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Letter 70

Safar 11, 1330

I The Will Cannot be Repudiated,

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?

II Why Denied,

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.

III Deniers' Arguments not Binding,

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.

IV Reason and Intellect Require it.

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.

Yours,

Sh

  • 1. On page 66, Part Two, Vol. 2, of his Tabaqat, Ibn Sa’d quotes ‘Ali saying: "The Prophet (pbuh) had instructed that nobody other than myself should give him the ceremonial bath [for the dead]." Both Abul Shaykh and Ibn al-Najjar, as stated on page 54, Vol. 4, of Kanz al-’Ummal, quote ‘Ali (as) saying: "The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had instructed me saying: ‘When I die, bathe me and use seven water skins." Ibn Sa’d, while discussing giving the Prophet (pbuh) his last ceremonial bath, on page 63, Part Two, Vol. 2, of his Tabaqat, quotes ‘Abdul-Wahid ibn Abu ‘Awanah saying that when the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) fell sick prior to his demise, he said: "O ‘Ali! You should bathe me when I die." ‘Ali said: "I conducted the ceremonial bath for him, and each part of his body was very responsive to my touch." Both al-Hakim, on page 59, Vol. 3, of his Al-Mustadrak, and al-Thahbi in his Talkhis, quote ‘Ali saying: "I gave the Messenger of Allah his bath, and I waited to see how death would affect his body, but I sensed no change: his body smelt in death as fragrantly as it did when he was still alive." This hadith is quoted by Sa’id ibn Mansur in his books of traditions, by al-Marwazi in his Jana'iz, by Abu Dawud in his Marasil, by Ibn Mani’, Ibn Abu Shaybah in his books on traditions, and it is hadith number 1094, page 54, Vol. 4, of Kanz al-’Ummal. Al-Bayhaqi, in his books of traditions, quotes ‘Abdullah ibn al-Harith saying: "‘Ali gave the Prophet (pbuh) the ceremonial bath while the Prophet's corpse was wrapped in a shirt," and it is hadith number 1104, page 55, Vol. 4, of Kanz al-’Ummal, and Ibn ‘Abbas is quoted saying: "‘Ali has four chracteristics nobody else has had: he is the first to pray in the company of the Messenger of Allah; he accompanied him in all his campaigns; he remained with him when others ran away for their own lives, and he is the one who administered the ceremonial bath to him and placed him in his grave." This is quoted by Ibn ‘Abd al-Birr is his biography of ‘Ali in the Isti’ab, and by al-Hakim on page 111, Vol. 3, of Al-Mustadrak. He also quotes Abu Sa’id al-Khudri saying that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, has said to ‘Ali: "O ‘Ali! You are the one who should bathe me, cancel my debts, and entomb me in my grave." This is quoted by al-Daylami, too, and it is hadith number 2583, page 155, Vol. 4, of Kanz al-’Ummal. ‘Umar is quoted saying that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said to ‘Ali (as) once: "You are to bathe me and bury me," according to the hadith on page 393, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-’Ummal. In the footnote to page 45, Vol. 5, of Ahmad's Musnad, ‘Ali is quoted saying: "I have heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) saying: ‘I have been granted five of my own wishes regarding ‘Ali the like of which no other Prophet before me had been granted regarding anyone. The first is that he is the one who would cancel my debt and bury my body...," up to the end of the hadith quoted at the beginning of page 403, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-’Ummal. And when he was placed on the bed and people desired to perform the ritual burial prayer rites, ‘Ali said: "Nobody should be the Imam in leading such prayer, for the Messenger of Allah is your Imam alive and dead." People used to enter in groups and stand in prayers in a row without an Imam. They would make the takbir as ‘Ali stood near the corpse of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) saying: "Peace be unto you, O Messenger, and Allah's Mercy and Blessings; we bear witness, O Mighty Lord, that he has conveyed what You have revealed unto him, provided advice to his nation, and struggled in the way of Allah till He, the Exalted, the omni-Scient, elevated His faith, and his mission was accomplished. O Lord! Include us among those who follow what You have revealed to him, make us strong in our conviction, and rejoin our souls in his company," and people would respond with "Amin, Amin." This continued till all men, then women, then children, said their prayers. This hadith verbatim is quoted by Ibn Sa’d in his discussion of how the Prophet was given his ceremonial burial bath in his own Tabaqat. The first who entered to pay respects were the descendants of Hashim, then the Immigrants (Muhajirun), then the Supporters (Ansar), then other people. The first men who performed the ritual funeral prayers on his departed soul were ‘Ali and al-’Abbas who stood beside each other and made five takbirs.
