Page is loading...

Letter 8

Thul-Qi’da 1329

I Overlooking Our Previous Statements,

1) We have not neglected deriving our proofs from the traditions of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny. As a matter of fact, we referred to them at the beginning of our letter which clearly stated that following the Imams from Ahl al­Bayt exclusively is mandatory.

We did so when we stated that he, peace be upon him and his progeny, had compared them with the Glorious Book, setting them as a model for those endowed with reason, equating them with the ark of salvation, the nation's security, the gate of salvation - all in reference to and quotations from the well­known clear texts in the sahih books. We have also said that you would be satisfied with the hint instead of the details, without the need for further explanations.

II Error in Necessity of (Logical) Cycle,

2) The statements of our Imams, then, as we have explained, do fit to be used as an argument against their opponents, and using it as such a manner cannot be regarded as a (vicious) cycle, as you yourself know.

III Hadith of the Two Weighty Things,

3) Take, for example, the statements of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, to which we referred whereby he struck an awe in the heart of the ignorant, calling upon the indifferent, as quoted by al­Tirmithi and al­Nisa'i from Jabir and they, in turn, are quoted by al­Muttaqi al­Hindi at the beginning of his chapter on those who uphold the Book and the Sunnah in his work Kanzul­‘Ummal, Vol. 1, page 44, saying:

"O people! I am leaving with you the Book of Allah and my household (‘itra), my family (my Ahl al­Bayt). As long as you uphold them, you shall never go astray."

He has also said:

"I have left with you that which, as long as you uphold, you shall never let you stray after me: Allah's Book, a Rope extending from heavens to earth, and my ‘itra, my Ahl al­Bayt. These twain shall never separate from one another till they reach me by the Pool; therefore, see how you succeed me in faring with them."1

He, peace be upon him and his progeny, has also said:

"I am leaving among you two successors: the Book of Allah, a rope extending from heavens to earth - or between heavens and earth - , and my household (‘itra) from my family (Ahl al­Bayt); they shall never separate from each other until they reach me by the Pool."2

He, peace be upon him and his progeny, also said:

"I am leaving among you the Two Weighty Things: the Book of Allah and my Ahl al­Bayt; they shall never separate from each other till they reach me at the Pool."3

He, peace be upon him, has said:

"Me thinks I am going to be called upon and shall answer the call, and I am leaving among you the Two Weighty Things, the Book of Allah Almighty and my offspring, my Ahl al­Bayt. The Sublime and omni­Scient has informed me that they shall never part from each other till they reach me by the Pool; so, see how you succeed me in faring with them."4

Having returned from the Farewell Pilgrimage, he, peace be upon him and his progeny, camped at Ghadir Khumm and ordered the area underneath a few huge trees to be swept clean then said in his sermon:

"It seems as if I am going to be called upon and shall answer the call, and I am leaving with you the Two Weighty Things, one of which is greater than the other: the Book of Allah Almighty, and my Household; so, see how you succeed me in faring with them, for they shall never separate from each other until they reach me at the Pool."

Then he (pbuh) added:

"Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime, is my Master, and I am the master of every believer." Having said so, he took ‘Ali's hand and said: "To whomsoever I have been a master, this ‘Ali is his master. O Allah! Befriend whosoever befriends ‘Ali, and be the enemy of whosoever opposes him, etc."5

‘Abdullah ibn Hantab has said: "The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) delivered a sermon to us at Al-Juhfa wherein he asked us: 'Don't I have authority over your own selves more than you yourselves do?' Attendants there answered: 'Yes, indeed, O Messenger of Allah!' Then he said: 'I shall then question you about these two: the Qur'an and my ‘itra.'"6

IV Its Tawatur,

4) The sahih books which deem it mandatory to follow the Two Weighty Things are successive through more than twenty companions who all are in consensus in this regard. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, has emphasized these things on nUmarous occasions: on Ghadir Khumm's Day, on the ‘Arafat day of his Farewell Pilgrimage, after leaving Taif, from his pulpit in Medina, and inside his blessed chamber during his sickness, when the room was full of his companions.

He said in the latter incident: "O people! I feel I am going to die very soon, and I had previously informed you as my duty, and to leave no excuse for you, that: I am leaving with you the Book of Allah, the Glorious and Mighty, and my ‘itra, my Ahl al­Bayt." Having finished, he took ‘Ali's hand and lifted it saying: "This ‘Ali is with the Qur'an, and the Qur'an is with ‘Ali: they shall never separate from one another till they reach me by the Pool."7

A learned group among the majority has admitted the above. Even Ibn Hajar, quoting the tradition of the Two Weighty Things, says, "Be informed, then, that the tradition calling for upholding both of them comes through nUmarous ways narrated by more than twenty companions."

Further he says, "Here a doubt arises about when he said so. Some traditionists say he said so at Arafat during the Farewell Pilgrimage and others that he said so in Medina when he was sick, while his room was crammed with his companions. Another group say that he made that statement at the Khumm swamp, and in yet another that he made it, by way of preaching, after having left T'aif as mentioned above."

