and freedom have been acted out by Muslims.
Some Sunnite scholars criticize the Shiite view of the appointment of the Prophet's successor, arguing that such a view is incompatible with today’s world(1) .
The most fascinating logic for electing an Imam is to claim that such a view is compatible and harmonious with today's social ideologies. To provide an answer to such a view, we should consider three basic points:
(a) The issue of appointing the position of Imam is distinct from the issue of dictatorship;
(b) Western democratic regimes, which are based on the majority of votes, are among the most unjust systems to which man has referred to without his will;
c) On the supposition that such a pprocedure is quite correct for choosing a governor, the question is: Was this system used at the advent of Islam when electing Caliphs?
All these three issues especially the second
and third deserve more elaboration. However we will briefly refer to them here:
Dictatorship is the most unjust way of government. This domination has been in use since antiquity and has taken different forms throughout the course of history (from tyranny by tribe leaders to absolute hegemony of self-centered dictators).
In a great dictatorship, a man by means of a coup d'etat expels the prevailing government and occupies his position, or he expels the previous government with the help of a foreign power and establishes a from of government in which only his own vote and decision count.
The Shiite view concerning the appointment of the Prophet's successor is far from a dictatorship. The Shiites believe that such an appointment should be done by God, who will appoint the most appropriate individual, who is free from flaws and who is obedient to God as the leader of the Muslim community.
It is clear that such a person, elected by God, will lead the community in accordance with Quranic commandments which the Prophet has conveyed to the Muslims.
God has the natural right to govern all. The members of the Ummah have willingly accepted His commandments. An Imam governs based on the same rules and due to his chastity is immune to any wrong doing. Consequently such a government would be the most rational government man can imagine, in which the concepts of majority or minority would never arise.
How can such a government be compared to despotism?
The weak points of such governments are too numerous to
be discussed here. However, we will discuss two of them here:
1. Under such governments, the president, who is elected by a party or by general votes, has to keep the voters satisfied and does not think of guiding.
For a party politician it is rarely important to be fair; rather, it is essential for him to not lose the voters, even at the cost of ignoring his own system of beliefs and values. This is something to which even the greatest politicians of the world admit. John F Kennedy, the former president of the United States, writes in this regard:
“At times, a senator is obliged to put out his opinion spontaneously concerning an important issue”. Obviously, he would rather have more time to think deeply so that he might have the power to resolve a problem through appropriate words. On the contrary, he neither has the time to think, nor can he escape expressing his actions. It is as if all his clients were waiting to see what he will say next; what he says will determine his political life. Besides, the very thought of being a senator with all its privileges, is a position which no one will reject.
For this very reason, most senators, without being aware, take up an easy and less hazardous route. That is to say whenever there is a conflict between their conscience and their decision, they satisfy their conscience through rationalization and they harmonize themselves with the opinions of their clients.
These individuals could not
be said to be timid; rather, they have gotten into the habit of following the general community and have found their interest in doing as Romans do. And there are those among statesmen who think they should do away with their conscience altogether so that they could be in the political picture. As Franc Count says: politics can not be said to be an immoral occupation; instead, it should be said that 'politics is not a moral occupation”(1).
Franc Count, the political writer states: the very idea of getting more votes is of utmost importance so much so that issues like “ethics”, “right” or “wrong” become irrelevant.
The best piece of advice offered to his friend by Marc Eshcal at the IQZO election was the following “you do not want to be a hypocrite. You should be aware that there are times for a politician when he should forget about his conscience”(2). This is the most justified statement in the world of democrats. This is the nature of such governments.
Can the Prophet's successor, who in many ways should follow the Prophet's path, be elected by reference to public votes? Definitely not. This is because in such a government, the elected one does not think independently: he is no more than a loudspeaker for the intentions of the voters. There are few politicians who do not fear the people’s rage and declare what is in their best interest.
It might be assumed that keeping voters satisfied depends on the length of time a representative
or senator is in power and since the leadership of an Imam is for life, he does not have to try to keep every body happy.
This idea seems naïve. Firstly, in these governments the governor is elected for life and has to keep the voters satisfied or else revolutions erupt; secondly, the elected leader must promise to cooperate with the voters, and if he forgets his promises, he would put himself in jeopardy because such a leader has taught others how to break their promises.
In a six-person council which Umar had convened for the election of his successor, Abdol Rahman Ibn Auf, whose vote would change the fate of the election, addressing Imam Ali (as) said:
“I will ally with you if you promise to do as the Prophet and the previous two Caliphs have done”. Ali (as) replied: “I will carry out the Prophet's tradition and I will rely on myself”. Then Abd Al-Rahman addressed Othman and repeated the same statement.
Othman accepted his condition and was elected (later on, he did as he wished and made the Bani Umayyah dominate over people).
The truth-seekers never wish to accept social positions which are accompanied by specific conditions; consequently, indecent individuals take their places instead.
In the American presidential elections, the would-be president is obliged to put assistance to global Zionism on his agenda and has to promise vote-makers and vote-gatherers that he would assist the Zionists in any way he can, even if such an act is against humanity.
2. The second major drawback
of such Western democratic regimes is their return to a sort of dictatorship and tyranny (the tyranny of the majority ruling over the minority).
This is because supposing the election takes place lawfully, the majority should govern even if they have won by one extra vote. The minority will be right but because of a difference of one vote the rights of the whole nation might suffer. Thus we could say that the government of 51 over 49 is a tyrannical government, which man has so wretchedly accepted simply because he has ignored the right path that religions like Islam have given to humanity.
Through the election of the Prophet's successor by God, as we have already said, the way to such cruelties have been blocked. An Imam is elected by the One who is accepted by all. He would follow the rules which are comprehended and understood by all Muslims. Therefore, the issue of majority versus minority would never arise.
Furthermore, in a democratic government, the interests of the majority would manifest themselves as laws and their decisions are imposed over all. But the very spirit of Islamic rule could never approve of such a view.
The Holy Quran persistently disallows the general thoughts and condemns the majorities through expressions such as
﴿ وَ أَکْثَرُهُمْ لا یَعْقِلُونَ ﴾
﴿ وَ أَکْثَرُهُمْ لا یَشعرونَ﴾
and would not let the issue of Imamate be decided by the majority votes.
The Holy Quran says:
“And it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you and it
may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you, and Allah knows, while you do not know”(1).
Islam, which condemns the general wishes of the majority altogether and states that people at times wish for something which is hazardous to them and sometimes hate what is good for them could not approve of the election of the Prophet's successor by majority votes.
Some explanations offered after the facts are nothing but rationalizations. Sometimes a social event takes place under certain conditions, then, afterwards the people of the following generations try to rationalize those events.
One such example is the rationalization regarding the ‘democratic’ government of the Caliphs. The thing which never took place was electing Caliphs by the people. This is what the Sunnite scholars never believed in. But recently some authors, resort to modern concepts such as democracy and liberalism and the issue of the people’s government. However these concepts did not exist at the time of the Caliphs.
To be on safer grounds, let us read opinions of ancient scholars concerning this issue:
The Judge Iji in his book writes:
When electing an Imam there is no need to resort to a consensus. Whereas, after an allegiance between one or more of the Prophet's close followers, the caliphate of an individual becomes legalized. Witnesses to this affair were the Prophet's close friends, with the religious beliefs that they had, who relied on Abu Bakr's decision to select Omar as his successor and did not care for a consensus by all
Muslims; they even ignored opinions by the Prophet's friends and followers, who were living in Medina at the time(1).
The author of “Al-Ahkam As-Soltanyah” writes:
Some assume that the election of a caliph should take place by the approval of Islamic individuals who live in Islamic cities; but, Abu Bakr came to power only with five votes at Soqayfah bani Saedah: these five votes belonged to Omar, Abu Obaydah, Osaid Ibn Hozayr, Boshr Ibn Saad and Salem Mawla Abi Hozayfeh(2).
The history of the Islamic Caliphate attests to the fact that Omar's Caliphate became legalized only by Abu bakr's vote. Omar too authorized the six-person council to elect a caliph from among themselves; in this way, he deprived others of being elected.
Judge Baqillani writes:
Abu Bakr's election took place with the endeavors of Omar and four others (3).
After the martyrdom of Imam Ali (as), Caliphate took on the form of a monarchy in the households of Bani Omayyah and Bani Abbas, of which we refrain from telling here.
No doubt, through consulting with others many personal and social problems can be resolved. The combination of two thought patterns acts like the coming together of two wires of different charges which gives light to the environment.
Since consultation has a significant effect in resolving problems, the Holy Quran orders the Prophet (S) to consult with others in finding solutions:
﴿ وَ شاوِرْهُمْ فِی الأَْمْرِ فَإِذا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَکَّلْ عَلَی اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ یُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَکِّلِینَ﴾
“And make counsel with them in the affair; so when you have decided, then
place your trust in Allah; surely Allah loves those who trust”(1)
In another verse, God describes the religious and faithful people in the following manner:
﴿وَ الَّذِینَ اسْتَجابُوا لِرَبِّهِمْ وَ أَقامُوا الصَّلاهَ وَ أَمْرُهُمْ شُوری بَیْنَهُمْ وَ مِمَّا رَزَقْناهُمْ یُنْفِقُونَ﴾
“And those who respond to their Lord, keep up prayer, who consult among themselves, and who give out (to the poor) part of what we have given them”(2)
Thus, both wisdom and narrations combine to indicate the sensitive position and the significance of consultation. It is better for Muslims to make use of this great Islamic command which is the very basis of prosperity and social improvement.
The Prophet used to advise people to have consultation. He himself made use of it frequently. In the Holy War of Badr, prior to his confrontation with the enemy, he consulted with his followers:
“Tell me your views concerning the combat with Quraish. Shall we advance? Shall we confront the enemy? Or shall we return back?”
The leaders of the Muhajirin (Immigrants) and the Ansar (the Prophet's close followers) presented two differing views; but the Prophet accepted that of the Ansar(3).
In the Holy War of Badr the elders believed, that they must stay in Medina in order to defend the strongholds, by throwing arrows and stones from the strongholds and rooftops of their houses. But the youth preferred confronting the enemy outside the city. The Prophet adopted the second view(4).
In the Holy War of Khandaq (ditch) the Prophet convened a military council and accepted Salman's proposal of digging a ditch
around the vulnerable areas of Medina and carried out his suggestion. (1)
In the Holy War of Taef, the Prophet, in accordance with suggestions by some of the military officers, changed the location of their headquarters (2).
In the consultation sessions, it is common to express differing views. Each person tries to defend his own ideas and to condemn those of others. There must be a strong manager present who could gather all views and adopt the best view, or else such sessions would be fruitless.
Incidentally, in the first verse which was revealed onto the Prophet on the issue of consultation, God says:
﴿ فَإِذا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَکَّلْ عَلَی اللَّه ﴾
“As soon as you have decided, rely on Allah”.
The purpose of such an address is for the Prophet to realize that after consultation the only authority who should decide is the Prophet who must then, in turn, rely on God.
The leader of a group, on whose instructions the consultation session convened, would accept or decline the views of a third party, which were better than his view. An example of such an act was the decision by the Prophet adopted in the peace treaty of Hudaybiyyah. He opposed the general view of his close followers and convened a peace treaty between Muslims and Quraysh, who were idolaters. And time proved that such a treaty was in the best interest of the Muslims (3).
However, consultation in Islam differs completely from that carried out in democratic states, in which the ratification of laws must be carried
out by the Senate or the House of Representatives. The president is the administrator who should put the laws, passed by these two legislative bodies, into force. Here in Islam the Prophet has to follow neither the majority nor the minority. It is up to the Prophet to arrive at the final decision of whether or not his decision is in harmony with the majority. Then, according to the Holy Quran, the Prophet has to rely on Allah.
It is the same issue with the second verse.
“And consultation is one of the most distinguished characteristics of a religious community.”
This would indicate that the reasoning of some Sunnite scholars, who use these verses to justify the election of the caliph through consultation, as invalid. This is because the above mentioned verses are applicable only in those communities, where the issue of leader election has been solved. Communities where such consultation sessions were convened to solve other problems that Muslims were facing. This is especially true regarding the first verse which was addressed to the Prophet who, as the leader of the Muslims, was to decide and carry out his decision.
Besides, referring to the general consensus is only applicable in those cases where the tasks of the Muslims have not been explained to them. Under such conditions, Muslims can become aware of their tasks. In those cases where their tasks have been put down, there is no need for consultation.
For this very reason when al-Habbab ibn al-Mundhir came to meet the Prophet to
get permission to change the location of the army headquarters, he told the Prophet
“إِن کان عن أمر سلمنا و إن کان عن الرأی فالتأخرُ عن حصنهم”
“If concerning this there is a special divine command we have nothing to say but if it is among the issues, where consultation is required, we think it better to change the location of the military headquarters.” (1)
The issue of Imam Ali (as)’s successorship after the Prophet, has been frequently confirmed by different narrations. The Prophet, on different occasions, such as Yaum-al-Dar, Ghadir Khum and even on his deathbed, has referred to Imam Ali as his successor. Therefore, why should the issue of the prophet's successor be solved by consultation?
Is this decision making not against the Holy Quran or offering views against God's decisive verdicts?
The Holy Quran refers to this incident in a verse: when Zayd, the Prophet's stepson divorced his wife (Zaynab), the Prophet married her due to God's command. This was an important issue for Muslims because at the time of Ignorance a step-son was considered a true son: marriage with the wife of one's son, or step-son, was an abominable act.
They expected the Prophet to follow their views while the Prophet had done so to break the wrong tradition of the age of Ignorance. Thus, referring to the general consensus is irrelevant when God's command is involved.
Hence, in the following verse, the Holy Quran severely condemns those who interfere with God's commands in appointing certain tasks for people:
﴿ وَ ما کانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ
وَ لا مُؤْمِنَهٍ إِذا قَضَی اللَّهُ وَ رَسُولُهُ أَمْراً أَنْ یَکُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِیَرَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ وَ مَنْ یَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَ رَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلالاً بَعِیداً ﴾
“And it beholds, not a believing man nor a believing woman, that they should have any choice when Allah and his Apostle have decided a matter: and whoever disobeys Allah and his Apostle, he surely strays off a manifest straying”(1)
The only caliph who was elected with the unanimous votes of the immigrants (Muhajirin and Ansar) was Imam Ali (as). In the history of the Islamic caliphate, this was a unique and unprecedented occurrence, which never repeated itself again.
When Muawiyyah (who had established the foundation of his empire in Syria and had severe enmity towards the Prophet's household) became aware of the fact that the Muhajirin and Ansar had elected Imam Ali (as) as the caliph, he became extremely agitated and had no intention of allying with the Imam. He not only avoided entering into allegiance with the Imam, he accused the Imam of having participated in the death plot against Othman and of supporting Othman's assassins.
In order to silence him, Imam Ali (as) in one of his letters to Muawiyyah wrote that the individuals who had entered into allegiance with Abu Bakr, Omar and Othman had also done so with him (Imam Ali). He also added that if Muawiyyah respected those caliphs, then he had to respect the Muhajirin and Ansar's votes in electing him (i.e. Imam Ali).
“The same individuals who had allied
with Abu Bakr, Omar and Othman have entered into allegiance with me. Thus, everyone is free to vote for another Imam. The Muhajirin and Ansar are permanent members of the council so their election for any person as Imam will be acceptable to God and will satisfy Him”.
Imam Ali's objective in writing this letter was to silence Muawiyyah and to close the door to his further rationalization. Muawiyyah used to be the province governor during Omar's caliphate. He later accepted such a post in Syria under Othman. Muawiyyah used to call them God's caliphs and himself as their representative. If the election of the previous caliphs was supposed to be legal, then Imam Ali's election must have had the same legitimacy.
Imam Ali (as) condemned Muawiyyah's disagreement with his caliphate and started in the following manner:
Those who allied with Abu Bakr, Omar and Othman have allied with me. Then why would you not consider my caliphate legitimate?
The very essence of his dispute is to condemn the opponent with the issues the opponent consider respected and honorable. This letter does not approve the election of a caliph through the council of Muhajirin and Ansar. Imam(as) believes that the role of Imamate is not appointed; rather it is an issue of election.
In the following sentences, Imam says:
“إنّه بایعنی القوم الّذین بایعوا أبابکر و عمر و عثمان علی ما بایعوهم علیه فلم یکن للشاهد أن یختار و لا للغائب أن یرد و إنّما الشوری للمهاجرین و الأنصار اجتمعوا علی رجل وسموه إماماً کان ذلک
This is a kind of dispute against the contender (the word God does not appear in the original versions of the Nahj-ul-Balaqa, but it appears in parenthesis in the Eyptian editions. This indicates that the presence of the word “God” in the Imam's letter is doubtful).
In fact, the Imam states: If Muslims could unanimously agree on the leadership of an Imam this would be acceptable. The same thing has happened in my case. Then why do you disagree to ally with me?
The first person who has used this sermon to prove the view of the Sunnites is Ibn Abi Al-hadid, the describer of Nahj-ul-Balaqa. Being unaware of the clues in the body of the letter and other sermons, he has used this sermon as a document for the validity of the Sunnites and has taken the Imam's statements as his belief towards this issue (1).
The Shiite scholars have referred to the same topic mentioned above concerning this sermon.
It is surprising that Ahmad Kasravi has stuck to this sermon and has used it to prove that the Shiite view is wrong! It is more surprising that some others have repeated the same arguments in order to deceive others. They are not aware that Shiahs have been permanent protectors who will unveil such deceptions.
We should draw conclusions only when we have read and comprehended all of Imam Ali's views in the Nahj-ul-Balagha.
The same Imam who has written: “those individuals who had entered into allegiance with three caliphs have allied with me
and if Muhajirin and Ansar agree on somebody's Imamate, he should be the leader and others should comply”. In the ‘Shaqshaqiah’ sermon states the following concerning the caliphates:
‘I swear to God, that the son of Abi Qahafah put on the garment of caliphate while he was aware that I deserved such a position and that I was the very pivot of caliphate, that I was the source of knowledge and that I excelled all others in my thoughts but I dispensed with the garment of caliphate and I deliberated whether to fight for my rights with empty hands (i.e. no Army) or to be patient. Ultimately I chose the second choice and waited while I was harshly suffering the loss of my lost heritage until the day when the first caliph's (Abu Bakr) day was over; but he appointed some one else as his successor.’
It is surprising that while the Imam was alive he used to ask people for his resignation. However, he surrendered the caliphate to other individuals when they had divided caliphate between themselves.
Then the Imam continues: ‘Omar, too, went his own way, although he let a group decide about the next caliph and I was included among that group(1).
In a letter, the Imam reveals the way the allegiance came about and how he was treated unjustly. In answer to Muawiyyah's letter who, in turn, had said in his letter to the Imam that they had drawn Imam Ali in to allegiance with Abu Bakr in the same
way that they would drawn a camel with a piece of wood in its nose, the Imam wrote:
‘You had mentioned that they had drawn me to the allegiance ceremony the same way a camel is drawn with a piece of wood in its nose. I swear to God, that you had admired me while you had the intention to blame me; you wanted to betray me, but you have betrayed yourself (because you are confessing that I was treated unjustly).’
Could the Imam consider caliphate legal while he asserts that he was forced to vote for the caliph? Definitely not. There fore his intention in this letter was to dispute for his rights, as it is noted compulsory to do so in the Quran.
In another letter which the Imam sent via his province governor, Malik, to Egypt, he writes:
“By God I had not thought that Arabs would be deprived after 's death. What hurts me most is the people's hurry to ally with Abu Bakr(1).
The Quranic verses and historic clues all indicate that the dearest prophet of Islam was extremely worried about the future of the Islamic community, and besides the hidden inspirations, the undesirable occurrences caused the Prophet to assume that some groups of Muslims might, upon his death, resume their ignorance and forget divine traditions altogether.
