Well-Wisher: This hadith proves
that Ali possessed three characteristics: (1) The rank of a prophet;
(2) The rank of successor to the Holy Prophet; and (3) his superior
position among all the companions of the Holy Prophet. Like the
Holy Prophet, Ali's followers likened him to Aaron, who was a
prophet, was invested with the caliphate of Moses, and was superior
to all the Bani Isra'il.
Nawab: Was Aaron a prophet?
Nawab: Can you cite a verse
from the Holy Qur'an in support of this point?
Well-Wisher: Allah mentioned
his prophethood in many verses. He says: "Surely We have
revealed to you as We revealed to Noah, and to the prophets after
him. We revealed to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, and Jacob and the
tribes, and to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon; and We gave
to David Psalms." (4:163)
And again He says: "And mention Moses in the Book; surely
he was one purified, and he was an apostle, a prophet. And We
called to him from the blessed side of the mountain, and We made
him draw nigh, holding communion (with us). And We gave to him
out of Our Mercy his brother, Aaron, a prophet." (19:51-53)
Hafiz: So according to your
reasoning, Muhammad and Ali were both prophets.
Well-Wisher: I didn't express
it the way you have. Of course, you yourself know that there is
a great difference of opinion regarding how many prophets there
have been. Some claim that there have been 120,000 - or even more.
But all of them in their respective periods were divided into
groups and were subordinate to a major prophet to whom a sacred
book was revealed containing a new religious law. Five of them
were major prophets: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the last
of the prophets, Muhammad, whose rank is the highest.
Aaron was one of those prophets who was not permanent or independent.
He was subordinate to the shari'a (religious code) of his brother,
Moses. Ali reached the rank of prophethood but was not elevated
to the rank of prophet per se since he was subordinate to the
shari'a of Muhammad. In this hadith of Manzila, the purpose of
the prophet was to tell people that, just as Aaron had reached
the rank of prophethood but was subordinate to Moses, Ali reached
the rank of prophethood. The Imamate was conferred upon him, but
he was subordinate to Muhammad.
In his commentary on the Nahju'l-Balagha, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid says
in connection with this hadith that by mentioning the rank of
Aaron in comparison to Moses, the Prophet indicated that Ali Bin
Abu Talib occupied that rank. Similarly, Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi'i,
in his Matalibu's-Su'ul, page 19, after explaining the rank and
position of Aaron, says: "The gist of the matter is that
the position of Aaron in relation to Moses was that Aaron was
his brother, his representative, partner in prophethood, and his
successor or vicegerent when Moses was on a journey. The Prophet
of Allah has also in this hadith indicated that Ali held the same
position as Aaron held, except prophethood, which has been excluded
by his saying: 'There will be no prophet after me.'"
Therefore, it is proven that Ali was the Prophet's brother, wazir
(assistant), representative, and his successor, as declared by
the Prophet in his journey to Tabuk. This hadith is unanimously
accepted as true. The same view has been expressed by Ibn Sabbagh
Maliki in his Fusulu'l-Muhimma, page 29, and by many others of
your prominent ulema.
Hafiz: I think your claim that
if our Prophet had not been the seal of the prophets, Ali would
have held that office, is peculiar to you alone. No one else has
Well-Wisher: This claim is not
confined to me and the Shia ulema. Your own ulema have held the
same view. One of your great ulema is Mulla Ali Bin Sultan Muhammad
Harawi Qari. In his Mirqat-e-Sharh bar Mishkat, he says, commenting
on the hadith of Manzila, "There is an indication in this
hadith that if there were any prophet of Allah after the last
of the prophets, it would have been Ali." Another of your
prominent ulema who has interpreted this hadith the same way is
the well known scholar, Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti. He writes towards
the end of his Baghiatu'l-Wu'az Fi Tabaqatu'l-Huffaz, giving the
chain of chroniclers up to Jabir Abdullah Ansari, that the holy
Prophet told the Commander of the Faithful, Ali "Had there
been any prophet of Allah after me, it would have been you!"