  • 2. Narratives in this regard are consecutively reported from the purified progeny (as). Suffices you what is quoted in Al-Kabir by al-Tabrani from Ibn ‘Umar, and by Abu Ya’li in his Musnad from ‘Ali (as). The first quotes one particular hadith in which the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) says: "O ‘Ali! You are my brother and vizier, and you shall pay my dues on my behalf, fulfill my commitment, and set my conscience to ease." You can find this hadith on page 155, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-’Ummal narrated by Ibn ‘Umar. On page 404, Vol. 6, of the same reference, ‘Ali (as) is quoted stating likewise. Many have quoted al-Buwaisiri saying that the narrators of this hadith are all trustworthy. Ibn Mardawayh and al-Daylami, as stated on page 155, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-’Ummal, quote Salman al-Farisi saying that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has said: "‘Ali ibn Abu Talib fulfills my commitments on my own behalf, and he cancels my debt." Al-Bazzaz, as stated on page 153, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-’Ummal, indicates the same. It is also quoted by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal on page 164, Vol. 4, of his Musnad from Habashi ibn Janadah who says: "I have heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) saying: ‘Nobody pays my dues except I or ‘Ali.'" Ibn Mardawayh, as stated on page 401, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-’Ummal, quotes ‘Ali (as) saying that when the verse "And warn thy near in kin" was revealed, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: "‘Ali pays my debt, and fulfills my promise on my own behalf." Sa’d says that on the Juhfa day, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), having taken ‘Ali by the hand, and delivered a sermon, praised and glorified Allah then said: "O people! I am your wali." They said: "You have spoken the truth, O Messenger of Allah." Then he raised ‘Ali's hand and said: "This is the one chosen to be my wali; he shall pay my debt on my behalf." Qatdah is quoted saying, "‘Ali has carried out after the prophet (pbuh) a few errands (on behalf of the Prophet) one of which is said to have been the payment of [debts totalling] five hundred thousand dirhams." ‘Abdul-Razzaq was asked: "Did the Prophet (pbuh) leave a will in this regard?" He answered: "Yes; I do not doubt at all that the Prophet (pbuh) has, indeed, left a will to ‘Ali; otherwise, nobody would have let him pay the Prophet's debt all by himself." This hadith is quoted by the author of Kanz al-’Ummal on page 60, Vol. 4, who numbers it 1170.
  • 3. Authentic texts have unanimously stated that he (pbuh) has entrusted ‘Ali (as) to clarify to his nation whatever ambiguous matters in which they disputed after him. Suffices you for proofs ahadith number 11 and 12 quoted in Letter No. 48, in addition to others which we have already quoted, as well as others which we have not quoted due to their being too well-known.
  • 4. This is explained in Letters 36, 40, 54, and 56 above.
  • 5. The brotherhood between the Prophet and the wasi is mutawatir, and suffices you for proof for its authenticity what we have quoted in Letters No. 32 and 34.
  • 6. His being the father of his descendants is understood. He (pbuh) has said to ‘Ali (as): "You are my brother, and the father of my descendants; you shall fight for my Sunnah." This hadith is quoted by Abu Ya’li in his Musnad, as stated on page 404, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-’Ummal, and its narrators are all trustworthy as admitted by al-Busairi. It is also quoted in Ahmad's Manaqib, as stated at the conclusion of Section Two, Part 9, page 74, of Ibn Hajar's Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa. He (pbuh) has also said: "Allah has placed the progeny of every prophet in his own loin, and He has placed mine in ‘Ali's loins." This hadith is quoted by al-Tabrani in his Al-Kabir as narrated by Jabir, and by al-Khatib in his Tarikh from Ibn ‘Abbas. It is hadith number 2510, page 152, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-’Ummal. And he (pbuh) has said: "All descendants of women belong to the latter's men except Fatima's, for I am their wali and father." This is quoted by al-Tabrani from al-Zahra' (as) and is included among the ahadith quoted by Ibn Hajar in Section 2, Part 11, of his Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, page 112. It is also quoted by al-Tabrani from Ibn ‘Umar as referred to on the same page. Al-Hakim quotes something like it on page 164, Vol. 3, of his Al-Mustadrak, adding: "The narrators of this hadith are trustworthy, though they [Bukhari and Muslim] did not record it." He (pbuh) has said in one hadith quoted by al-Hakim in his Al-Mustadrak, and al-Thahbi in his Talkhis al-Mustadrak, both admitting its authenticity due to the endorsement of both shaykhs, "As regarding you, O ‘Ali, you, indeed, are my brother and the father of my descendants; you are of me and for me," up to the end of the list of such authentic texts.
  • 7. Refer to the texts regarding ‘Ali's government such as his (pbuh) statement: "You to me are in the same status like that of Aaron to Moses," as we explained in Letter No. 26, and in others. And also his saying (pbuh) in the hadith of warning his household, "Who, then, among you would support me in my mission?" ‘Ali answered: "I, O Messenger of Allah, would like to be your supporter in this matter," as quoted in our Letter No. 20. May Allah reward Imam Abu-Sayri for his poetic masterpiece in which he says:

    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.

