According to the interpreters of Quran, ‘bounty’ denotes the Wilayat of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Also that the greatest bounty are these very personalities. There are some verses about this.
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ بَدَّلُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ كُفْرًا وَأَحَلُّوا قَوْمَهُمْ دَارَ الْبَوَارِ. جَهَنَّمَ يَصْلَوْنَهَا وَبِئْسَ الْقَرَارُ.
Have you not seen those who have changed Allah’s favor for ungratefulness and made their people to alight into the abode of perdition. Into hell, they shall enter into it and an evil place it is to settle in. (Surah Ibrahim 14:28-29)
Commentators have said that this refers to the unbelievers of Quraysh because the Holy Prophet (S) was a blessing, and instead of this ‘bounty’ they accepted Disbelief, harboured hatred towards the Prophet (S) and waged war against him.
This explanation is narrated from Ali (a.s.), Abbas (a.r.) and Ibne Jubair.
Some have said that the original ‘bounty’ was converted to disbelief and denied the bounty so the bounty was taken away from them and only their disbelief remained.
The author of Kashaf and all the commentators have narrated from Imam Ali (a.s.) and Umar that this verse was revealed for the two greatest sinners of Quraysh: Bani Umayyah and Bani Mughira. Bani Umayyah is having a limited period of grace, but Allah protected from the evils of Bani Mughairah in the battle of Badr, because all the relatives and friends of Abu Jahl were killed there.
It is narrated by Ayyashi and many other traditionists with many chains of narrators that some people asked the explanation of this verse from Imam Sadiq (a.s.). He said: This verse is about the two main tyrants of Quraysh, Bani Umayyah and Bani Mughairah. Allah destroyed Bani Mughairah and their relatives on the day of Badr, but Bani Umayyah remained till a certain period. Then he said: We are the bounty of Allah with which He has blessed His servants and whoever gets salvation, it is through us.
Kulaini has narrated from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that why do they turn away from the Prophet (S) and his legatee and go on other side and are not afraid that the chastisement will come on them? After that the Imam recited this same verse and said: We are the ‘bounty’ of Allah which Allah has bestowed His servants and due to our grace they will get the ‘bounty’ on the day of Judgement.
Also there is a narration from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that this verse is for all the Quraysh who harboured enmity towards the Holy Prophet (S), fought with him and denied the Imamate of his legatee.
It is related through reliable chains that people asked the Imam the explanation of this verse. The Imam asked: What do the Ahle Sunnat say about this verse? The narrator said: They say it was revealed for Bani Umayyah and Mughairah.
Imam said: By Allah! This verse is revealed for all the Quraysh. The Almighty Allah addressed His Prophet: I have given excellence to Quraysh upon all the Arabs and completed My ‘bounty’ on them and have chosen the religion of Islam for them and have sent a prophet towards them. So they have turned my ‘bounty’ into disbelief and destroyed their nation and made them reach Hell.
There is a tradition from Hasani in Sahifa Kamilah by Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that Allah has given all the news and happenings to the Prophet (S) which were to take place in the regime of Bani Umayyah on the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) their friends and Shias. Then Allah revealed the following verse about them:
Have you not seen those who have changed Allah’s favor for ungratefulness… (Surah Ibrahim 14:28)
In this verse ‘favor’ refers to the Holy Prophet (S) and his Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Their love is a part of faith which will take to Paradise and their enmity is disbelief and hypocrisy which will take to Hell.
ثُمَّ لَتُسْأَلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنْ النَّعِيمِ.
Then on that day you shall most certainly be questioned about the boons. (Surah Takhathur 102:8)
The commentators say that ‘boon’ means all the blessings which were given in the world and some say that it means peace and health of the body.
There is a tradition from Imams Baqir and Sadiq (a.s.) and also Shaykh Tabarsi, Ayyashi and Qutub Rawandi have narrated in Daawaat that Abu Hanifah asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.) about this verse. The Imam asked him what according to your belief is the ‘boon’? He said: Eatables and cool water. If on the day of Judgement Allah makes you stand before Him and questions you about each and every thing you have eaten and drunk and all that you have drunk, then surely you would have to stand for a long time.