This probability became stronger in his mind when he saw most of the Muslims desert the war zone in the Holy war of Uhud in which the rumor of the assassination of
the Prophet was spread by the enemy. Those Muslims fled to the mountains and distant places and even some of them tried to ask Abu Sufyan for amnesty through the leader of the hypocrites, Abdullah bin Abi. Their religious ideology became so weak and shaky that they even became suspicious of the existence of God and let their minds retreat to the age of idolatry. The Holy Quran reveals this secret in the following verse:
﴿ وَ طائِفَهٌ قَدْ أَهَمَّتْهُمْ أَنْفُسُهُمْ یَظُنُّونَ بِاللَّهِ غَیْرَ الْحَقِّ ظَنَّ الْجاهِلِیَّهِ یَقُولُونَ هَلْ لَنا مِنَ الأَْمْرِ مِنْ شَیْ ءٍ ﴾
“And there was another party whose souls had become anxious; they entertained about Allah thoughts of ignorance quite unjustly saying “we have no hand in the affair”(1)
Elsewhere, the Holy Quran implicitly reveals the disagreements and discrepancies among the Prophet's followers:
﴿ وَ ما مُحَمَّدٌ إِلاَّ رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَ فَإِنْ ماتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انْقَلَبْتُمْ عَلی أَعْقابِکُمْ وَ مَنْ یَنْقَلِبْ عَلی عَقِبَیْهِ فَلَنْ یَضُرَّ اللَّهَ شَیْئاً وَ سَیَجْزِی اللَّهُ الشَّاکِرِینَ ﴾
“And Muhammad is no more than an apostle; other apostles have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed, will you turn your back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means do harm to Allah in the least; and Allah will reward the grateful”(2)
By dividing the Prophet's followers into two groups of ‘skeptics’ and ‘constant believers’, this Quranic verse says implicitly that after the Prophet's demise Muslims would divide into the above-mentioned two groups.
our wisdom lead us to the assumption that the Prophet of Islam could ever leave alone such an Ummah who was on the verge of disintegration and who could not care about their future Imam?
The Prophet could never leave such people without a politically and socially competent Imam. The Prophet's care made him think about these people's future so that they might not disintegrate.
The Prophet of Islam was well aware that his Ummah was prone to disintegration just like the ones before it. His predictions are well known in this regard:
“سَتفترق أُمّتی علی ثلاث و سبعین فرقه، فرقه ناجیه و الباقون فی النار”.
“My Ummah will divide into seventy three branches; only one group of these is on the right path; the rest will end up in hell (1).
How could the Prophet then submit the issue of the leadership of the Ummah to such unreliable people?
The Islamic community consisted of different groups each of which had some special aspirations.
Ansar consisted of Aus and Khazraj; and the group of Muhajir was composed of bani Hashim, bani Umayyah, and the Taym and Adi tribes. Each group tried to prevail over the other.
With such opposing groups, could there be any unity or stability among different factions of Muslims. The right path is, first, to uproot the main obstacles from the way of unity between the Muslims and then expect the realization of such a dream.
The main obstacle in the way of Muslim unity after the Prophet's death was the very idea of how to
select the Islamic ruler.
If Muslims could think unanimously regarding the issue of leadership, many problems could easily be solved. But the disagreements over such a significant issue were the source of many consequent wars and calmities. As a result a united Ummah ended up in dispersed groups and nations.
The Holy Quran forbids the Prophet's close followers to disperse and to regress back to the ideology of the age of Ignorance.
A research on the psychology of the members of the Saqifah convention would reveal their complexes and hidden hatred and animosity while they manifested their tribal aggressions and ideologies from the age of Ignorance. Islamic education had not yet penetrated into their souls and Islam and faith were used only as covers over the abominable figure of the age of Ignorance.
A research on this historical event clearly shows that the objectives behind those lectures and aggression were nothing but self interest and worldly gains. Every body tried to put on the garment of caliphate despite the fact that such a position belonged to the most knowledgeable and sincere follower of the Prophet. What was considered in that convention was anything but the interest of the Islamic community.
A research in to the Saqifah event clearly indicates that the conspirators of this meeting were after their own interests.
Now let us enter into the details of this historic event:
The Prophet's body was not yet buried and members of Bani Hashim and some of the Prophet's close followers were starting to prepare for the burial
ceremony when the group of Ansar gathered under a shade called Saqifah Bani Saeda, close to the Prophet's home, to settle the issue of the Prophet's successor. To them this topic seemed more urgent than the Prophet’s burial.
While Imam Ali (as) together with Bani Hashim and a group of Muhajiran were working hard for the burial and prayer ceremony, Omar, who was outside the Prophet's home, became aware of the Saqifah convention. He immediately sent a message to Abu Bakr to leave the house.
Unaware of Omar's intention, Abu Bakr excused himself saying that he was busy and unable to meet with him, but Omar insisted they meet. Omar, therefore, had to leave the burial ceremony. When he became aware of the event, he forgot about the ceremony and headed for Saqifah, taking Abu Obaydah Ibn Jarrah with them.
Now let us pay attention to the logic of both parties who tried to justify their own tribe for the position of caliphate.
The representatives of the Ansar were, Saad Ibn Ebadah and Habab Ibn Mundhir and representatives for the Muhajiran, Abu Bakr, Omar and Abu Obaydah. At the end of the session two members of Ansar talked against Saad Ibn Ebadah. Now here is the text of their speech:
Saad (addressing Ansar): “you have a virtue which others do not have. The dear prophet propagated the principle of monotheism among his own relatives, but except for a few nobody accepted his religion. And this few lacked the capacity to defend the Prophet. But you
Ansar believed him and defended him and his close friends and you fought his enemies until they converted to Islam. It was your swords which defeated the Arabs. When the Prophet was passing away, he was content with you. Thus you deserve the right to lead people (1).”
The logic behind Ibn Saad’s statement was the following: since they had protected the Prophet and his friends in wars they deserved the leadership more than others.
As for the logic of the Muhajirin.
Abu Bakr: “Muhajirin were the first group who accepted the Prophet's religion and were honored in this regard. They had been patient with regard to the hardship they suffered and were not disturbed by the small number of believers. They had tolerated the enemy's tortures, but had not abandoned their religion.
We would never deny your virtues and sacrifices and you are definitely not second rate compared to Muhajiran. For this reason, Muhajiran will be ministers and we will be the governors; we will do nothing without consulting with you (2).”
The Muhajiran intentionally emphasized the fact that they had been the first to have accepted the new religion.
Habab Ibn Mundhir: “O Ansar! Accept the rein of our government. Others will live under your protection, and nobody will dare to oppose you.
You have power because your number is great.
Never divide since you would be disintegrated.
And if the Muhajiran insist on having the power, the issue should be solved through the “two-governor approach”. They would have a governor; so would we (3).”
The Ansar's logic
in this dispute was based on the greater number of their members and their grand political power.
Omar: “Two swords could never be in one sheath.
I swear to God, Arabs would never yield to you.
The Arabs would surrender to a governor who belonged to the Prophet's tribe. We are among Muhammad's close friends; so we deserve the caliphate.”
In this discussion, Omar relied on his relationship with the Prophet. For this reason in his view the Muhajir and Quraysh deserved such a position more than others (1).
Relying once more on Ansar's power, Habab Ibn Mundhir said: “O Ansar! Ignore Omar and his associates! They would curtail your power. If they refuse to accept your view, expel them. You deserve power more than others. It was due to your swords that people accepted this religion.”
Omar: “may God destroy you”.
Al-Habbab: “may God destroy you”.
Abu Obaydah: (bribing the Ansar, he confirmed the Muhajir taking power in the following manner): “O Ansar! You were the first group who helped the Prophet. It would never do to be the first to change his tradition”.
Now, a member Ansar group called Basher Ibn Saad, who was Saad Ibn Ebadah's relative (the candidate of half of the population of Ansar for caliphate) stood up, and while he was expected to vote in favor of Ansar due to his enmity towards Saad Ibn Ebadeh, confirmed Omar's view. Addressing his relatives, he said:
“Muhammad is of the Quraysh and his relatives deserve caliphate more then others. Never try to confront them”.
The two parties
expressed their views but could not convince each other. Then, taking advantage of the occasion, Abu Bakr, like an experienced diplomat an option.
He decided to select two candidates so that people could ally with one of them, noticing that the Ansar were not united and what is worse, Basher Ibn Saad was against Saad Ibn Ebadeh (the head of Khazraj).
For this reason, he hypocritically put an end to the discussions by saying:
“Please keep united, I want the best for you. It is better for you to curtail your talks and ally with one of the two: Omar and Abu Obaydah”.
But both Omar and Abu Obaydah declared:
“While you are present, we will not accept such a mission. Among the Muhajirin no one can excel you in virtue. You were the Prophet's companion in the cave of Thur; it was you who prayed in the Prophet’s place and beside him. Furthermore, you are better than us financially. Now, let us shake your hand in allegiance.”
At this moment, Abu Bakr, without uttering a word extended his hand and it became clear that Omar and Abu Obaydah’s candidacy was just a political maneuver in order to pave the way for his own political advantage.
Before Omar shook Abu Bakr's hand, Basher Ibn Saad hurried in shaking hands with Abu Bakr to utter his allegiance. Then the two shook hands with Abu Bakr as the successor to the Prophet. Now a severe disagreement appeared within the Ansar sector consequently the Ansar had to withdraw from power
having observed Bashir's allegiance, who belonged to the Ansar, Habab Ibn Mundhir became agitated and yelling at Bashir, said: “You are my uncle's son and could not tolerate his caliphate”.
Bashir replied: “It is not true! I did not want to rise against a right which God has bestowed upon the Muhajir”.
Asid Ibn Hazair, the head of Ous tribe, who had not forgotten his enmity towards the head of the Khazraj tribe, addressed the Ous tribe members, who were present at the meeting, and said: “Stand up and ally with Abu Bakr because if Saad becomes the caliph, the Khazraj would be superior. For this reason the tribe of Ous, also, allied with Abu Bakr due to the command of their representative.
Those members of the community, who followed their representative blindly, began to shake hands with Abu Bakr and their stampede crushed Saad under their feet. This sign of disrespect made Omar very happy and said: “May God destroy him because nothing is better for us than allegiance with Abu Bakr”.
Later on, when discussing the event of Saqifah, Omar described his Allegiance with Abu Bakr in the following manner:
“If we had left the meeting with no result, the Ansar might have come to an agreement in electing a caliph”.
The Saqifah, thus, came to an end while Abu Bakr was elected and Abu Bakr headed for the mosque of the Prophet while he was surrounded by Omar, Abu Obaydah and a group of the Ous tribe members. Then Saad left for home
with all his followers(1).
So far we have read the Saqifah event fairly carefully. We must now analyze the logic behind its planning.
The significant points of this gathering could be summed up in the following manner:
1. The holy Quran orders the believers to unite and to solve their problems collectively.
The purpose behind this significant Islamic order is for the rational scholars to come together in a quiet atmosphere and discuss different affairs without prejudice.
But was the Saqifah convention really without prejudice? Did the wise members of the Islamic community gather together in this convention? Did they try to solve the problems of caliphate through discussion? The course of action was quite the opposite.
In this so-called “gathering” there were only three members of Muhajirs present and even these three had not informed the others, in order to keep them in the dark. Could then such a gathering in which great personalities of Islam, such as Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as) Salman, Abizar, Meqdad, Hozaifeh, Ibn Abi Kaab, Talhah, Zobayr and tens others, were not present, be called a counseling gathering?
Was it the right thing to convene such a short meeting on such a significant issue while the candidates for Ansar were beaten up? Or should such a vital gathering have been convened several times so that the Islamic scholars and dignitaries could have expressed their views and could have elected their true leader with more deliberation?
Abu Bakr's election for caliphate in such a hurry was so baseless and opposable that
Omar was heard later to have said:
“کانت بیعه أبی بکر فلته ...”
“Abu Bakr's election was nothing more than a coincidence; it was not done with deliberation.
From now on you are to kill anybody who invites you for a similar action”(1).
2. Another important issue is the people’s logic.
Muhajir's reasonings revolved around two issues:
One was their ability to pioneer in accepting the Prophet's religion; and the second one was their kinship with the Prophet. If these two items distinguished them from others, then Abu Bakr should not have misused Omar and Abu Obaydah in this political game because there were other dignitaries in Medina who had accepted the Prophet's religion much earlier than the two and were even closer to the Prophet than them.
Ali (as) was the first to believe in the Prophet. He was his close relative, honest disciple, and son-in-law. Could Abu-Bakr ever gain one of these peculiarities?
Omar sees Abu Bakr's priority in his wealth, his being close to the Prophet in the cave of Thur and that he prayed in the place of the Prophet.
As for the first priority, not much can be said, except that this was a misconception common to the man of the age of Ignorance when great wealth was a sign of prestige.
One of the criticisms directed at the Prophet by disbelievers was why the Quran had not been revealed unto a rich and wealthy prophet.
If we take the association with the Prophet at the cave of Thur as a sign of priority then we
should give Ali (as) more credit, since he slept on the Prophet's bed on the night when the disbelievers had aimed to kill the Prophet. Ali slept in the same place where the Prophet laid so as to misguide the Prophet’s assassins. All interpreters admit the following verse was revealed unto the Prophet regarding this issue
﴿وَ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ یَشْرِی نَفْسَهُ ابْتِغاءَ مَرْضاتِ اللَّهِ وَ اللَّهُ رَؤُفٌ بِالْعِبادِ﴾
“And among men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is Affectionate to the servants”.(1)
Abu Bakr's praying instead of the Prophet, when he was ill, is quite ambiguous. We do not know whether he carried out the prayer or not; we are not sure whether or not it was done with the Prophet's consent; we do not know whether it was done due to a suggestion made by some of the Prophet’s wives. (In a subsequent chapter we will study this issue).
Nevertheless, if this issue could be taken as credit for becoming caliph, we should add here that whenever the Prophet was not in town, he would always appoint a substitute for himself f and would assign him the rein of government including praying with people at congregations; the names of such people are recorded in the biographies of the Prophet.
3. The two basic requirements for an Imam, and for the Prophet's successor are thorough knowledge of the principles and the practical laws of Islam and immunity against sins and wrongdoings. But there was no mention of
these two conditions in the Saqifah council.
Would it not have been appropriate for these individuals to bring up the issues of knowledge and chastity instead of other imaginary criteria such as nationality or connection with others?
4. The way these two groups reasoned shows that they only had superficial domination over people in mind and that they had ignored the Prophet's other roles and positions. For this very reason, the Ansar boasted of the great number of their tribes and considered themselves most deserving.
It is a fact that the great prophet was the leader of the people; but besides this, he possessed other virtues which did not exist in the candidates of either Mohajirs or Ansar. The Prophet presented the Shariat to the Ummah, explained Islamic principles and practical laws. He was innocent and infallible. How could the candidates then ignore the spiritual and mental issues and just focus on political and superficial supremacy, which are based on wealth and tribal power?
The reason for this ignorance is clear. If they looked at the Islamic caliphate from this point of view, they would see their ignorance in Islamic principles and practical laws. How could these candidates lay the foundations of a government which was based on knowledge, virtues, spiritual and mental perfection, and immunity against sins?
Imam Ali (as) described their logic in the following manner: a reporter entered the Imam's house and informed him of the event of Saqifah, telling him that the two groups of Ansar and Mohajirs had considered themselves
worthy of the position of caliphate:
Imam Ali (as) asked: why didn't you remind them of the Prophet's statement that we should remember the good ones with their good deeds and forgive their wrongdoings and that if they deserved caliphate they should recommend it to others.
Then Imam (as) asked: On what grounds did Quraysh consider themselves worthy of caliphate?
The reporter replied: they were saying they belonged to the Prophet's family genealogy and were of the same tribe as the Prophet.
The Imam (as) replied: they reasoned on the genealogy tree but spoiled its fruits. If they reason that they are the leaves of the Prophet's tree, I am the fruit of that tree then why shouldn't I deserve caliphate(1)?
The Saqifah meeting ended in a disgusting manner, with Abu Bakr leaving as the victor. A group of people were gathering around him asking people to utter the words of allegiance with him and the Prophet's successor in order to generalize this allegiance, they forced people to touch the caliph's hands.
After this and other scornful events, which we will not deal with now, they took Imam Ali (as) to the mosque to ally with the caliph.
In order to prove his right to the caliphate, Imam Ali (as), with his thorough knowledge of the divine book (the Holy Quran) and the Prophet's traditions and due to his firm belief in treating the Ummah justly, uttered the following speech:
“O Mohajirs, do not let the government which Muhammad (S) founded go out of his household and enter
yours. I swear by God, we, the household of the Prophet, deserve it more.
Among us there are those who have a thorough knowledge of the Quranic concepts, who fully recognize the principles of Islam and its practical laws, who know the Prophet's tradition, who know how to lead the Islamic community and who can stop corruption. As long as such a person, with these qualities exists in our Islamic community, no one else is eligible for such a position. Such a qualified person lives only in the Prophet's Household. Be alert so that your desires do not cause you to fall out of the right path”.(1).
In accordance with the Shiite narrations, Imam Ali (as) together with some members of Bani Hashim, attended Abu Bakr's presence and proved his capability for caliphate through his thorough knowledge of the Book, his pioneering in accepting Islam, his perseverance in the Holy wars, his eloquence in speech and his bravery. Then, he added:
I deserve the position of the Prophet after his death. I am the minister and successor and his treasurer in the unknown affairs and knowledge. I am his most sincere follower. I was the first to believe in the Prophet's religion and to confirm it. I am the sturdiest of you in fighting the infidels, the most knowledgeable in the Book and the Prophet's tradition; the most learned in the principles of Islam and its practical laws; the most eloquent in speech and the bravest of you in times of conflict. Then
why have you risen against me in this issue?(1)
In yet another sermon, Imam Ali (as) considers a caliph to be the most capable individual in a country’s affairs, the one who is most knowledgeable in divine orders:
“أَیُّها النّاس إنّ أحقّ الناس بهذا الأمر أقواهم علیه وأعلمهم بأَمر الله فیه فإن شغب شاغب استعتب فإن أبی قوتل”
“O people! The most appropriate ones to govern are the most aware in divine commands. If a person commits corrupt acts, he shall be punished; and if he does not repent he shall be killed.
O people! The most deserving individual for caliphate is the most capable one in the administration of the community and the most knowledgeable in divine commands”. (2)
Anyone, who invokes corruption and disregards the righteous shall be reproached, and if he continued to do so, shall be killed.
This is Ali’s (as) logic. Some of his opponents, when they thought conscientiously, confessed to his right of the caliphate and realized that by depriving him of such a right they have made a huge mistake.
When Abu Obaydah Jarrah became aware of Ali's refusal to ally with Abu Bakr, he told the Imam:
Let Abu Bakr be the caliph. If you live longer, you will be the most deserving person for such a position. That is because everybody knows your high virtues, strong faith, vast knowledge and your relation with the Prophet(3).
During the past fourteen centuries in which scholars have been discussing the issue of leadership after the Prophet, no learned man has ever
referred to the Prophet's suggestion for Abu Bakr to be a congregation leader. The Prophet never recommended to the people leadership of his congregation.
The rationale of the Sunnite scholars for the Abu Bakr's caliphate is based on the allegiance between the Mohajirs and the Ansar and their agreement on Abu Bakr's caliphate. It is a general fact that the Prophet had never recommended such a position for him. This is because if such a confirmation had been issued by the Prophet Abu Bakr would have never declared in the Saqifah convention: “قد رضیت لکم هذین الرجلین” I consider them both fit for caliphate and I am content with their election”
Never had he emphasized at the Saqifah meeting the close relationship between Quraysh and the Prophet or their pioneering in adopting Islam if anything concerning Abu Bakr's caliphate had been revealed to the Prophet. In the same way, neither had his close friend brought up the association between Abu Bakr and the Prophet at the the cave or his participation at the congregation prayer.
Abu Bakr himself uttered the following statement on the day of Saqifah meeting, while he was criticizing the Ansar's candidate:
“The Arab community assumes caliphate is suitable only for Quraysh since they are superior to others in their life, location and in their relatedness to the Prophet. If the Prophet had ever uttered a word in favor of Abu Bakr's caliphate, then the latter had delved in it in place of a series of weak and baseless arguments. He
would then, have said something like this: o people the Prophet appointed me as his successor on that special date.
How could he have ever been appointed as the Prophet's successor while Abu Bakr on his death bed wished he could have asked the Prophet who could have been the Prophet's successor?
Tabari, a well-known Islamic historian relates the story in the following manner:
While Abu Bakr was on his death-bed, he was being met by Abdul Rahman Ibn Ouf, the famous Quraysh wealthy man. Addressing the audience, Abu Bakr said: I wish I had not done three things and I had asked the Prophet three things. But those three things which I wish I had never done were:
1. I wish I had never entered Fatemah's house even if we had to face confrontation.
2. I wish I had not accepted caliphate on Saqifah day and I wish I had given it to either Umar or Abu Obaydah and instead accepted the position of minister or that of an advisor.
3. I wish I had not put Ayas Ibn Abdullah, the highwayman, on fire and I wish I had killed him with my sword.
And I wish I had asked the Prophet the following three things:
1. I wish I had asked him who could be his successor;
2. I wish I had asked him if Ansar deserved such a position;
3. I wish I had asked the Prophet the heritage of one's aunt and one's neice (1).
Some Sunnite schools have referred to Abu Bakr's substitution for the prayer
congregation during the time when the Prophet was ill as a special virtue and have used this as a document for the legality of Abu Bakr's caliphate.