  • 8. The nation's consensus has decreed that there is one verse in the Book of Allah implemented by nobody other than ‘Ali till the Day of Judgment. It is the verse of elevation [najwa] in Surat al-Mujadila. This is agreed upon by both his supporters and opponents who quote in this regard many texts held to be authentic according to both shaykhs, known by the pious among the nation as well as the libertine. Suffices you what is quoted by al-Hakim on page 482, Vol. 2, of his Al-Mustadrak, and by al-Thahbi in his Talkhis al-Mustadrak. Refer also to the exegesis of this verse as recorded by books of exegesis authored by al-Tha’labi, al-Tabari, al-Sayyuti, al-Zamakhshari, al-Razi, and others. In the forthcoming Letter No. 74, you will come to know of two ahadith narrated by Umm Salamah and ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar regarding the confidential dialogue between the Prophet (pbuh) and ‘Ali (as) immediately prior to the Prophet's demise, and you will be acquainted with their confidential discussion on the day of Ta'if, and the statement of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) then: "It is not I who has confided in him; it is Allah Who has done so," and also to their confidential talks during ‘Ayesha's time; so, contemplate upon that.
  • 9. Suffices you for a text proving that he is his wali his statement (pbuh), quoted by Ibn ‘Abbas and referred to in Letter No. 22: "You are the wali on my behalf in this life and the life hereafter." This hadith stands on firm grounds according to the demands of the religion of Islam; therefore, there is no need to go into details.
  • 10. Suffices you of the texts of the will what you have heard in Letter No. 68.
  • 11. This is quoted by Imam Ahmad from Abu Hurayrah's hadith on page 442, Vol. 2, of his Musnad. He says that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) looked at ‘Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn, peace be upon them, then said: "I declare war on whoever fights you, and peace unto whoever is peaceful towards you." In another authentic hadith, he (pbuh) has also said when he covered them with a blanket, "I declare war on whoever fights them, and peace unto whoever is peaceful towards them." This hadith is transmitted by Ibn Hajar while explaining the first verse which he states to have been revealed in their honour in Section One, Part 11, of his Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, giving detailed explanation for his (pbuh) statement: "Fighting ‘Ali is fighting me, too, and making peace with ‘Ali is making peace with me."
  • 12. Refer to hadith 20 in Letter No. 48. His consecutive statement: "O Lord! Befriend whoever befriends him, and be the enemy of whoever sets himself as his enemy" should, by the Grace of Allah, suffice. You have heard in Letter No. 36 his (pbuh) statement as quoted by Buraydah: "Whoever hates ‘Ali hates me, too, and whoever abandons ‘Ali abandons me, too." Another mutawatir hadith is his (pbuh) statement: "Nobody loves him [‘Ali] except a believer, and nobody hates him except a hypocrite." It is by Allah the covenant of the Ummi Prophet (pbuh).
  • 13. Consider his statement (pbuh), which is quoted by ‘Umar ibn Shash, "Anyone who hurts ‘Ali hurts me, too," which is quoted by Ahmad on page 483, Vol. 3, of his Musnad, and by al-Hakim on page 123, Vol. 3, of his Al-Mustadrak, and by al-Thahbi in Talkhis al-Mustadrak where he admits its authenticity. Al-Bukhari has quoted it in his Tarikh, Ibn Sa’d in his Tabaqat, Ibn Abu-Shaybah in his Musnad, and al-Tabrani in his Kabir. It exists on page 400, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-’Ummal.
  • 14. Consider in this regard what you have heard in Letter No. 8 quoting Sihah al-Thaqalain, for they show the truth to those who have eyes to see, and you have already come to know in Letter No. 50 that "‘Ali is with the Qur'an and the Qur'an is with ‘Ali; they shall never separate from each other."
  • 15. Reason alone rules it impossible that the Prophet (pbuh) would order something and strongly requires his nation to adhere to it while he himself is in dire need to act upon it. He needed a will in order to appoint his representative, and take into consideration the orphans who most badly need a care-taker. Allah is above neglecting his precious legacy, which includes Allah's legislations and commandments, and Allah is above leaving his orphans and widows, who are residents of the earth far and wide, struggling in the dark, going and coming as they desired, without a qayyim through whom Allah's argument becomes complete against them. Yet even common sense by itself rules that he should have left a will for ‘Ali (as), since we have found the prophet (pbuh) entrusting him to bathe and embalm his corpse, to clothe and bury it, then to pay his outstanding debts and clear his conscience, and clarify to people what they differ regarding their faith after him... etc., as referred to at the beginning of this Letter.

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