Abu Hanifah said: May I be sacrificed for you, what is meant by ‘boons’, The Imam said ‘boon’ is Ahlul Bayt, that Allah has made us the boon for His creatures and due to us He has given love between them, whereas there was conflict among them and due to us He has made them loving and made them brothers with each other whereas they were enemy of one another and due to us and this blessing guided them which was bestowed upon them and they are Holy Prophet (S) and his Progeny.
There is a tradition in Uyoon Akhbar Ridha that one day a group of people was present before the Holy Prophet (S). He said that there is a no real ‘bounty’ in the world. One of the Ahle Sunnat scholars who was present in this gathering asked that Allah says:
Then on that day you shall most certainly be questioned about the boons. (Surah Takhathur 102:8)
Whether this ‘boon’ is not in the world? The Imam replied loudly that you give this explanation and people have given different explanations about it. A group says that ‘boon’ means cold water. Some say delicious food. And the truth is what my father has told me. All these things were stated before my forefather Imam Sadiq (a.s.), by listening to which he got angry and said Allah will not question His creatures about what He has given by His grace and does not boast of His favors.
Whereas the boasting of favors by the people is considered bad, so why such things are attributed to Allah, which the creatures themselves do not like to be associated with? Listen! ‘Boon’ means the love of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and the acceptance of our Imamate. Allah would after asking him about oneness (Tawheed) and Prophethood ask him about it and if he answers them properly, Allah would send him to the blessings of Paradise which shall never end.
Surely my father from his forefathers narrated from Imam Ali (a.s.), that the Holy Prophet (S) said: When a person dies, the first thing he will be questioned is about Tawheed and Prophethood and that you Ali are their Imam and ruler due to the reason that Allah and I have appointed you and whosoever confesses to it that it was his faith in the world and the hereafter, he will go towards that ‘bounty’ which will never end.
Abu Zakvan who is one of the narrators of this tradition, says that after listening to this tradition I was busy in eulogical poetry I didn’t relate this tradition to anyone and one night I saw Holy Prophet (S) in the dream that people were saluting him and he was replying to their salutations. When I saluted him, he did not answer me. So I asked: Am I not from your Ummat. He said: You are also from my Ummat, but make my Ummat aware about the tradition of ‘the favor’ (Naem) which you had heard from me.
Ibrahim and Shaykh Tabarsi have narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that ‘favor’ refers to Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and you will be questioned about it. So at some other place you have:
وَقِفُوهُمْ إِنَّهُمْ مَسْئُولُونَ.
And stop them, for they shall be questioned. (Surah Saffat 37:24)
It means they will be asked about the Wilayat of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says in the explanation of this verse that this Ummat will be questioned about our Wilayat which Allah had given and the blessings of Muhammad and his Progeny.
There is a tradition from Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) that: We are ‘favor’ for the believer and ‘khantal’ (a bitter fruit) in the neck of the disbeliever.
Also there is a tradition from Abu Khalid Kabuli, in which he says that he came to Imam Baqir (a.s.) and food was served for him. He says: Till now I had not tasted such delicious food. The Imam said: Abu Khalid! Did you see our food? He said: It was very good, but I remembered a verse of Quran and the delicious food becomes tasteless for me.
He asked: What was that? I recited this verse and the Imam said: By Allah you will never be asked about this food. After this the Hazrat smiled, so much so that his blessed teeth showed. Then he asked: Do you know what is the ‘favor’? I don’t know, I said. Imam said: We are the ‘favor’; it means safety, health and the Wilayat of Imam Ali (a.s.).
According to other traditions of Imams Baqir and Sadiq (a.s.) ‘favor’ means the Wilayat of Amirul Momineen (a.s.).