They emphatically state that when the Prophet was content with Abu Bakr's substitution for the prayer, people should also be satisfied with his government which is a worldly, mundane affair.
But this allegation is wrong for certain reasons:
1. From the viewpoint of history, it is never proved that Abu Bakr's involvement in that prayer was actually with the Prophet's permission.
He might have done that either on his own or due to somebody's suggestion. This can be assumed as Abu Bakr had done the same thing once before without the Prophet's permission. Bukhari, the well-known Sunni narrator, narrates: Once the Prophet was visiting the tribe of Bani Amru Ibn Awf. When it was prayer time Abu Bakr stood in the Prophet's place and became the prayer Imam. When the Prophet arrived at the mosque, he had to break the row of people to stand in front. Then Abu Bakr had to stand behind the Prophet(1).
2. Even if Abu Bakr had performed the congregation prayer under the Prophet's permission this still does not authorize him for such a position as the caliphate of Muslims.
To be a prayer leader one needs correct pronunciation and full recognition of the prayer requirements, nothing else is necessary (and in the view of Sunnites, even a belief in God's justice is not necessary). However, leading the Islamic community requires other conditions such
• A thorough knowledge of the principles and practical principles of Islam;
• The capability to manage Islamic affairs;
• Immunity against sins.
The tone of the above argumentation reveals that the position of Imamate is not taken seriously and only the usual government is meant. This therefore suggests that since Abu Bakr has been chosen to carry out the prayer, therefore he is suitable to be the Prophet's successor.
This statement reveals the fact that such a view equals the meaning of government with the position of an Islamic leader. However the Prophet's caliph should possess certain spiritual positions which do not exist in a usual governor.
3. If the Prophet had approved of Abu Bakr being the prayer leader then why did the Prophet enter the mosque to perform a prayer while he was extremely ill and had to be carried with the assistance of Ali (as) and Fazl Ibn Abbass and stood next to Abu Bakr to perform the prayer? Such an action on his part was incompatible with his appointment of Abu Bakr for the position as the prayer leader.
4. Some narrations indicate that Abu Bakr had been appointed more than once to perform the congregation prayer. However, this is hard to believe since the Prophet had appointed Usamah Ibn Zayd as the flag bearer in the war against Romans and had ordered everyone to attend the army and had cursed those who did not want to join the army(1).
Then how could the Prophet ever allow Abu Bakr to carry out
5. Both historians and narrators have accepted that while Abu Bakr wished to act as a prayer leader, the Prophet addressed Abu Bakr's daughter, Ayeshah telling her:” فإنکنَّ صواحب یوسف” meaning “you are like those Egyptian women who were gathering around Joseph. “
Now, let us see what the Prophet had meant by this statement.
This sentence implies that Ayeshah had committed a treason, in the same way that the Egyptian women had done so in encouraging Zulaykha to betray her husband. The treason that we might imagine done by Ayeshah in this case was her message to her father that the Prophet had consented with Abu Bakr being the prayer leader.
The Sunnite scholars have another interpretation for this statement by the Prophet. They say: the Prophet insisted on Abu Bakr's performance of the prayer. But, they continue to say, Ayeshah was against the idea saying people might interpret such an action as a sign of the Prophet's death approaching.
Now, is this interpretation of the Sunnite scholars compatible with the Prophet's presence at the mosque while he was extremely ill? I ask readers to judge the validity of such an interpretation.
There is no doubt whatsoever that while the great prophet of Islam was the governor of people he was, at the same time, the spiritual leader of the people.
According to the Quranic verses, and Islamic texts and history, the Prophet began founding the structure of the Islamic government from the day he started living in Medina and resumed all
the obligations of a genuine governor and delegated some of the political, social and economic affairs of the Islamic community to the qualified individuals.
The signs of the Prophet's appointment by God are too many to be dealt with here. However, a few of them will be presented.
1. The Holy Quran considers the Prophet worthier than Muslims:
﴿ النَّبِیُّ أَوْلی بِالْمُؤْمِنِینَ مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ ﴾
“The Prophet has a greater claim on the faithful than they have on themselves”.(1)
2. The Holy Quran assigns the Prophet to judge over the divine laws for people,
﴿ فَاحْکُمْ بَیْنَهُمْ بِما أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ وَ لا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْواءَهُمْ ﴾
“Therefore judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their low desires (to turn away from the truth)”. (2)
3. Not only did the Prophet himself govern people and judge over them but he used to appoint a qualified man as the governor, another person as the judge and a third person as the teacher for religious issues as soon as he conquered a location. On some occasions all three positions would be given to one individual.
While the Prophet lived, Imam Ali (as), Abdullah Ibn Masud, Abu Ibn Kaab and Zayd Ibn Thabit and others used to carry out Judicial affairs(3).
When the Prophet conquered Mecca and Yemen he appointed Atab Ibn Asid as the governor of Mecca and Bazan as the governor of Yemen.
Abdul Hayy Ketani, the author of Al-Taratib Al-Edariyyah has collected the names of the Muslim governors who worked as the Prophet's representatives in different fields in
the socio-political and economic affairs. The study of this book gives us a glimpse of the Prophet's approach in governing the Islamic territories(1).
By inviting people to take part in holy wars for the spread of monotheism, by propagating military and defensive instructions among Muslims, and through the Prophet’s participation in twenty seven holy wars, and finally. the through appointment of fifty five leaders for the wars in which he did not participate, Islam depicted its true picture of the Islamic government. It proved that unlike Christianity, its invitation did not deal only with spiritual and mental aspects of life; neither was its main objective giving people advice; rather, the Islamic invitation included the foundation of a powerful government which could protect Muslims against foes and its book and religion against tyranny ensuring the realization of the divine rules in the community.
The economic institutes of Islam which deal with governmental revenues (such an Infal or war-booty) and national revenues (such an alms Khums- the statutory 20% Islamic levy on certain qualifying amounts) are a clear sign of the fact that Islam is a comprehensive and complete social system that deals with all aspects of man's social life and does not limit itself to a series of rigid religious ceremonies, which take place only once a week. This statement however, does not imply that the very foundation of true Christianity was like this. Rather it was the fake Christians, such as Caesars and the popes, who gradually transformed Christianity into its
present form and deprived this religion of its social aspects despite the fact that most prophets possessed high positions in society. The Holy Quran explicitly talks about Lut and Joseph:
“And as for Lut, we gave him wisdom and knowledge”(1).
“And when he [Yusuf] had attained his maturity, We Gave him wisdom and knowledge”.
And Yusuf [Joseph] thankfully replies to God:
﴿ رَبِّ قَدْ آتَیْتَنِی مِنَ الْمُلْکِ ﴾
“My Lord! Thou hast given me of the kingdom and taught me the interpretation of sayings”(2)
The Holy Quran has talked about David’s judgment and Solomon's government and Talut and his special privilege for government, and in this way has introduced divine prophets as the very founders of divine government and as the performers of hidden commands(3).
By studying the issue of enjoining the Good and forbidding the Evil, which is one of the active principles of Islamic government, and through studying the Islamic laws on transactions, boundaries and other jurisprudential chapters, we could understand the very nature of Islamic government which has been laid by the Prophet of Islam. This sort of government is so obvious that we do not have to explain it here.
Beside his political position, the great prophet of Islam was the describer of the divine commandments and the objectives and contents of Quranic verses.
In the following verse, the Holy Quran introduces the Prophet as the introducer of the sacred concepts in the Holy Book:
وَ أَنْزَلْنا إِلَیْکَ الذِّکْرَ لِتُبَیِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ ما نُزِّلَ إِلَیْهِم
“And We have revealed to you the reminder that you may make clear
to men what has been revealed to them”. (1)
The word “لبیّن” so that you may make clear to men indicates that the Prophet's job was not merely the reading of these verses to people but also to explain to people what they meant.
The Prophet, due to orders from the Holy Quran was the divine instructor of the Holy Book and the true teacher of God's wise commands. The Holy Quran says:
﴿ هُوَ الَّذِی بَعَثَ فِی الأُْمِّیِّینَ رَسُولاً مِنْهُمْ یَتْلُوا عَلَیْهِمْ آیاتِهِ وَ یُزَکِّیهِمْ وَ یُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْکِتابَ وَ الْحِکْمَهَ
“He it is Who raised among the illiterates an Apostle from among themselves, who recites to them His communications and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom, although they were before certainly in clear error”. (2)
During his life-time, the Great prophet possessed two positions simultaneously (i.e. being a commander and the divine Guide); naturally, after his demise, the Islamic community needed another dignitary such as the Prophet to carry out these two related positions.
Now, we should find out who could perform these two roles.
It is clear that the announcement of the divine commandments and guiding people in the right way depend on immunity against sins and wrongdoings. This is because such guidance requires absolute chastity and immunity against sins and immense of knowledge. In other words, the leader of the Islamic community should have a command over the principles and practical laws of Islam; or else he would not act as a divine leader among people. In the future
we will prove that such a guidance would be impossible without chastity on the part of the leader.
The Holy Quran provides two reasons for the appointment of Talut as the commander:
1. His superiority in knowledge;
2. His physical and bodily strength by which he could work for people under severe conditions (the necessity of this physical condition has been proved by experience in the past and has become a proverb, which says: true wisdom is located inside a healthy body).
Now observe the text of the verse:
﴿إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفاهُ عَلَیْکُمْ وَ زادَهُ بَسْطَهً فِی الْعِلْمِ وَ الْجِسْمِ ﴾
“Surely Allah has chosen him in preference to you and he has increased him abundantly in knowledge and physique”. (1)
While Imam Ali (as) was speaking to a group of soldiers and army officers to invite them for Holy wars he used the above verse to prove his merit and worthiness in the management of the affairs of the Islamic community, saying:
O people! Follow and obey the Quran which was revealed to your prophet. By God, we still read in the Holy Quran that after the demise of Moses, a group of Isralites asked their prophet to ask God to send them a governor and commander so that they could participate in Holy wars. Then God appointed Talut as their commander. But that group did not accept him and doubted his capabilities in the management of affairs. Then God revealed to his prophet that Talut was appointed because of his superiority in knowledge and his physical
To verify the appropriateness of the Infallible for caliphate, Imam Mujtaba (as) too, stressed on their vast knowledge of religious commands and the Ummah's needs, saying:
O people, the leaders should be among the Prophet's Household and nobody else is qualified for such a position. Through His Quran and His prophet, God has approved of such a position for us. This is because knowledge is with us. We are aware of any event that will take place in the world up to the day of resurrection, even of any scratch on anybody's skin”(2).
The separation of the governor and the spiritual leader is not the product of the Sunnite ideology: rather, it has a precedent in history.
The Saqifah event came to its end and Abu Bakr came out as the governor. Among the Prophet's followers and friends some became extremely angry over Imam Ali's deprivation of the right of leadership; this is because they still remembered what the Prophet had said concerning Imam Ali at the occasions of their departure from Medina at the war of Tabuk,(3) and on the day of Ghadir(4) and on his death bed(5).
Thus, a group of Muslims became agitated over Abu Bakr's election and, without taking sides, came to the caliph, asking him questions concerning Ali (as). The caliph and his associates had no answer except for the rationalization that these two positions should be separated, saying the positions of commandment and religious leadership could not be gathered in one family.
Buraidah Ibn Khusaîb was one of the
Prophet's close friends who was absent from Medina when the Prophet passed away. When he entered Medina, he observed the turbulence. Then he established the flag he had in his hands in front of Ali's house and, agitated, he entered the mosque. Addressing the caliph and his associates, he said:
Do you remember the day when the Prophet ordered us all to greet Ali as our head and as the commander of all faithful ones by the expression “السَّلام علَیْکَ یا أَمیرالمُؤمنین”. Now you have forgotten all these recommendations?
Adhering to the theory of the separation of the two positions, the caliph said: each day God carries out different affairs. He would never put both prophethood (the spiritual leadership) and commandership in one person.
This is taken to mean that the Prophet's Household members should either be the Muslims’ leaders and teach shariah or be the political leaders for Muslims; and these two should never come together.
But these two positions had been gathered in the person of the Prophet. Other prophets, too, such as Solomon, had these two positions simultaneously.
Or perhaps the caliph meant that these two positions had to be separated after the Prophet's demise? However, this hypothesis, like the previous one, is baseless.
Thus, while Imam Baqir (as) discusses the theory of the separation of these two positions as held by the coordinators of Saqifah, he quotes the following verse of the Holy Quran to annul the separation view: this verse confirms the view that these two positions were put in Ibrahim's
﴿ أَمْ یَحْسُدُونَ النَّاسَ عَلی ما آتاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ فَقَدْ آتَیْنا آلَ إِبْراهِیمَ الْکِتابَ وَ الْحِکْمَهَ وَ آتَیْناهُمْ مُلْکاً عَظِیما ً﴾
“Or do they envy the people for what Allah has given them of His grace? But indeed We have given to Ibrahim's children the Book and the wisdom, and We have Given them a grand kingdom”. (1)
After reciting the above verse Imam Baqer (as) asked: why do they confess to the combination of these two positions in Ibrahim’s Household but deny it in Muhammad's Household?
Fundamentally the separation of these two roles is a Christianity-oriented view. This is because it is today's metamorphosed Christianity which declares that it is its job to let a Caesar do a Caesar’s job. But Islam is a system of laws which can deal with all sorts of materialistic and spiritual affairs and can provide man with social, moral, political and economic approaches to solve his problems.
Islam whose very foundation is based on social management, could not separate spiritual leadership from political leadership.
In Islam, governing people is not an objective in itself and an Islamic leader accepts such a role only to correct an evil-doer.
Imam Ali (as), referring to those governors who look at the government as an objective in itself, says:
“و إنّ دنیاکُم هذهِ أزهدُ عندی من عفطهِ عنز”
“The world of yours is meaner in my view than the water from a goat's nose”.(2)
A group of the elite in the past and in the present assume that the only way to unite both Shiites
and Sunnites is for them to divide these two roles between then caliphs and the Prophet's Household and let the caliphs rule and govern and the spiritual leadership do the job of the Infallible so that in this way the fourteen century conflicts between these two sects could come to an end and let Muslims be united vis-à-vis the imperialism of east and west.
However, this view is also wrong because it is squarely based on a sort of Christianity-oriented view or secularism.
How could we, contrary to the Quranic text, separate these two?
There are other ways for the unity of these two sects, and that is the commonalities between them. All follow one book, one prophet and one Qibla (kaaba) and share many principles and practical laws. Disagreements in other aspects should not end in calamities and blood-shed. Having unity and political harmony, each group should be free to defend its ideology and at the same time should not forget their unity against the common foes (colonialism and Zionism).
The previous chapters proved the fact that a comprehensive, all-inclusive religious leadership is solely based on a thorough knowledge of both principles and practical laws of Islam and a complete awareness of the needs of the Islamic community.
This is because the creation of man is nothing more than his perfection in light of his carrying out divine requirements.
The appointment of the prophets too, is to avoid man's fall in the depths of wrongdoing and to show him the way to attain
But man's perfection in the light of his acting out the divine laws is only possible if all these laws are available to man so that there would be no obstacles in the way of his perfection.
Man's access to all the divine commands however is only possible if there were among Muslims an individual aware of all the religious needs of the Islamic community and who could show people the straight path to perfection: in this way the purpose of man’s creation of man would be fulfilled.
A review of the life-pattern of the three caliphs will reveal to us that none of them had full knowledge of the needs of the Islamic community.
Second to the Holy Quran, is a thorough knowledge of the Islamic traditions whose validity is so obvious to all Muslims. And many verses of the Holy Quran emphasize their acceptance by Muslims:
﴿ ما آتاکُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَ ما نَهاکُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا ﴾
“And whatever the Apostle gives you accept it and from whatever forbids you, keep away”.(1).
However, the knowledge of the caliphs concerning Islamic commands, was too limited and it could not be used to lead the Islamic community to its perfection.
The number of all the narrations that Ahmad Ibn Hanbal has narrated from Abu Bakr is not more then 80(2). Ÿalâlid Dîn Suîûtî was able to raise this number to 104(3) with great struggle. And finally, in accordance with the latest statistics, the number of narrations by Abu Bakr is 142(4).
Most of them, however are not narrations,
but some statements. For instance, among those 142 narrations by Abu Bakr is the following sentence:
“إن رسول الله اهدی جَمَلاً لابی جهل”
“The Prophet gave Abu Jahl a camel as a gift”.
Furthermore some narrations from him are against wisdom and the divine book.
For instance, note the following two narrations:
1 .“When the living men weep over a dead person, hot water would pour over the dead one”
“إنَّ المیت ینضح علیه الحمیم ببکاءِ الحی”
the content of this narration is wrong for several reasons:
Firstly: the rational weeping over the dead body indicates human feelings and the Prophet wept a lot over the body of his son, Ibrahim. The Prophet in his lamenting said: dear Ibrahim, we cannot do anything for you and divine fate can not be reversed. The eye of your father is filled with tears and his heart is full of sorrow, but I will not say any word which might cause God's anger(1)“.
When the Prophet became aware of the martyrdom of Jafar Ibn Abu Talib at the war of Mutah “he wept so much so that the tear-drops could be seen on his beard(2).
Secondly, the holy Quran says:
﴿ لا تَزِرُ وازِرَهٌ وِزْرَ أُخْری ﴾
“No bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another”(3); then how could the Prophet according to Abu Bakr, have said that through a person's weeping over a dead body, the latter would be hurt?
2. “The heat of hell for my Ummah is like the heat of the bath-room”.
إنّما حرّ جهنم علی أُمّتی مثل الحمّام
This statement not only
may embolden the sinners, it is against the Quranic texts that deal with this issue.
Thus, as we see, some narrations by Abu Bakr are either among his everyday conversations or are against common sense and the contents of the divine book, and could not be labeled as narrations.
It is clear that such a person with this little amount of knowledge could not lead the Islamic community towards perfection and could not satisfy his Ummah's needs.
In one of his speeches, the caliph betrays himself by saying:
“ إنی ولیّت ولست بخیّرکم وإن رأیتمونی علی الحق فأعینونی وإن رأیتمونی علی الباطل فسددونی”
“You have bestowed upon me the rein of your own affairs while I am not considered the best among you. If you realized that I am right, then help me; but if you saw me doing wrong actions, stop me”.
A religious leader in whose light the Islamic community should proceed, should not beg the Ummah for help. Instead of helping the Ummah such a leader should be helped by his Ummah?
Here are some samples of the caliph's general knowledge which also reveal the state of his religious knowledge. These samples reveal to us that he did not know the answers to many questions:
1. The caliph was not aware of the amount of inheritance for one's grandmother. In reply to a woman whose nephew had died and who wanted to know God's command, the caliph answered: I have not seen anything concerning this topic in God's book or among the Prophet's speeches. Then
he asked the woman to wait till he could ask the Prophet's close friends if they had heard anything in that regard. Moqayrah Ibn Shoaba was present in the session who said: I was present with the Prophet when he appointed one-third of the inheritance for one's grandmother. (1)
The caliph's ignorance is not a source for surprise. It is surprising that he asked Moqayrah, a criminal, God's command in this respect.
2. A thief was brought to the first caliph. He was amputated in one leg and one hand. The caliph ordered his other foot to be cut. But then the second caliph remarked that the Prophet's tradition was hand's amputation He changed his mind and obeyed the second caliph's view. (2)
These two samples could easily reveal the caliph's limited knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence. It is clear that such a caliph with such a low of knowledge could not be a spiritual leader.
The number of the narrations which Omar narrates from the Prophet does not exceed 50. The following story reveals the second caliph's jurisprudential knowledge:
1. A man came to Omar and said: I became Junub [to become impure due to sexual intercourse or ejaculation] and I did not have access to water. What should I do?
Omar answered: you do not have to pray accidentally, Ammar was present and addressing Omar, he said: do you remember you and I were junub in one of the Islamic wars and we did not have access to water? I rubbed myself against dust and
prayed, but you did not pray, do you remember? When I asked the Prophet about this problem, he replied: It would have been sufficient to touch the dust with your hands and then touch your face with those dusty hands.
The caliph addressed Ammar, saying “fear God” (i.e. do not say such a thing).
Then Ammar said: if it dissatisfies you, I will stop reporting this event(1).
This event is reported in books of Sunnites in different forms and all of them indicate that the second caliph was not aware of God's command vis-à-vis a junub person.