In addition, Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani Faqih Shafi'i says in the
second of the six Mawadda in his book Mawaddatu'l-Qurba, quoting
a narration from Anas Bin Malik, that the Prophet said: "Verily,
Allah made me superior to all the prophets, chose me for excellence,
and made for me a successor, my cousin, Ali. Through him, He strengthened
my shoulders, just as the shoulders of Moses were strengthened
by Aaron. He, (Ali) is my vicegerent and assistant. If there were
any prophet after me, it would have been Ali, but there will be
no prophet after me."
So you see that I am not alone in claiming the rank of prophethood
for Ali. The Prophet and your own ulema have acknowledged it.
Since he possessed the rank of Aaron, and since the era of prophethood
had ended, Ali was the fittest person for the caliphate (vicegerency).
One indication of Ali's exalted rank was that the Prophet permitted
the door of Ali's house to remain open toward the mosque.
These comments caused excitement and confusion among the Sunnis.
Well-Wisher asked why it was so.
Nawab: Last Friday we went to
the mosque to offer prayers. Hafiz Sahib told us about the superiority
of Caliph Abu Bakr. He said that he was permitted to keep the
door of his house opened towards the mosque. We are surprised
to hear you say that this permission was peculiar to Ali. Please
clarify this point.
Well-Wisher: (Turning to Hafiz
Sahib) Have you made this statement?
Hafiz: Yes. It is recorded in
our authentic hadith, as reported by the pious and just companion
of the holy Prophet, Abu Huraira. The Prophet ordered "That
all doors opening towards the mosque be closed except the door
of Abu Bakr's house, for Abu Bakr is from me and I am from Abu
Well-Wisher: Surely you know
that because of the merit of the Commander of the Faithful, Ali,
the Bani Umayya made continued efforts through secret means and
particularly through the servile flatterers of Mu'awiya, like
Abu Huraira and Mughira, to fabricate such hadith. Moreover, the
followers of Abu Bakr, because of their support of him, strengthened
these fabricated hadith. Ibn Abi'l-Hadid, in his commentary on
Nahju'l-Balagha, Volume I, and again in Volume 3, page 17, discusses
in detail that among the many fabricated hadith is the one which
tells about the closing of the doors of all the houses towards
the mosque, except that of Abu Bakr. Contrary to this forged hadith,
there are many authentic hadith, which are recorded not only in
authentic Shia books, but also in reliable books of your own ulema,
Nawab: Since it is a controversial
issue, with Hafiz Sahib saying it is peculiar to Abu Bakr, and
with you saying it is peculiar to Ali, we would appreciate it
if you would quote from our books so that we may compare your
references with those of Hafiz Sahib.
Well-Wisher: The following sources
have narrated that the Prophet ordered that all the doors of the
houses opening toward the mosque be closed except the door of
Ali's house: Ahmad bin Hanbal in Musnad. Volume I, page 175, Volume
II, page 26 and Volume IV, page 369; Imam Abu Abdu'r-Rahman Nisa'i
in Sunan and in Khasa'isi'l-Alawi, pages 13-14; Hakim Nishapuri
in Mustadrak, Volume III, pages 117-125 and Sibt Ibn Jauzi in
Tadhkira, pages 24-25 have testified to the reliability of this
hadith on the basis of chains of narrators of Tirmidhi and Ahmad.
