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The Various Occasions Related to Hadith al Thaqalayn

The various narrations of Hadith al-­Thaqalayn also indicate the occasion on which the Prophet (S) proclaimed it publicly. ‘Allamah ‘Abd al-Aziz Tabataba'i, who has studied the various narrations of Hadith al-Thaqalayn as recorded by various traditionists mentions four occasions on which the Prophet (S) proclaimed it publicly. First of these is the occasion when the Prophet (S) proclaimed it during his last hajj at ‘Arafat.

On this occasion, the Prophet (S) was accompanied by more than a hundred thousand Muslims. The second occasion relates to his proclamation at Ghadir Khumm, during the course of his return journey to Madinah. The third occasion relates to his proclamation in the Mosque of Madinah. The fourth one relates to his pronouncement of Hadith al-­Thaqalayn in his chamber during his last illness. All these occasions lie within a period of ninety days and pertain to the Prophet's last days.

There are, however, many narrations of the hadith - in fact, most of them - which do not contain any clue about the time and place of its pronouncement. In the following are given instances of the narrations of Hadith al-­Thaqalayn relating to each of these occasions, accompanied by the sources which record them. 1

1. At ‘Arafat

Al-­Tirmidhi in his Sunan (v, 662, no. 3786) records the following tradition

عن جابر بن عبدالله قال: رأيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في حجته يوم عرفة وهو على ناقته القصواء فسمعته يقول: ((يا أيها الناس, إني تارك فيكم ما إن أخذتم به لن تضلوا: كتاب الله وعترتي أهل بيتي)).

....Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah said: "I saw the Messenger of Allah - upon whom be God's peace and benedictions - in the course of his hajj pilgrimage on the day of ‘Arafah. The Prophet (S) was seated on his camel, al-­Qaswa', and was delivering a sermon. I heard him say: 'O people, I am leaving among you that which if you hold on to you shall never go astray: the Book of Allah and my kindred, my household."

Al-­Tirmidhi states that the same tradition has been narrated by Abu Dharr, Abu Sa’id, Zayd ibn Arqam and Hudhayfah ibn Usayd.

Among others who have recorded this tradition are:

1. al-­Hafiz Ibn Abi Shaybah, as in Kanz al-­‘ummal (1st ed.), i, 48;

2. al-­‘Uqayli in al-­Du’afa' al-­Kabir, ii, 250;

3. al-­Hakim al-­Tirmidhi, Nawadir al-usul, 68, 50th asl;

4. al-­Tabarani, al-­Mu’jam al-­kabir, iii, 63, no. 2679;

5. al-­Khatib, al-­Muttafiq wa al-­muftariq, cf. Kanz al-­‘ummal, i, 48 and Majma' al-­zawa'id, v, 195; ix, 163, x, 363, 268;

6. al-­Baghawi, al-Masabih, ii, 206;

7. Ibn al-Athir, Jami’ al-usul, i, 277, no. 65;

8. al-Rafi’i, al-­Tadwin, ii, 264 (in the biographical account of Ahmad ibn Mihran al-­Qattan; this hadith has been deleted in the Indian print, but is present in the manuscripts of the book ! );

9. al-­Mizzi, Tahdhib al-­kamal, x, 51, and Tuhfat al-ashraf, ii, 278, no. 2615;

10. al-­Qadi al-­Baydawi, Tuhfat al-ashraf;

11. al-­Khwarazmi, Maqtal al-­Husayn (A), i, 144;

12. al-­Khatib al-­Tabrizi, Mishkat al-­masabih, iii, 258;

13. Ibn Kathir, Tafsir (Bulaq edition, on the margin of Fath al-­bayan), ix, 115;

14. al-Zarandi, Nazm al-­durar al-­simtayn, 232;

15. al-­Maqrizi, Ma’rifat ma yajib li Al al-­Bayt al-­Nabawi, 38.

