You, praise to Allah, have studied the Book thoroughly, becoming acquainted with both its obvious and implied meanings. Has there been anyone praised therein like the Purified ‘itra? Have its perfect verses described any as "purified from all uncleanness"1 other than them?
Has "Hal Ata" been revealed in praise of others? No! I swear
By the Lord Who rightly used it for them, Who is right and fair.5
Are they not "Allah's Rope" concerning whom He has said:
"Hold together to Allah's Rope and do not be divided (Qur'an, 3:103)"6?
And "the truthful" concerning whom He has said:
"Be ye all with the Truthful (Qur'an, 9:119);"7
"Allah's path" about which He has said:
"Do not follow different paths else they should divert you from Allah's path (Qur'an, 6:153),"8
"entrusted with authority among you (Qur'an, 4:59),"9
the "custodians of Revelation" about whom He says:
"Ask the custodians of Revelation when you do not know (Qur'an, 21:7),"10
the believers about whom He says:
"Whoever differs from the Messenger, after guidance has been made clear to him, following paths other than those of the Believers, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen and place him in Hell, what an evil refuge (Qur'an, 4:115),"11
and the "guides" about whom He says:
"You are a warner, and for each nation there is a guide"?12
Are they not among those upon whom Allah has showered His blessings and to whom He has referred in the Fatiha and the Glorious Qur'an saying
"Guide us unto the Right Path, the Path of those whom You have blessed,"13
and He has also said:
"These are with those whom Allah has blessed from among the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous (Qur'an, 4:69)"?14
Has He not granted them the general authority? Has He not confined it only to them after the Prophet? Read:
"Your Master is Allah and His Messenger and the Believers who uphold prayers and pay zakat even while prostrating; whoever takes for Master Allah and His Messenger and the Believers, then the Party of Allah are indeed the victorious (Qur'an, 5:58)."15
Has He not made salvation for those who repent and do good deeds dependent upon accepting their guided authority, saying:
"I am most Forgiving for those who repent, believe, do good deeds, and received guidance (Qur'an, 20:82)"16?
Isn't their wilayat part of the "trust" about which the Almighty says: "
We offered the trust unto the heavens, the earth, and the mountains, but they all refused to bear it out of extreme fear, then man bore it: he is most unjust, most ignorant (Qur'an, 33:72)"?17
Have they not been the "peace" wherein Allah has commanded everyone to enter, saying,
"O ye who believe! Enter in peace all of you, and do not follow the steps of Satan (Qur'an, 2:208)"18.
Are they not the "blessing" concerning whom Allah the Sublime has said,
"You will be questioned on that Day about the Blessing (Qur'an, 102:8)"19?
Has not the Messenger of Allah (S) been commanded to convey all of this? Has Allah not emphasized conveying it in such a language which sounded like threatening, saying,
"O Messenger! Convey that which has been revealed unto you, and if you do not do it, then you have not really conveyed His Message at all, and Allah shall protect you from (mischievous) people (Qur'an, 5:70)"?20
Has not the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, conveyed it on the Ghadir Day, having reached its plains and delivered the Message, whereupon Allah revealed this congratulating verse:
"Today have I completed your religion for you, perfected My blessing unto you, and accepted Islam as your religion (Qur'an, 5:4)"?21
Have you noticed what your Lord did with the person who openly denied their authority saying, "O Allah! If this Message is truly from Thee, then let stones fall upon us22 like rain from the skies, or cause a severe torment to befall upon us"? Allah hurled a Sijjil stone at him as He had done with the Fellows of the Elephant. He revealed these verses on that occasion: "
A person questioned about a penalty to befall the unbelievers which cannot be warded off: (a penalty) from Allah, Lord of the Ways of Ascent (Qur'an, 70:12)."