Ibn Hajar furthermore says, "There is no contradiction here, for there is no objection to his repeating it at those places, and at others, out of his own concern for the unassailable Book and the Purified ‘itra," up to the end of his statement.8

Suffices the Imams from the Purified ‘itra the fact that their rank with Allah is similar to that of the Book which falsehood cannot approach from front or from back. This must be sufficient testimony that takes people by the neck and obligates them to abide by their sect. A true Muslim does not accept any substitute for the Book of Allah; therefore, how can he deviate from the path of those who are its own peers?

V Non­Adherents to the ‘Itra Shall Stray,

5) The gist of his saying "I am leaving unto you that which, as long as you uphold to it, shall never let you stray: the Book of Allah and my ‘itra" is that anyone who does not uphold both of them spontaneously will eventually stray. This is supported by his saying, peace be upon him and his progeny, in the tradition of the Two Weighty Things, as Tabrani narrates it, "Do not go ahead of them else you should perish, and do not teach them for they are more learned than you."

Ibn Hajar has said: "In his statement, peace be upon him and his progeny, ‘Do not go ahead of them else you should perish, and do not teach them for they are more learned than you,' there is proof that whoever among them is elevated to high offices and religious vocations must be preferred over all others," up to the end of his statement.9

VI Their Similitude to the ark of Noah, the Gate of Salvation, and the Security Against Religious Dissensions,

6) What makes it compulsory to follow and refer to Ahl al­Bayt is this hadith of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny: "The similitude of my household among you is that of the ark of Noah: whoever embarks upon it is saved, and whoever lags behind it is drowned,"10 and his statement (pbuh), "The similitude of my Household among you is that of the ark of Noah: whoever boards it is saved, and whoever lags behind it is drowned. And the similitude of my Household among you is the Gate of the Israelites: whoever enters it is forgiven."11

Also, consider his statement, peace be upon him and his progeny, "The stars protect the inhabitants of earth against drowning, and my Ahl al­Bayt protect my nation against dissension (in religious matters). If a tribe among the Arabs differs (regarding the commandments of Allah, the High, the Mighty) from them, they will all then differ and become the party of Satan."12

This is fully sufficient to oblige the nation to follow them and to protect it against differing from them. I do not think that there is any language of man more clear than this hadith to support my argument.

VII What is Meant by "Ahl al­Bayt" in this Regard

7) What is meant by his word, peace be upon him and his progeny, "Ahl al-Bayt" (i.e. "Household") here is their entirety, collectively, as being their Imams, not merely their entirety inclusively, for this status is nothing but a testimony for the Proofs of Allah - particularly those who stand for His Commandments - as reason and scholarship would rule. A learned group among the majority has admitted the same, such as Ibn Hajar in his Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa. Some of them have said that what is probably meant by ‘Ahl al­Bayt' who are a security are their own learned men, for they are the ones who are like guiding stars; when lost, inhabitants of the earth will get what they were ominously warned against.

bn Hajar said: "That will be during the time when al­Mehdi (as) appears, and the tradition indicates that Jesus will pray behind him, and the anti­Christ will be killed during his time; after that, unusual events will succeed one another," up to the end of his statement which is quoted in the exegesis of verse 7, in Chapter 11, page 91, of Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa. Somewhere else he indicates that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, was asked once: "How would people live after them?" and he answered: "They will live like an ass whose spleen has been broken."13

VIII Reasons for Similitude to Noah's Ark and the Gate of Salvation

8) You know that likening them with the ark of Noah implies that whoever resorts to them in matters related to the creed, deriving the branches and basics of religion from their virtuous Imams, will certainly be saved from the fire of hell, and whoever lags behind them is like one who seeks shelter during the flood with a mountain so that it may save him from Allah's destiny, but he will eventually be drowned in water while the first will be hurled in the inferno, may Allah protect us from it.

The reason why they, peace be upon them, are compared to the Gate of Salvation is that Allah has made that Gate a symbol of humility before His Greatness and submission to His Judgment; therefore, it becomes a reason for forgiveness. This is the reason for the similitude.

Ibn Hajar, in the exegesis of Chapter 7 of the Holy Qur'an, in Chapter 11, page 91, of his Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, has accepted it while saying, after quoting these and other similar traditions, "The reason for their similitude to the ark is that whoever loves and highly respects them as means of thanking the One Who gave them honours, following the guidance of their learned men, will be saved from the darkness of dissension, and whoever lags behind it is drowned in the sea of ingratitude and will perish in the paths of tyranny."

Then he adds the following: "As to the Gate of Salvation (meaning thereby their similitude thereto), Allah has made entering that gate, which probably was the gate of Shittim or of Jerusalem, in humility, seeking forgiveness, a reason for salvation, and He (likewise) has made loving Ahl al­Bayt a reason for this nation's salvation."14

The sahih books are consecutive in stating that following Ahl al­Bayt is mandatory especially quoting the purified ‘itra. Had I not curbed my pen for fear of boring you, I would have elaborated in detail, but what I have stated here must suffice for the purpose, Wassalam.

