When the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa alihi, described Amir al-Muminin, ‘alaihi al-salam, as being “exactly like” himself, or his own “similarity”, what was he saying? Was he talking about physical identicalness? Or, was it about tribal affiliations? What was it exactly?
Basically, those statements have deliberately been made general and left open by the Messenger of Allah. As such, everything is the same between them both except whatever has been excluded as exceptions. In other words, the only differences between the Nabi and the Amir are those that have been proved through the Qur’an or authentic ahadith. In everything else, they were, and are, the same.
Meanwhile, it would not be inappropriate to cite a few examples of equality between the Messenger of Allah and Imam ‘Ali. ‘Allamah al-Albani (d. 1420 H), for instance, records that the Prophet said:
من أحب عليا فقد أحبني ومن أبغض عليا فقد أبغضني
Whosoever loves ‘Ali has loved me, and whosoever hates ‘Ali has hated me.1
The ‘Allamah says:
In simple terms, the obligations to love the Messenger, and to love Amir al-Muminin, are the same. Love or hatred of either of them attracts the same recognition, reward or punishment from Allah the Almighty. Interestingly, Imam ‘Ali was not the only one with this status. Imam Abu Ya’la (d. 307 H) further records:
حدثنا أبو هشام الرفاعي حدثنا ابن فضيل حدثنا سالم بن أبي حفصة عن أبي حازم عن أبي هريرة قال : قال رسول الله ـ صلى الله عليه و سلم :من أحب الحسن والحسين فقد أحبني ومن أبغضهما فقد أبغضني
Abu Hisham al-Rufa’i – Ibn Fudhayl – Salim b. Abi Hafsah – Abu Hazim – Abu Hurayrah:
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “Whosoever loves al-Hasan and al-Husayn has loved me, and whosoever hates them has hated me.”3
Shaykh Dr. Asad says:
Its chain is hasan.4
Imam Ibn Majah (d. 273 H) has also recorded the hadith through a different ṭariq (route):
حدثنا علي بن محمد حدثنا وكيع عن سفيان عن داود بن أبي عوف أبي الجحاف وكان مرضيا عن أبي حازم عن أبي هريرة قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من أحب الحسن والحسين فقد أحبني ومن أبغضهما فقد أبغضني
‘Ali b. Muhammad – Waki’ – Sufyan – Dawud b. Abi ‘Awf Abi al-Jihaf – Abu Hazim – Abu Hurayrah:
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “Whosoever loves al-Hasan and al-Husayn has loved me, and whosoever hates them has hated me.”5
‘Abd al-Baqi states:
إسناده صحيح، رجاله ثقات.
Its chain is sahih. Its narrators are trustworthy.6
‘Allamah al-Albani also comments:
So, the Prophet, Amir al-Muminin, Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Husayn, ‘alaihim al-salam, were, and are, all equal in terms of love and hatred from any others among the creation. Moreover, their love has been umbilically fused by Allah. Therefore, just as there can never be an excuse – including even ignorance or mistake - for hating the Prophet, there can be none either with regards to any other among them. Their love is one indivisible entity, and so is their hatred.
The significance of the above reports is better reflected in this hadith, copied by ‘Allamah al-Albani:
من أحب عليا فقد أحبني ومن أحبني فقد أحب الله عز وجل ومن أبغض عليا فقد أبغضني ومن أبغضني فقد أبغض الله عز وجل.
Whosoever loves ‘Ali has loved me. And whosoever loves me has loved Allah the Almighty. Moreover, whosoever hates ‘Ali has hated me. And whosoever hates me has hated Allah the Almighty.8
The ‘Allamah comments:
رواه المخلص في " الفوائد المنتقاة " (10 / 5 / 1) بسند صحيح
Al-Mukhlis recorded it in al-Fawaid al-Muntaqat (10/5/1) with a sahih chain from Umm Salamah.9
In other words:
1. Love of Muhammad is love of Allah, and hatred of Muhammad is hatred of Allah.
3. Love of ‘Ali is love of Allah, and hatred of ‘Ali is hatred of Allah.
5. Love of al-Hasan is love of Allah, and hatred of al-Hasan is hatred of Allah.
7. Love of al-Husayn is love of Allah, and hatred of al-Husayn is hatred of Allah.
So, Amir al-Muminin, Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Husayn are equal with the Messenger of Allah in terms of the love or hatred of any of them. Our focus at this point, of course, is only Amir al-Muminin.