There is a tradition in Kafi from Abu Hamza Thumali in which he says that we were a group seated before Imam Baqir (a.s.). By the order of the Imam food was brought, which were delicious, smelled good, was soft and clear and so good that we were able to see our faces in it. A person from us said: O son of the Holy Prophet (S) you will be asked about this ‘bounty’, which you utilize. Imam said: Allah is much greater, kind and generous than to ask you on the day of Judgement about the food He gives and makes Halaal (pure) for you and to take account of it, but you will be questioned about the blessing of Muhammad and His Progeny which He has given you as a blessing.
There is a tradition from Imam Baqir (a.s.) on this topic which says in the end that you will be asked about that right which is about Wilayat and Imamate. There are many traditions on this topic.
Shias and Ahle Sunnat have narrated that a person will be asked about five things: 1. Filling of the stomach 2. Cold water 3. Sweet sleep 4. About the houses where he lived 5. To be born without any defects.
وَأَسْبَغَ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعَمَهُ ظَاهِرَةً وَبَاطِنَةً.
And made complete to you His favors outwardly and inwardly? (Surah Luqman 31:20)
Some have recited it in the singular and some as plural and added a pronoun to it. Some have said that it is the manifested ‘favor’. Some have said about manifest ‘favor’ which can be touched and sensed, and covered one is the ‘favor’ of Aql (intelligence). Or the open ‘favors’ are those whose which are known and the covered ‘favors’ are those which are not known.
There is a tradition in Manaqib and Kamaluddeen from Imam Moosa bin Ja’far (a.s.) that he said narrated from Imam Baqir (a.s.) that he said: The ‘outward favor’ means the Wilayat of we, Ahlul Bayt and to nurture our love in the heart. Then the Imam said: By Allah! Those who accepted this ‘favor’ only outwardly and did not accept it inwardly and whole heartedly about them Allah says this in this verse:
يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ لَا يَحْزُنْكَ الَّذِينَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْكُفْرِ مِنْ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَلَمْ تُؤْمِنْ قُلُوبُهُمْ.
O Apostle! Let not those grieve you who strive together in hastening to unbelief from among those who say with their mouths: We believe, and their hearts do not believe…(Surah Maida 5:41)
The Imam said that Allah is not going to accept their faith but with our love and Wilayat.
فَبِأَيِّ آلَاءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ.
Which then of the bounties of your Lord will you deny? (Surah Rahman 55:6)
Ali Ibne Ibrahim has stated in its explanation that this address is apparently to human beings and Jinns but actually it is addressed to the first and second (caliph).
There is a tradition from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that this verse means the two ‘bounties’, that of Muhammad (S) and Ali (a.s.), and which one ‘bounty’ would you deny?
In the report of Kulaini: Do you deny the Prophet of the legatee?
According to the tradition of Ibne Mahyar of the two which ‘bounty’ do you falsify, Muhammad or Ali, because I have bestowed blessings on My servants because of these two.
Kulaini has narrated through reliable chains from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that he recited this verse:
فَاذْكُرُوا آلَاءَ اللَّهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ.
…therefore remember the benefits of Allah, that you may be successful. (Surah Araf 7:69)
The Imam asked: Do you know what is the ‘benefits of Allah’? The narrator said: No, we don’t know. Hazrat replied: It means the Wilayat of us, Ahlul Bayt, the greatest ‘benefits of Allah’ on the servants of Allah.1
يَعْرِفُونَ نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُنكِرُونَهَا وَأَكْثَرُهُمْ الْكَافِرُونَ.
They recognize the favor of Allah, yet they deny it, and most of them are ungrateful. (Surah Nahl:83)
Ali Ibne Ibrahim said that the ‘favor’ of Allah are the Holy Imams.
Kulaini has related from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) regarding this verse:
إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمْ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ.
