Imamate and leadership are among the significant issues of which every Muslim should have a clear understanding and to which should recognize his/her responsibility. Imamate is a subject to which the Holy Prophet has paid special attention. The Prophet has mentioned it frequently in his speeches and it has been discussed in various times and places and in different ways. Its significance is to such an extent that according to traditions, agreed upon by the Shi’a and the Sunni—some of which will follow—the great Prophet of Islam (a.s) warned sharply: “One who dies without knowing the Imam of his age dies as a pagan,” and hence will be raised beside apostates and disbelievers on the Resurrection Day. Moreover, the Muslim community would have naturally faced this issue after the tragic demise of the Holy Prophet (a.s), since the question then was that who would be the Prophet’s successor and how the Muslims’ affairs should be managed.
Therefore, seeking and finding the truth about Imamate, unscathed by pagan bias, is an inevitable necessity for the Muslims. Discussions on Imamate are presented in three main ways, each having its own characteristics. These are as follows:
1. Logical Method: In this method, the necessity of Imamate and Imam’s infallibility is proved via for example Lutf (benevolence) principle and logical understanding and then by this principle and its results, consequences of Imamate are stated.
2. Miracle Method: Here, individuals make sure of the Imams’ truthfulness by seeing directly or getting information about their miracles.
3. Nass (wording) Method: In this case, the Imams’ Imamate is determined by the Prophet’s introduction or stipulation or each Imam’s introduction of his next successor (s).
In various books written about Imamate, Imam Ali’s leadership after the Prophet (a.s) has been stated in all the above-mentioned ways. But the leadership of other Imams has been proved via the first (Logical) and the second (Miracle) methods.
The purpose of this book is to prove Imamate via the third method (Nass) and mostly traditions narrated by the Sunnis and is organized in such a way to be helpful for most people.
To begin with, is there any leadership after the Prophet (a.s) at all? Attempts to find the answer to this question is the start of our research. In this view, this issue is proved by presenting various traditions and we will find out that Imamate existed after the Prophet (a.s) and this continued through the ages. Whenever a bright star from this Household of the Holy Prophet (the Ahl al-Bayt) set, another would rise and hence the earth would never be without a Hujjah. Then in proceeding with this research, we deal with our Imams’ characteristics in order to distinguish them. So, Imamate is first proved as a vast circle and then this circle is gradually reduced to include only the Twelve Imams. With this introduction, the issues will be discussed in the following order:
-The meaning of Imamate and leadership,
-The continuation of Imamate and the necessity of knowing the Imam,
-The number of the Imams and that they are twelve in number and all from Quraysh,
-The Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) and Imamate,
-The intended concept of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s)
-The leadership of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s)
-Presence of people from the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) until the Resurrection Day,
-Belonging of Imams to the Prophet’s Household (a.s),
-Names and identity of Imams.
Before getting to this last step and finding the names and identification of the Imams in ahadith (traditions of the Holy Prophet), traditions from Sunni books have been used.
In each chapter, care is taken as to include stipulation of Sunni clerics for at least some of the traditions. This makes the Sunni readers realize that even in the most authentic books of their owns, there are successive traditions clearly proving Imamate of the Twelve Imams, and that in spite of all the political, cultural, financial and physical pressures for diminishing the light of the Ahl al-Bayt and eliminating such traditions from the hadith lexicon of the Prophet, and secluding their traditions, the ray of truth is glittering from the most certified Sunni hadith books, saturating everyone who has insight, knowledge and conscience.
It will also increase the belief and strengthen the faith in the hearts of the Shi’a readers, since they realize that the Ahl al-Bayt’s Imamate is provable even through the books of those who do not believe in them. But in this last step, although some wordings (nass) of Imams are narrated by the Sunni and are mentioned in many sources, including the present book, for more certitude, a few of the traditions of the Shi’a, though little more than a drop in the ocean, are given.
It is worth mentioning that for investigating into the authenticity of such traditions and selecting the most authentic ones, we should go to traditions whose narrators are among document chains of jurisprudence traditions, for clerics expert in Rijal (knowledge of distinguished hadith narrators) have paid more attention to them and hence they can be more easily recognized. With regard to the excess of traditions in the present topic and the existence of various indications, of course, there is no need for investigating any documents.
In any case, in writing this book nearly fifty books of both the Sunni and Shiite have been used, the most important of which are as follow:
Ithbat Al-Hudat, Ghayat Al-Maram, Muntakhab Al-Athar, Aman Al-Ummah, Jami’ Al-Ruwat and Tanqih Al-Maqal from the Shi’a, and Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Mustadrak, Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan Al-Nisa’i, Sunan Abi Dawud, Sunan Ibn Majah, Musnad Ahmad, Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir, Al-Sawa’iq Al-Muhriqah, Kanz Al-Ummal, Lisan Al-Mizan, and Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib from the Sunni.