People will cetainly be questioned about such authority when they are resurrected as indicated in the explanation of the verse saying:
"And follow in their footsteps, for they have the authority (Qur'an, 37:24)."23
There is no room to wonder any longer, then, especially when we discern the fact that their authority has been sanctioned by Allah unto people through His prophets, providing proofs and arguments for it, as indicated by the explanation of His saying:
"And ask the Messengers whom We sent before thee (Qur'an, 43:45)."24
Nay! Allah has even taken for it a promise on the Day of Alasto from the souls of His creatures even before creating their physical forms, as referred to in this verse:
"When thy Lord drew forth from the children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants, making them promise, asking them: ‘Am I not your Lord?' They said: ‘Yes! We testify!' This is so lest you should say on the Day of Judgment: ‘Of this we were never mindful (Qur'an, 7:172)'."25
Through their intercession has Allah granted forgiveness to Adam who learned the words of repentance referred to in Chapter 2, Verse 37, of the Holy Qur'an.26
"Allah does not expose them to torture,"27
for they are the security of the inhabitants of earth and mankind's means towards Him. They are the ones of whom people are jealous and about whom Allah says:
"Should they feel jealous of them because Allah Has granted them His favours (Qur'an, 4:54)"?28
They are the ones who are "deeply grounded in knowledge" about whom He says: "Those who are deeply grounded in knowledge say:
‘We believe (Qur'an, 3:7)!'"29
They are the ones who will be upon the Heights and to whom Allah refers when he says,
"Upon the Heights are men who know all by their marks (Qur'an, 7:48)."30
They are the men of truth about whom He says:
"Among the Believers are men who fulfilled their promise unto Allah; some of them have passed away, while others are waiting, and they have not changed in the least (Qur'an, 33:23)."31
They are the ones who glorify Allah continuously. About them He has said:
"He is Glorified in the early morning and during the night by men who are not divered, by either trade or selling, from mentioning Allah, the saying of prayers, or the paying of zakat: they fear the Day when hearts and sights are overturned (Qur'an, 24:3637)."32
Their houses are the ones mentioned in Allah's verses saying:
"In houses which Allah permitted to be elevated and His Name be recited therein."33
Allah has made their niche, in Surat An-Nur (Qur'an, 24:35),34 an example for His own Light:
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is a niche, within it is a Lamp: the lamp is enclosed in glass; the glass is as (bright as) a brilliant star lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is wellnigh luminous, though fire scarcely touches it: Light upon Light! Allah guides whom He will to His Light: Allah sets forth parables for men, and Allah knows all things.
They are the foremost in accepting the faith and implementing it, and they are the nearest to Allah, as He indicates in Chapter 56, verses 10 and 11.35 They are those who testify to the Prophet's truthfulness (Qur'an, 4:69).36 They are the martyrs and the virtuous. Regarding them and their followers has Allah said:
"Among Our creation is a nation calling unto the right guidance through the truth, and they are most just therein" (Qur'an, 7:181).37
Also, Allah has said the following about their party and about that of their enemies:
"Inhabitants of the Fire are not equal to those of Paradise: inhabitants of Paradise are the victorious."38
About both parties He has also said:
"Should We treat those who believe and do good deeds as We treat those who cause corruption on earth, or should We equal the virtuous to the corrupt (Qur'an, 38:28)?"39
He has also said the following verse concerning both parties:
"Do those who commit bad deeds surmise that We will treat them like We treat those who believe and do good deeds, in life and in death? Ill is their judgment."40
About them and their supporters He has said:
"Those who believe and do good deeds are the best of creation (Qur'an, 98:7)."41
About them and their adversaries Allah has said:
"These are two opponents who differed regarding their Lord: those who disbelieve will be clothed with clothes of fire: boiling liquid shall be poured on their heads (Qur'an, 22:19)."42
Regarding them and their enemy, Allah has revealed these verses: "Is this who has been a believer like unto him that who has been an evildoer? They are not equal. As for those who believe and do good deeds, their abode shall be Perpetual Gardens, a reward for their good deeds. As for those who cause corruption, their abode is Hell-fire; every time they want to get out of it, they are turned back into it and is said to them:
‘Taste the torment of the Fire in which you disbelieved (Qur'an, 32:19 20).'"43
Concerning them and those who boasted of providing water for the pilgrims and looking after the Haram mosque, Allah has revealed this verse:
"Do you count the providing of the pilgrims with water and the maintenance of the Haram mosque equal to (the value of) those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and fight in the Way of Allah? They are not equal in the eyes of Allah, and Allah does not lead the wrongdoers (Qur'an, 9:19)."44
About their triump in many trials and the magnitude of their patience, the Almighty says:
"Among people is one who sells his life in return for Allah's Pleasure; Allah is Clement towards His servants (Qur'an, 2:207)."45
Regarding their endeavour in the way of Allah and their toil, Allah has said:
"Allah has traded the believers' lives for Paradise: they fight in the Way of Allah and they kill or get killed. It is His true Promise in the Torah, the Gospel and the Qur'an: who fulfills his promise better than Allah? Rejoice, therefore, for your bargain; that is the great victory. Those who turn (to Allah) in repentance, worship Him, and praise Him, wander in devotion to the Cause of Allah, bow down and prostrate in prayer, enjoin goodness and forbid evil, and observe the limits set by Allah (they do rejoice). So, proclaim the glad tidings to the Believers (Qur'an, 9:111112)."