The Holy Quran, in two surahs,(2) has dealt with such an impure person; however, the caliph had not ever seen these two verses!
How could a person know the content of all these surahs while it took him twelve years to memorise surah Baqarah and he even sacrificed an animal for such an accomplishment(3)?
2. The commands of Shak in prayer [doubt] are problematic for every Muslim. Few Muslims are unaware of such cases. Now let us see how much the caliph knew regarding this issue.
Ibn Abbas says: once Omar asked me: what should a Muslim do if he doubts the number of rakaahs [a unit of prayer or salat]. He answered the caliph: I, too, am unaware. Abdu Rahman Ibn Auf arrived and narrated a narration from the Prophet.(4)
Perhaps Ibn Abbas's reply was not serious in this regard, but even if it were serious, the very fact that the caliph did not know the answer was strange!
is desirable in Islam for the Muslim woman's marriage-portion not to exceed four hundred dirhams. However, each groom could offer a greater marriage-portion if he wishes to satisfy his bride.
Once the caliph was sitting on the pulpit criticizing high marriage-portions.
He criticized it to the degree that he said it was forbidden to increase the marriage-portion.
When he descended from the pulpit, a woman critically asked him: why did you disagree with an increase in marriage-portion; does God not say
﴿ وَ آتَیْتُمْ إِحْداهُنَّ قِنْطاراً ﴾
“[And if you wish to have one wife in place of another] and you have given one of them a heap of gold, then take not from it anything”(1)
4. Few people are unaware of the fact that the performance of God's commands is dependent upon wisdom, capability and maturity. However, at the time of Omar, a mad woman who had done something abominable was brought to Omar's: he ordered her to be stoned. Fortunately, when she was being taken to be stoned, she came face-to-face with Imam Ali (as). Having heard the story, the Imam ordered the woman to return to Omar's presence. When the Imam saw Omar, he asked him: don't you remember the Prophet having said: both insane people and immature ones are exempt [from carrying out their religious obligations]. Omar said “God is great” and withdrew his
There are many cases of such misjudgments in the life of the second caliph. The reverend Allamah Amini, in the sixth volume of his book, Al-Ghadir, has shown through documents, one hundred cases of the caliph's infamiliarity with Islamic commands and has collected them under the title “Strange Cases of Omar's ignorance”.
A research on such topics will reveal to us that we are not allowed to submit the leadership of the Islamic society to such individuals whose understanding of the book, Prophet's narrations and of the Islamic jurisprudence is so low that they do not know, for instance, that an insane person is not responsible for his acts. Does our intellect allow us to put the lives and rights of Muslims in the hands of those who could not distinguish between sanity and insanity?
Does our wisdom allow us to submit Muslims’ lives to a man who does not know that a pregnant lady could bring to the world a six-month old baby and orders her to be stoned because of misjudgment?(1)
The third caliph's knowledge of Divine commands was not better than the knowledge of the first two caliphs either. The number of prophet’s narrations by him is not more them 146(2).
Othman's familiarity with Islamic principles and practical laws was meager indeed. Here we will present the readers with some samples of his ignorance:
One of the clear commands of Islam is that an infidel's blood is not equal to a Muslim's blood. In this regard, the Prophet says:
“لا یُقتلُ مسلمٌ بکافرٍ”
Muslim is not to be killed just because he has killed an infidel; rather, the killer should pay blood-money”.
At the time of Othman, such an error was going to take place but due to the recommendation of some of the Prophet's close friends, Othman changed his view(1).
There are numerous cases of such errors in Othman’s life. We will not go into details, rather, we will sum up our discussion in the following way: the basic requirement for the leadership of the Islamic Ummah is vast knowledge of the divine commands. Such knowledge is possible for those who are pure; unfortunately, these three caliphs lacked this.
Perhaps our criticism of some groups of Ansars (prophet's helpers) and Mohajirs might puzzle some Sunnites even though the Holy Quran has praised them in two cases:
1. “And as for the leading Mohajirs and Ansars, and those who followed them in goodness, Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, to endure in them forever, that is the mighty achievement.”(2)
﴿ وَ السَّابِقُونَ الأَْوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهاجِرِینَ وَ الأَْنْصارِ وَ الَّذِینَ اتَّبَعُوهُمْ بِإِحْسانٍ رَضِیَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَ رَضُوا عَنْهُ وَ أَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِی تَحْتَهَا الأَْنْهارُ خالِدِینَ فِیها أَبَداً ذلِکَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِیمُ ﴾
2. In another surah, God talks of those who, in the land of Hudabiyyah, swore allegiance to the Prophet:
﴿لَقَدْ رَضِیَ اللَّهُ عَنِ الْمُؤْمِنِینَ إِذْ یُبایِعُونَکَ تَحْتَ الشَّجَرَهِ فَعَلِمَ ما فِی قُلُوبِهِمْ فَأَنْزَلَ السَّکِینَهَ عَلَیْهِمْ وَ أَثابَهُمْ فَتْحاً قَرِیباً﴾
“Certainly Allah was well
pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree. He knew what was in their hearts. So He sent down tranquility on them and rewarded them with a near victory”(1)
To sum up; In the first verse, God praises that group, among Mohajirs and Ansars, who accepted Islam before others and then praises another group who has followed the previous one.
In the second verse, God expresses his satisfaction with those individuals who, in the seventh year of Hijrah, at the land of Hodabiyyeh, swore allegiance with the Prophet. God promises them tranquility and the victory of Mecca.
With these praises how could we claim that after the Prophet these two groups, turned into wrongdoers or sinners?
Before explaining the content of the above verses however, let us point out that the Sunnite scholars not only consider these two groups and their followers innocent, but they believe all followers of the Prophet were just and pious except for those cases where they committed real crimes.
In short, anybody who had the honor of having talked to the Prophet is supposed to be pure, just and pious except when the opposite is shown to be the case.
From the content of the above statement it is understood that all the Prophet's followers, who were more than one hundred thousand, possessed this specific privilege. It was thought the moment somebody met the Prophet he would encounter a spiritual transformation and from then on he would do nothing except for what was right and appropriate.
a judgment concerning the Prophet's followers means to be temperate towards their probable wrongdoings and to over-look their errors. An example of which is their escape in the wars of Uhud and Hunain demonstrating the shaky foundations of their faith and their lack of affection for the Prophet and his sublime aspirations.
A research of the verses which deal with their misbehavior with the Prophet at the Holy war of Uhud will reveal the truth to you.
How could we claim that all of the Prophet's followers were just and innocent while the Holy Quran, regarding a group of them who were among hypocrites, states:
﴿ وَ إِذْ یَقُولُ الْمُنافِقُونَ وَ الَّذِینَ فِی قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ ما وَعَدَنَا اللَّهُ وَ رَسُولُهُ إِلاَّ غُرُوراً﴾
“And when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts was a disease began to say: Allah and His apostle did not promise us victory but only to deceive”(1)
How could the announcers of such sentences be just while they are not true Muslims.
The Holy Quran refers to a group of the Prophet's followers as “Sammaun” [Hearkeners] meaning those who used to listen to the statements of the hypocrites and accept them as facts immediately.
Concerning those people, the holy Quran says:
﴿ لَوْ خَرَجُوا فِیکُمْ ما زادُوکُمْ إِلاَّ خَبالاً وَ لأََوْضَعُوا خِلالَکُمْ یَبْغُونَکُمُ الْفِتْنَهَ وَ فِیکُمْ سَمَّاعُونَ لَهُمْ وَ اللَّهُ عَلِیمٌ بِالظَّالِمِینَ
“Had they gone forth with you, they would not have added to the corruption. They would certainly have hurried about among you seeking to sow dissension. Among you exist those who hearken for
their sake; Allah knows the unjust”(1)
How could we ever consider such a person as Khalid Ibn Walid a just and innocent person while in accordance with some Sunnite writers, he was called by the Prophet as “Saifullah” meaning “God's sword” but, in the year of the capturing of Mecca, he committed terrible crimes and deceitfully killed a group of Bani Hazaimah after having convened a series of military pacts with them. After the Prophet heard what Khalid had done, he stood facing the Kaaba whilst begging God, he said:
“اللّهُمَّ إِنّی أَبرءُ إَلَیْکَ مِمّا صَنَع خالدُ بنُ الولید”.
“O God, I abhor what Khalid has done”(2) the files of this so-called” the sword of God” does not close here, and his crimes, after the Prophet's demise, towards Malik Ibn Novayran and his tribe are recorded in history. He first killed Malik who was a Muslim, and then raped his wife.
One of the most terrible mistakes for us is to recognize right and wrong through individuals and consider their personalities and traits as the criterion for their doings. While one's ideas and actions are indicators of one's traits the truth will be behind his actions, not the other way round.
Bertrand Russell, the great mathematician, whose theories on mathematics are well-known. As an atheist, in his book called “why am I not a Christian” he writes: “Once I was not an atheist and considered God “the main reason” for creation. Then I changed my mind, telling myself: if any creature needs a Creator, then
God needs to be created by another Creator”(1).
Could we ever reckon Russell’s mathematical personality as a legitimate reason for the validity of his philosophical views on the existence of God, whose Existence is demonstrated by all particles of the world. It is clear that in our judgment of people we should ignore their scientific and political outlook and investigate their views, thoughts and speeches with no prejudice rather with the criteria of wisdom and logic.
Let us present here Imam Ali's firm and eloquent speech concerning this issue:
In the war of Jamal [Camel] some were for Ali (as) and some were for Talha, Zubayr and Ayeshah (the mother of believers). At this time, one of the double-minded people who was well aware of the character and position of Imam Ali (as), came forward, saying:
How could this group be wrong while they have among themselves personalities such as Talha, Zubayr and Ayeshah? Could we ever say they are wrong?
At this time, Imam Ali (as) expressed a sentence, of which Dr Taha Husain, the famous Egyptian scholar, states man has never heard such a magnanimous and elegant expression:
“إنّکَ لملبوسٌ علیک، إنّ الحقّ و الباطل لا یُعرفان بأقدار الرجال، أعرفِ الحقّ تعرف أهله، أعرفِ الباطل تعرف أهله.”
“You are a man who does not know how to measure right from wrong. Right or wrong will never be recognized by a person's personality.
Rather, you should first recognize right, then identify its holder; or recognize wrong and then identify its doer.”
This great statement, which according to
that great Egyptian scholar “nobody has ever heard anything more sublime than it” clearly depicts the baseless principle common to some Sunnite scholars (that the Prophet's followers are always right).
Now it is time we went back and explained those two verses which we have presented earlier.
No doubt, the first verse indicates that God is content with two groups of people and has prepared his heaven for them: these two groups include:
1. A group of Mohajirs and Ansars who adopted Islam earlier than others and made sacrifices for their religion;
2. Those who rightly followed Mohajirs and Ansars.
But what we should reflect on is the following question: was God content with them only because they pioneered in Islam without any conditions whatsoever? If these people later became corrupt and injustice, would they still be loved by God?
Or did the continuity of this satisfaction rely heavily on their faith and in their good deeds during all stages of life?
If these conditions were ignored, then their revolutionary act of accepting Islam would be of no rewarded.
A research on other Quranic verses will firmly confirm the second view that God's satisfaction with his creatures would continue with the condition that one's good deeds continue throughout one's life.
Let us refer to some verses:
In the surah Hashr(3), the Holy Quran praises those Mohajirs who deprived themselves of the ordinary goods and
headed for Medina. The Quran, then gives the reason for such a praise through the following expression:
﴿یَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِنَ اللَّهِ وَ رِضْواناً وَ یَنْصُرُونَ اللَّهَ وَ رَسُولَهُ﴾
“They constantly beg God for His satisfaction and help Him and His apostle”.
This verse indicates that the very title of Mohajir, the abandonment of one's friends and family, or one's wealth are not enough for salvation; rather, we should constantly try to secure God's satisfaction with us and through our good deeds help both God and his apostle.
The Holy Quran remarks: Angles pray to God constantly asking God to forgive the believing people, saying
﴿ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَ الَّذِینَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَی الْکُفَّارِ رُحَماءُ بَیْنَهُمْ تَراهُمْ رُکَّعاً سُجَّداً یَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِنَ اللَّهِ وَ رِضْواناً سِیماهُمْ فِی وُجُوهِهِمْ مِنْ أَثَرِ السُّجُود ﴾
“O God forgive and bless those who have selected Your way and follow Your religion. The Holy Quran praises those followers of the Apostle who were strict and severe towards disbelievers but friendly and amicable with one another; those who bow down and who prostrate; those who try to attract God's satisfaction and the effects of prostration could be seen on their foreheads(1)“
And Allah says:
﴿ وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِینَ آمَنُوا وَ عَمِلُوا الصَّالِحاتِ مِنْهُمْ مَغْفِرَهً وَ أَجْراً عَظِیماً ﴾
“Allah has promised those who believe and do good, forgiveness and a great reward”(2)
These and other verses indicate that the titles of Mohajirs, Ansars or the descriptions “the foremost” or “the followers” are not enough for prosperity or salvation; rather, besides these titles they should be other
virtues such as good deeds and restraining from bad deeds, or else they would be subject to the following verses:
﴿ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لا یَرْضی عَنِ الْقَوْمِ الْفاسِقِینَ ﴾
“Surely Allah is not pleased with those who transgress”.(1)
﴿ وَ اللَّهُ لا یُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِینَ ﴾
“Allah does not love the unjust”.(2)
The Great prophet was a sample of virtues and ethics, in the highest degree of faith; Allah warns him:
﴿ لَئِنْ أَشْرَکْتَ لَیَحْبَطَنَّ عَمَلُکَ وَ لَتَکُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخاسِرِینَ ﴾
“Surely if you associate with Allah, your work would certainly come to naught and you would certainly be of the losers”.(3)
Definitely, the Prophet's strong faith, simplicity and chastity would never let him draw towards polytheism, but the Holy Quran, through him warns others not to be deceived by a series of good deeds, but to remain faithful up to the last minute of their lives.
Thus, we should never assume that by being a close follower of the Apostle and by being included in a handfull of the forerunners, one should be immune, forgiven and be loved by Allah even if later he committed crimes. A group of these Muhajirs and Ansars chose to go astray even at the time of the Prophet, and were severely punished by the Prophet and nobody made any protest against the Prophet for his act of punishment.
Here, is a list of such individuals:
1. Abdullah Ibn Saad Ibn Abu Sarah:
He was one of the Muhajirs who wrote a lot on monotheism; but later chose to be infidel and said (4)
﴿ وَ مَنْ قالَ
سَأُنْزِلُ مِثْلَ ما أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ ﴾
“I will write a Quran like that of God's”.
In the seizure of Mecca, the Prophet ordered the killing of some individuals. One of which was Abdullah. However, after the war, he told his foster-brother Othman and upon Othman's recommendation, the Prophet forgave him. The Prophet's hatred towards this man wan so great that after forgiving him he told his friends: when you saw how I refused to forgive him, why didn't you kill him on the spot?(1)
2. Obaydullah Ibn Jahsh: he was a forerunner in Islam and was one of the Muhajirs of Ethiopia, but upon immigrating to Ethiopia, he converted to Christianity.
3. Hakab Ibn Oss: he is one of the followers who turned to Islam at the seizure of Mecca; however, for some reasons, the Prophet exiled him to Taif.
4. Harqus Ibn Zihayr: he had taken part in the Rizwan allegiance, but at the time of dividing the booty he used harsh words with the Prophet, the Prophet became angry, telling him: shame on you; if I could not be just, then who could be just? Then he predicted his doomed future saying: Harqus would become the head of a group which would leave Islam like an arrow out of the bow (2).
Years later the Prophet's prediction came true and this man became the head of Khawarij [the rebels] and at the war of Nahravan was killed by Imam Ali (as).
This was a sample of the black-list which included a great number of the
Prophet's followers (Muhajirs and Ansars). Some other deserters are Hatib Ibn Abi Baltaa, who spied against Islam or Walid Ibn Aqabah, who is referred to as transgressor in the Holy Quran [Hujarat : 6] or Khalid Ibn Walid whose life is filled with wrongdoings(1).
With these kind of people among the Sahabah [the Prophet's close followers], could we claim that God was content with them and nobody would ever dare to find fault in them?
To sum up: God's satisfaction was related to certain acts of these people: God was satisfied with those who helped the Apostle.
But this satisfaction was not meant to be everlasting. Rather, the continuity of this satisfaction depended on their continuity in their sincerity and loyalty towards Islam and not on their getting engaged in nasty deeds.
In other words, the faith and sincerity of Muhajirs and Ansars, like other conditions, depended on the future of their actions. As scholars say, the rewards these Muslims received were relative:
This means these people were the center of God's affection while they remained faithful to the principles of Islam. However, it is quite natural, for these people to have fallen out of God's love as soon as they committed vile deeds.
These kinds of verses would never justify the wrongdoings of these people. Such an immunity is not given, even to the Prophet himself.
Concerning Ibrahim and his sons Ishaq, Yaqoob, Musa, Harun and others the Holy Quran remarks:
﴿ وَ لَوْ أَشْرَکُوا لَحَبِطَ عَنْهُمْ ما کانُوا یَعْمَلُونَ ﴾
“And if they had setup others (with
Him) certainly what they did would have become ineffective for them”.(1)
If they had ever compared anybody with Allah, then all their deeds would have been ruined.
The previous discussions explicitly confirm that the selection of an Imam by God is completely distinct from the issue of dictatorship. The person appointed by Allah to govern and judge among people is the most righteous on earth.
This is because, in this kind of government the governor is appointed by Allah who, using His sublime wisdom would select the best person for the leadership of Muslims; there is no room for illogical determination with Allah.
Allah is a genuine anthropologist who recognizes the needs of His creatures better than the creatures themselves. In the same way that the divine laws and commands are unique, so is the leader who is selected by Him. We could never compare a governor whose government involves a series of serious errors and a governor selected by Allah.
The previous discussions also proved that the innocent and infallible Imam, who is well aware of the divine laws, is a good and reliable resort for the Ummah. Muslims constantly need such an individual. As a general rule, when the great prophet of Islam passed away, the Islamic Ummah had not reached a complete thinking pattern to be able to rely on themselves in the absence of such a divine leader.
Now it is time for us to find out who was elected by the Prophet to rule over the Muslim community.
have to resort to narrative reasoning: the documents issued by the Prophet of Islam have been reported most frequently, those documents are far from being artificial or fake. Furthermore, these documents clearly indicate the appointment of specific individuals for leadership; no sensible person would ever doubt the authenticity of such documents.
For this reason, we will present here some of these narrative documents which are definitely issued by the Prophet. Since both the pages of this book and the readers time are limited, we have to select only a few of such documents concerning Imam Ali's appointment as the leader of Muslims by the great Prophet.
The trade caravan entering Hijaz from Syria informed the Prophet of the readiness of the Roman soldiers to attack Medina. As a rule, prevention is always better then cure.
So, the Prophet announced a general mobilization in Medina and its suburbs; an army of thirty thousand troops, in the severe heat which was fit for the ripening of fruits, announced their readiness to take part in this huge Islamic war.
Some reporters gave the Prophet the news that the hypocrites of Medina were determined to kill innocent people in his absence. To stop any probable incident, the Prophet appointed Imam Ali (as) as his substitute in Medina.
Realizing the fact that their plan had been betrayed (by the Imam staying in Medina) they decided to employ a plot to make Imam leave Medina. For this reason, they spread a rumor that there were disagreements between Imam and the Prophet
causing the Imam to be the side lines to the Prophet’s affection. The reason they presented for this rumor was the claim that Ali (as) was not permitted to take part in that religious war.
This rumor worried Imam Ali and his associates, who had always been loved by the Prophet. To falsify this statement, he approached the Prophet, who was not very far away from Medina, informing him of the story. To show his utmost love and care for Imam Ali (as), the Prophet delivered the following historical message:
“Are you not willing to remain for me as Harun was for Musa? With the difference that there would be no prophet after me. It is not proper for me to pass away without having appointed you as my successor.
This narration, which is called the narration of Endearment by the Islamic reporters, is one of the most frequent and definitive narrations of Islam.
The narrator Buhrani, in his book called “Qayatul Maram” has mentioned the names of those authors who have reported this event in their books, showing that the Muslim narrators have reported this event in one hundred and seventy different ways, one hundred ways of which belong to the Sunnite scholars and narrators.(1)
Sharaf Al-din Ameli, in his book “Al-Morajeat” has reported the documents of this narration. Reports by the Sunnite writers, state that it is narrated in ten books of theirs.(2)
On the authenticity of this narration it is enough for us to observe that the writers of Sahih (correct) books by
the Sunnites, Bokhari and Muslim have reported this narration as the “right narration” in their books.(1) In the firmness of these reports, it is sufficient to know that Saad Waqqas, Imam Ali’s (as) bitter enemy, considered this event as one of the three bright points in Imam Ali's life.
