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Letter 68

The Will's Texts

Safar 9, 1330

1) The texts regarding the will are consecutively reported through the Imams of the purified progeny (as); so, refer to what has been stated in this regard by others as mentioned in Letter No. 20 that quotes the statements of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, who took ‘Ali (as) by the neck and said: "This is my brother and successor; he shall succeed me in faring with you; therefore, listen to him and obey him."

Muhammad ibn Hamid al­Razi quotes Salamah al­Abrash, Ibn Ishaq, Abu Rabi’ah al­Ayadi, Ibn Buraydah, ending with the latter's father Buraydah citing the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, saying: "For every Prophet there is a successor and an heir; my successor and heir is ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib."1

In his Kabir, and through isnad to Salman al-Farisi, al­Tabrani quotes the latter citing the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, saying: "My successor, my confidant, the best man I leave behind me to fulfill my promise and implement my religion, is ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib (as)."2

This is a clear text proving that he is the successor, and an obvious testimony that he is the best of people after the Prophet (pbuh). It contains an obligatory instruction that he should succeed him, and that people should obey him, as is clear to the wise.

Abu Na’im al­Hafiz, in his Hilyat al­Awliya',3 quotes Anas saying that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, said to him: "O Anas! The first to enter this door is the Imam of the pious, the leader of Muslims, the chief of religion, the seal of successors of prophets, and the leader of the most pious among renown men." Anas says that ‘Ali came in, and the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, stood up with excitement, hugged ‘Ali and said to him: "You will discharge my responsibility, convey my instructions, and explain all that in which they will dispute after me."

Al­Tabrani, in his Al­Kabir, quotes Abu Ayyub al­Ansari citing the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, saying that the Prophet (pbuh) addressed Fatima once thus: "O Fatima! Have you not come to know that Allah, the Dear One, cast a look at the inhabitants of the earth and chose your father from among them and sent him as His Messenger, then He cast a second look and selected your husband and inspired me to marry him to you and appoint him as my successor?"4

Notice how Allah selected ‘Ali (as) from among all other inhabitants of the earth, immediately after selecting from among them the Seal of His Prophets (pbuh), and see how the selection of the successor is conducted in the same sequence to the selection of the Prophet.

Also see how Allah inspired His Prophet to solemnize his marriage and appoint him as his successor. See if successors of prophets were any other than the latter's own wasis. Is it fitting to push aside [when it comes to selecting a caliph] one who is the best among Allah's servants, the wasi of the master of His Prophets, and prefer someone else over him?

Is it fitting if someone else, other than he, should rule the Muslims and make him simply one of his own commoners and subjects? Is it possible, by virtue of reason, that one elected by people should be obeyed by that who was selected by Allah, just as He selected His Prophet? How is it possible that both Allah Himself and His Messenger choose him while we elect someone else?

"No believing man nor woman, after Allah and His Messenger have decreed an edict, should practice free will regarding their affairs; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger surely strays manifestly (33:36)."

Narratives abound that state that as soon as those who were hypocritical, envious, and interest­seeking came to know that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, was going to marry his daughter Fatima al­Zahra', mistress of the women of paradise and equal only to Mary (as), to ‘Ali, they envied ‘Ali and were extremely concerned, especially after many of them had unsuccessfully sought her hand.5

They said that that was indicative of ‘Ali's status; so, nobody had any hope of being his peer, and they even plotted and schemed. They sent their women to the Mistress of the Women of the World trying to turn her against ‘Ali. Among what they said to her was that ‘Ali was poor and did not have much of this world's possessions, but she, peace be upon her, was quite aware of their scheming and ill intentions as well as those of their men. In spite of all this, she did not offend them in any way, till the Will of Allah Almighty and omni­Scient and of His Messenger was carried out.

It was then that she desired to show those women the status enjoyed by the Commander of the Faithful (as) whereby Allah will shame his enemies, and she said: "O Messenger of Allah! Why did you marry me to a poor man who has no money?" He, peace be upon him and his progeny, answered her in the way stated above.

When Allah wishes to publicize

A virtue hidden from the eyes,

He facilitates to it one very well­known

To covet and envy everyone.

Al­Khatib quotes one author whose isnad is unanimously agreed upon, and who is very highly respected, namely Ibn ‘Abbas, saying: "When the Prophet (pbuh) solemnized the marriage of Fatima and ‘Ali, Fatima said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! You have married me to a poor man who does not have anything.' The Prophet (pbuh) said to her: ‘Are you not pleased that Allah has chosen from among the inhabitants of the earth two men one of whom is your father and the other is your husband?'"6

Recounting the attributes of ‘Ali, al­Hakim, on page 129, Vol. 3, of his Al-Mustadrak, quotes Sarij ibn Yunus citing Abu Hafs al­Abar, al­A’mash, Abu Salih, and ending with Abu Hurayrah who quotes Fatima (as) saying: "O Messenger of Allah! Why have you married me to a poor man with no money?" He (pbuh) answered: "O Fatima! Are you not pleased that Allah, the Exalted and Sublime, cast a look at the inhabitants of the earth and chose two men one of whom is your father and the other is your husband?"