Raghib—the famous lexicographer—in his book entitled Mufradat states, “An Imam is one who is followed. It can be either a person whose speech and behavior are followed, or a book, etc.”
He also says about Caliphate, “Caliphate is the succession of another person.”
The terms “Imamate” and “Caliphate” seem to have been used in the same lexical meaning in religious texts, too. The realm of these two concepts, however, may be wide or narrow, depending on their sphere of usage. So, if Imamate is used with ‘Ummah’ (nation) or ‘naas’ (the masses); or it is used in the abstract, it means all-around leadership which is of excellent status and we are not to deal with its features and greatness here.
The relationship between the concepts of Imamate and Caliphate is a distinct issue which should be dealt with in its own place. But two points are of significance in the present discussion:
First, Imamate and Caliphate are the succession of the Prophet of Islam (a.s) after his demise, in religious and social affairs. Second, Imamate and Caliphate are in practice inseparable. In other words, the same person who is Imam should be Caliph and the Prophet’s successor. It is impossible to consider someone as only Imam and the other as merely Caliph.
Taftazani, a famous Sunni scholar, in his book ‘Maqasid’ defines Imamate as “the leadership of the public as Caliphate and succession of the Prophet (a.s) in religious and social affairs.”1
Qushji, a great Sunni theologian, gives the same definition.2 Other Sunni scholars have presented the same or nearly the same definitions for Imamate.3 As is quoted, Abu Bakr too, when denying Ansar’s4 candidate for Caliphate, adduced the tradition:
الأئمَِّةُ مِن قُريشٍ.
“Imams are from Quraysh.”5
Therefore, he did not differentiate between Imamate and Caliphate either.6 The conclusion derived from this brief discussion is that in traditions, which will be quoted, by Imamate means Caliphate, too.
Islam is undoubtedly the everlasting religion until the Resurrection Day and never dependent upon the great Prophet of Islam (a.s). The Holy Qur’an says:
وَمَا مُحَمَّد إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَفَإِيْن مَاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انْقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ.
“And Muhammad is no more than a messenger; the messengers have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels? 2:1447”
So the continuation of Islam, as a religion, over time is an established principle.
Defending religion, execution of Shari’ah commandments and protecting the glory of Muslims and Islamic territory, on the other hand, requires leadership and commandment or else it would not be possible. The necessity of leadership is an issue agreed upon by all Islamic sects and branches and except for a small group, not worthy of attention, no one has doubted it.
Adhud al-Din Iji, a Sunni judge and scholar, in Mawaqif says: “Muslims in the early years after the Prophet’s demise have successively reached consensus that an age without Imam is impossible.8
But since the method of this book is based on quotation, an attempt is made to follow the issues in the light of traditions quoted from the great Prophet (a.s) by the Sunni.
The traditions can be divided into two parts:
1. Many traditions in which the terms ‘Imam,’ ‘Caliph’ and the like (in various forms) have been mentioned. These traditions briefly prove that there are Imamate and Caliphate, after the honorable Messenger of Allah (a.s); such as, “الأئمّةُ اثنا عَشَر.” (Imams are twelve in number.) Because if there is no Imamate, it cannot be said that Imams are twelve in number. Some traditions of this sort will be stated.
2. Some traditions verify that an Imam exists in every age, some of which state that one should know his Imam and follow him and that if someone dies without knowing and following the Imam of his age, he dies as a pagan; i.e. he dies as apostate.
• Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 3, p. 446:
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : من مات وليست عليه طاعه مات ميتة جاهلية.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) has said: One who dies without obedience (to an Imam), dies as a pagan and disbeliever.9
• Sahih Muslim, Vol. 12, p.240 (Nawawi’s exposition):
سمعت رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: ومَن ماتَ وَلَيسَ في عُنُقِه بَيعَةٌ ماتَ ميتة جاهلية.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) has said: One who dies with no allegiance (to an Imam) has died as a pagan.10
• Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir, Vol. 10, p.289:
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : مَنْ ماتَ ولَيسَ عليه إمامُ فَمِيتَتُهُ مِيتَةٌ جاهِلِيّة.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) has said: One who dies and has no Imam has died as a pagan.11
• Sahih Muslim, Vol. 12, p. 201 (Nawawi’s exposition):
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : لا يَزالُ هذا الأمرُ في قُرَيشٍ ما بَقيَ في النّاسِ اثْنانِ.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) has said: As long as there are at least two people (in the world), this issue (Caliphate) remains in Quraysh.12
As is evident, this requires the continuation of Caliphate.
• Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 4, p.96:
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : مَنْ ماتَ بِغَيرِ إمامٍ ماتَ مِيتةً جاهِلِيّة.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) has said: One who dies with no Imam dies as a pagan13.
Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Umar Ibn Abi ‘Asim Al-Sheybani, died in 287 AH, quotes the same tradition with slight differences not changing the meaning in ‘Kitab Al-Sunnah’.14 The researcher of the book says about the tradition, “It is well-documented,” as is included in other Musnads and collections of traditions.
• Mustadrak Hakim, Vol. 1,p.77:
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : مَن ماتَ ولَيسَ عَلَيه إمامُ جَماعَةٍ فإنّ مِيتَتَهُ مِيتَةٌ جَاهِلِيةٌ.
The Messenger of Allah said: One who dies and has no Imam of the public dies as a pagan.
Hakim considers this tradition as valid.
• Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir, Vol. 12, p.336:
وَمَنْ ماتَ مِن غَيرِ إمامِ جَماعَةٍ ماتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّةً.
One who dies without an Imam of the public dies a pagan death.
In the last two traditions,"إمام جماعة" means Imam of the Muslim community and it is obvious that the Prophet (a.s) means true Imam; since he certainly does not intend an Imam who has gained his position unlawfully. Shahab Al-Din Al-Turbashti Hanafi15 has been quoted as saying: “The true meaning of this and other similar traditions is to be applied to Imams who are just, since they are the only ones who deserve to be named Caliph.”16
As some of the following traditions state, “There is no refuge from a government,” they do not intend to legalize the government of oppressors and transgressors. They do not want to say that God and His Messenger are content with the ruling of such people, but that human beings cannot continue to live without leadership. Hence, even difficult social circumstances, caused by the ruling of an oppressor government, are much better than the unbearable consequences of confusion and anarchy. So traditions do not prescribe oppressor and corrupt governments at all. Accordingly, as emphasized by great Sunni scholars too, Imam and Caliph should be just.
• Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir, Vol. 10, p.132, No. 10210:
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : لا بُدَّ للنّاسِ مِن إمارَةٍ بَرَّةٍ أو فَاجِرَةٍ.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) has said: People have no refuge from the government; either a good or a bad one.
• Al-Sunan Al-Kubra, Vol. 8, P. 184:
سَمِعَ عَليّاً رَضيَ اللهُ عَنهُ قوماً يَقولونَ: لا حُكْمَ إلاّ للهِ! قال: نَعَمْ! لا حُكْمَ إلاّ لله. وَلكِنْ لا بُدَّ لِلنّاسِ مِنْ أمِيرٍ بَرٍّ أوْ فاجِرٍ يَعْمَلُ فِيهِ المُؤْمِنِ وَيَسْتَمتِعُ فِيهِ الكَافِرُ وَيُبلِّغُ اللهُ فيهِ الأَجَلَ.
Ali (a.s)—May God be content with him—heard a group saying: “The ruling is only Allah’s.”17 He said: “This is true! Ruling is only Allah’s, but there is no refuge from rulers, good or bad, so that under their rule, the believer does his deeds and the corrupt gets benefit, and Allah will expire the appointed time.” 18
• Al-Durr Al-Manthur, Vol. 4, p. 194 :
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : ﴿يَوْمَ نَدْعُو كُلَّ أُنَاسٍ بِإِمَامِهِمْ﴾ قال: يُدعَى كُلُّ قَومٍ بِإمامِ زَمانِهِمْ وَكِتابِ رَبِّهِمْ وَسُنّةِ نَبِيِّهِمْ.
Ibn Mardwiah has quoted Ali—May his God be content with him—as saying that the Prophet (a.s), when interpreting the honorable Qur’anic verse: “(Remember) the day when We will call every people with their Imam, 18:71” said: “Each group is called with the Imam of its age, its God’s Divine Book and its Prophet’s Sunnah (tradition).”
Qurtubi too has quoted it from the Holy Prophet (a.s) in his exegesis (of the Holy Qur’an)—Tafsir.19 He has quoted another tradition from Ali (a.s) under this verse: “Their Imam” in the honorable verse means the Imam of their age.20
• Al-Musannaf, Vol. 8, p.614, No. 146:
عَنْ عَلِيٍّ: وإنَّ النّاسَ لا يُصْلِحُهُم إلاّ إمامٌ بَرٌّ أو فاجِرٌ.
Ali (a.s) is quoted as saying: People are indeed not guided, except by Imam and leader, either good or bad.21
• Kanz Al-Ummal, Vol. 5, p.779, No. 14366:
عَنْ عَليٍّ قالَ: إنَّ مُعاوِيَةَ سَيَظْهَرُ عَلَيكُم. قالوا: فَلِمَ نقاتل إذاً؟ قال: لا بُدَّ لِلنّاسِ مِن أميرٍ بَرٍّ أوْ فاجِرٍ.