Only Allah is your Vali and His Apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow. (Surah Maida 5:55)
When it was revealed in the praise and Imamate of Amirul Momineen (a.s.), the hypocrites gathered in the mosque of Medina and asked each other: What do you say to this? Some of them said: If we refuse this verse, we have to refuse many verses of Quran and if we bring faith on this verse, it would be insulting ourselves as this verse empowers the son of Abu Talib. Ultimately they proposed: As we know that Muhammad is a truthful person, we will accept his Wilayat but we will not accept the orders of Ali. At that time this verse was revealed:
They recognize the favor of Allah, yet they deny it, and most of them are ungrateful. (Surah Nahl 16:83)
It means that they are aware of the Wilayat of Ali (a.s.), but many of them are unbelievers in it.
قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ.
Say: In the grace of Allah and in His mercy… in that they should rejoice; it is better than that which they gather. (Surah Yunus 10:58)
Ibne Babawayh has narrated from Imam Baqir (a.s.) in Majalis, that one day the Prophet (S) mounted and came out of Medina and Amirul Momineen (a.s.) walked besides him. The Prophet (S) said: O Abul Hasan! Whenever I ride you should also ride and when I walk you should also walk and whenever I sit you also sit except in those cases where there is a religious limitation.
And Allah has granted me status and grandeur and the same has also been given to you. Allah chose me for Prophethood and made you my helper and assistant, as you perform difficult and hard tasks within the limits of Allah. I swear by that Allah, Who has made me the true Prophet, that person has not brought faith on me who has rejected you and the one who does not accept your Imamate is like that one who has not accepted my Prophethood. That person does not believes in Allah who disbelieves in you. Surely your grace is my grace and my grace is the grace of Allah. This is the statement of my Lord: ‘Say: In the grace of Allah…’
Thus the grace of Allah is your Prophet (S) and the mercy of Allah is the Wilayat of Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.). The Hazrat said: ‘in that’ means due to the Prophethood and Wilayat, and the Shias of Ali should be happy. ‘they should rejoice; it is better than that which they gather.’ It means that this is better for the Shias of Ali than what their opponents gather in the world of wealth gold and Children. O Ali you were not created but for that due to you people worship your Lord and due to you the science of religion will be known and the ways of guidance get corrected. Indeed that person is astrayed who has strayed away from your Wilayat and he shall never be guided towards Allah that does not get guidance towards you in your Wilayat, and it is the statement of my Lord:
وَإِنِّي لَغَفَّارٌ لِمَنْ تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا ثُمَّ اهْتَدَى.
And most surely I am most Forgiving to him who repents and believes and does good…(Surah Taha 20:82)
Surely my Lord has commanded me that I make your right obligatory just as my right has become incumbent. Indeed your right is incumbent and obligatory on everyone who brings faith in me. If you were not there, Allah’s enemy would not have been recognized. One who meets Allah without your Wilayat is as if he met without anything of the world and religion, rather he has left the world sans faith. Indeed Allah has revealed this verse on me:
يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ.
O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord… (Surah Maida 5:67)
The Prophet (S) said: O Ali! It is about your Wilayat.
وَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ.
…and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message… (Surah Maida 5:67)
The Hazrat said: Indeed, If I had not carried out what was commanded to me about your Wilayat, all my deeds would have been confiscated and anyone who meets Allah without your Wilayat, indeed on the day of Judgement all his deeds shall be confiscated. He will be away from the Mercy of Allah. And whatever I say about you is the saying of my Lord that He has revealed upon me regarding you.
Kulaini has narrated from Imam Ridha (a.s.) on the explanation of this verse that it means the Wilayat of Muhammad (S) and Aale Muhammad is better than what their opponents gather.
Ayyashi has also narrated similarly from Imam Ali (a.s.) that Fazl (grace) is the Holy Prophet (S) and Rahmat is Amirul Momineen (a.s.). The Shias of Ali should rejoice on this because it is better than gold and silver which is accumulated by the enemies of Ali (a.s.).
فَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَكُنتُمْ مِنْ الْخَاسِرِينَ.