Another area of equality between the Prophet of Allah and Imam ‘Ali is indicated in this hadith documented by Imam Ahmad (d. 241 H):
حدثنا عبد الله حدثني أبى ثنا يحيى بن أبى بكير قال ثنا إسرائيل عن أبى إسحاق عن أبي عبد الله الجدلي قال دخلت على أم سلمة فقالت لي أيسب رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فيكم قلت معاذ الله أو سبحان الله أو كلمة نحوها قالت سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول من سب عليا فقد سبني
‘Abd Allah (b. Ahmad) – my father (Ahmad b. Hanbal) – Yahya b. Abi Bukayr – Israil – Abu Ishaq – Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Jadali:
I entered upon Umm Salamah and she said to me, “Is the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, being cursed among you?” I said, “Allah forbid!” or “Glory to Allah!” or a similar statement. She said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: ‘Whosoever curses ‘Ali has cursed me.’”10
Shaykh al-Arnauṭ comments:
Its chain is sahih.11
Imam al-Haythami (d. 807 H) also states:
رواه أحمد ورجاله رجال الصحيح غير أبي عبد الله الجدلي وهو ثقة
Ahmad recorded it, and its narrators are narrators of the Sahih, apart from Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Jadali and he was trustworthy.12
Imam al-Hakim (d. 403 H) too has this verdict upon the exact same hadith:
هذا حديث صحيح الإسناد
This hadith has a sahih chain13
And Imam al-Dhahabi (d. 748 H) agrees with him:
It is natural logic, anyway. Cursing is an act of hatred. So, whosoever curses ‘Ali apparently hates him. By that very token, such a person is guilty of hating Allah. Looking further, there is yet another point of equality between the Nabi and the Amir. ‘Allamah al-Albani documents this hadith:
من آذى عليا فقد آذاني
Whosoever hurts ‘Ali has hurt me.15
The ‘Allamah states:
Imam al-Hakim also comments:
هذا حديث صحيح الإسناد
This hadith has a sahih chain.17
Imam al-Dhahabi affirms the verdict:
Imam al-Haythami also declares about this hadith:
رواه أحمد ... ورجال أحمد ثقات
Ahmad recorded ... and the narrators of Ahmad are trustworthy.19
In Islam, to hurt someone means to do anything that causes physical or emotional discomfort to them. For example, notice what Allah has said here:
واللذان يأتيانها منكم فآذوهما
And the two persons among you who commit it (i.e. fornication), hurt them both.20
This is clearly about physical hurt. Let us compare that with this noble verse:
يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا تكونوا كالذين آذوا موسى فبرأه الله مما قالوا وكان عند الله وجيها
O you who believe! Do not be like those who hurt Musa, but Allah cleared him of that which they said, and he was honourable before Allah.21
They made incorrect statements about Musa, ‘alaihi al-salam. Such statements apparently hurt the feelings and image of this noble prophet. Therefore, to Allah, they had thereby hurt him. Another example is given in this hadith documented by Imam al-Hakim:
أخبرني محمد بن أحمد بن تميم القنطري ثنا أبو قلابة الرقاشي ثنا أبو عاصم عن عبد الله بن المؤمل حدثني أبو بكر بن عبيد الله بن أبي ملكية عن أبيه قال جاء رجل من أهل الشام فسب عليا عند ابن عباس فحصبه ابن عباس فقال : يا عدو الله آذيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إن الذين يؤذون الله ورسوله لعنهم الله في الدنيا والآخرة وأعد لهم عذايا مهينا لو كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حيا لآذيته
Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Tamim al-Qanṭari – Abu Qilabah al-Raqashi – Abu ‘Asim – ‘Abd Allah b. al-Mu-mal – Abu Bakr b. ‘Ubayd Allah b. Abi Malikah – his father:
A Syrian man came and cursed ‘Ali in the presence of Ibn ‘Abbas. So, Ibn ‘Abbas threw pebbles at him and said, “O enemy of Allah! You have hurt the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him. Verily, those who hurt Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world, and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating torment. If the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, had been alive, you would have hurt him.”22
هذا حديث صحيح الإسناد
This hadith has a sahih chain.23
Imam al-Dhahabi also states:
There is a lot of fawaid in this hadith. Some of them are listed below:
1. Cursing ‘Ali b. Abi Talib falls under the act of hurting him.
3. Whoever hurts ‘Ali is an enemy of Allah.
5. Whoever hurts ‘Ali falls under Qur’an 33:57
7. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib does not need to be physically present before the hurt is done. As long as the act would have hurt him had he been present or would have hurt his name, the crime is completed.
9. Whatsoever hurts ‘Ali also hurts the Messenger of Allah, and by extension Allah.
11. Therefore, whoever hurts ‘Ali has hurt Allah and His Messenger.
There is no doubt that if Amir al-Muminin had been physically present when the Syrian man was cursing him, his feelings would have been hurt. Since whatsoever hurts ‘Ali also hurts the Prophet, it is then the case that the feelings of the latter too would have been hurt. This is what matters in the Sight of Allah. Would the feelings of ‘Ali have been hurt if he were present? If the answer were positive, then indeed the treason is committed.
Ibn ‘Abbas, radhiyallahu ‘anhu, quoted this verse as applying to all cases where ‘Ali has been hurt:
إن الذين يؤذون الله ورسوله لعنهم الله في الدنيا والآخرة وأعد لهم عذابا مهينا
Verily, those who hurt Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world, and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating torment.25
This is the case with ‘Ali. Whoever hurts the Prophet has hurt Allah. Therefore, Allah will curse such a person in both this world and the next, and will throw him into Hellfire. The same is exactly the case with ‘Ali. Whosoever hurts Amir al-Muminin has hurt Allah too. As such, the same punishments that apply in the case of the Messenger also apply in the case of the Amir.
By contrast, if any believer - other than ‘Ali - had been hurt, the applicable laws are different! Our Creator states:
والذين يؤذون المؤمنين والمؤمنات بغير ما اكتسبوا فقد احتملوا بهتانا وإثما مبينا
And those who hurt the believing men and women undeservedly bear on themselves the crime of slander and plain sin.26
This verse proves the absolute superiority of Amir al-Muminin over the entire Ummah. If any Muslim is hurt – whether physically or emotionally – the first question to ask is: did he deserve the hurt? In other words, there are cases when the body or feelings of a believer can be deservedly hurt. In such cases, there is no retribution against the person causing the hurt. Even then, where the hurt was undeserved, the offender is only guilty of slander and sin. Therefore, the punishment is different from what is applicable in the cases of the Messenger of Allah and Amir al-Muminin. Allah has conjoined hurt of Himself with hurt of His Messenger with waw al-musharikah – the conjunction of partnership. In other words, whatsoever applies for Allah, in any case that He is hurt, also applies for His Messenger in any similar circumstance. So, since Allah never deserves to be hurt, then His Messenger too is of the same status. By extension, Amir al-Muminin as well can never be justifiably hurt. Allah has protected both the Nabi and the Amir from ever deserving to be hurt, either physically or emotionally.