In 9 AH the Prophet prepared to march for the expedition against the Romans, and according to Shaykh Mufid and Shaykh Tusi since he was concerned of the evil intentions of the enemies, he told Imam ‘Ali (‘a): “It is not advisable to leave Medina without me or you.” He subsequently placed Imam ‘Ali (‘a) in charge of Medina before departing for the expedition to Tabuk, and in order to quell the hypocrites’ ill-speaking of his cousin, he said the latter’s position to him was like that of Aaron to Prophet Moses (‘a). This saying is known as Hadith al-Manzilah and has been reported by all scholars. Ibn Hanbal has recorded it in the Musnad twenty times through different chains of isnad on the authority of several companions of the Prophet including Jabir bin ‘Abdullah al-Ansari, Asma’ bint ‘Umays, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas, Abi Sa‘id al-Khidri and Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas.1 The last named has related it ten times and one of the versions reads as follows:
Abi Ahmad Zubayri quotes ‘Abdullah bin Habib bin Abi Thabit from Hamzah bin ‘Abdullah from his father and from Sa‘d (bin Abi Waqqas) who narrating this hadith for us, said:
When the Messenger of Allah left Medina for Tabuk he placed (Imam) ‘Ali (‘a) as his vicegerent in Medina. (Imam) ‘Ali (‘a) asked the Prophet:
“Are you making me your vicegerent?”
The Prophet replied:
“Are you not happy that your position to me is that of Aaron to Moses, except that there is no Prophet after me?”2
Ahmad Shakir has termed the isnad of this hadith as fair.