Imam Ali‘s caliphate and guardianship traditions and verses

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The Quranic reason for caliphate and guardianship
To prove the caliphate of Ali ibn Abi Talib, shi’ites have had recourse to Quranic verses, including the following: "Your friend [wali] can be only Allah, and his messenger and those who believe who establish worship and pay the poor –due, and bow down (in prayer) [ or, and this reading is accepted by Allamah Tabatabai: ….pay the poor – due while bowing down (in prayer)] (Quran, V, 55) shi’ite and Sunni commentators alike agree that this verse revealed concerning Ali ibn Talib ,and many shi’ite and sunni traditions exist supporting this view Abu Dharr Ghifari has said: one day we prayed the noontime prayers with the prophet, A person in need asked people to but no one give him any thing, oh G od! Be witness that in the mosque of the prophet no one gave me any thing! Ali ibn Talib was in the position of genuflection in the prayers, he pointed with his finger to the person, who took his ring and left the prophet, who was observing the scene, raised his head toward heaven and said: oh God! My brother Moses said to thee, Expand my breast and make easy my tasks and make my tongue eloquent so that they will comprehend my words, and make my brother, Harun, my help and vizier [ cf. Quran XXVIII,35]. Oh God,! Iam also Thy prophet, expand my breast and make easy my tasks and make Ali my vizier and helper. Abu Dharr says, the words of the prophet had not as yet finished when the verse [cited above] was revealed (Tabari, Dhakhair al- uqba, cairo, 1356, p,16this hadith has been recored with a slight variation in Durr al- manthur, VOI, II, P, 293, in this Ghayat al. maram.P, 103, Bahrani cites 24 hadiths from sunni sourees and nineteen from shi’ite concerning the conditions and reasons for the revelation of this Quranic verse).

Another verse which the shi’ites consider as proof of the caliphate of Ali is this: this day are those who disbelieve in despair of (even harming) your religion. So fear them not, fear Me! This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you, and have chosen for you religion Al- ISLAM(Quran, V, 3) the obvious meaning of this verse is that before that particular day the infidels had hopes that a day would come when Islam would die out, but God through the actualization of a particular even made them lose forever the hope that Islam would be destroyed. This very event was the cause of the strength and perfection of Islam and of necessity could not be a minor occasion such as the promulgation of one of the injunctions of religion. Rather, it was a matter of such importance that the continuation of Islam depended upon it.

This verse seems to be related to another verse which comes to ward the end of the same chapter, "O Messenger! Make known that which hath been revealed unto thee from thy Lord, for if thou do it not, thou will not have conveyed his message, Allah will protect thee from mankind" (Quran, V, 67) this verse indicates that God commanded a mission of great concern and importance to the prophet which if not accomplished would endanger the basis of Islam and prophecy, but the matter was so important that the prophet feared opposition and interference and in awaiting suitable circumstances delayed it, until there came a definite and urgent order from God to execute this command without delay and not to fear any one.This matter also was not just a particular religious injunction in the ordinary sense, for to preach one or several religious injunction is not so vital that if a single one of them were not preach ed it would cause the destruction of Islam. Nor did the prophet of Islam fear any one in preaching the injunctions and laws of religion.

These indications and witnesses add weight to the shi’ite traditions which assert that verses were revealed at Ghadir khumm and concern the spiritual investitiure( Walayat) of Ali ibn Abi Talib, Moreover many shi’ite and sunni commentators have confirmed this point.

Abu sa’id khudari says. The prophet in Ghadir khumm invited people toward Ali and took his arm and lifted it so high that the whilte spot in the armpit of the prophet of God could be seen. Then this verse was revealed: this day have I perfected your religion for you and completed my favor unto and have chosen for you as religion Al- ISLAM. Then the prophet said, God, is great (Allahu akbar) that religion has become perfected and that that God’s bounty has been completed, his satisfaction attained and the walayat ofAli achieved, then he added, for whomever I am the authority and guide Ali is also his guide and authority. oh God! Be friendly with the friends of Ali and the enemy of his enemies, whoever helps him, help him, and whoever leaves him, leave him. (Bahrani, Ghayat al, maram, p, 336, where six Sunni and fifteen shi’ite hadiths concerning the occasion and reason for the revelation of the above Quranic verse are cited).