2. At Ghadir Khumm

Al-­Nasa'i in his al-­Sunan al-­kubra, 96, No. 79, records the following tradition in the chapter "Khasa'is ‘Ali":

أخبرنا محمد بن المنثى, قال: حدثنا يحيي بن حماد, قال: حدثنا أبو عوانة, عن سليمان, قال: حدثنا حبيب بن أبي ثابت, عن أبي الطفيل, عن زيد بن أرقام, قال:  لما رجع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عن حجة الوداع ونزل غدير خم أمر بدوحات فقممن, فقال : كأني دعيت فأجبت، وإني قد تركت فيكم الثقلين, أحدهما أكبر من الآخر: كتاب الله وعترتي أهل بيتي, فانظروا كيف تخلفوني فيهما؟ فإنهما لن يفترقا حتى يردا علي االحوض، ثم قال: إن الله مولاي وأنا ولي كل مؤمن، ثم أخذ بيد علي فقال: من كنت وليه فهذا وليه، اللهم وال من والاه وعاد من عاداه. فقلت لزيد: سمعته من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم؟! فقال: ما كان في الدوحات أحد إلا راه بعينيه وسمعته بأذنيه.

Al-­Nasa'i narrates from Muhammad ibn al-­Muthanna, he from Yahya ibn Hammad, from Abu 'Uwwanah, from Sulayman, from Habib ibn Abi Thabit, from Abu al-­Tufayl, from Zayd ibn Arqam, who said, "When the Messenger of Allah (S) returned from the last hajj and came down at Ghadir Khumm....

"Then he declared: 'I am about to answer the call (of death). Verily, I have left two precious things (thaqalayn) among you, one of which is greater than the other: the Book of God and my ‘Itrah, my Ahlul Bayt. So watch out how you treat them after me. For, indeed, they will never separate until they return to me by the side of the Pond.' Then he said, 'Verily, God is my master (mawlaya) and I am the wali of every believer.' Then he took ‘Ali's hand and declared, 'To whomever I am his wali, this one is also his wali. My God, befriend whoever befriends him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him.'" Abu al-­Tufayl says: "I said to Zayd, 'Did you hear it from the Prophet(S)?' He replied, 'There was no one in the caravan who did not see it with his eyes and hear it with his ears,'"

Khasa'is ‘Ali is part of al-­Nasa'i's al-­Sunan al-­kubra as shown by the 3rd volume of the MS in the king's collection in Morocco, written in 759/1358 folios 81-117. See also in this regard the introduction of al-­Khasa'is (Kuwait: Maktabat al-Mu’alla, 1406), ed. by Ahmad Mirayn Balushi. The editor states that this tradition is sahih and its transmitters are thiqah.

Among others who have recorded it in their books are:

1. Al-Bukhari, al-­Ta'rikh al-­kabir, iii, 96;

2. Muslim, Sahih, bab fada'il ‘Ali, no. 2408;

3. Ahmad, Musnad, iii, 17, iv, 366;

4. ‘Abd ibn Humayd, Musnad, no. 265;

5. Ibn Sa’d, and

6. Abu Ya’la from Abu Sa’id, as mentioned in Jam’ al-­jawami’ and Kanz al-­‘ummal;

7. Ishaq ibn Rahwayh, in his Sahih., as mentioned by Ibn Hajar in al-­Matalib al-Aliyah, iv, 65, no. 1873, where he states that its isnad is sahih, and also by al-Busayri in Ithaf al-­sadah (MS in Topcopi Library, vol. 3, F.55b) who, too, considers the isnad as sahih;

8. Ibn Khuzaymah, Sahih, MS in Topcopi Library, F.240;

9. al-­Darimi, Sunan, ii, 310, no. 2319;

10. Abu Dawud, Sunan, as mentioned in Sibt ibn al-­Jawzi, Tadhkirat khawass al-ummah, 322;

11. Abu 'Uwwanah, Musnad, as mentioned in al-­Shaykhani, al-­Sirat al-­sawi;

12. al-­Bazzaz, from Umm Hani, as mentioned in Wasilat al-­ma'al;