Again, Ibn Athir Jazri in Athna'l-Matalib, page 12, Ibn Hajar
Makki in Sawa'iq Muhriqa, page 76, Ibn Hajar Asqalani in Fathu'l-Bari,
Volume VII, page 12, Tibrani in Ausat, Khatib Baghdadi in his
Ta'rikh (History), Volume VII, page, 205, ibn Kathir in Ta'rikh,
Volume 7, page 342, Muttaqi Hindi in Kanzu'l-Ummal, Volume VI,
page 408, Haithami in Majma'u'z-Zawa'id, Volume IX;, page 65,
Muhibu'd-Din Tabari in Riyadh, Volume II, page 451, Hafiz Abu
Nu'aim in Faza'ilu's-Sahaba and in Hilyatu'l-Auliya, Volume IV,
page 183, Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Ta'rikhu'l-Khulafa', page 116,
in Jamu'l-Jawami', in Khasa'isu'l-Kubra, and in La'aliu'l-Masnu'a,
Volume I, page 181, Khatib Khawarizmi in Manaqib, Hamwaini in
Fara'id, Ibn Maghazili in Manaqib, Munawi Misri in Kunuzu'd-Daqa'iq,
Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda, page 87, devoting
the whole of Chapter 17 to this very issue, Shahabu'd-Din Qastalani
in Irshad-e-Bari. Volume VI, page 81, Halabi in Siratu'l-Halabiyya,
Volume III, page 374 and Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i in Matalibu's-Su'ul
and many others, particularly from among the prominent companions
of the Holy Prophet, have narrated the same thing. For instance,
Caliph Umar Bin Khattab, Abdullah Ibn Abbas, Abdullah Bin Umar,
Zaid Bin Arqam, and Jabir Bin Abdullah Ansari have confirmed the
reliability of this hadith. Some of your prominent ulema, in order
to save the people from being misled by the Bani Umayya, have
emphasized the truth of this hadith. Muhammad Bin Yusuf Ganji
Shafi'i, in his book Kifayatu't-Talib, chapter 50, has dealt with
this hadith under a special heading. Quoting from authentic sources,
he says that since a number of doors of the companions of the
Prophet opened towards the mosque, and since the Prophet had forbidden
everyone to enter the mosque in the state of janaba or haiz (pollution
making the ritual bath essential), he ordered that all doors of
the houses be closed excepting the door of Hazrat Ali's house.
He said, "Close all the doors; but let the door of Ali's
house remain open." Muhammad Bin Yusuf Shafi'i says that
it is peculiar to Ali that he was permitted to enter and stay
in the mosque in the state of janaba. He goes on to say: "In
short, the Holy Prophet's conferring this privilege exclusively
on Ali was a great honor. It shows that the Prophet knew that
Ali, Fatima, and their descendants were entirely free from impurity,
as is clearly shown by the 'verse of purity' in the Holy Qur'an."
These remarks of a Shafi'i scholar may be compared to the hadith
mentioned by Hafiz Sahib. Leaving aside all the authentic sources
we have quoted, if you have any proof of Abu Bakr's purity, please
present it. The fact is that even Bukhari and Muslim in their
collections of traditions have pointed out this fact that a polluted
person cannot stay in the mosque. The Prophet said, "It is
not permitted for anyone who is polluted to stay in the mosque
except for me and Ali." Perhaps I may be allowed here to
quote a hadith from the second Caliph, Umar Ibn Khattab, which
has been reported by Hakim in Mustadrak, page 125, by Sulayman
Balkhi in Yanabiu'l-Mawadda chapter 56, page 210, and by others,
like Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Khatib Khawarizmi, Ibn Hajar, Suyuti,
and Ibn Athir Jazri. He said: "Verily, Ali Ibn Abi Talib
possessed three outstanding merits. If I possessed any one of
them, it would have been better for me than red-haired animals
(camels): (1) The Prophet gave his daughter in marriage to him;
(2) The Prophet ordered that all the doors of the houses opening
towards the mosque be closed except the door of Ali's house; (3)
The Prophet bestowed upon him the flag (of Islam) on the day of
the Battle of Khaibar."
From these remarks, it is now clear that Ali was similar to the
Holy Prophet in all respects, just as Aaron was to Moses. So when
Moses found Aaron fittest for this office, he asked Allah to make
him his associate in his mission, so that he might be his wazir
(minister or assistant). Similarly, when the Holy Prophet saw
that there was no one among all of his followers as deserving
as Ali, he asked Allah Almighty to make Ali his minister and associate.
Nawab: Are there further hadith
regarding this issue?
Well-Wisher: Yes, many exist concerning this matter in your own books.
Nawab: I am prepared to listen
to them provided you, too, (pointing toward the ulema of the other
side) would like to listen.
Hafiz: No harm. Listening to
hadith is as devotional a deed as the narration thereof.