…so were it not for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you, you would certainly have been among the losers. (Surah Baqarah 2:64)
Ayyashi has narrated through two sources from Imam Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that the ‘grace’ of Allah is the Holy Prophet (S) and the ‘mercy’ of Allah is the Wilayat of the Purified Imams (a.s.).
مَا يَفْتَحْ اللَّهُ لِلنَّاسِ مِنْ رَحْمَةٍ فَلَا مُمْسِكَ لَهَا.
Whatever Allah grants to men of (His) mercy, there is none to withhold it…(Surah Fatir 35:2)
Ibne Mahyar has narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that ‘mercy’ means knowledge and wisdom, which Allah given to the tongue of the holy Imams for guidance of the people.
وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَهُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَكِنْ يُدْخِلُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ فِي رَحْمَتِهِ وَالظَّالِمُونَ مَا لَهُمْ مِنْ وَلِيٍّ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ.
And if Allah had pleased He would surely have made them a single community, but He makes whom He pleases enter into His mercy, and the unjust it is that shall have no guardian or helper. (Surah Shuraa 42:8)
Ali Ibne Ibrahim has said that if Allah wanted He would have made all his creatures infallible like angels and the unjust are those who have done injustice on the Progeny of Muhammad.
Ibne Abbas has narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that Mercy means the Wilayat of Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.).
وَاللَّهُ يَخْتَصُّ بِرَحْمَتِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ.
…and Allah chooses especially whom He pleases for His mercy… (Surah Baqarah 2:105)
Dailami has narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that ‘mercy’ means the Holy Prophet (S) and his Vicegerent. Indeed Allah has created 100 mercies, of which 99 have been gathered for Muhammad and Aale Muhammad, and only one mercy is distributed among all the creatures.
ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ.
That is Allah’s grace; He grants it to whom He pleases… (Surah Juma 62:4)
وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ.
And do not covet that by which Allah has made some of you excel others…(Surah Nisa 4:32)
The Imam said that both these verses were revealed in praise of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).
وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَى مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ.
…and that you should exalt the greatness of Allah for His having guided you and that you may give thanks. (Surah Baqarah 2:185)
There is a tradition in Mahasin that ‘thanks’ means the awareness of the roots of religion or the Ma’refat of the Infallible Imams (a.s.).
Also in the explanation of this verse:
وَلَا يَرْضَى لِعِبَادِهِ الْكُفْرَ وَإِنْ تَشْكُرُوا يَرْضَهُ لَكُمْ.
...and He does not like ungratefulness in His servants; and if you are grateful, He likes it in you… (Surah Zumar 39:7)
The Imam says that ‘ungratefulness’ means the enmity of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and ‘gratefulness’ means the Wilayat of the Holy Imams and their recognition (Ma’refat).
وَتَجْعَلُونَ رِزْقَكُمْ أَنَّكُمْ تُكَذِّبُونَ.
And to give (it) the lie you make your means of subsistence. (Surah Waqiah 56:82)
There is a tradition in Tawilul Aayaat, that it denotes the ‘bounty’ which Allah bestowed for the sake of Muhammad and Aale Muhammad. And with it a condition has been stipulated for you. You give thanks but falsify his Vicegerent, Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.).
فَلَوْلَا إِذَا بَلَغَتْ الْحُلْقُومَ. وَأَنْتُمْ حِينَئِذٍ تَنظُرُونَ.
Why is it not then that when it (soul) comes up to the throat. And you at that time look on… (Surah Waqiah 56:83-84)
When at the times of death the life is pulled upto the throat, you see the Vicegerent of the Prophet, Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.), who gives good tidings of Paradise to his friends and the bad news of Hell to his enemies.
وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْكُمْ وَلَكِنْ لَا تُبْصِرُونَ.
And We are nearer to it than you… (Surah Waqiah 56:85)
And I am nearer to you than Amirul Momineen (a.s.),
but you do not see… (Surah Waqiah 56:86)
But you don’t know and you see not