In summary we can say that the enemies of Islam, who did every thing possible to destroy it, when they lost all hope of achieving this end, were left with only one hope. They thought that since the protector of Islam was the prophet, after his death Islam would be left without a guide and leader and would thus definitely perish. But in Ghadir khumm their wishes were brought to nought and the prophet presented Ali as the guide and leader of Islam to the people. After Ali this heavy and necessary duty of guide and leader was left upon the shoulders of his family (For further explanation see, Allamah, Tabatabai, Tafsir al. Mizan, VOI,V, Tehran, 1377, PP, 177- 214 and VoI,, Tehran, 1377, PP, 50, 64).

Some of the hadith pertaining to Ghadir khumm, the investiture of Ali, and the significance of the Household of the prophet are cited here.

"Haith Ghadir" as a proof of Imam Ali’s caliphate and guardianship
The prophet of IsIam upon returning from the farewell pilgrimage stopped in Ghadir khumm assembled the Muslim and after delivering asermon, chose Ali as the leader and guide of Muslims.

Bara’ says: Iwas in the company of the prophet during the farewell pilgrimage, when we reached Ghadir khumm he ordered that place to be cleaned then be took Ali’s hand and placed him on his right side. Then he said, Am I the authority whom you obey? They answered, we obey your directions, and then he said, for whoever I am his master (maula) and the authority whom he obeys, Ali will be his master, oh God! Be friendly with the friends of Ali and enemy of the enemies of Ali, and then Umar ibn al- khattab said to Ali, May, this position be pleasing to you for now you are my master and the master of all the believers (Al- Bidayah wa’I nihayah, VOI, V, Pt, 208, and VOI, VII, 346 Dhakhfi’ir al- uqba- p, 67 al fusul al- Muhimmah of Ibn sabbagh Najaf, 1950 VOI II, P,, 23, khasais of Nasa i- Najaf 1369 p, 311 in his Ghdyat al- maram p. 79 Babrani has cited eighty, n different chains of transmission for this hadith from sunni sourees and forty – three from shi’ite sourccs).

Haith Safinah and Thaqalayn as a proof of….
Ibn Abbas says, "The prophet said, My household is like the ship of Noah whoever embarks upon it will be saved and whoever turns away from it will be drowned" (Dhakha iral –uqba, P, 20 ,al – sawai’ q – muhriqah of Ibn Hajar, cairo 1312. PP. 150 and 184, Ta’rikh al- Khulafa of Jalal al. Maran.P, 237, Bahrani cites eheven chains of transmission for this hadith from Sunni sourees and seven from shi’ite sourees).