When Muawiyyah entered Mecca to receive people's allegiance for his son, Yazid, he convened an assembly in “Al-Nadut” in which some dignitaries of the Prophet's close friends had taken part. He started his statement with cursing Ali (as) and expected Saad to join him in this condemnation, but addressing Muawiyyah, Saad replied: whenever I remember Ali's three virtues, I wish I could have those three virtues. Those virtues being:
1. The day when the Prophet told Ali that Ali was to him as Harun was to Musa;
2. During the Khaybar Holy war, the Prophet said: Tomorrow I will give the flag to an individual who is loved by Allah and by His Apostle. He would be the conqueror of Khaybar and would not flee the enemy, (and then he gave Ali the flag).
3. On the day of Mubahilah (cursing) with the Christians of Najran, the Prophet gathered Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain, saying: O God, these are my Household.(2)
Therefore, we should not ever doubt the validity and authenticity of this document; rather we should step forward and try to think over the content of this narration.
Firstly, we should stress on the expression الاّ انه لا نبی بعدی except for the fact that there
would be no prophet after me.
In this narration, the Prophet likens his relation to Ali's to the relation of Harun and Musa. However, this narration takes away the position of prophethood from Ali (as) despite the fact that Harun was a prophet. This is related to the command used in the title وخاتم النبیّین “the last of the Prophets” and so Ali (as) would never attain such a position.
Now let us see what kind of positions and titles Harun possessed in accordance with the Holy Quran; Ali (as) possessed all these positions except for the position of prophethood.
When we refer to the Holy Quran, we observe that Musa (Musa) had asked God to bestow upon Harun the following positions:
1. The position of minister: Musa Ibn Omran had asked Allah to appoint Harun as his minister: “And give me a helper from my family, Harun, my brother “(1).
2. Strength and confirmation: Musa asked Allah to confirm him through his brother Harun:
“Strengthen my back through him “.
3. Prophethood: Musa Ibn Omran asked Allah to join Harun in the affair of prophethood: “And associate him with me in my affair”(2).
The Holy Quran mentions that Allah accepted all Musa's request and bestowed upon Harun all those positions He said: you are indeed granted your petition, O Musa.(3)
Furthermore, while Musa was absent, Harun was his successor among Bani Israel: “Musa told Harun: be my caliph and successor among my tribe”(4).
A reference to the above verses clarifies all of Harun's positions and in accordance with the
narration of endearment all these positions (except for prophethood) belong to Imam Ali (as).
Due to these valid reasons, Imam Ali (as) was the Prophet's cleric, associate and caliph among people and should have been the leader of the Ummah in the absence of the great prophet.
It might be said that Ali (as) was the Prophet's successor only during days when the Prophet had left Medina. This is different from being an absolute and life-time successor of the Prophet after his death.(1)
But a brief look at the Prophet's life will provide an answer to such a question:
Firstly: Ali (as) was not the only person who was appointed as the Prophet's successor in Medina in the Prophet's absence. Rather, during his ten year stay in Medina the Prophet never left the Islamic center (Medina) without having appointed a successor. If by the statement expressed by the Prophet is meant only “a temporary successor” why didn't he use this expression for other successors of his time, they, too were appointed, on a temporary basis, the transitory substitute for the Prophet while he had left Medina for Mecca or during the Holy wars? Then why didn't the Prophet use this distinction for his other substitutes?
Secondly, if the given position was temporary, the Prophet did not have to express such a statement and then subtract prophethood from the position he offered Ali.
Besides, such a temporary position could not be given a high value rather it should have been a permanent position because years later Saad
Waqqas wished for such a position and was ready to pay a hundred red-haired camels for such a position. He considered this position among Ali's significant virtues (Ali as the victor of Khaybar and his role in Mubahilah with the Najran Jews).
Thirdly: if the Prophet had expressed such a statement only on the occasion of his departure towards Tabuk, the critics could have been right. But the Prophet expresses such a statement at other times. The books on narration are witness to this event.
Here, we shall refer to two cases.(1)
1. Once Abu Bakr, Omar and Abu Obaydah Ibn Jarrah were in the Prophet's presence when the Prophet, putting his hand over Ali's shoulder, said:
“ یا علیُّ أنت أولُ المؤمنین ایماناً وأولهم إسلاماً،و أنت منّی بمنزلهِ هارونَ من موسی “
“O Ali! You were the first to believe in me and to accept Islam. You are to me, what Harun was to Musa”.(2)
2. In the early days of Hijrat, the Prophet gathered Muhajir and Ansar around himself, calling every two of them, brothers. Ali (as) was the only one who did not get a brother. While weeping, Imam Ali (as) asks the Prophet: O Apostle of Allah! I have not done anything wrong.
How come you did not appoint a brother to me? Once more the Prophet repeated the previous statement in front of a group of his closest followers:
والّذی بعثنی بالحقّ ما أخرتُکَ إلّا لنفسی و أنت منّی بمنزله هارونَ من موسی غیر أنّه لا نبیّ بعدی و أنت أخی ووارثی
“I swear to Allah who has rightly appointed me as His Apostle, I did not appoint any brother for you because I myself wanted to be your brother. You are to me what Harun was to Musa except for the fact that there would not be any prophet after me. You are my heir”(1).
Another reason for the fact that Imam Ali (as) possessed Harun's status was the Prophet's endeavor to let people realize that what Harun was to Musa was like the position of Ali relative to the Prophet, except for the fact that he did not possess the position of prophethood.
When the Prophet's dearest daughter (Fatimah) gave birth to two sons, the Prophet ordered Ali (as) to call them Hasan and Husain on the basis of Harun's sons Shabbar and Shabayr in Hebrew.
A research or the lives of these two will lead us to more similarities between them with which we shall not deal here. Sharaf Al-din, in the book “Al-murajeat” has thoroughly dealt with the similarities.(2)
The global movement of Islam from the start encountered a lot put forth by Quraysh and the whole class of idolaters of the peninsula. They whole-heartedly tried to put out this divine light but the more they tried, the less they succeeded.
Their last perception was the great movement to shatter and spread apart its members, with the death of its founder (3).
The Holy Quran, which reveals most of their tricks in its verses, this time, uncovers their desire for the Prophet's
death, depicted in the following verse:
﴿ أَمْ یَقُولُونَ شاعِرٌ نَتَرَبَّصُ بِهِ رَیْبَ الْمَنُونِ
قُلْ تَرَبَّصُوا فَإِنِّی مَعَکُمْ مِنَ الْمُتَرَبِّصِینَ، أَمْ تَأْمُرُهُمْ أَحْلامُهُمْ بِهذا أَمْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ
“They say the Prophet is a poet, we a wait for him some calamity [we shall wait for him to die]. Say: Surely I too wait a long with you. Have their understandings bid them this? [Have their hollow imaginations caused them this?] Or are they inordinate people? (1).
It is advisable for us to present here a list of the obstacles created by the idolaters in the path of Islam, and then see how Allah made void and obsolete their treason and offset their plots by raising of the issue of Ali's leadership.
By baseless allegations such as the following: the Prophet is a poet, he is a fortune-teller, he is mad, he is a wizard and a magician, the Qurayshi infidels tried to reduce the effect of the Prophet's speech.
However, the vast spread of Islam among different classes of people proved that these accusations could not be leveled against the Prophet.
The other plot of the enemies of Islam was to torture and annihilate the Prophet's followers so they could stop the spread of Islam in this way however the Quraysh leaders could not accomplish much due to the perseverance of the followers. The foes of Islam were highly amazed at the sincerity and endurance of these followers. In this regard, Abu Sufyan once remarked: I have seen Caesar and Kesra but I have
never seen anybody like Muhammad. Among the followers of these leaders who could have been so determined as the Prophet.(1)
Being extremely astonished by the Quran's spiritual attraction, the foes of Islam assumed that people were attracted by the verses of the Quran because they contained ancient mythology.
For this reason, they invited Nasr Ibn Harith, the great Arab story-teller, to recite for people some stories related to the kings of Iran and Iraq so in this way they could stop the people from gathering round the Prophet. This plot was so ridiculous that the Quraysh became bored by listening to such stories.
Another plot was to discourage people from listening to the Quran. This plot too was useless. People had become so attracted to hearing the Quran that they used to hide behind the Prophet's house at dawn to listen to the recitation of the Quran, when he was praying.
The Quraysh not only stopped people from reading the Quran, but made it hard for the people to meet the Prophet so much so that when Arab dignitaries, such as A’sha, and Tufail Ibn Omar entered Mecca to visit the Prophet, they were severely restrained from doing so by the Quraysh(2).
Through an order published by the Quraysh, nobody was allowed to carry out any trade transactions with Bani Hashim or Muhammad's followers. For this reason, the Prophet had to lead a hard life in Shaib Abi Talib.
However, these sanctions were removed through the proceedings of some Quraysh leaders.
Forty Quraysh youth from forty different
tribes were appointed to attack the Prophet's house at night and cut him apart. But Allah, Who always protected His Apostle, let him know of the plot. The Prophet, commanded by Allah, asked Ali (as) to sleep in his bed and left Mecca for Medina. The Prophet's migration to Medina and the inclination of the tribes Aus and Khazraj towards Islam, provided Muslims with a sure place and led to the spread of Islamic troops to coorporate to defend the religion.
The idolaters of the peninsula were frightened by the concentration of Muslims in Medina and by the establishment of an Islamic government. So they endeavored to put it out through bloody confrontations as soon as possible. Their bloody wars with Muslims at Badr, Uhud and Khandaq and Hunayn, with all their ups and downs, finally terminated in the supremacy of the Islamic military and belittled the idolaters in the peninsula.
The enemy's last wish was the Prophet's demise. They were under the assumption that the Prophet's end would also put an end to the Islamic movement for ever. To set off this crisis, two options could be available to the Muslims:
1. For the mental level of the Ummah to reach such a standard, as to be able to lead the newly-established Islamic movement and to protect it from any hazard, after the Prophet.
After the Prophet's demise, this condition unfortunately did not materialize we could not identify all the reasons for this.
However we could present the following remarks:
The wide-ranging and comprehensive revolution
in the heart of a nation would not occur within one or, two days, nor a year or ten years. Within a short time this could not happen at all. Rather, in order to keep the very foundation of the revolution intact, a capable individual or individuals would be required to handle the affairs of the nation after the demise of the revolution leader, and who could keep the nation safe and sound against poisonous indoctrinations until the older generation could pass and the new generations could come forth with the Islamic etiquette.
If this did not occur, then a great number of Muslims would withdraw from their ideology as soon as the founder of the revolution passes away.
Besides, out of all divine movements, Islam possessed another trait which made it urgent for such capable individuals to exist:
Islam found its way among the most retarded and backward nations of the world who were living in pure depravity. Out of religious traditions they were only familiar with the Hajj ceremony which they had inherited from their ancestors (and that too mixed with superstitions). Neither Musa' teachings, nor Christ's instructions had penetrated their land and the majority of the Hijaz population was deprived of such religious teachings. On the other hand, they were under the influence of the customs of the age of Ignorance.
The religious reform in its initial state, might not look difficult among such nations.
However, its continuity among people whose spirits are filled with negativity, is quite difficult. Such a continuity
needs persistent care so that such nations do not go astray.
The distressing and depressing events of the wars of Uhud and Hunain in which the combatants left the Prophet alone on the arena, showed there were few genuine Muslims who wanted to sacrifice everything for the Islamic movement, and that the members of the community had not mentally progressed to the stage where they could be left guideless.
We see that after the Prophet's demise, such an Ummah divided themselves into seventy three sects.
From what was said above we can now understand that the Islamic Ummah, after the Prophet's demise, had not mentally reached the stage to be able to undo the enemy's plots for the complete annihilation of Islam. So there should have been another option to which we will refer to.
2. For the Islamic movement to continue, the easiest way is to elect a person for the leadership who is as firm in his faith as the Prophet so that he can lead the Ummah with prosperity.
This is the same issue which is raised by Shiism, and there are numerous historical documents which attest to the fact that the Prophet of Islam, on his return from the farewell pilgrimage [Hajjul Wida], on the 18th of Zihajjah, with Allah's assistance, solved this problem, and through the appointment of his successor ensured the continuity of the Islamic revolution. This event took place in the following way: in the tenth year of Hijra, the Prophet headed for Mecca to instruct the Hajj
ceremonies. This year, his Hajj ceremony coincided with the last year of his fruitful life; for this reason, it is called “Hajjul Wida” [farewell Hajj]. Historians tell us more than one hundred and twenty thousand pilgrims accompanied the Prophet in this religious ceremony.
When the ceremony was over, the great prophet of Islam headed for Medina. A great number of people accompanied him. The caravan arrived at a desert, called Ghadir Khum located three miles away from Jahfah. Suddenly the angel of revelation ordered the Prophet to stop. Subsequently, the Prophet ordered the caravan members to stop their movement in a desert on an extremely hot day which puzzled people greatly. They were whispering:
A command is going to be issued by God and the significance of the command is so great that people are ordered to stop their movement under such harsh conditions.
God's command to the Prophet was issued through the following Quranic verse:
﴿ یا أَیُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ ما أُنْزِلَ إِلَیْکَ مِنْ رَبِّکَ وَ إِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَما بَلَّغْتَ رِسالَتَهُ وَ اللَّهُ یَعْصِمُکَ مِنَ النَّاسِ ﴾
“O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message. Allah will protect you from the people”(1).
Considering the content of the verse, we will find out the following points:
Firstly, Allah's command to the Prophet to announce such a divine message was so great that if the Prophet had not announced it immediately he would not have completed his prophetic task properly.
we will find out later, his prophetic mission was completed.
In other words, by the expression “ what has been revealed unto you” could not have been meant the collection of the Quranic verses or the Islamic commands because of the fact that if he had not announced the divine commands, he would not have accomplished his prophetic mission, and such an obvious act would not have needed the revelation of a verse. Rather the content of such a verse was the revealing of a specific issue whose announcement was a complement of his prophethood, and without such an announcement his prophethood would not have been completed.
Thus, the content of such a mission must have been one of the significant Islamic principles which was in harmony with the other Islamic principles. Secondly, the Prophet's calculation showed to him that he might be exposed to harm from the people. In order to strengthen the Prophet's determination, Allah declares:
والله یعصمک من الناس
“Allah will protect you from the people's harm”.
Now, we should find out which one of the probabilities(1) which the Islamic interpreters have assumed regarding the subject of the Prophet's mission comes closer to the above verse.
All Shiite narrators and thirty(2) Sunnite narrators believe that this verse was revealed to the Prophet on Ghadir Khum, i.e., the day Allah missioned the Prophet to introduce Ali (as) to the Ummah as “the head of believers”.
The Imam's supremacy over the Ummah was considered so important that the Prophet's mission would have been incomplete if he
had not announced his successor.
And the Prophet was right to fear the situation because the appointment of Ali as his successor when he was not older than thirty three while others were much older, was extremely hard and problematic(1). Besides many people, whose relatives were now among the Muslims, were killed in the wars by Ali (as).
Naturally, his government would not be easily accepted by their relatives. Furthermore, Ali was the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law and his appointment as the Prophet's successor would be reckoned as prejudice by the short-sighted people, whose number is not few in any community.
But despite these unfavorable conditions, Allah had determined to appoint a successor for the Prophet so that the universal movement of Islam could be eternal.
Let us explain this historical event in some detail:
The eighteenth day of Zi-l-Hajjah in Ghadir Khum was marked by the extreme heat of the sun. A large crowd of people, between seventy thousand to one hundred and twenty thousand, had gathered there on the Prophet's orders, waiting for the historical event to begin. People were using their robes to protect their heads against the extreme and fatal heat.
In these critical moments, the voice of “Allah-u-Akbar” [God is great] filled every corner of the desert and people were getting ready to pray.
The Prophet performed the congregation prayer among a huge crowd of believers. Then he ascended a make-shift pulpit which had been prepared, reciting the following sermon:
All praise is due to Allah.
We will ask his assistance and
we believe in Him and we rely on Him. We seek refuge in the Lordof men against the concupiscence and any wrongdoing.
We rely on Allah who has no associate. We are a witness to the fact that nobody can mislead anybody who is guided by Allah.
We declare that there is no associate to Allah and that Muhammad is His apostle.
O people! The merciful Allah has informed me that the length of any prophet's prophethood is half of his age prior to his prophethood. In the near future, I will accept God's call and leave you. I am responsible so are you. How would you think about me?
The Prophet's followers: we witness the fact that you propagated God's faith, you were benevolent towards us and you provided us with advice and you did your best; may God reward you amply.
The Prophet [when the crowd was silent]: Don't you believe that there is no associate for God that Muhammad is God's slave and His apostle, that Hell and paradise and death are true and that the day of resurrection shall come and God will bring to life those who are dead.
The Prophet's followers: yes we do.
The Prophet: I will leave among you two precious things; how are you going to treat them?
An unknown voice: what do you mean by two things?
The Prophet: the major weight is God's book. One side of which is in the hands of God and the other side is in your hands.
Learn it and apply it, to save
yourself from going astray; and the minor weight is my Household. My God has told me that they too shall never depart up to the day of resurrection.
O people! Do not leave these two precious things behind so that you would not go astray.
At this moment, he raised Ali's hand so high that everybody could recognize Ali and realize that the event of that day was related to Ali. Everybody was eager to listen to the Prophet.
The Prophet: O people! Who is the worthiest individual among the believers?
The Prophet's followers: God and His apostle know better.
The Prophet: God is my superior and I am the believers superior. I am worthier than they are. O people! “من کنت مولاه فعلیٌّ مولاه”
“Anybody who recognizes me as his superior should recognize Ali as his superior”. This sentence was repeated three times. (1)
Then the Prophet said: O God! Love anybody who loves Ali and show your hatred towards Ali's foes. O God! Assist Ali's friends and let Ali's enemies be wretched! O God! Let Ali be the pivot of righteousness.
The Prophet added: You must urgently inform the absent ones of this event.
The glorious crowd at Ghadir had not yet spread when the revelation angel joyfully informed the Prophet that God had completed the Prophet's mission and he was content that Islam was completed that day(2).
At this moment, the Prophet said “Allah is great. I am glad that God completed His religion today, He completed His assets on us, and He became content with my
prophethood and with Ali being my successor”.
The Prophet descended from the high altitude. His friends and followers congratulated Ali, calling him their superior and every believer's superior. At this moment, Hasan Ibn Sabet, the Prophet's poet, rose and recited this historic event in a piece of poetry, making it immortal.
We will present here only the translation of two verses.
The Prophet told Ali: Rise since I have appointed you as the people's leader and guide after me. (1)
Anybody who accepts me as his superior should accept Ali as his superior.
O people! It is compulsory for you to be Ali's genuine friends. (2)
What we have presented here is a glimpse of the Ghadir Event, which is recorded in the Sunnite documents as well as in numerous shiite's records.
Tabarsi, in his book, Ehtejaj, records the Prophet's sermon in its entirety. Interested readers may refer to that book. (3)
God has decided that the historical event of Ghadir shall be an eternal event. The Islamic writers could talk about it in their interpretations, narrations and history books, the religious speakers could discuss it in their sermons and could count the Imam's undeniable virtues. The poets could be inspired by this event and they could enliven their poetic rigor to write the most elegant poetical masterpieces on this event in different languages.
It is no wonder that in the history of Islam no event has ever been studied so vastly as the event of Ghadir by scholars, interpreters, philosophers, orators, poets and historians.
No doubt, one of the
reasons for this event to be eternal, is the descent and relevance of two Quranic verses (1) and since the Holy Quran is eternal, this historical event shall always remain eternal, never to be forgotten.
In the Islamc community in the past and in the Shiite community now, this event is considered to be a great Islamic festival and would never be forgotten.
A look at the history books would reveal to us that the eighteenth day of Zi-l-Hajjah Al-Haram has been reckoned as the Ghadir festival among Muslims in the past. In this relation Ibn khollakan writing on Mostaali Ibn Al-Mostansar, the Fatemid caliph says in the year 487, the Ghadir festival, which corresponds with the 18th of Zi-l-Hajjah Al-Haram, people allied with him(2).