"Those who (in charity) spend of their possessions by night and by day, in secrecy and in public, have their reward with their Lord: on them there shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve (Qur'an, 2:274)."46
They truly say only the truth. The Truthful Himself, blessed be His Name, has borne witness to that, saying:
"Those who have brought forth the truth, believing therein, are indeed the Godfearing (Qur'an, 39:33)."47
They are the faithful relatives of the Messenger of Allah (S), his kinfolk, whom Allah Has chosen for His beautiful care and great attention, saying:
"And warn your near in kin (Qur'an, 26:214)."
They are his relatives, and
"Relatives have the priorities according to the Book of Allah" (Qur'an, 8:75; see also 33:6).
On Doomsday, they will ascend to his rank and join him in the perpetual gardens of felicity as witnessed by Allah's statement:
Those who believe and whose families follow them in faith - to them shall We join their families: We shall never deprive them (of the fruit) of aught of their deeds, (yet) each is in pledge for his deeds. (Qur'an, 52:21)48
They have the right dues as the Qur'an has stated:
"And give the near in kin his dues (Qur'an, 17:26),"
and they have the fifth: nobody's responsibility will be cleared until he defrays it:
"Know ye this: whatever ye obtain of spoils, its fifth goes to Allah, the Messenger, and the (Messenger's) kinfolk (Qur'an, 8:41)."
They are the ones upon whom Allah's favours have been bestowed as implied in this verse:
"What Allah has bestowed on His Apostle - (and taken away) from them - for this ye made no expedition with either cavalry or camelry, but Allah gives power to His apostles over any He pleases, and Allah Has power over all things (Qur'an, 59:7)."
They are Ahl Al-Bayt addressed by Allah thus:
"Allah desires to remove all abomination from you, Ahl Al-Bayt, and purify you with a perfect purification (Qur'an, 33:33)."
They are the family of Yasin whom Allah greets in the Glorious Qur'an thus:
"Peace be unto the family of Yasin (Qur'an, 37:130)."49
And they are the family of Muhammad upon whom greetings and peace have been enforced by Allah Who says:
"Allah and His angels send greetings unto the Prophet: O ye who believe! Send greetings unto him and many salutations (Qur'an, 33:56)."50
Some people asked the Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny,
"O Messenger of Allah! We know how to greet you with peace, but how can we greet you with prayers?" He, Allah's peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, answered, "Say: ‘O Allah! Send blessings unto Muhammad and the family of Muhammad,'" according to the hadith. It was then understood then that greeting them was part of the prayers enjoined by this verse. This is why learned men have included the verse quoted above among others in their praise. Ibn Hajar has listed it in part 11 of his Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa among verses in their praise,51 peace be upon them. A good resort for them and a good reward: Gardens of Eden with gates wide open to receive them.52
Who can compete with them? In the sun is meaning and heat,
Parching, exerting the one who dares to compete.