Ali (a.s) is quoted as saying: “Mu’awiyah will certainly dominate you.” “Why do we fight then?” he was asked. “People have no refuge from having a ruler, either a good or a bad one,” he replied.
• Al-Musannaf, Vol. 8, p. 741, No. 51:
دَخَلَ رَجُلٌ المَسْجِدَ فَقَالَ: لا حُكْمَ إلاّ للهِ. ثُمَّ قالَ آخَرُ: لا حُكْمَ، فَقالَ عَليٌّ: لا حُكْمَ إلاّ للهِ ﴿إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَلَا يَسْتَخِفَّنَّكَ الَّذِينَ لَا يُوقِنُونَ.﴾ فَما تَدْرونَ ما يَقولُ هَؤلاء؟ يَقولون لا إمارَةَ! أيُّها النّاسُ! لا يُصْلِحُكُمْ إلاّ أميرٌ بَرٌّ أوْ فاجِرٌ. قالوا: هَذا البَرُّ فَقَد عَرفْناهُ، فَما بَالُ الفاجِرِ؟ فَقالَ: يُملى لِلفاجِرِ وَيُبَلِّغُ اللهُ الأجَلَ وتَأمَنُ سُبُلُكُم وَتَقومُ أسْواقُكُم وَيُجْبى فَيئُكُم وَيُجاهِدُ عَدُوَّكُم وَيُؤخَذُ لِلضَّعِيفِ مِنَ الشَّدِيدِ مِنْكُمْ.
A man entered the mosque and said: “Ruling is only Allah’s.” Another one came and repeated the same thing. Ali (a.s) said: “Ruling is only Allah’s.” Then he recited the Qur’anic verse:
“Surely the promise of Allah is true, and let not those who have no certainty hold you in light estimation. (30:60)”
He then added: “You do not know what they are saying. They say there is no ruling and government. O People! You are not guided except by a ruler, either good or bad.” His companions said: “We have thus realized the merits of a good ruler! Now, tell us about a bad one’s.” Ali (a.s) said: “The corrupt are given respite and God will expire the appointed time. Your roads become safe and your markets loaded. The fees are collected and the foes fought. The rights of the oppressed are obtained from the oppressor.”22
Having proved Imamate and its continuation over time, we now turn to other traditions, which state, “Imams are twelve in number and are all from Quraysh.”
Ibn Hajar in his book ‘Al-Sawa’iq Al-Muhriqah’—written for proving Caliphate of the three Caliphs and rejecting Shi’a—after bringing a tradition says, “All Sunni scholars accept the validity of this tradition.”23
Apart from other traditions about Imamate and Caliphate, this group of traditions per se, can prove not only the invalidity of other Islamic branches and sects except Twelver Shi’a, but also the validity and soundness of Twelver Shi’a, since none of the Islamic branches conclusively believe in the Twelve Imams. Especially with regard to traditions stipulating the presence of an Imam in every age this can be proved, for no Islamic branch or sect believe in Twelve Imams over ages in a way that the earth is never deprived of one of them. In fact, this honor is only given to Twelver Shi’a to believe in Twelve Imams, the first of whom is Imam Ali (a.s) and the last one Mahdi (a.s), the true and chosen Imam, who is still alive, but passing by his occultation period.
So certain and frequent traditions including “The Imams are twelve in number,” added to those proving the continuation of Imamate in all ages, provide sufficient evidence to reject all branches of Islam save Twelver Shi’a. These two groups of traditions prove the legitimacy of the Twelver Shi’a too, because it is supposed that one can get the truth of Imamate by doing research, for according to traditions dying as a believer requires knowing the Imam of age and leaving this world as a believer is undoubtedly possible.24
So knowing the Imam of age from among these Imams is possible, otherwise one cannot die as a believer and Muslim. Since no Islamic branch or sect save Twelver Shi’a believe in the Twelve Imams, one of which to be the Imam of a certain age, it becomes clear that only belief in this branch of Islam is belief in truth and leads to salvation.
Exactly for the same reason, Sunni scholars have faced an unusual confusion in explaining and interpreting traditions including “The Imams are twelve in number,” not being able to find a true meaning for them, to the extent that Ibn Hajar in Fat’h Al-Bari quotes Muhallab as saying, “I found no one completely sure of a definite meaning for this tradition.”25
Nearly the same confusion is expressed by Ibn Al-Jawzi in Kashf Al-Mushkil. In short, one scholar rejects the second and considers him as ignorant; a third one sees both of them as going astray and so on and so forth.