Concerning Al-Mostanser Bellah, Al-Abidi writes: he passed away in the year 487 of hijrah, twelve nights before the end of the month Zi-Al-hajjeh. This night concides with the night of Ghadir festival.(3)
The festivities on Ghadir day were carried out because the Prophet himself carried it out regularly each year. On that day the Prophet ordered his wives and the Muhajirs and Ansars to go to Ali and congratulate him.
Zayd Ibn Arqam writes: the first of Muhajirs to ally with Ali were Abu Bakr, Umar Othman Talha and Zubayr. This ceremony of allegiance and congratulating continued till the evening.
the significance of this event it is enough to say that it has been narrated by one hundred and ten of the Prophet's close friends.
Of course this is not taken to mean that only these people have reported this event; rather, we should point out that only in the books of the sunni scholars we could observe one hundred and twenty scholars who have done so. It is clear that the Prophet delivered his speech for an audience of one hundred thousand; but more of them were from distant areas like Hijaz who have not narrated this event.
Or perhaps they have done so, but we have no records of them. And even if a group of them have narrated this event, history has not been successful in recording their names.
During the second century of Islam which is the era of “Tabayin” eighty nine Tabayin narrators have narrated this event.
Many of the narrators in the following centuries were Sunnite scholars and three hundred and sixty of them have reported it in their books and have confirmed its authenticity.
In the third century of Islam, ninety two Sunnite scholars reported this narration; in the fourth centry, forty three; in the fifth century, twenty four; in the sixth century, twenty; in the seventh century, twenty one; in the eighth century eighteen; in the ninth century sixteen; in the tenth century, fourteen; in the eleventh centry tweleve; in the twelfth century, thirteen; in the thirteenth century, twelve; in the fourteenth century, twenty Sunnite scholars have
reported this narration.
Besides reporting this narration, a group of these scholars have dealt with the content of this narration, as well.
Tabari, the great Islamic historian, has written a book called “Al-Welayat Fi Turuq hadith Al-Ghadir” and has narrated this narration from more than seventy narrators.
Ibn Uqdah Kufi, in his book, Welayat, has reported this narration from one hundred and five narrators.
Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn Omar Baqdad; better known as Jaqani, has reported this narration from twenty five narrators.
Furthermore twenty six scholars have independently written books on this historical event however there might be some scholars who have written on this topic, but whose names do not appear in the history books.
Allamah Amini a Shiite scholar has written a precious book, called Al-Ghadir, which we have used frequently in the description of the Imam's life.
The previous discussions have clearly depicted the fact that the event of Ghadir has been a definite historical event, and any doubt on it is to doubt on obvious facts. It should be noted that among the Islamic narration, few narrations may equal it from the perspective of frequency.
Therefore, we shall not concentrate on the validity of such an authentic document; rather we will discuss the content of this document.
The key issue of this document is the word “Mawla” in the phrase
““ مَن کنتُ مَولاهُ فعلیٌ مولاهُ “
Firstly, we should note that the word “Mawla” is used in the Holy Quran in the sense of “preferable”.
1. “So today ransom shall not be accepted from you
nor from those who disbelieved; your abode is the fire; it is your friend, end evil is the resort(1)“.
﴿ فَالْیَوْمَ لا یُؤْخَذُ مِنْکُمْ فِدْیَهٌ وَ لا مِنَ الَّذِینَ کَفَرُوا مَأْواکُمُ النَّارُ هِیَ مَوْلاکُمْ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِیرُ﴾
In the interpretation of this verse the great Islamic interpreters say: the word “Mawla” in this verse means “more suitable” or “preferable” because nothing is better (or more suitable) than fire for the people who have committed sins.
2. “He calls upon him whose harm is nearer than his profit; evil certainly is the guardian and evil certainly is the associate”.(2)
﴿ یَدْعُوا لَمَنْ ضَرُّهُ أَقْرَبُ مِنْ نَفْعِهِ لَبِئْسَ الْمَوْلی وَ لَبِئْسَ الْعَشِیرُ ﴾
This verse based on its meaning and due to the context of the other preceding verses deals with the acts of idolaters who considered their idols as their masters.
Thus, these two verses indicate that one sense of “Mawla” is “more suitable” and one “superior”.
So, let us see what the expression
“ مَن کنتُ مَولاهُ فعلیٌ مولاهُ “
means: does it refer to one's domination over others, which is the characteristic of a superior one? Or does “Mawla” refer to one's friend, as some others have assumed?
There are many clues that the first sense of the word “Mawla” is meant. Scholars refer to this “as the absolute governorship”.
In this connection, the Holy Quran refers to the Prophet (S) as:
﴿ النَّبِیُّ أَوْلی بِالْمُؤْمِنِینَ مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ ﴾
“The Prophet has a greater claim on the faithful than they have on themselves”(3).
One who is more preferable to oneself than his own soul
(in the matter of domination and superiority) is naturally in command of his worldly materials as well and when one is superior to oneself, he should have command over other people. For this reason, one should obey the orders of the superior one and not carry out what is inhibited by the superior one.
This position was bestowed upon the Prophet (S) by Allah and previously he lacked such a position.
In other words, it was God who made the Prophet dominant over the believing peoples’ souls and properties and let him free to order people to do what was right and discourage them from doing wrong and any resistance towards the Prophet's orders was considered infidelity towards God's orders.
Now that, through definitive reasons we have proved that by the word “Mawla” in this verse is meant “preferable” we shall conclude that Ali (as) will have the same position as the Prophet (S) had: i.e. at his time, the Prophet (S) was the people's leader, dominant over people's souls and wealth; and this also applies to the Imamat, which is sometimes referred to as divine governorship.
Now, we shall present some reasons and clues which will prove that by the word “Mawla” in this narration is meant nothing but “superior over people” in every aspect of their life. Here are some of these reasons:
1. On the day of the historic Ghadir event, Hasan Ibn Sabet, the Prophet's poet, rose, with the Prophet's permission, and wrote a piece of poetry on the content of
the Prophet's message. The interesting point is that this eloquent poet, who knew all delicies of the arabic language, used the word “Imam” and “guide” in place of the word “Mawla”.
فقال له قم یا علیُّ فاننی رضیتُکَ من بعدی اماماً وهادیاً
The meaning goes like this: the Prophet addressing people, told Ali: Rise up since I have appointed you as the Imam and people's guide after myself. (1)
As it is obvious Hasan, has used “Mawla” in the sense of “Imam” and “guide”.
Not only has Hasan used the word “Mawla” in the sense of Imam, but so did other great poets of Islam, most of which were masters of Arabic literature.
2. In his poems which he wrote for Muawiyyah, Ali (as) referring to the Ghadir Event, says
وأوجب لی ولایته علیکم رسولُ اللهِ یومَ غدیرِ خمِّ
“God's Apostle has made my governorship compulsory over you”.
Who else except for the Imam himself, could ever explain to us the true meaning of this narration? The Imam was a person whose knowledge and virtues were believed and confirmed by both Shiites and Sunnis. As we have seen, Mawla Ali (as), by resorting to the Ghadir's Event, says: God's Apostle, on the Ghadir day appointed me as your Imam.
3. There are clues in the narration itself that attest to the fact that the Prophet had meant Ali's Imamate because, the Prophet, prior to the sentence
من کنت مولاه
had uttered the following words:
“أَلَسْتُ أولی بِکُم مِن اَنفُسِکُم”
“Am I not superior to your souls”. Then he added:
“ مَن کنتُ مَولاهُ
فعلیٌ مولاهُ “
Why were these two sentences juxtaposed? Did the Prophet not intend to refer to Ali's Imamate as the one who dominates over people's souls, a trait which he attributed to himself in the beginning of his sermon?
4. In the beginning of his speech, the Prophet made people confirm their belief in three Islamic principles (monotheism, prophethood and resurrection), saying:
“أَلَسْتُمْ تَشْهَدونَ أنَّ لا إله إلّا اللهَ وَ أنّ مُحمّداً عَبْدُهُ وَ رَسُولُهُ وَ أَنَّ الْجَنَّهَ حَقٌّ وَ النّارَ حَقٌّ...”.
Do you not confess that God has no associate that Muhammad is his slave and his apostle and that both hell and paradise do exist?
What was the objective behind such confessions? Was it not for the purpose of preparing people to accept Ali's position, which he was going to explain in a short time, and was it not his intention to let people realize that the confirmation of Ali's position is a part of the three above-mentioned principles which were accepted by all?
If “Mawla” meant “a friend or helper” then the transition between sentences would fade away and the eloquence of the Prophet's speech would have been destroyed. This is because Ali minus Imamate equals a distinguished Muslim man of those days, and the Prophet's friendship with believing people was not a hidden fact to be revealed with that splendor in a large congregation of Muslims. Besides in that case the attribute “friendship” as a part of those three Islamic principles.
5. In the start of his sermon, the Prophet talks
about his eminent death, saying
إنه یوشک ان أُدعی فاجیب
“I am about to pass away, answering God's call”.
This sentence reveals the fact that the Prophet wishes to deliberate in a way to fill in his place after his demise. It is absolutely clear that what could fill in this empty place was Ali's Imamate so that he could manage the Islamic issues not merely asking for Ali's friendship or loyalty.
6. Having uttered the expression
“من کنت مولاه... “
The Prophet went on to say:
“الله أکبر علی اکمال الدین و اتمام النعمه و رضی الرّبِّ برسالتی و الولایه لعلی بن أبی طالب”.
I pray to God for having perfected religion, for the completion of His blessing, for His contentment with my prophethood and with Ali's imamat.
7. What witness is more authentic than the congratulation of the first two caliphs and that of hundreds of men to Imam Ali upon the Prophet's descent from the raised platform? The interesting point was the fact that the first two caliphs were the first to congratulate Imam Ali, saying:
“هنیئاً لک یا علی بن أبی طالب أصبحت و أمسیت مولی کلِّ مؤمن و مؤمنه”.
May this position be a blessing for you since you became the superior one for every believing man and woman.
One could deliberate on the greatness of that day when he got such a great position which was admired by all. Such a position of leadership had never been announced prior to that time.
8. If the announcement of the Prophet's friendship with Ali was the issue then
why had the Prophet gathered such a huge conglomeration of people in a desert on an extremely hot day and asked them to sit on the hot sands reciting a long sermon to them?
Has the Holy Quran not called the believing people as brothers? Hasn't the Holy Quran said
﴿ إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَهٌ ﴾
“The believing individuals are brothers”(1)? Hasn’t the Holy Quran introduced the believing people as friends?
﴿ وَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَ الْمُؤْمِناتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِیاءُ بَعْضٍ ﴾
“The believing people are friends of one another [and as for the believing men and the believing women they are guardians of each other](2).
Well, Ali was a member of that believing community; so there was no need for the Prophet to talk on the issue of being friends with Ali.
From what we have said so far it is clear that the claim that the Ghadir event was merely for expressing the necessity of being friends with Ali is completely wrong and is a biased and childish rationalization stemming from blind prejudices.
It should be explicitly stated that in accordance with the previously said clues and due to other reasons hidden in the course of the sermon, the word “Mawla” in the speech of the Prophet has got only one meaning that of an authorized person who could be dominant over people's souls and assets. And if they say that by “Mawla” is meant “Sayyid” (meaing sir) the real connotation would be religious-divine superiority which would involve people's obedience towards the Imam.
The dearest prophet of
Islam announced Ali's caliphate on the day of Ghadir and made the Muslims’ obedience towards him compulsory.
Now, here are two Questions:
1. If Ali's caliphate was announced on such a day, then why was his caliphate ignored altogether and why did people follow somebody else?
2. Why didn't the Imam employ the content of this narration to prove his legibility?
Although some of the Prophet's followers forgot about Ali's Imamate and ignored the divine order on the day of Ghadir and despite the fact that the number of indifferent people is very high in any community, there were a great number of people who remained faithful towards Ali (as). Compared with the first group their number was low, but this group consisted of a large list of the Prophet's distinguished followers, such as Salman Farsi, Abuzar Ghaffari, Meqdad Ibn Aswad, Ammar Yaser, Abi Ibn Kaab, Abu Ayyub Ansari, Khozaymah Ibn Sabit, Baridah Aslami, Abu Heytham Ibn Altyhan, and Khalid Ibn Saeed and tens of others whose names and criticisms of caliphate are recorded in history books and who were famous for their loyalty towards Imam Ali (as).
The history of Islam records two hundred and fifty Sahabi (the Prophet's friends) who were the Prophet's faithful followers and never left him up to their last days and some of them got martyred while they were at the Imam's service(1).
It should be regretfully said that the issue of Imam Ali's Imamate was not the only issue against which some of the Prophet's friends rose; rather, even
at the time of the Prophet, some Muslims explicitly ignored the Prophet's orders or interpreted them in their own interest.
In other words some of the Prophet's followers would carry out the Prophet's orders if they were not an obstacle to their political thoughts or wishes. However, if the Prophet's religious instructions did not match their thoughts or ideas, they would try to advise the Prophet against those instructions. And if the Prophet did not surrender to their wishes, they would entirely either ignore the Prophet's orders or they would complain, insisting that the Prophet give up his position.
Here are some samples of misbehavior:
1. In his last days the Prophet ordered a pen and an inkpot so that he could write something which could have stopped his ummah from going astray. However, some of the audience, through their special political guess-work, understood the reason for the demand of the pen. So they opposed the Prophet's orders and did not provide him with it.
While weeping profusely Ibn Abbas used to say: the Muslims’ calamity started on the day where the Prophet, severely ill, asked for a pen so that he could write something which could stop the Muslims’ misery after his death but at this moment there was a dispute among those present: some agreed, but others disagreed. Finally, seeing this opposition, the Prophet gave up doing what he had planned to. (1)
2. Upon the death of Zayd Ibn Haritha, the army commander, in the war with the Romans, the Prophet, in
his last days, started collecting some troops and made some distinguished men of Muhajirs and Ansars its members and appointed Usamah as the army commander. He then prepared a flag and submitted it to Usamah but that day the Prophet had come down with a fever which caused him to fall ill. At this time there started confusion and disagreements among the Prophet's close followers. Some became upset over Usamah's election as the leader and angrily asked the Prophet to take away that position from him.
A group for whom the Prophet's death was imminent refused to attend the battlefields rationalizing that it was not advisable to leave Medina at such a critical moment.
Whenever the Prophet became aware of his army-men's negligence to carry out their military operations, he would become furious and irritated and would issue strict orders to them to leave for the roman borders. Despite the orders however some of the troops ignored the Prophet's commands and preferred to follow their own wishes.
3. The objections of some of the Prophet's followers to his orders far exceeded these two cases. Such people expressed their disagreement towards the Prophet even at Hudabiyyah while the Prophet was convening a peace treaty with the Quraish.
The objections of such people to the Prophet's orders after his death are more, because these people changed the quality of prayer and call for prayer and ignored the verse on temporary marriage and performed the special prayers of Ramadan in congregation while they had to be performed
individually. They brought forth some other changes in inheritance laws as well.
The elaboration of each one of these distortions, disturbances and conflicts is beyond the scope of the present book. In this regard it will suffice for the reader to refer to the valuable book called Al-Morayeat (pp.218-282) and another precious book called Al-Naswa Al-Ejtehad.
The opposition of the Prophet's followers towards him had reached such a critical level that the Holy Quran, using a severe language, warned them against such cases of disobediences. In this regard, the Holy Quran says,
﴿فَلْیَحْذَرِ الَّذِینَ یُخالِفُونَ عَنْ أَمْرِهِ أَنْ تُصِیبَهُمْ فِتْنَهٌ أَوْ یُصِیبَهُمْ عَذابٌ أَلِیمٌ﴾
“Therefore let those beware who go against his orders lest a trial afflict them or there befall them a painful chastisement”(1).
Elsewhere the Holy Quran warns those who insist that the Prophet should follow their advice:
﴿ یا أَیُّهَا الَّذِینَ آمَنُوا لا تُقَدِّمُوا بَیْنَ یَدَیِ اللَّهِ وَ رَسُولِهِ وَ اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِیعٌ عَلِیمٌ﴾
“O you who believe! Be not forward in the presence of Allah and His Apostle, and be careful of your duty to Allah; surely Allah is Hearing, Knowing”(2).
These events and verses all lead us to realize that not all of the Prophet's followers showed him the necessary obedience and discipline; rather, in most cases where divine orders were in contrast with their personal desires, they preferred to disobey the Prophet and tried in vain to force the Prophet to follow them blindly.
It was the same group of people who, after the Prophet's demise, convened those so-called consuls and
openly defied the Prophet.
It should be pointed out that Imam Ali (as) in different occasions, used the Event of Ghadir to prove his rights. Whenever he could, he used this event to suppress his opponents and to boost his position in the eye of people; in this way, he revealed the truth to the people.
Not only Imam Ali, but also Fatima (sa), her sons Hasan (as) and Husain (as) and a group of distinguished Islamic personalities, such as Abdullah Ibn Jaafar, Ammar Yasir, Asbaq Ibn Nabata Qais Ibn Saad, and even some of the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs, such as Umar Ibn Abdol Aziz and Maamun, the Abbasid caliph, and above all dignitaries, such as Amr Waas Save reasoned over the Event of Ghadir.
Thus discussions over the Ghadir event have always been the issue since Imam Ali's time and it is being used to prove the issues of Imamate and Welayat. Here we shall present some of these arguments:
1. The six-member council, which was convened by the second caliph, formed in a special way so that everybody knew Ali would not be the winner. This is because Umar had given the right of veto to Abdol Rahman Ibn Auf, the great capitalist (and the relative of Othman).
With regards to the special relations between Abdul Rahman and Ali's opponents it was obvious that Ali (as) would not win on the day when the council was in operation, and when the ball of caliphate was shot towards Othman by Abdul Rahman, the
Imam began his speech to question the validity of this session. He said I will use such an argument which nobody can deny. He then asked the audience:
Do you swear to God that the following sentence could have meant anybody else than me?
“مَنْ کُنْتُ مَولاهُ فَهذا علیٌّ مَولاهُ، اللّهمّ وال من والاهُ وانْصُرْ مَنْ نَصَرَهُ لیبلغ الشاهد الغائب”.
“Whoever I am the superior to, Ali is superior to him. O God, love anybody who loves Ali and assist anybody who assists Ali and let those present tell the absentees what happened today”.
At this moment, all the members rose up to confirm Ali's speech. All of them declared: we swear to God that nobody has your virtues(1).
This was not, of course, the last time that the Imam used Ghadir in his argumentation.
In other cases, too, the Imam referred to Ghadir.
2. Once Imam Ali was lecturing in Kufa during his speech he addressed his audience asking those who heard the Prophet, that appoint him as his successor to stand up and tell others what they had heard. I want those people who have directly heard from the Prophet to stand up. At this moment thirty people rose.
We should note that at the time, the Ghadir event was twenty-five years old, and some of the caliph's close followers were not living in Kufa anymore, or had already died, and those present were not ready to testify.
Allamah Amini has provided us with a lot of proofs in his worthy book; those interested could refer to
3. During the reign of Othman two hundred distinguished personalities of Muhajirs and Ansars had gathered at the Prophet’s mosque and were deliberating on different issues.
One of the issues dealt with the Quraish’s virtues and their backgrounds and their migrations.
During this session, which had started early in the morning and continued till noon, Ali (as) only was listening to people without uttering a word. Having noticed Imam Ali's silence the crowd begged him to talk upon people's insistence, Imam rose up and talked, in detail, about his relation with the Prophet's household and about his past glories adding:
Do you remember the day of Ghadir when the Prophet was ordained by Allah to introduce me as his genuine successor in the same way he had made clear the nature of prayer, alms and hajj ceremonies? Do you remember the Prophet had declared: God wants me to declare something; but I fear that people might not accept it; but God had ordered the Prophet to declare it, having promised to guard him against people.
O people! Do you accept said the Imam that God is my superior and I am superior to the believers?
Every one answered: yes. Do you remember at that time the Prophet asked me to rise, I did, he then declared:
“ولاء کولائی، من کنت أولی به من نفسه فعلیُّ أولی به من نفسه”.
Do you remember, Ali asked the people once more. The minute when Salman asked the Prophet:
How is Ali superior? The Prophet replied Ali's superiority over you is
like that of mine over you; anybody upon whom I am superior Ali is superior upon him(1).
4. It was not only Ali who used the event of Ghadir to prove his right to Imamate; the Prophet’s daughter too during a historical day when she was talking about her rights asked the people whether they had forgotten the day when the Prophet had told Ali من کنت مولاه فهذا علی مولاه or not.
5. When Hasan Ibn Ali decided to sign a cease fire with Muawiyyah, he added:
“God purified the members of the Prophet's Household by Islam” and further said: Everybody heard the Prophet having said to Ali: what you are to me is like what Harun was to Musa.