Allah has chosen them for His favours, and they are the ones who are faster than all others in doing good deeds; they inherit the Book of Allah; about them He has said the following therein:
"Among men is one who wrongs his own self (by ignoring the Imams), and one who seeks righteousness (by following the Imams), and one who is faster than others in doing good deeds by the Will of Allah (who is the Imam himself): this indeed is Allah's great favour (Qur'an, 35:32)."53
These verses which demonstrate the Imams' virtues and merits must suffice. Ibn ‘Abbas has said:
"In praise of ‘Ali alone, three hundred verses were revealed."54
Others say that one fourth of the Holy Qur'an has been revealed in their praise. This comes as no surprise when we consider the fact that they and the Qur'an are twin brothers who do not separate from one another.
Be satisfied for now with what we have stated here of the perfect verses of the Holy Qur'an. Take them easily going and returning, making the advent of morning beams, easily and nicely, forgiving and at ease, from someone very well acquainted therewith, for none can tell you better than one endowed with experience, and peace be with you.
"Allah wishes to remove all abomination from you, members of Ahl al-Bayt (as) and purify you with a perfect purification (Qur'an, 33:33)."
"Say (O Muhammad): ‘I do not ask you for any reward other than being kind to my kin,' and whoever attains a good deed [being kind to them], We shall certainly increase him in goodness; verily, Allah is Forgiving [to those who are kind to them], Appreciative [of such kindness] (Qur'an, 42:23)."
"Say (O Muhammad): ‘Let us bring our sons and your sons,... (Qur'an, 3:61)."
"We are Allah's rope about which He has said: ‘And uphold Allah's rope all of you together, and do not be separated (Qur'an, 3:103)'."
Ibn Hajar has included this verse among others revealed in their praise, being the fifth in the series of verses which he enUmarates in Chapter 11 of Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa. While explaining its meaning, the author quotes al-Tha’labi, as you have heard above, citing Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as). Imam al-Shafi’i is quoted in Rashfatul Sadi by Imam Abu Bakr ibn Shihabud-Din as having said:
When I saw people being carried away to the seas of misguidance and ignorance by their sects,
I boarded, in the Name of Allah, the Ark of Salvation, that is, the Household of the Chosen One, the Seal of Prophets.
And I upheld Allah's Rope, and it is obedience to them, as He has commanded us to uphold to the Rope.
‘Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and those charged with authority among you (Qur'an, 4:59),'
and he answered me by saying:
‘Have you not observed those (Jews) who are given a portion of the (knowledge of the) Book? They are invited to the Book of Allah so that it might decide between them, then a party among them turns back (therefrom), and they withdraw (Qur'an, 3:23),'
how they believe in sorcerers and tyrants instead, and how they say to those who disbelieve that they are closer to the Straight Path than the Believers? They tell the imams of misguidance and the callers unto the Fire that their guidance is more accurate than that of Muhammad's progeny;
‘Have you not seen those to whom a portion of the Book has been given? They believe in idols and false deities and say of those who disbelieve: These are better guided in the path than those who believe. Those are they whom Allah has cursed, and whoever Allah curses, you shall never find for them any helper. Or have they a share in the kingdom? But then they would not give people even the speck in a date stone (Qur'an, 4:51-53),
' nor will they ever own aught of Allah's domain, that is, Imamate and Caliphate, ‘... or do they envy the people for what Allah has bestowed upon them of His own favours (Qur'an, 4:54)?'
We are the ones who are envied because of the Imamate which Allah has bestowed upon us rather than anyone else among His creation;
‘We bestowed upon the descendants of Ibrahim (Abraham) the Book and the Wisdom, and We provided them with a great kingdom (Qur'an, 4:54),'
meaning He made some of them messengers, prophets, and imams; so, how can they recognize its existence to the descendants of Ibrahim while denying it to the descendants of Muhammad (S)?!"
"Among them are those who believed in it, and among them are those who turned away therefrom, and Hell suffices for a torment (Qur'an, 4:55)."
I have safeguarded with my own life and strength
That of the best who walked on the surface of earth,
And circled the Ancient House, though alone,
And also around the [Black] Stone.