Interestingly, these traditions appear in the books written before the completion of the number of Imams, too. Not only does this confirm the Imamate of the Twelve Imams, but also it is a clear miracle of the Holy Prophet. Some traditions are mentioned hereinafter:
• Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 4.p. 168:
سمعتُ النبيّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: يَكونُ اثْنا عَشرَ أميراً، فقالَ كَلمَةً لم أسْمَعْها، فقال أبي إنّه قال: كُلُّهُم مِن قُريشٍ.
Jabir says: I heard the Prophet (a.s) saying: “There will be twelve leaders and Caliphs.” Then he added something I could not hear. My father said that the Prophet said: “All of them are from Quraysh.”26
• Sahih Muslim, Vol. 6, p. 3:
قال النبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : إنَّ هذا الأمْرَ لا يَنْقَضي حَتىّ يَمضي فيهم اثنا عَشَرَ خَليفَةً. قال: ثم تكلم بكلام خفِيَ عليّ، فقلتُ لأبي: ما قال؟ قال: كُلُّهُم مِن قُرَيْشٍ.
Jabir narrates: My father and I went to the Prophet (a.s). We heard him saying: “This issue (Caliphate) will not be completed until twelve Caliphs come.” Then he added something I did not get. I asked my father what the Prophet had said. He said: “All are from Quraysh.”27
• Sahih Muslim, Vol. 6, p.4 (Nawawi’s exposition):
سمعتُ رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: لا يَزالُ الدّين قائِماً حتىّ تَقومَ السّاعَةُ أو يَكونَ عَليكُم اثْنا عَشَرَ خَليفَةً كُلُّهُم مِن قُريشٍ.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) has said: The religion (Islam) remains established until twelve Caliphs, all of whom from Quraysh, rule over you.28
Again the same tradition is quoted in “Sahih Muslim” in different words.
• Sahih Muslim, Vol. 6, p. 3:
سمعتُ رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: لا يَزالُ الإسلامُ عَزيزاً إلى اثنَي عَشرَ خَليفَةً. ثمّ قالَ كَلمَةً لم أفْهَمْها، فقُلتُ لأبي: ما قال؟ فَقالَ: كُلُّهُم مِن قُريشٍ.
Jabir narrates: I heared the great Prophet (a.s) saying: “Islam will always remain mighty until twelve Imams come.” Then he said something I did not understand. I asked my father: “What did he say?” He replied: “All are from Quraysh.”
• Sahih Al-Tirmidhi, Vol 2, p. 45 :
قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : يَكونُ مِن بَعدِي اثْنا عَشرَ أميراً. ثمّ تَكَلّم بِشيءٍ لم أفهَمْه، فسأَلْتُ الذي يَليني فقال: كُلّهُم مِن قُريْشٍ.
Jabir says that the Prophet (a.s) said: “There will be Twelve Imams and leaders after me.” Then he said something I did not get. I asked the person beside me about it. He said: “All of them are from Quraysh.”29
Tirmidhi writes after this tradition, “This is a fine and true tradition which is narrated from Jabir in different chains.”30
• Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 5, p. 106:
سمعتُ النبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: يكونُ لِهذِه الأمَّةِ اثْنا عَشَر خَليفةً.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) said: There are twelve Caliphs for this nation.31
Some reckon that Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in Musnad have quoted traditions about this issue in thirty four different tradition chains from Jabir.
• Sahih Abu Dawud, vol. 2, p. 309:
لا يَزالُ هذا الدّينُ عَزيزاً إلى اثنَي عَشرَ خَليفَةً. قال: فَكَبَّر النّاسُ وضَجّوا ثُمّ قالَ كلمةً خفيّةً. قُلتُ لأبي: يا أبه؛ ما قالَ؟ قال: كُلُّهُم مِن قُريشٍ.
“This religion will always be mighty until Twelve Imams come.” Hearing this, people glorified Allah with ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Great) and cried harshly.32 Then he said something in a soft voice. I asked my father: “What did he say?” “They are all from Quraysh,” he replied.33
Hakim Nayshapuri narrates this tradition with a document different from those previously mentioned.
• Mustadrak Ala Al-Sahihayn, Vol. 3, p. 618:
قال النبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم : لا يَزالُ أمرُ أمّتي ماضياً حتىّ يَمضي اثنا عَشرَ خَليفَةً. ثُمّ قالَ وخفّضَ بها صوتَه، فقُلتُ لعَمّي وكانَ أمامي: ما قال يا عمّ؟ قال: قالَ، يا بُنيّ، كُلّهُم مِن قُريشٍ.
Awn quotes his father Abu Juhayfah as saying: My uncle and I were with the Holy Prophet, when he said: “The affairs of my nation passes until twelve Caliphs come.” Then he lowered his voice. I asked my uncle who was sitting in the front about what the Prophet (a.s) had said. He answered: “O’ my son! The Prophet (a.s) said that they would all be from Quraysh.”34
Nur Al-Din Haythami, in Majma’ al-Zawa’id,35 after this tradition adds, “Tabarani, in Al-Mu’jam Al-Awsat and Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir, and Bazzaz have quoted this tradition; and the chain of Tabarani is the same as quoted in books of Sahih.”
• Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 1, p. 398:
…وَلَقد سألْنا رَسولَ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم فقالَ: اثنا عَشرَ كَعِدّةِ نُقَباء بني إسرائيل.
Masruq says: We were sitting with Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud, learning Qur’an from him. Someone asked him, “Did you ask the Prophet (a.s) how many Caliphs would rule this nation?” Ibn Mas’ud replied: “We surely asked the Messenger of Allah this question and he replied: ‘Twelve; like the number of the Israelites’ Chieftains.’”36
Ibn Hajar in Fat’h Al-Bari considers Ahmad’s quotation from Ibn Mas’ud as fine documentation.
• Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir of Tabarani, Vol. 2,p. 196:
…النبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: يكونُ لِهذه الأمة اثنا عشرَ قَيّماً لا يَضُرّهُم مَن خَذَلهم. وهَمسَ رَسولُ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم بكلمةٍ لم أسمَعْها، فقلتُ لأبي: الكَلمَةُ الّتي هَمس بِها رَسولُ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم ؟ فَقال: كُلّهُم مِن قُريشٍ.
Jabir says: My father and I were before the Prophet (a.s) when he said: “Rulers and Caliphs of this nation will be twelve in number. They will suffer no harm in case people stop helping them,”37 and added something I did not hear. I asked my father about it, “The Prophet said: They are all from Quraysh,” he replied.38
• Al- Mu’jam Al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p.256:
سمعت رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: إثنا عَشرَ قَيّماً مِن قُرَيشٍ لا يَضُرّهُم عَداوَةُ مَن عَادَاهُم. قال: فالتَفَتُّ خَلفي فإذا أنا بعُمَرَ بنِ الخَطّاب، رضي الله عنه، وأبي في أُناس؛ فأثبَتوا ليَ الحديث كما سمِعْتُ.
Jabir says: I heared the Prophet (a.s) delivering sermon and saying: “There will be twelve guardians from Quraysh the enmity of whose enemies will not harm them.” I turned back and saw ‘Umar and my father among the people; they confirmed the tradition as I heard it.39
As is emphasized in this tradition too, it is a reality that the Imams should be these twelve people, though superficially, government and power might not be in their hands.
• Yanabi’ Al-Mawaddah, Vol. 2, p. 315:
…رسولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقولُ: بَعدي اثْنا عَشرَ خَليفَة. ثم أخفى صوتَه، فقُلتُ لأبي: ما الّذي قال؟ قال: قالَ كُلُّهُم مِن بَني هاشِمٍ.
Jabir is quoted as saying: My father and I were before the Messenger of Allah (a.s) when he said: “There will be twelve Caliphs after me.” Then he lowered his voice. I asked my father what the Prophet had said softly. He replied: “The Prophet said: All of them are from Banu Hashim (the Hashimites).”40
Samak Ibn Harb has quoted nearly the same tradition.
This tradition leads us to the conclusion that Imams are not only from Quraysh, but also from Banu Hashim (Hashimites). The aforementioned traditions was but a small part quoted by the Sunnis proving that Imams are twelve in number and all from Quraysh.41
Ibn Kathir in Al-Bidayah wa’l-Nahayah says, “In the Torah of the Scripturists, there is material implying that God, the Almighty, gave good tidings to Abraham over Ishmael’s birth and that He will raise Ishmael and increase his children and select twelve persons from his generation, great in status.42
Then Ibn Kathir adds: “Our master Allamah, Ibn Taymiyah says: These twelve are the same persons about whom Jabir (Ibn Samarah) gave good tidings in his tradition. It is established that they are spread in the nation (They will not come successively). And the Resurrection Day will not come unless all those twelve appear. A great number of Jews embracing Islam has made mistake and thought that these twelve people are those who the heretic (Rafizi) group (i.e. the Shi’a) call on the nation to follow! Hence, they followed the Shi’a.”
In fact, because of his deviation from the Ahl al-Bayt and ungrounded bias, Ibn Taymiyah could not understand the good tidings of the previous Divine Books and the statements of the great Messenger of Allah (a.s).
How did he indeed conclude from the “Twelve Imams” in traditions that the Imams will come separately? Is it not the case that Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ahmad and Hakim have quoted from Jabir Ibn Samarah and Abu Juhayfah by different chains of narrators that the Holy Prophet (a.s) said:
لا يَزالُ الإسلامُ عَزيزاً إلى اثْنَي عَشرَ خَليفَة.
This religion will always be mighty until Twelve Imams come.