Sincerely,

Sh

  • 1. Al-Tirmithi quotes it from Zayd ibn Arqam. It is hadith 874 of the ahadith quoted in, on p. 44, Vol. 1, of Kanz al-’Ummal.
  • 2. Imam Ahmad includes it among the ahadith narrated by Zayd ibn Thabit from two sources one of which is stated at the beginning of page 182, and the other at the conclusion of page 189, Vol. 5, and also by Ibn Abu Shaybah, Abu Ya’li, and Ibn Sa’d, from Abu Sa’id. It is hadith 945 on p. 47, Vol. 1, of Kanz al-’Ummal.
  • 3. It is included by al-Hakim on page 148, Vol. 3, of Al-Mustadrak. The author comments thus: "This is one hadith the narrators of which are trustworthy according to both Shaykhs, though the latter did not transmit it." Al-Thahbi includes it in his abridged volume of Al-Mustadrak, admitting its authenticity due to the endorsement of both Shaykhs.
  • 4. Included by Imam Ahmad in the hadith narrated by Abu Sa’id al-Khudri from two sources one of which is mentioned on page 17, and the other at the end of page 26, Vol. 3, of Al-Musnad. It is also quoted by Ibn Abu Shaybah, Abu Ya’li, and Ibn Sa’d from Abu Sa’id. It is hadith 945 as listed in page 47, Vol. 1, of Kanz al-’Ummal.
  • 5. It is sequentially quoted by al-Hakim from Zayd ibn Arqam on page 109, Vol. 3, of Al-Mustadrak. The author adds: "This hadith is authentic according to both Shaykhs who did not narrate it in its entirety." He quotes it from another source from Zayd ibn Arqam on page 533, Vol. 3, of his Al-Mustadrak, adding: "This hadith is narrated by reliable narrators, yet they (both Shaykhs) did not publish it themselves." Al-Thahbi has included it in his Talkhis, admitting its authenticity.
  • 6. Al-Tabrani has included it, as referred to in Nabhani's Al-Arba’in, and in Sayyti's Ihya'ul Mayyit. You are aware of the fact that his khutba, peace be upon him and his progeny, was not confined to this much, for nobody who narrates just this much can claim that he had heard it. But politics tied many tongues of traditionists and chained the pens of many writers. In spite of all this, such a drop of the ocean suffices; praise be to Allah.
  • 7. Refer to it at the conclusion of Section 2, Chapter 9, of Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa by Ibn Hajar, after the forty ahadith referred to in that Section on page 57.
  • 8. Refer to it in the exegesis of the fourth chapter:

    "And stop them, for they shall be questioned (Qur'an, 37:24),"

    which is quoted in Section One, Chapter 11, of Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, at the conclusion of page 89.

  • 9. Refer to it in the chapter dealing with the Prophet's will on page 135 of Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, then ask him why he preferred to follow al-Ash’ari in the roots of religion, and the four jurists in its branches, and how he came to consider as superior to them in the narration of hadith men like ‘Umran ibn Hattan and his likes among the Kharijites, favouring over them in exegesis Muqatil ibn Sulayman, the Murji'ite who believes that Allah has a physical form, and favoured to them in the sciences of ethics, etiquette, conduct, and psychology Ma’ruf and his likes, and how he disregarded the Prophet's own brother and wali, the one and only executer of his will, for general caliphate and representation of the Prophet (pbuh).

    Then ask him how he came to prefer to the descendants of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, the descendants of cowards. What would one who turns away from the purified progeny of Muhammad (pbuh) in all such lofty stations and religious obligations and follows in the footsteps of those who oppose them do with the sahihs of the Two Weighty Things and the like? And how can he claim that he is upholding the progeny and embarking upon their Ark and entering through their Gate of Salvation?

  • 10. Al-Hakim quotes it from Abu Tharr on page 151, Vol. 3, of his Sahih Al-Mustadrak.
  • 11. Al-Tabrani quotes it in his Al-Awsat from Abu Sa’id. It is hadith 18 of the 25th Al-Arba’in [forty] ahadith of Nabhani's Al-Arba’in Al-Arba’in (the sixteen-hundred ahadith), p. 216.
  • 12. This is quoted by al-Hakim on page 149, Vol. 3, of Al-Mustadrak from Ibn ‘Abbas. Al-Hakim adds: "This is an authentic hadith though they (both Shaykhs, i.e. Bukhari and Muslim) did not include it (in their own books)."
  • 13. Refer to the conclusion of his chapter on the predictions of the holy Prophet (pbuh) of hard times following his death, near the conclusion of page 143 of Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa. We ask Ibn Hajar: "Since this is the status enjoyed by the scholars of Ahl al-Bayt (as), why do you then turn away from them?"
  • 14. Consider this statement of his, then tell me why he did not follow the guidance of their Imams in the branches and tenets of the faith, or in the principles and bases of jurisdiction, or in the sciences of the Sunnah and the Book, or in anything related to ethics, conduct, and etiquette, and why he lagged behind and thus drowned himself in the oceans of those who deny Allah's favours, ruining themselves in the avenues of oppression. May Allah forgive him for telling lies about us and unfairly assaulting our beliefs.

Share this page