Well-Wisher: Ibn Maghazili Faqih
Shafi'i in his Manaqib, Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Durr-e-Mansur,
the renowned theologian, Ahmad Tha'labi, in Kashfu'l-Bayan, Sibt
Ibn Jauzi in Tadhkiratu'l-Khawasu'l-Umma, in connection with the
verse of Wilaya quotes from Abu Dharr Ghifari and Asma Bint Umais
(wife of Abu Bakr) that they said that one day they offered their
noon prayers in the mosque when the Prophet was present. A beggar
began asking for alms. No one gave him anything. Ali was bowing
(in the ritual bow). When he pointed to his finger, the beggar
removed the ring from his finger.
The holy Prophet saw what happened, and raising his head towards
the sky, said "O Allah, my brother Moses prayed to you: 'O
my Lord, expand for me my breast and make easy for me my task.
Appoint for me a helper from my family, Aaron, my brother.'"
The verse was revealed telling Moses that his prayer was granted.
Allah appointed for him a helper and strengthened his hands and
gave them such power and authority that no one could overpower
them. "...and Moses said to his brother Aaron: 'Take my place
among my people, and act well and do not follow the way of the
Hafiz: You said that Aaron was
an associate of Moses in prophethood. How was he then made his
caliph? An associate in prophethood holds a position superior
to that of a caliph or successor. If the partner is a prophet
and he is made the caliph, this is a lowering of his rank.
Well-Wisher: The principal prophethood
belonged to Moses, and Aaron's prophethood was subordinate to
that of Moses. But regarding preaching he was his associate, as
is evident from Moses' requests, recorded in the Holy Qur'an:
"He (Moses) said: 'O my Lord! Expand my breast for me, and
make my affair easy for me, and loose the knot from my tongue,
(that) they may understand my family; Aaron, my brother, strengthen
my back by him, and associate him (with me) in my affair.'"
Similarly, Ali was one who, besides possessing the rank of a prophet,
was an associate of the Prophet in all stages and special qualities.
Hafiz: I am astonished to hear
you exaggerating the position of Ali. We are all amazed. You just
said that Ali possessed all the characteristics of the Prophet.
Well-Wisher: These statements
are not exaggerations. They are facts. The Prophet's successor
should, according to common sense, be the model of the Prophet.
Even your own great ulema have expressed similar beliefs. Imam
Tha'labi, in his commentary, confirmed this point. And the great
Sunni scholar, Alim Fazil Seyyed Ahmad Shahabu'd-Din, in his Tauzihu'd-Dala'il,
has referred to this point as follows: "It is not a secret
that the Commander of the Faithful resembled the Prophet of Allah
in most good qualities, selfless actions, habits, prayers to Allah,
and all other exalted ways of life. This has been proved by authentic
reports and reliable sources and does not require any proof or
argument. Some ulema have counted some of those qualities which
Ali and the Holy Prophet possessed equally."
Among the qualities shared by both is their lineal descent. And
arguing from the verse of purity, we see that Ali is similar to
the Holy Prophet in purity. (This verse was revealed in reference
to five people: Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain.) Ali,
like the Prophet, was the Vicegerent of Allah. According to both
sects, the following verse was revealed in reference to Ali: "Only
Allah is your Friend and His Apostle and those who believe, those
who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow."
Ali was similar to the Holy Prophet in the performance of the
duties of prophethood and preaching, as the affair of the Sura
of Immunity (Bara'a) shows. The Prophet gave certain verses of
the Sura to Abu Bakr and instructed him to recite them to the
people during the Hajj. The angel Gabriel soon appeared before
the Prophet and told him that it was Allah's will that the matter
of the Holy Qur'an should be conveyed either by the Prophet himself,
or by one who was of him. Ali was identical with the Prophet in
his role as Vicegerent of Allah. The Prophet himself said: "I
have been commanded by Allah to announce this to you." Then
he grasped the hand of Ali and said, "Know you all, of whomsoever
I am the Maula (Master), Ali is also his Maula (Master)."
Moreover, the self of Ali is declared to be the self of the Prophet.