The Arabic "لا يزال" implies the concept of connectedness. Various traditions state that there is an Imam in every age and that one who dies without knowing the Imam of his age has in fact died as a pagan. Does this not require the continuation of existence of Imams over the ages? Successive Thaqalayn (the Two Precious Things) traditions say that the Holy Prophet and the Ahl al-Bayt are inseparable up to the Resurrection Day? Do these traditions not indicate the continuation of existence of Imams from the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) in a successive manner?
When individuals do not show humility before the truth, they face such contradictions. This way, they cannot understand the message intended by the great Prophet (a.s). They either remain in astonishment or make deviant interpretations, matching these honorable traditions with the wicked, transgressors and disbelievers such as Yazid, Walid Ibn Yazid Ibn Abdul Malik and other oppressors from Banu Umayyah (the Umayyad dynasty) who not only were more than twelve in number, but also did not deserve Imamate and Caliphate, as every fair person giving a little attention confesses. And this is the retribution for arrogance before the truth.
Conclusive and successive traditions from the Messenger of Allah (a.s) emphasize the fact that the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) are infallible; never making mistakes or being wrong, and to follow them is to follow the truth and leads to salvation. In these traditions, the Prophet (a.s) has given the Ahl al-Bayt equal status with the Holy Qur’an. He has recommended holding fast to them absolutely and unconditionally and has considered opposition to them as satanic. The Prophet’s determined statements about the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) indicate that their way and their speech are not but truth.
Therefore, if one of them claims Imamate or introduces another one as Imam, he is truthful in his claim and his claim and confirmation are divine proof for the nation. Some traditions arguing for the Ahl al-Bayt’s infallibility are mentioned hereinafter:43
• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol. 3, p. 17:
عَن النّبيّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم انه قال: إنّي أوشَكُ أنْ أدْعى فأُجيبُ، وإنيّ تارِكٌ فِيكُم الثَّقَلَينِ كِتابَ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وعِترَتي. كِتابُ اللهِ حَبْلٌ مَمدودٌ مِن السَّماءِ إلى الأرض وَعِترَتي أهل بَيتي؛ وَإنّ اللّطيفَ الخَبيرَ أخْبَرني أنَّهُما لَن يَفتَرقا حَتىّ يَردا عَلَيَّ الحَوْضَ؛ فانْظُروني بِم تُخَلَّفوني فِيهِما.
The honorable Messenger of Allah (a.s) said: I will soon be called to my Lord and will accept it. I leave two invaluable entities among you; the Divine Book of the Almighty Allah, stretching from heaven to the earth like a rope; and my family, my Household. The Almighty informed me that these two would never be separated from each other until they meet me on the River in Paradise (Kawthar). So be aware of what you will do with them after me!
• Sahih Muslim, Vol. 7, Part 4, p.122:
قام رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يوماً فينا خطيباً بماءٍ يُدعى خُمّاً بين مَكَّة والمَدينَةِ فحَمِدَ اللهَ وأثْنى عَليهِ ووَعَظَ وذَكَّرَ ثمّ قالَ: أمّا بَعدُ! ألا أيّها النّاسُ فإنَّما أنا بَشَرٌ يُوشكُ أنْ يأتيَ رَسولُ رَبّي فأُجيبُ، وأنا تارِكٌ فِيكُم الثَّقَلين؛ أوَّلُهُما كِتابُ اللهِ فيهِ الهُدى وَالنُّورُ، فَخُذوا بِكِتابِ اللهِ وَاسْتَمْسِكوا بهِ. فَحَثَّ على كِتابِ اللهِ ورغَّبَ فيهِ ثُمّ قالَ: وأهْلَ بَيتِي؛ أُذَكِّرُكُمُ اللهَ في أهل بَيتي أُذَكِّرُكُمُ اللهَ في أهل بَيتي أُذَكِّرُكُمُ اللهَ في أهل بَيتي.
Zayd Ibn Arqam says: One day, the Messenger of Allah stopped beside Khumm Pond, between Mecca and Medina, for a sermon. After praising God and advising to the people, he said: “O, people! I am a human just like you who will soon go with God’s messenger (angel of death). I will leave two valuable things among you. First, the Divine Book of Allah in which there is light and guidance, so hold fast to it.” Then he continued encouraging to God’s Book, and added: “And my Household. I remind you of God about my Household, I remind you of God about my Household, I remind you of God about my Household.”