Then Fatimah (s) continued: everybody saw and heard that the Prophet raise Ali's hand telling people(2)
“مَنْ کُنْتُ مَولاهُ فعلیٌّ مولاه اللّهمّ وال من والاهُ و عاد من عاداه”.
6. In a huge meeting at Mecca, were some of the Prophet's closest followers, Husain Ibn Ali (as) said, “By God, do you know that at Ghadir event, the Prophet appointed Ali as his successor and asked those present to relate the event to those who were absent?”
Theaudience said in unison: we do confirm this event.
7. In addition to these events, as we have seen previously, a group of the Prophet's close followers, such as Ammar Yasir, Zayd Ibn Arqam, Abdullah Ibn Jaafar, Asbaq Ibn Nebatah and others have reasoned on this event on their argumentation through Ali's successorship(3).
The narration of “Thaqalain”(4) is one
of the most frequently reported Islamic narrations narrated from the Prophet by scholars.
Most profound documents will lead us to believe that this narration is authentic.
In order for the Sunnis to realize the authenticity of this document, we shall present here some of the Sunnite scholars’ statements related to this topic:
“Munadi” says: “more than twenty of the Prophet's close followers have reported this narration from the Prophet”(1).
Ibn Hajar Asqalani writes “the narration of Thaqalain has been reported by more than twenty sources”(2).
Allamah Mir Hamid Husain, the great Shiite scholar, who died in the year 1306 of the lunar calendar, has extracted this narration from 502 books, all written by the Sunnite scholars. His research on the authenticity of this narration has been published in six volumes in Isfahan. Interested readers might refer to this valuable source.
If we add up the number of the Shiite and Sunnite scholars who have dealt with this issue the narration of Thaqalain would have the most authentic value; nothing would be equal to it except for the Ghadir narration. Now let us see the text of the narration:
“إِنِّی تارِکٌ فِیکُمُ الثَقَلَیْنِ کِتاب اللهِ وَ عِتْرَتِی أَهْل بَیتی ما إِنْ تَمَّسَکْتُمْ بِهِما لَنْ تَضِلُّوا أَبَداً وَ لَنْ یَفْتَرِقا حتّی یَرِدا عَلَیَّ الْحَوض”.
I will leave you two worthy items: One is God's book and the other one is my Household. If you resort to both of these, you will not go astray; and these two shall never separate.
Ibn Hajar contends that the Prophet added the following phrase to
the above narration:
“هذا عِلیٌّ مَعَ القُرآنِ وَ القُرآنُ مَعَ عَلیّ لا یَفْتَرقان”.
“Ali is always with the Quran and the Quran is always with Ali; these two shall never separate”(1).
What we have briefly reported here has been confirmed by both Shiite and Sunnite scholars. The reason for disagreements between these two groups concerns the form of the narrations that relies on the fact that the great prophet of Islam has used different interpretations concerning the irrevocable bonds between the Holy Quran and the Prophet's Household. The Prophet has emphasized the bond between these two on different occasions such an Hajjatul Wida, Ghadir Khum, from the pulpit(2) and on his death-bed, while his room was filled with his close followers(3).
Despite the fact that the narration is reported in differing shapes and that the Prophet refers to his two precious remnants with the titles “Thaqalain” or “Khalyfatein” or “Amrein” but it carries one single objective and that is the inseparability between the Holy Quran and the Prophet's Household.
Deliberation on the content of the narration of Thaqalain will reveal to us that the members of the Prophet's household are immune against sin: they are infallible.
This is because something which is inseparable from the Holy Quran up to the day of resurrection should be infallible like the Holy Quran itself (whose content is everlasting). In other words from the Prophet's explicit order that the Islamic Ummah should resort to these two remnants of his, up to the day of resurrection and that they should obey
these two, we can easily deduce that these two are always immune from any distortion. This is because Allah would never ask His servants to obey a wrongdoer; neither would He ever set a bond between wrong-doers and the Holy Quran. Only one group would deserve to be juxtaposed with the Holy Quran and that group, infact should be infallible.
As we have previously mentioned, one of the prerequisites for Imamate is infallibility. In the coming chapters we will show, through reasoning, the necessity of such prerequisites in the divine leaders as a whole Thus, the Thaqalain narration clearly depicts the fact that, members of the Prophet's household, like the Holy Quran, are flawless and infallible.
Ahmad Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the writer of the worthy book “Ehtejaj” reports from the book written by Solaym Ibn Qais (one of the most distinguished students of Imam Ali (as) that at the time of Othman’s caliphate there a meeting was convened at the Prophet’s mosque in which some Muhajirs and Ansars were participating. Each participant started boasting about their past glories.
Everybody was talking in that session except for Imam Ali (as), who was silent. Due to the participants’ insistence, Imam Ali started talking having recited some verses of the Holy Quran relevant to his right of Imamate Ali said: “By God, do you remember, the Prophet in the last days of his life, recited a sermon and stated the following statement?
“یا أَیُّهَا الناس إِنِّی تارکٌ فِیکُمُ الثقلین کتاب الله و عترتی أهل بیتی
فتمسکوا بهما لا تضلوا”.
“I have left for you two precious items: God's book and my Household; there fore resort to these two and you will not be misled”(1).
Definitely by “Household” is not meant all the relatives of the Prophet because not all of them were flawless; rather by this word is meant only a selected group who are believed by Shiites to be their genuine leaders.
In other words if we accept the documents of Thaqalain then we have to accept the true and genuine members of the Household. This is because out of the Household members only a selected group is the true referent of this narration. The selected group is well known among the Ummah for their purity, their virtues their ethical values, and their vast and immense knowledge.
We have so far presented the text of the Thaqalain narration. As we have seen the Prophet always refer to “ کتاب الله وعترتی” “The book and the Household” as two precious items which shall never separate.
However, at times the phrase “کتاب الله وعترتی” is replaced with “کتاب الله وسنتی” “The Book and my tradition” in the Sunnite books as an insignificant narration.
In his book (2) Ibn Hajar Asqalani has narrated the narration with the latter expression. He then adds: The Prophet's tradition refers to the book itself; so obedience towards both of them is compulsory.
We are not concerned with the validity of such a narration what we are concerned with is the fact that the content of the Thaqalain narration
is what we have dealt with so far and if a narration is reported from the great prophet of Islam with the expression “کتاب الله وسنتی” “God's Book and my tradition” that would be another issue which would not contradict the genuine Thaqalain narration.
If we add up the Safinah [Noah’s ark] narration to the Thaqalain narration we would come up with a world of virtues for the Prophet's Household.
Salim Ibn Qais says: while I was present at a Hajj ceremony, I saw Abu Zar Ghaffari holding the door of the Kaaba, shouting.
O people, some of you know me well, but I introduce myself to those who do not know me: I am Jandab Ibn Jenadah, or Abu Zar. O people, I have heard your prophet say:
“إِنَّ مَثَلَ أَهْل بَیْتی فی أُمَّتی کَمَثَلِ سَفِینَهِ نُوْحٍ فی قَومِهِ مَنْ رَکِبَها نَجا وَ مَنْ تَرَکَها غَرق”.
“My presence among you seems like Noah’s Ark among his people: Those who got onto the arc were rescued, but those who refused to do so were drowned”(1).
The Safinah narration like Ghadir and Thaqalain narrations is among the frequently narrated ones.
From the Safinah narration, in which the Household of the Prophet is likened to that of Noah’s Ark, it is understood that following the Prophet's Household in our lives would lead to one's salvation and opposing it causes one's destruction. The question that needs to be answered here: shall we follow the
chosen household only in permitted and forbidden actions or in the political and social issues as well?
Those who believe they only need to follow the first category of orders have unnecessarily narrowed down the domain of our obedience towards the members of the household.
But such conditions are not stipulated in the narration itself.
Thus, like other narrations, the Safinah narration is another proof of the capability of the household members to lead the Islamic nation.
Furthermore the above-mentioned narration is the clearest indication of the infallibility of the Household members. This is because a person on the verge of collapse could never save others from pitfalls.
The reasons for the capability of Ali (as) and his followers to lead the Islamic Ummah are too numerous to be included in this book however we shall deal with the issue of infallibility, which is essential for leadership.
Is there a more significant position in the community than that of the leader of that community?
Can anybody without the physical and mental prerequisites ever resume such a position which is considered to be a divine position?
Neither the political leaders, dealing only with the political issues of the country nor the economic leaders dealing only with the economic matters, are ever able to manage the issues of a country.
If this is the case then we should admit that the divine prophets and their genuine successors should have sublime attributes which could strengthen their leadership; Such a sublime position is bestowed upon them because of such magnificent qualities
The required qualities of these leaders could be summed up under the following topics:
1. Immunity against sins.
2. Immunity against errors in learning the divine commands and in propagating them among people.
Before stating the necessity of infallibility in divine leaders, we shall deal with the nature of infallibility and with the techniques of staying flawless.
Infallibility is an internal power which hinders a person from being engaged in sins.
In other words, it is an internal God-fearing instinct which insures a person vis-à-vis the commitment of sins.
Now, we are faced with the following question: how could a person be immune against all sorts of sins and against the issue of disobedience?
The answer: the avoidance of committing sins depends on the recognition of the consequences of committing sins. This, of course does not mean that any recognition of sins would automatically lead to being infallible. Rather, this recognition should be so vivid as to make clear to man all the abominable consequences of the engaging in sins. In this way, any occurrence of sins in him is absolutely impossible. An analogy is in order here:
Every one of us has mechanisms inside ourselves which keep us out of danger in life-threatening situations.
Take, for example, two bordering countries the soldiers of which are located at the borders watching one another carefully and making use of strong binoculars, projectors and trained dogs. They watch the passage of any living thing across the borders; as soon as one tries to pass he would definitely meet with death.
this reason no rational man would ever attempt to pass the border; rather he develops a sort of resistance or infallibility inside himself vis-à-vis such an action.
We could even find some more tangible examples. Any rational being would develop some sort of infallibility against taking poison or against touching a naked electric wire; he would never ever engage himself in carrying out such acts. The reason for such avoidance lies in the visualization of the devastating consequences of such acts. The fatal consequences of such acts are so obvious to him and his wisdom that nobody would ever imagine carrying out such abominable and abhorrent acts.
We have seen those who easily take away the possessions of orphans but those who would never bring under their possessions even one small piece of illegal and unlawful items. How come the former carries out such horrifying acts, but the latter hinders himself from doing so?
The reason lies in the fact that the former, either does not believe in the fatal consequences of his wrongdoings, or the presence of transit, mundane whims and desires has drawn such a dark curtain over his rationality that he does not anticipate the evil consequences of such acts; in contrast, the latter group of individuals believe so firmly in the inevitable consequences of sins that they would be equivalent to any piece of the property of the orphan with a lump of hell-fire; now, no rational being would ever dare to eat fire. This is because he would
visualize these illegal possessions having turned into burning fire. Thus he has developed in himself a sort of infallibility against engagement in sins.
If the individuals in the first group got such knowledge, they too, like those in the second group would stop confiscating the possessions of orphans.
Concerning those who collect gold and silver but refuse to pay the necessary Islamic taxes the Holy Quran states(1):
﴿ یَوْمَ یُحْمی عَلَیْها فِی نارِ جَهَنَّمَ فَتُکْوی بِها جِباهُهُمْ وَ جُنُوبُهُمْ وَ ظُهُورُهُمْ هذا ما کَنَزْتُمْ لأَِنْفُسِکُمْ فَذُوقُوا ما کُنْتُمْ تَکْنِزُونَ ﴾
On the day when it shall be heated in the fire of hell, then their foreheads and their sides and their backs shall be branded with it; this is what you hoarded up for yourselves, therefore taste what you hoarded.
If some of the gold hoarders could see the consequences of such hoardings and if they were warned of these consequences, they would immediately let go of their hidden treasures.
At times some individuals believe so firmly in the content of this verse without having seen the promised divine punishment that they can visualize the consequences of committing sins. Under such conditions these people would become immune against the sin of hoarding gold and silver; as a result they would stop piling such treasures.
Thus, infallibility is the result of a strong faith and the recognition of consequences.
However, the Prophets are immune against any sin due to their full recognition of the commitment of sins. They have in this way controlled their aggressive instincts and would never
trespass God's pre-determined lines.
A point should be brought out here: it is a fact that the Prophets are immune against committing sins. But this would not guarantee that they are always obliged to be obedient to God's orders. Like other people, they too are free to choose among options: whether to sin or to remain innocent. However, through their complete awareness of the consequence of sins, they would stay away from sins. For an example, notice the following: no doubt God is capable of performing any act, both good and evil. However He would never be the initiator of evil acts, which would be against His wisdom and justice.
But if He does not carry out such vicious acts, it does not mean that He is not able to do so.
The innocent ones have a lame feeling towards sins and they would never get themselves involved in sins despite the fact that they could do so.
Concerning this issue the scholars have dealt with numerous reasons two of which we shall present here:
It should be stated however that these two reasons are related both to the Prophet and to the Imams. This is because in the view of Shiites Imamate is a continuation of prophethood with the exception of the fact that the Prophet has direct relations with divine inspiration but the Imam lacks such a privilege. Except for this fact, both the Prophet and Imams share identical qualifications.
Now let us explain those two reasons:
Without doubt, the reason behind prophethood
is to train and to educate people.
One of the influential factors for such education is for the educator to possess the necessary qualities. For instance if a speaker was fluent and eloquent in his speech but because of some undesirable traits he could not attract people; under such conditions, the objectives of prophethood would not have been satisfied.
The most discounting factor in a leader is for his acts and speech to be in contrast. In such cases his guidance loses its validity and the foundations of his prophethood become shaky.
The great Shiite scholar Seyyed Murteza, explains the above reason in the following manner:
We would never peacefully listen to a person who is double-minded in his faith and therefore, is not consistent and stable in his religion. In the same way, the speech of the one who does not carry out his thoughts would not have any effect on us.
If a physician writes a book on the dangers of alcohol and even shows us a documented film on this topic, but he himself is a drunkard, nobody will care to listen to him or to his advice.
Or suppose a leader stood everyday on a stage and delivered a speech on justice and equality but in practice, confiscated people's assets, his preaching contradicts action.
To solve this problem Allah has provided his prophets with a strong faith and perseverance so that they are immune against sins.
For this reason the Prophets and the divine leaders should not go near sins since their pre-prophethood era
should have been bright and flawless. This is because a man whose life has been full of sins and wrongdoings and is known among people as a sinner can not influence people properly.
God's supreme wisdom causes Him to bring forth in His messenger a special charisma, to keep him safe against any abhorrent factors.
It is obvious that one's destructive past would drastically decrease one's influence over people. They would protest that they would not follow a man whose past has not been brilliant and flawless.
One of the pre-requisites of education, which has always been the objective of the Prophets and the divine leaders, is for the people to believe in their educator. This is because one's attraction towards an act depends on the originality and authenticity of that act. A hygienic or economic program would attract people if it is approved by a group of experts. This is because the probability of error in a group of scientists is very low.
In the same way the probability of committing errors by our religious leaders would weaken our belief in them and the very objective of prophethood, which is man’s guidance, would never take place.
It might be said that, to attract people's confidence it would suffice the religious leaders not to lie and even go close to this appalling sin, that it is not imperative for them to abstain from other sins because immunity or the lack of it concerning other sins are not related to the issue of people's confidence.
obviously wrong. How can a person go without telling lies, but can easily engage in homicide, treason and obscene acts? How can a person abstain from telling lies while he is after the transient lusts and whims of the material world?(1)
We should note that the inhibitor for any person against sins is an internal God-led instinct which secures him against any wrongdoing, then how can an inhibitor exist which works against telling lies but is ineffective with other kinds of crimes and sins?
Besides it would be extremely hard for people to distinguish between these two wrong actions.
Furthermore, the commitment of sins causes both hatred on the part of people and their lack of confidence in the speaker; such as the saying(2)
“ أنظر الی ما قالَ ولا تنظر الی من قالَ”
Only makes sense for those who can distinguish between a person's personality traits and his statements.
This statement requires infallibility to exist in a religious leader both before and after his involvement in such a position. This is because if a person has passed his life in vandalism and treason he would be a suspect to people even if due to some unexpected revelation he could have purified his soul against further wrongdoing. People would never forgive or forget his past wrongdoings. They could even accuse him of hypocrisy. This affair is even more evident in the religious issues.
The texts of Shariah (the divine law) are not formed in such a way that a philosopher or a teacher could advance their case
Rather Shariah is based on the heavenly inspiration and revelation with which man has become familiar in history. And in order for the followers of these leaders to accept and adopt such teachings and instructions, they should have perfect confidence in their religious leaders and in the revelations which they receive. It is obvious that a religious leader with a dark past could not create such confidence(1).
These two reasons not only lead us towards the infallibility of the Prophets but also confirm the fact that the Prophet's successors should be flawless and innocent like himself.
This is because the position of an Imam, contrary to what the Sunnites believe, is not a usual leading position; rather as we have previously emphasized(2), an Imam's position is a heavenly and divine position and an Imam shares with the Prophet all positions (except for the position of prophethood and the receiving of revelation). An Imam is the protector of religion and is the interpreter of the Holy Quran and the announcers of those heavenly commands which the Prophet did not have the chance to explain.
Therefore, an Imam is the governor, the leader of Muslims, and the protector of their lives. He is also a heavenly instructor for Shariah.
Such an individual should be equipped with infallibility. This is because the commitment of any sin, either small or big nullifies the effects of education and does away with people's confidence altogether.
As a rule, great responsibilities demand hard conditions and the greater the responsibilities
the harder their fulfillment becomes. The work conditions of worshippers and an Imam who has control over people's lives and possessions is not identical.
Both prophethood and Imamate are the most demanding positions in the world. The Prophets and Imams, who have control over people's possessions and lives, have full control over people the Holy Quran concerning the Prophet declares
﴿ النَّبِیُّ أَوْلی بِالْمُؤْمِنِینَ مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ ﴾
“The Prophet has a greater claim on the faithful than they have on themselves”(1).
In the sermon of Ghadir it is said that the Prophet has a greater claim on the faithful.
Would it be possible for Allah to bestow such a significant job upon an individual who is prone to sins?
Both the Prophet and “those in authority” (اولی الامر) according to the Holy Quran are to be obeyed in the same way that we obey Allah.
The Holy Quran declares:
﴿ أَطِیعُوا اللَّهَ وَ أَطِیعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَ أُولِی الأَْمْرِ مِنْکُمْ ﴾
“Obey Allah and obey the apostle and those in authority from among you”(2).
This verse most vividly stipulates that we should unconditionally obey the group called “those in authority from among you”. Since this group is flawless, their obedience becomes urgent and such obedience is entirely justifiable.
However if this group were not flawless and performed sins how could Allah oblige us to obey them?
When the Holy Quran compels us to obey “those in authority” beside Allah and His Apostle we would conclude that “those in authority” are, like the Apostle himself, flawless. No man in such an authority would ever
participate in homicide or in the confiscation of the possessions of the oppressed.
It might be said that the obedience towards “those in authority” is feasible only if he carries out his duty in accordance with Shariah and the explicit commands of Allah and the Apostle, otherwise obedience towards them should be stopped and even be opposed.
The answer to this question is clear for the following reasons: this act is feasible only if
(1) all people were completely aware of the Islamic principles and the practical laws and capable of the recognition of both Islamic legal and illegal affairs, and
(2) if they were so brave and courageous as not to be scared of the governor's despotism and could obey him if he were just and openly oppose him if he were a tyrant.
Unfortunately, however the common man does not have full command over the Islamic principles so that he could give his views and not the commands of “those in authority. The majority of people want to get familiar through them, with the divine laws.
Furthermore opposition to the governing body is not an easy job and there are few who are willing to do so and suffer the consequences.
Besides bestowing such authority upon the powerful men would enliven the spirit of aggression among them which would definitely destroy social disciplines and as a consequence each level of society would refrain from obeying “those in authority”. As a result the leader would suffer a lot.
That is why we could conclude
from this verse that the position of “those in authority” could be bestowed upon only a selected group who would never engage in wrongdoings and is clean at all times.
The following verse, among the Quranic guidance eloquently insists that an Imam should never engage in injustice and tyranny.
﴿ وَ إِذِ ابْتَلی إِبْراهِیمَ رَبُّهُ بِکَلِماتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ قالَ إِنِّی جاعِلُکَ لِلنَّاسِ إِماماً قالَ وَ مِنْ ذُرِّیَّتِی قالَ لا یَنالُ عَهْدِی الظَّالِمِینَ ﴾
“When his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words he said: sure I will make you an Imam of men, Ibrahim said: and of my offsprings? My covenant does not include the unjust, He replied”(1).