13. Ibn Abi 'Asim, Kitab al-­Sunnah, 629, no. 1551, 630, no. 1555, 629, no. 1551;

14. al-­Ya’qubi, Ta'rikh, ii, 112;

15. al-­Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, 110, no. 48, the biographical account of ‘Ali (A);

16. al-­Hafiz al-­Hasan ibn Sufyan al-­Nasawi, the author of Musnad, from Hudhayfah ibn Usayd, as mentioned by Abu Nu’aym, al-­Hilyah, i, 355,

17. al-­Fasawi, al-­Ma’rifah wa al-­ta'rikh, i, 536;

18. Ibn Jarir al-­Tabari, from Hudhayfah ibn Usayd, Zayd ibn Arqam (with al-­Nasa'i's wording as well as with the wording of Muslim), Abu Sa’id al-­Khudri, as cited in Jam’ al-­jawami’, ii, 357, 395, Kanz al-’ummal, 12911, xiii, 36441, 36340, 37620, 37621, 36341, Jami’ al-ahadith, vii, 14523, 15112, 15122, 15113, iv, 7773, 8072, 8073;

19. al-­Dulabi, al-­Dhurriyyat al-­tahirah, no. 228;

20. al-­Hafiz al-­Tahawi, Mushkil al- 'athar, ii, 307, iv, 368;

21. al-­Hakim al-­Tirmidhi, Nawadir al-usul, from Hudhayfah ibn Usayd;

22. al-­Tabarani, al-­Mu’jam al-­kabir, iii, 2679, 2681, 2683, 3052, v, 4969, 4970, 4971, 4986, 5026, 5028;

23. al-­Hakim, al-­Mustadrak ‘ala al-­Sahihayn, iii, 109, 110 where he expressly states, as mentioned above, that the tradition is sahih in accordance with the criteria of al-­Bukhari and Muslim; al-­Dhahabi has confirmed his judgment;

24. Abu Nu’aym, Hilyat al-awliya', i, 355, ix, 64;

25. al-­Bayhaqi, al-­Sunan al-­kubra, ii, 148, vii, 30, x, 114;

26. al-­Khatib, Ta'rikh Baghdad, viii, 442;

27. Ibn al-­Maghazili, Manaqib Amir al-­Mu'minin (A), 23;

28. Ibn ‘Asakir, Ta'rikh Dimashq, ii, 45, no. 547, the biographical account of ‘Ali (A), and v, 436 of Badran's edition in the biographical account of Zayd ibn Arqam;

29. al-­Baghawi, Masabih al-­Sunnah, ii, 205 and Sharh al-­Sunnah (MS in Topcopi Library, vol. 2, F. 718), bab Manaqib Ahlul Bayt;

30. Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-­ghabah, iii, 92 in the biographical account of 'Amir ibn Layla, no. 2727;

31. Ibn Hajar, al-Isabah in the biographical account of 'Amir;

32. al-Mizzi, Tuhafat al-ashraf, iii, 203, no. 3688 from Muslim and al-­Nasa'i;

33. al-­Diya' al-­Muqaddisi, al-­Mukhtarah, as cited by al-­Samhudi and al-­Sakhawi;

34. Ibn Taymiyyah, Minhaj al-­Sunnah, iv, 85;

35. al-Dhahabi, Talkhis al-­Mustadrak, iii, 109;

36. Ibn Kathir, al-­Bidayah wa al-­nihayah, v, 209, vi, 199, from al-­Nasa'i, where he quotes al-Nasa'i's statement that this narration is sahih;

37. al-­Khazin, Tafsir under verses 42:23 and 3:103;

38. al-­Mulla, Wasilat al-­muta’abbidin, v, 199;

39. al-Haythami, Majma’ al-­zawa'id, ix, 163 from Zayd, 164 from Hudhayfah.