Ibn ‘Abbas is also quoted saying that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has said the following to Fatima: "Are you not pleased that I have married you to the one who is the foremost among Muslims in accepting Islam and the one endowed with more knowledge? You are the Mistress of the women of my nation, just as Mary was the mistress of the women of her nation; are you not pleased, O Fatima, that Allah cast a look at the people of the earth and chose two men from among them: one of them is your father and the other is your husband?"7

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh), whenever the Mistress of the women of the world suffered any hardship, would remind her of Allah's favour and that of His Messenger unto her, since he married her to the best of his nation, thus solacing her and removing from her chest whatever pain time had brought her.

Suffices you for a testimonial on this subject what Imam Ahmad has stated on page 26, Vol. 5, of his Musnad where he quotes one particular hadith narrated by Ma’qil ibn Yasar in which the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have visited Fatima (as) when she fell sick and said to her: "How do you feel?" She answered: "By Allah, my grief has intensified, my want has worsened, and my sickness has lasted for too long." He (pbuh) said to her: "Yet are you not satisfied that I have married you to the one who is the foremost among my nation in accepting Islam, the one endowed with more knowledge, and the greatest in clemency?" Narratives relating this issue are nUmarous, and there is no room to state all of them in this letter, Wassalam.

Sincerely,

Sh

  • 1. Al-Thahbi has quoted this hadith while discussing the biography of Sharik in his book Mizan al-I’tidal, falsifying it and alleging that Sharik could not have tolerated narrating such a hadith. He said: "Muhammd ibn Hamid al-Razi is not trustworthy." Our answer to his allegation is that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Imam Abul Qasim al-Baghwi, Imam Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, the Imam of critics and verifiers Ibn Ma’in, and others of their caliber, have all trusted Muhammad ibn Hamid and narrated his hadith, for he is their mentor. A reliable authority such as al-Thahbi admits the same in his biography of Muhammd ibn Hamid in his Al-Mizan. The man cannot be charged with Rafidism or Shi’ism, but the critic is a predecessor of al-Thahbi; so, there is no reason for initiating such an accusation regarding this hadith.
  • 2. This hadith verbatim is numbered 2570 at the end of page 155, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-’Ummal, and the author quotes it again in his Muntakhab al-Kanz; so, refer to Al-Muntakhab, footnote on page 32, Vol. 5, of Ahmad's Musnad.
  • 3. It exists on page 450, Vol. 2, of Sharh Nahjul Balaghah, and we have quoted it in Letter No. 48.
  • 4. This hadith, verbatim, as well as its source are also in hadith number 2541 on page 143, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-’Ummal, and it is quoted in Muntakhab al-Kanz as well; so, refer to the latter and read the footnote on page 31, Vol. 5, of Ahmad's Musnad.
  • 5. Ibn Abu Hatim has quoted Anas saying: "Abu Bakr and ‘Umar sought Fatima's hand from the Prophet, but he remained silent and did not tell them anything; so, they went to ‘Ali to inform him."
    It is also transmitted from Ibn Abu Hatim by many reliable authorities such as Ibn Hajar at the beginning of Chapter 11 of his Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa. Many other authorities have quoted something similar to it from Ahmad through isnad to Anas. Abu Dawud al-Sajistani, as stated by Ibn Hajar in Chapter 11 of his Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, while discussing the twelfth verse, says that Abu Bakr sought Fatima's hand, and the Prophet (pbuh) turned him down; then ‘Umar did the same, and he turned away from him, too; so, they both informed ‘Ali of it. ‘Ali himself is quoted saying: "Abu Bakr and ‘Umar sought Fatima's hand from the Messenger of Allah, but he (pbuh) rejected them. ‘Umar then said: ‘You, ‘Ali, are worthy of her.'" This hadith is quoted by Ibn Jarir. Al-Dulabi has quoted it, admitting its authenticity while discussing the Prophet's purified progeny, and it is hadith number 6007 on page 392, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-’Ummal.
  • 6. This hadith, verbatim, with reference to its narrator, is hadith number 5992 on page 391, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-’Ummal, where the author admits the reliability of its narrator.
  • 7. This hadith, verbatim, with reference to its narrator, is hadith number 2543 on page 153, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-’Ummal, where the author quotes it from Ibn ‘Abbas and Abu Hurayrah. Al-Tabrani, in his Al-Muttafaq, has transmitted it from al-Khatib who quotes Ibn ‘Abbas; so, refer to Al-Muntakhab and read the first line of footnote on page 39, Vol. 5, of Ahmad's Musnad.

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