Safar 11, 1330
The Prophet's will regarding ‘Ali cannot be repudiated, for there is no doubt that he entrusted him, having bequeathed to him his knowledge and wisdom, as indicated in Letter 66 above, to wash his corpse, enshroud it and bury it,1 and to pay his dues, fulfill his promise on his behalf, defray his outstanding debts,2 and explain to people after him whatever matters in which they differed regarding the commandments and injunctions of Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime.3 He also entrusted the nation to take ‘Ali (as) as his (pbuh) successor,4 brother,5 the father of his descendants,6 his vizier,7 confidant,8 the executor of his will,9 his vicegerent,10 the gateway of his knowledge, according to hadith number 9 cited in Letter 48 above, the gateway of his wisdom, according to hadith number 10 cited in Letter 48, the Gate of Salvation of his nation, according to hadith number 14 cited in Letter 48 above, its security and the ark of its salvation, as testified by the traditions we quoted in Letter 8 above. Obeying Ali is as important as obeying the Prophet himself: disobedience to him is a sin equal to that of disobeying the Prophet according to hadith number 16 cited in Letter 48 and according to others. Following him is equal to following the Prophet; abandoning him is abandoning the Prophet, according to hadith number 17 cited in Letter 48 above and according to others, that he [Prophet] is on peaceful terms with whoever is peaceful with him, and he is an enemy of whoever bears animosity towards him,11 the friend of whoever befriends him and the enemy of whoever antagonizes him;12 whoever loves him is loved by Allah and His Messenger, and whoever hates him does in turn hate Allah and His Messenger, according to ahadith 19, 20 and 21 cited in Letter 48 above and according to others. Whoever befriends him befriends them both, and whoever antagonizes him in fact antagonizes them both, according to hadith 23 cited in the same Letter; whoever harms him harms them too;13 whoever denounces him does in fact denounce both Allah and His Messenger (pbuh), according to hadith 18 cited in Letter 48 above, and according to others. He is the Imam of the righteous and the annihilator of the debauchees; whoever supports is in fact divinely supported, and whoever betrays him is betrayed by the Almighty, according to the first hadith cited in the same Letter and according to others; he is the master of Muslims and the Imam of the righteous, the leader of the pious among the most renown men, according to ahadith 2, 3, 4, and 5 in Letter 48; he is the banner of guidance, the Imam of Allah's servants, the lighthouse of whoever obeys Allah's commandments, the Word which Allah has enjoined upon the pious, according to hadith 6 in the same Letter and according to others; he is the supreme Siddiq, the nation's Faruq, and the believers' chief, according to hadith 7 in the same Letter and according to others. His status is like that of the Great Furqan (Qur'an) and the Wise Remembrance.14
He is to the Prophet in the same position which Aaron held in comparison to Moses, as clarified in Letters No. 26, 28, 30, 32, and 34, and to the Prophet's status with his Lord, according to hadith 13 of Letter 48, and according to others, and like the position of the Prophet's head to his body, according to the hadith quoted in Letter 50 and to others, to which we refer you, suggesting that you may observe our comment. He is like unto his own self according to the verse of Mubahala and to the hadith quoted by Ibn ‘Awf which is reproduced in Letter 50.
Allah the Exalted and the Sublime cast a look at the inhabitants of the earth and chose him from among them as is clear from the traditions which we have quoted in our Letter 68. Suffices you his covenant on the standing day at ‘Arafat during the Farewell Pilgrimage, and that nobody discharges the Prophet's responsibility other than the Prophet himself or ‘Ali,15 up to the end of so many such attributes which nobody else can claim other than a wasi, and those who enjoy a special status with the Prophet; so, how can any wise person deny the Prophet's will, or overlook it, other than an interestseeker? What is a will other than entrusting a person with some such matters?
2) As regarding the followers of the four sects, whoever denies it from among them does so thinking that accepting it will jeopardize the legitimacy of the caliphate of the three Imams.
3) We cannot accept their argument just because it is based upon what alBukhari and others have said. They quote Talhah ibn Masrif saying: "I asked ‘Abdullah ibn Abu ‘Awfah: ‘Did the Prophet leave any will at all?' He answered: ‘No.' I asked: ‘How did he enjoin people to write their wills while he himself did not do so?' He answered: ‘His will is the Book of Allah.'"
This hadith is not confirmed through our sources; it is but a fabrication necessitated by certain politicians. Regardless of that, the sahihs of the purified progeny are mutawatir regarding the issue of the will; so, let all texts which disagree with them be discarded.
4) Yet the issue of the will does not even require any argument due to the dictates of reason and common sense.
If something elongates, it stands by itself - in form and hue;
For surely the sun dissipates all that seems to be untrue.
As regarding alBukhari's narrative from Ibn Abu ‘Awfah who claims that the Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny, has left the Book of Allah as his will, it is a statement the tail of which is cut off, for he, peace be upon him and his progeny, had recommended to his nation to uphold both Weighty Things spontaneously, warning it of the danger of straying if it did not do so, informing it that they both would never part from each other till they reached him at the Pool. Our sahihs in this regard are consecutively reported from the sources of the purified progeny; so, you may refer to other sahihs as quoted in our Letters No. 8 and 54, Wassalam.
And the vizier of his cousin in endeavours sublime,
And by their own households are viziers prime;
Uncovering the lid did not his conviction increase,
Like the sun, nothing can cause his rays to decrease.