The 'Verse of Imprecation' (Mubahala) says: "But whoever
disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of
knowledge, then say: 'Come let us call our sons and your sons
and our women and your women and our selves and your selves; then
let us be earnest in prayer and pray for the curse of Allah on
the liars.'" (3:61)
To return to the time in the mosque when Ali gave the beggar his
ring and the Prophet invoked Allah, asking Him to make Ali his
associate in his prophethood. Then the Holy Prophet prayed: "O
Allah! I am Muhammad, Your chosen one and Your Prophet. Expand
for me my breast. And make easy for me my task and appoint for
me a helper from my family, Ali. Strengthen my back through him."
Abu Dharr related, "By Allah! The prayer of the Prophet had
not ended when the angel Gabriel appeared and revealed this verse
to him: 'Only Allah is your Friend and His Apostle and those who
believe, those who maintain prayers and pay the poor-rate while
they bow.'" (5:55)
The Prophet's prayer was granted, and Ali was appointed his vizier.
Muhammad bin Talha Shafi'i, in Matalibu's-Su'ul, page 19, has
dealt with this issue in detail. Furthermore, Hafiz Abu Nu'aim
Isfahani in Manaqatu'l-Mutaharin, Sheikh Ali Ja'fari in Kanzu'l-Barahin,
Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal in Musnad, Seyyed Shahabu'd-din in Tauzihu'd-Dala'il,
Jalalu'd-Din Suyuti in Durr-e-Mansur, and other prominent scholars
of your sect have narrated this in their works. Some of them have
narrated from Asma Bint Umais (the wife of Abu Bakr) and some
from other companions. The following was narrated by Abdullah
bin Abbas: "The Prophet took me and Ali by the hand. He offered
four rak'ats of prayer, and raising his hands toward the sky,
said, 'O Allah! Moses, son of Imran, begged of you to appoint
for him a helper and to make easy for him his task. I am Muhammad.
I beg of you to expand for me my breast and make easy for me my
task. Keep my tongue fluent so that the people may understand
my speech. Appoint for me a helper from my family, Ali. Strengthen
my back through him, and associate him with me in my affair.'
I heard a voice saying, 'O Ahmad! I have granted your request.'
Then the Prophet took Ali by the hand and said, 'Raise your hands
towards the sky and pray to Allah so that He may bestow something
upon you.' Then Ali raised his hands and said, 'O Allah, promise
me on Your part that you will hold me in Your affection.' Immediately
the angel Gabriel appeared and brought this verse of the chapter
'Mary': 'Surely (as for) those who believe and do good deeds upon
them will Allah bestow love.' (19:96)
When the companions of the Prophet were surprised at this, the
Prophet said, 'Why are you astonished? The Holy Qur'an has four
parts: One-fourth concerns us (the Ahle Bait); one-fourth concerns
lawful matters; one-fourth is for unlawful matters; and one-fourth
concerns commandments and ordinances. I swear by Allah that there
are many verses in the Holy Qur'an which have been revealed in
praise of Ali.'"
Sheikh: Even if this hadith
is taken to be authentic, it does not indicate a special rank
for Ali. The same hadith has been narrated concerning Caliph Abu
Bakr and Caliph Umar. Qaz'a Bin Suwaid has narrated from Ibn Abi
Malika who quotes Ibn Abbas as saying that the Holy Prophet said,
"Abu Bakr and Umar are to me as Aaron was to Moses."
Well-Wisher: You should take
into account the character of some of your narrators. Sometimes
you argue from the reports of Amadi and sometimes from those of
the notorious liar and forger, Qaz'a Bin Suwaid, even though your
own leading ulema have discredited him. Allama Dhahabi, in his
Mizanu'l-I'tidal, in the description of the affairs of Qaz'a Bin
Suwaid and Ammar Bin Harun, rejects this hadith and says simply,
"It is a lie." When your own ulema reject Qaz'a, the
hadith that he narrates should be rejected. Compare this hadith
of Qaz'a with the chain of hadith that I have quoted from the
most prominent ulema of your sect and decide yourself which of
the hadith you accept.