Zayd ibn Arqam has recounted that the prophet said, it seems, that God has called me unto Himself and I must obey His call. But I leave two great and precious things among you: the Book of God and My Household. Be careful as to how you behave toward them. These two will never be separated from each other until they encounter me at kawthar (in paradise) (al- Bidayah wa’l nihayah. VOI, V,P, 209 Dhakha ir uqba, P, 16, al- Fusul, al, muhimmah, P, 22, Khasa, ‘s P, 30 al- sawa I’q muhriqah, P, 147, in Ghayat al- maram thirty – nine versions of this hadith have been recorded from sourees and eighth- two from shi’ite sourees). Hadith- I thaqalayn is one of the most strongly established hadiths, and has been transmitted through many chains of transmission and in different versions. shi’ites and sunnis agree concerning its authenticity. Several important points can be deduced from this hadith and its like: (1) In the same way that the Holy Quran will remain until the Day of Judgment, the progeny of the Holy prophet will also remain, No period of time will be without the existence of the figure which shi’ism calls the Imam, the real leader and guide of men (2) Through these two great trusts ( amanat), the prophet has provided for all the religious and intellectual needs of the Muslims. He has introduced his household to Muslims as authorities in knowledge and has pronounced their words and deeds to be worthy any authoritive (3) one must not separate the Holy Quran from the household of the prophet. No Muslims has a right to reject the sciences of members of the house hold of the prophet and remove himself from under their direction and guidance. (4) If people obey the members of the house hold and follow their words they will never be led astray God will always be with them (5) the answers to the intellectual and religion needs of man are to be found in the hands of the members of the house hold the prophet. Whoever follow them will not fall into error and will reach true felicity, that members of the house hold are free error and sin and are inerrant from this it can be concluded that by Members of the house hold and progeny is not meant all the descendants and relatives of the prophet Rather, specific individuals are meant who are perfect in the religious sciences and are protested against error and sin so that are qualified to guide and lead men. For shi’ism these individuals consist of Ali ibn Abi Talib and his eleven descendants who were chosen to the imamate one after another. This interpretation is also confirmed by the shi’ite traditions. For example, Ibn Abbas has said, Isaid to the prophet, who are your descendants whose love is obligatory [ upon Muslims]?he said, Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Hossein (Yanbi al. mawaddah of sulayman ibn Ib rahim Qunduzi Tehran, 1308, P,311). Jabir has transmitted that the prophet has said, God placed the children of all prophets in their backbone but placed my children in the backbone of Ali (Yanbi al. mawaddahP, 318).

Haith Haqq, Manzilah and da'wat as a proof of Ali’s caliphate Imamate
Umm salmah has said, I heard from the prophet of God who said, Ali is with the Truth (haqq) and the Quran, and the Truth and the Quran are also with Ali, and thet will be inseparable until they come upon me at Kawthar (Ghayat al- maram P, 539, where the substance of this hadith has been recounted in fifteen versions from Sunni sourees and eleven shi’ite sourees).

Sa’d ibn Waqqas has said, the prophet of God said to Ali, Are you not satisfied tobe to me what Harun was to Moses except that after me there will not be another prophet? (Al- Bidayah wa’, nihayah, VOI, VII, P, 339, Dhakha irl- uqba P, 63al- Fusul al- muhimmah PP, 21, Kifayat al- talib of kanji shafi i’ 1356, PP, 148- 154, Khasa’s PP, 19-25 al sawaiq al- Muhriqah P, 177 in Ghayat at- maram P, 109 one hundred versions of this hadith have been recounted from sunni sourees and seventy from sh i’ite sourees).

The prophet invited his relatives for luncheon and after the meal told them, I know of no one who has brought to his people better things than I have brought to you. God has commanded me to invite you to draw toward Him who is there who will assist me in this matter and be my brother and inheritor (wasi) and vicegerent (khalifah) among you? All remained silent, but Ali, who was youngest of all, exclaimed, “Ishall be your deputy and aide, Then the prophet put his arms around him and said, he is my brother, inheritor and vicegerent. You must obey him, Then the group began to depart laughing and telling Abu Talib, Muhammad has ordered you to obey your son (Tarikh Abi’l- fida, VOI, I, P, 116).

Hudhayfah has said, the prophet of God said if you make Ali my vicegerent and successor – which Ido not think you will do – you will find him a perspicacious guide who will direct to ward the straight path! (Hilyat al- awliya of Abu Nu’aym I VOI, I cairo 1351, P, 64, kifayat al- Talib P, 67).

Ibn Marduyah has said that the prophet said, whoever wishes that his life and death be like mine and that he enter paradise should after me love Ali and follow my house hold, for they are my descendants and have been created from my clay. My knowledge and understanding have been bestowed upon them. therefore unto those who deny their virtues my intercession [ on the Day of Judgment] Will never include them (Muntakab kanz al, ummal, on the margin of Musnas- I Ahmad, cairo, 1368, VOI, P, 94).


shiah - pages:255 to 263


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