3. In the Mosque of Madinah

Ibn ‘Atiyyah in the introduction of his tafsir, al-­Muharrar al-­wajiz, i, 34 records the following narration:

وروي عنه عليه السلام أنه قال في آخر خطبة خطبها وهو مريض: أيها الناس, إني تارك فيكم الثقلين, إنه لن تعمى أبصركم ولن تضل قلوبكم ولن تزل اقدامكم ولن تقصر أيديكم: كتاب الله سبب بينكم وبينه, طرفه بيده وطرفه بأيديكم, فاعلموا بمحكمه وآمنوا بمتشابهه وأحلوا حلاله وحرموا حرامه, ألا وعترتي وأهل بيتي هو الثقل الآخر, فلا تسبقوهم فتهلكوا.

...It is narrated that he (i.e. the Prophet) - upon whom be peace - said in the last sermon that he delivered during his illness: "O people, I leave behind two precious things (thaqalayn) amongst you...: the Book of God - which is a rope between Him and you, whose one end is in His hand and whose other end is in your hands ­ so act according to its muhkamat and believe in its mutashabihat; consider as lawful that which it regards as lawful and consider as forbidden that which it regards as unlawful - and my ‘Itrah and my Ahlul Bayt, who are the second thaql. So don't outstrip them (fa la tasbiquhum), for then you shall perish."

Unfortunately in the printed versions of it fa la tasbiquhum has been altered as fa la tasbi’uhum (a meaningless expression). This tradition has also been narrated by:

1. Abu Hayyan in his tafsir, al-­Bahr al-­muhit, i, 12 (with identical wording, except that in a published version of it there is fa la tasubbuhum, i.e. so don't curse them, instead of fa la tasbiquhum);

2. Ibn Hajar, al-­Sawa’iq al-­muhriqah, 75, 136;

3. Yahya ibn al-­Hasan, Akhbar al-­Madinah with his isnad from Jabir, as cited in Yanabi’ al-mawaddah, 40.

4. In the Prophet's Chamber During His Last Illness

Ibn Abi Shaybah, as cited by Al-­‘Isami in Simt al-­nujum al-awali, ii, 502, no. 136, has narrated the following tradition:

أخرج الحافظ ابن أبي شيبة أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال في مرض موته, أيها الناس, يوشك أن أقبض قبضا سريعا فينطلق بي، وقد قدّمت إليكم القول معذرةً إليكم، ألا إني مخلّف فيكم الثقلين: كتاب الله عزّ وجل وعترتي. ثم أخذ بيد علي فرفعها فقال: هذا علي مع القرآن والقرآن مع علي، لا يفترقان حتى يردا عليَّ الحوض فأسألهما ما خلفت فيهما.

The Messenger of Allah (S) said during his last illness: "Soon I am going to pass away and I have extended to you my plea of excuse. Lo, verily I leave behind amongst you two precious things: the Book of Allah, the Almighty and the Glorious, and my kindred (‘Itrah)." Then he took ‘Ali's hand and raised it, saying, "This ‘Ali is with the Qur'an and the Qur'an is with ‘Ali. The two will not separate until they return to me by the Pond. Then I will ask the two as to how they were treated after me."

Among the narrators of this tradition are:

1. al-­Bazzaz, Musnad, as mentioned in Kashf al-astar, iii, 221, no. 2612;

2. Muhammad ibn Ja’far al-­Razzaz, from Umm Salamah (where she is explicit that the Prophet [S] made this pronouncement in his chamber which was filled by the Companions), as cited in Wasilat al-­ma'al;

3. Al-Azhari, Tahdhib al-­lughah, ix, 78;

4. al-­Khatib al-­Khwarazmi, Maqtal al-­Husayn (A), i, 164, from Ibn ‘Abbas;

5. Ibn Hajar, al-­Sawa’iq al-­muhriqah, 89, from Umm Salamah.

  • 1. See al-Sayyid `Abd al-Aziz al-­Tabataba'i "Ahlul Bayt (A) fi al-­maktabat al-Arabiyyah," Turathuna, No. 15 (4th year, 2nd issue), pp. 84 - 93.

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