Imamat, like prophethood is a divine position, which is bestowed upon only the worthy and deserving people. In this verse Ibrahim wishes his children could benefit from such a magnificent divine position; however he is opposed by Allah who would not consent to give such a position to the tyrants.
Definitely by the word “unjust” in the above verse is meant, the sinners. This is because committing any sin is a tyranny against oneself and an aggression against divinity.
Here, we should find out which group of tyrants according to the Quran should be deprived of such a position.
As a general rule those who assume the role of leading people fall in four categories:
1. Those who have been tyrants all their lives both prior to their being governor and after;
2. Those who have never sinned.
3. Those who had been tyrant prior to their government, but clean after this position;
those who are opposite of the level three i.e. they had been clean prior to the position of government, but became wrong doers when they got this position.
Now let us see which of these four groups in Ibrahim's view deserve leadership.
Definitely, Ibrahim could never have wished such a great position for the first and fourth groups, this is because a governor who is afflicted with sin and wrongdoings while he has been in power does not deserve such a position. This is from Ibrahim’s point of view who had received such a position only after heavy examinations and a hard life of endurance against wrongdoings. He could never have wished such a position for such a group.
Naturally, Ibrahim had the two other groups in mind when he asked God. And the third group is naturally put aside by the expression “ لاینال” “does not include”. Thus, that group deserves Imamate who had never got involved in sins.
At this final chapter we have to note two important topics:
I. When Talking of the Thaqalain narrations, some Sunnite scholars use the expression “کتاب الله وسنتی” “God's book and my tradition” in place of “کتاب الله وعترتی” “God's book and my household”.
II. When praising the Prophet, they would not mention the Prophet's Household.
These two viewpoints are the source of dispute between these two groups. In turn we shall deal with both viewpoints.
Which Interpretation Is Correct: “God's Book And My Household” کتاب الله وعترتی اهل بیتی Or “God's Book And My
Tradition” کتاب الله وسنتی?
Question: The Imamat-relying scholars, such as Saduq, Mofid and Tusi (may God bless them) in their religious issues, refer to the narrations related to the Prophet's Household, stressing the Thaqalain narration in particular, while other scholars report this narration in another form (using “My tradition” for “My Household).
With this disagreement, how can we discuss the following topic?
An explanation: While in principle and religion the Shiites follow sound reasoning, they consider authentic the narrations on the Prophet's Household with the condition that they have been correctly conveyed. One of the sources of authenticity of the narrations on Household is the Thaqalain, which is approved by the Islamic narrators.
They say the Prophet has declared:
“إِنِّی تارکٌ فِیکُمُ الثقلین کتاب الله و عترتی ما إِنْ تَمَسَّکْتُمْ بِهِما لَنْ تَضِلُّوا”.
But since in some narrations the term “سنتی” my tradition” is used forعترتی” “ “my household” the validity of either one of the expressions becomes questionable.
Concerning this issue the Shiite scholars have written some treatises one of which is the publication called دار التقریب بین المذاهب الاسلامیه which is published in Cairo.
Recently one Jordanian scholar called Sheikh Hasan Ibn Ali Saqqaf has answered this question. Here we will present a translation of it (since it is a research paper we will not add anything to it).
Question: I have been asked the issue of Thaqalain and the authenticity of either عترتی” “وأهل بیتی or “سنتی” (please answer this question based on documents).
Answer: The authentic narration from the great prophet is with the term “وأهل
بیتی” [and my Household]. The narration which appears with the word سنتی “my tradition” is wrong.
Now we shall present the documents for the reliability of the narration with the expression “and my Household”.
This text is issued by two great narrators:
1. In his Sahih, a Muslim narrates from Zayd Ibn Arqam. He says: once the Prophet delivered a sermon on a river called Khom, which is located between Mecca and Medina saying:
““أَلا أَیُّهَا النّاسُ! فَإِنَّما أَنَا بَشَرٌ یُوشَکُ أَنْ یَأْتِیَ رَسُولُ رَبّی فأُجیبَ، وَ أَنَا تارِکٌ فِیکُمْ ثِقْلَیْن: أَوَّلُهُما کِتابُ اللهِ فِیهِ الْهُدی وَ النُّور، فَخُذُوا بِکتابِ اللهِ وَ اسْتَمْسکُوا به”- فحثّ علی کتاب الله و رغّب فیه ثمّ قال:-”وَ أَهلُ بَیْتی، اذکّرکُمُ الله فِی أَهْل بَیْتِی، اذکّرکُمُ الله فی أَهْل بَیْتی، اذکّرکُمُ الله فی أَهل بَیْتی”.
“O people! I am no more than a human being and in a short time God's angel would come and ask me to go with him. I will leave for you two precious things: one is God's book, which contains guidance and light; take this book and deliver it since the Prophet wishes that you do so; the second is my household; I emphasize this last part. The Prophet repeated this last part three times”.
2. Tirmizi, too, has narrated this text with the expression “وعترتی واهل بیتی” [and my Household]:
“إِنّی تارِکٌ فِیکُمُ ما إِن تَمَسّکْتمْ بِهِ
لَنْ تَضِلُّوا بَعْدِی، أحدهُما أَعْظَمُ مِنَ الآخرِ: کِتابُ الله حَبلٌ مَمْدُودٌ مِنَ السَّماءِ إِلَی الأَرْضِ، وَ عِتْرَتِی أَهْلَ بَیْتِی، لَنْ یَفْتَرِقا حَتّی یَرِدا عَلَیَّ الْحَوض، فَانْظُروُا کَیْفَ تَخْلِفُونِی فِیها”.
“I will leave for you two items while you resort to them you shall not weaken: one is greater than the other: one is God's book, which is a cord of benevolence extending from the heaven towards the Earth. The other one is my Household, these two shall never separate till they meet me at Kauthar”.
Be careful in handling these two.
These two texts, which stress the expression “my Household” are authentic and need no further elaboration since their narrators are reliable.
The document of the narration with the expression “وسنتی and my tradition”
The narration with the word “وسنتی” is fake and is produced by the Omavi agent.
First, Hakim's Narration
In Mustadrak, Hakim Neishabari has reported his narration from the following:
1. (Abbas) Ibn Abi Owais.
2. Abi Owais.
3. Thur Ibn Zayd Al-Deylami.
5. Ibn Abbas saying that the Prophet has said:
“یا أَیُّهَا النّاسُ إِنّی قَدْ ترَکْتُ إِنِ اعْتَصَمْتُم بِهِ فَلَنْ تَضِلُّوا أَبَداً کتاب الله وَ سنّه نَبِیّه”.
“O people! I have left among you two things. While you resort to them, you shall not fade: God's book and the Prophet's tradition.” (1)
The quoters of these texts are the father and the son who have been reported at the beginning of the document: i.e.
1. Ismael Iabn Abi Owais;
2. Abu Owais.
These two are accused of lying and deception.
Now let’s see what scholars have to say concerning the father
Hafiz Mazi, in his book Tahdhib Al-Kamal concerning Ismael and his father reports:
Yahya Ibn Moin (a great scholar on narration) writes: Abu Owais and his son are weak people Yahya Ibn Mo’in has said: these two are thieves of narrations. Ibn Moin concerning the son, has said “He is not to be trusted”.
Nesaee has said the son is weak and unreliable. Abu Al-Qasim Lalkaee has said: Nesaee has said a lot against him.
Ibn Odai (an expert in narrations) says: Ibn Abi Owais reports some strange narrations from his maternal uncle which nobody may believe(1).
In the introduction Fath Al-Bari Ibn Hajar writes: the narration relayed by Ibn Abi Owais could not be disputed(2).
In his book Fathul Mulk Al-’Allee Hafiz Seyyed Ahmad Ibn Al-Sadiq reports from Salma Ibn Shobeib that he has heard from Ismael Ibn Abi Owais, saying: the people of Medina disagree and fall into two groups, I shall make up narrations(3).
Thus, the son (i.e. Ismael Ibn Abi Owais) is accused of making up narrations. Ibn Moin says he is a liar. Besides, his narration is not reported in Sahih of either Muslim or Tirmazi.
Concerning the father Abu Hatam Razi in his book Jarh Wa Taadil writes: His narration is reported, but could not be declared. His narration is not strong enough(4).
And Abu Hatam has reported from Ibn Moin saying that the narrations reported by these two are never reliable.
The point to be emphasized here is that the reporter of the narration, i.e. Hakim Neishaburi has confessed to the
weakness of the narration and for this reason has not tried to correct it. However he has offered a document which tries to prove the authenticity of its contents; this too is weak and proves nothing, which adds to the weakness of the narration rather than strengthening it. Let us present his whimsical document:
“إِنّی قَدْ ترَکْتُ فِیکُمْ شَیْئَین لَنْ تَضِلُّوا بَعْدَهُما: کِتابَ اللهِ وَ سُنّتی وَلَنْ یَفْتَرِقا حَتّی یَرِدا عَلَیَّ الْحَوض”.
Hakim has issued this text based on the following documents:
1. Al-Thabi, from.
2. Saleh Ibn Musa Al-Talhi, from,
3. Abdol Aziz Ibn Rafia, from,
4. Abi Saleh, from,
5. Abi Horayrah.
This narration, too, like the previous one is fake.
Among the narrators we put our finger on Saleh Ibn Musa Al-Talhi. Let us see what the narration experts have to say about this person:
Yahya Ibn Moin writes: Salih Ibn Musa is not to be trusted. Abu Hatam Razi says: his narration is weak and untrue: he narrates fake narrations. Nesaee writes: His narration could not be written down. In another occasion he writes: His narration is out(3).
In “Tahzib Al-Tahzib” Ibn Hajar writes: Ibn Habban says: Salih Ibn Musa's narration is not valid. And Abu Noaim says:
His narration is out and he always reports fake narrations(4).
The third document of the narration with the expression “سنتی” “my tradition”
Ibn Abdul Berr,
in his book Tamhid(1) narrates this text with the following sources:
1. Abdul Rahman Ibn Yahya, from.
2. Ahmad Ibn Saeed, from.
3. Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim Al-Davili, from.
4. Ali Ibn Zayd Al-Faraezi, from.
5. Al-Hunayni, from.
6. Kathir Ibn Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Auf, from.
7. Abih, from his grandfather.
We shall point our finger to Kathir Ibn Abdullah, out of narrators. Imam Shafee says: he is one of the foundations of lying(2). Abudawoud says: he is one of the great liars. Ibn Habban says: Abdullah Ibn Kathir narrates from his father and his grandfather; his book is based on falsehood. To narrate from that book is Islamically forbidden except for critique(3).
Nesaee and Darqutni write: his narration is out. Imam Ahmad says: he is not to be trusted. Ibn Moin, too, expresses the same idea.
It is surprising that Ibn Hajar, in his book Al-Taqrib, uses only the word “weak” and has called extremists those who assure Ibn Kathir of lying. This is when narration experts accuse him of mere lying. Zahabi says in this regard: his speech is whimsical and illusionary.
In Al-Mowatta, Malik calls this narration baseless and undocumented.
This research shows that this narration is fake and is created by the lying narrators who were agents of the Umavi court. It is the counter fit of the narration which is based on “my Household” narration. Therefore it is compulsory for religious speakers to put aside those narrations which are not conveyed by the Prophet and to familiarize people with genuine narrations.
These speakers should convey the narration
which Muslim narrates in his Sahih as “my Household” and the narration which Tirmazi relates as “my Household and my relatives” it is up to the religious students to adopt the science of narration and to distinguish between the strong and the weak ones.
At the end of this book, I should remind you that by Household is meant Fatimah, Hasan, Husain (and Imam Ali) and not Ayeshah as Muslim in his Sahih and Tirmazi in his Sunan(1) mention:
“نزلت هذه الآیه علی النبیّ : “إِنَّما یُرِیدُ اللَّهُ لِیُذْهِبَ عَنْکُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ وَیُطَهِّرَکُمْ تَطْهِیراً “ فی بیت أُمّ سلمه، فدعا النبیّ : فاطمه وحسناً وحسیناً فجلّلهم بکساء وعلیّ خلف ظهره فجلله بکساء ثُمّ قال: اَللّهمّ هؤلاءِ أهل بَیْتی فاذهبْ عَنْهُمُ الرَّجسَ وَ طَهَّرهُمْ تَطْهیراًز قالت أُمّ سلمه: وأنا معهم یا نبی الله؟ قال: أَنتِ علَی مَکانِک وأَنْتِ إِلَی الْخَیْرِ”.
The following verse
﴿ إِنَّما یُرِیدُ اللَّهُ لِیُذْهِبَ عَنْکُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ وَ یُطَهِّرَکُمْ تَطْهِیراً ﴾
“[Allah desires to keep away the impurity from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a thorough purifying]”(2) was revealed unto the Messenger at the home of Umme Salma the Prophet put Fatima, Hasan and Hussain under his aba (cloak) and Ali was standing behind him and the Prophet covered him with a coarse garment (kisa); then addressing God, the Prophet said: “O God these are the people of my house; purify them thoroughly and make them clean”. Umme Salma asked the Prophet: O messenger of God! Am I not one of them? [Am I included
in the people referred to by this verse?] The Prophet replied: you stay where you are do not enter the aba) and you are on the right way(1).
The translator says: Hasan Ibn Ali Saqqaf in his reply assumes that the Prophet's wives are also included, whereas Omme Salama's narration which is reported by Sahih of Muslim and in Sunan by Tirmazi, is against Saqqaf's view.
If the Prophet's wives had been included in the Prophet's Household then Umme Salama would not have been barred from entering the aba and having been told “stay at your place”.
Furthermore, those who have carefully read the Quranic verses dealing with the Prophet's wives have found that the tone of these verses is reproaching and punitive. Such individual could not be the referent of the verse on purity or subject to the Prophet's benediction.
For more details see the interpretation of Manshur Jawid(2).
One of the cases of disaccord between the Sunnites and Shiites in praising the Prophet is that the Sunnites would not refer to the Prophet's Household when they praise him. They would say “send your blessings to him” while the Shiites say “send your blessings to him and to his Household”. Now the question is: which one of the two are correct?
No doubt our religious leaders have chosen the latter form. Now let us see the narrations the sunnites have concerning in praise of the Prophet.
Previously we tried to answer this question briefly. However now we shall present the whole text. When the following
verse was revealed unto the Prophet:
“Surely Allah and His angels bless the Prophet; O you who believe! Call for divine blessings on him and salute him with a becoming salutation [Quran 33:57], the close friends of the Prophet asked him how to praise him He replied:
لا تصلوا علیَّ الصلاه البتراء
do not praise me with short blessings.
His friends asked him: how could we bless you? The Prophet replied: say
اللّهمّ صلِّ علی محمّدٍ و آل محمّد
“O God send your blessings to Muhammad and his Household”(1).
The expression “Al-e-Muhammad” [the Prophet's Household] is so important that some sects of Sunnites have stipulated the addition of this expression to the Prophet's blessings. Related to this Imam Shafee says:
یا اهل بیت رسول الله حبکم فرض من الله فی القرآن انزله کفاکم من عظیم القدر انکم من لم یصل علیکم لاصلاه له
O the Household of the Prophet, loving you is an obligation which is stipulated by God in the holy Quran, you are so great that if anyone does not praise you his prayers are null and void.
For the Sunnites the Sahih of Bokhari is the most reliable book after the Holy Quran. I would like to attract the attention of our Sunnite brethren to the narration reported by Bokhari in his Sahih at the place where he interprets surah Ahzab:
Abdul Kahman Ibn Abi Leili reports: Kaab Ibn Mojarah met me and asked me if he could give me a narration as a gift; the narration runs in the following manner:
Once, the Prophet
came to Sahabah. We asked the Prophet how they could praise him. He replied:
اللّهمّ صلِّ علی محمّدٍ و آل محمّد، کما صلّیتَ عَلی إبراهیمَ انَّکَ حَمیدٌ مَجیدٌ
Thus, the Islamic etiquette forces us to bless the great prophet in the full form and not to separate him from his honorable and sacred Household.
هَلْ یَسْتَوِی الَّذِینَ یَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِینَ لَا یَعْلَمُونَ
آیا کسانى که مىدانند و کسانى که نمىدانند یکسانند ؟
سوره زمر/ 9
موسسه تحقیقات رایانه ای قائمیه اصفهان، از سال 1385 هـ .ش تحت اشراف حضرت آیت الله حاج سید حسن فقیه امامی (قدس سره الشریف)، با فعالیت خالصانه و شبانه روزی گروهی از نخبگان و فرهیختگان حوزه و دانشگاه، فعالیت خود را در زمینه های مذهبی، فرهنگی و علمی آغاز نموده است.
موسسه تحقیقات رایانه ای قائمیه اصفهان در راستای تسهیل و تسریع دسترسی محققین به آثار و ابزار تحقیقاتی در حوزه علوم اسلامی، و با توجه به تعدد و پراکندگی مراکز فعال در این عرصه و منابع متعدد و صعب الوصول، و با نگاهی صرفا علمی و به دور از تعصبات و جریانات اجتماعی، سیاسی، قومی و فردی، بر مبنای اجرای طرحی در قالب « مدیریت آثار تولید شده و انتشار یافته از سوی تمامی مراکز شیعه» تلاش می نماید تا مجموعه ای غنی و سرشار از کتب و مقالات پژوهشی برای متخصصین، و مطالب و مباحثی راهگشا برای فرهیختگان و عموم طبقات مردمی به زبان های مختلف و با فرمت های گوناگون تولید و در فضای مجازی به صورت رایگان در اختیار علاقمندان قرار دهد.
1.بسط فرهنگ و معارف ناب ثقلین (کتاب الله و اهل البیت علیهم السلام)
2.تقویت انگیزه عامه مردم بخصوص جوانان نسبت به بررسی دقیق تر مسائل دینی
3.جایگزین کردن محتوای سودمند به جای مطالب بی محتوا در تلفن های همراه ، تبلت ها، رایانه ها و ...
4.سرویس دهی به محققین طلاب و دانشجو
5.گسترش فرهنگ عمومی مطالعه
6.زمینه سازی جهت تشویق انتشارات و مؤلفین برای دیجیتالی نمودن آثار خود.
1.عمل بر مبنای مجوز های قانونی
2.ارتباط با مراکز هم سو
3.پرهیز از موازی کاری
4.صرفا ارائه محتوای علمی
5.ذکر منابع نشر
بدیهی است مسئولیت تمامی آثار به عهده ی نویسنده ی آن می باشد .
فعالیت های موسسه :
1.چاپ و نشر کتاب، جزوه و ماهنامه
2.برگزاری مسابقات کتابخوانی
3.تولید نمایشگاه های مجازی: سه بعدی، پانوراما در اماکن مذهبی، گردشگری و...
4.تولید انیمیشن، بازی های رایانه ای و ...
5.ایجاد سایت اینترنتی قائمیه به آدرس: www.ghaemiyeh.com
6.تولید محصولات نمایشی، سخنرانی و...
7.راه اندازی و پشتیبانی علمی سامانه پاسخ گویی به سوالات شرعی، اخلاقی و اعتقادی
8.طراحی سیستم های حسابداری، رسانه ساز، موبایل ساز، سامانه خودکار و دستی بلوتوث، وب کیوسک، SMS و...
9.برگزاری دوره های آموزشی ویژه عموم (مجازی)
10.برگزاری دوره های تربیت مربی (مجازی)
11. تولید هزاران نرم افزار تحقیقاتی قابل اجرا در انواع رایانه، تبلت، تلفن همراه و... در 8 فرمت جهانی:
و 4 عدد مارکت با نام بازار کتاب قائمیه نسخه :
به سه زبان فارسی ، عربی و انگلیسی و قرار دادن بر روی وب سایت موسسه به صورت رایگان .
از مراکز و نهادهایی همچون دفاتر مراجع معظم تقلید و همچنین سازمان ها، نهادها، انتشارات، موسسات، مؤلفین و همه بزرگوارانی که ما را در دستیابی به این هدف یاری نموده و یا دیتا های خود را در اختیار ما قرار دادند تقدیر و تشکر می نماییم.
آدرس دفتر مرکزی:
اصفهان -خیابان عبدالرزاق - بازارچه حاج محمد جعفر آباده ای - کوچه شهید محمد حسن توکلی -پلاک 129/34- طبقه اول
وب سایت: www.ghbook.ir
تلفن دفتر مرکزی: 03134490125
دفتر تهران: 88318722 ـ 021
بازرگانی و فروش: 09132000109
امور کاربران: 09132000109