• Mustadrak, Vol. 3, p. 109:
عَن زَيدٍ قال: لمّا رجعَ رسولُ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم مِن حِجّةِ الوَداعِ ونَزَلَ غَديرَ خُمٍّ أُمرَ بِدَوحاتٍ فَقُمِمنَ فقالَ: كأنّي قد دُعيتُ فأُجيبُ. إنّي قَد تَرَكتُ فِيكُم الثّقَلَين أحَدُهُما أكبَرُ مِن الآخَرِ؛ كِتابَ اللهِ وعِترَتي فانْظُروا كَيفَ تُخَلّفُونني فِيهِما فإنَّهُما لَن يَفتَرقا حتىّ يَرِدا عَلَيَّ الحَوضَ. ثمّ قال: إنّ الله عَزَّ وَجَلَّ مَولايَ وأنا مَولى كُلِّ مُؤمِنٍ. ثمَّ أخذَ بِيدِ عَلِيٍّ فقالَ: مَنْ كُنتُ مَولاهُ فَهذا وَلِيُّهُ، اللّهُمّ والِ مَن وَالاهُ وعَادِ مَن عاداهُ.
The Messenger of Allah was returning from The Farewell Hajj44 when he stopped at Khumm Pond (Ghadir Khumm) and ordered people to sweep the ground under some trees. Then he said: “I will apparently be called and will accept it. I leave two worthy things both very great in status; Allah’s Divine Book and my Household. Be careful of how you will deal with them. They will never be detached from each other until they join me at the River in Paradise.” He then added, “God, the Glorified, is my Lord, and I am the lord of all the believers.” Then he took Ali’s hand and said: “Whoever I am his lord, then Ali is his guardian. O Allah! Befriend everyone who likes him and hate everyone who dislikes him.”45
• Kanz Al-‘Ummal, Vol. 1, p. 167:
تَرَكتُ فِيكُم ما لَنْ تَضِلّوا إنْ اعْتَصَمْتُم بِه؛ كِتابَ اللهِ وَعِتْرَتي أهل بَيتي.
Jabir quotes the great Prophet (a.s) as saying: “I left things among you; you will never go astray if you hold fast to them—Allah’s Divine Book and my family, the Household.”46
Ibn Hajar says: “The Messenger of Allah (a.s) called Qur’an and his Household as ‘Thiql,’ since everything worthy of keeping safe is named ‘Thiql,’ and these two are so. They are both the sources of divine sciences, invaluable secrets and wisdom, and Islamic commandments. That is why the Prophet (a.s) has strongly persuaded into following and getting knowledge from them.”47
He adds: “Only those members of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) who are knowledgeable in Allah’s Book and the Prophet’s tradition (Sunnah) are the subject of the Holy Prophet’s attention and persuasion, for they would not be separated from Allah’s Divine Book up to the River in Paradise.”48 After stating some more sentences, he says, “This is because God, the Almighty, has distanced them from contamination and wickedness and made them pure and clean.”49
• Mustadrak, Vol. 2, p.343:
…أيُّها الناس! مَن عَرفَني فأنا عَرفْتُم وَمَن أنْكَرني فأنا أبو ذَرٍّ؛ سمِعْتُ رسولَ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم يقولُ: مَثَلُ أهل بَيتي مَثَلُ سَفِينَةِ نوحٍ؛ مَن رَكِبَها نَجا وَمَن تَخَلَّفَ عَنها غَرِقَ.
Hanash Kanani narrates: I saw Abudhar taking hold of the Ka’bah (Allah’s House) door and saying: “O People! If you know me, I am the one you know, otherwise I am Abudhar. I heard the honorable Messenger of Allah (a.s) saying: My Ahl al-Bayt (Household) is comparable to Noah’s Ark; whoever enters it will be rescued and whoever disobeys will be drowned.”
Hakim has confirmed this tradition.
• Al-Sawa’iq Al-Muhariqah, p.184:
مَثَلُ أهل بَيتي مَثَلُ سَفِينَةِ نوحٍ؛ مَن رَكِبَها نَجا وَمَن تَخَلَّفَ عَنها غَرِقَ.
Ibn Abbas has quoted the Holy Prophet (a.s) as saying:50 My Ahl al-Bayt (Household) is comparable to Noah’s Ark; whoever enters it will be rescued and whoever disobeys will be drowned.
• Al-Jami’ Al-Saghir, Vol. 9, p. 155; Al-Sawa’iq Al-Muhariqah, p. 184
أنّ النبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: مَثَلُ أهل بَيتي مَثَلُ سَفِينَةِ نوحٍ؛ مَن رَكِبَها نَجا وَمَن تَخَلَّفَ عَنها غَرِقَ.
Abdullah Ibn Zubayr has quoted the honorable Prophet as saying: My Ahl al-Bayt (Household) is comparable to Noah’s Ark; whoever enters it will be rescued and whoever disobeys will be drowned.
Abu Bakr Shahab Al-Din Husayni Shafi’i says: “Islamic scholars have stated that the Prophet (a.s) compared his honorable Household to Noah’s Ark, for everyone who entered it was rescued from the fear of storm. Likewise one who follows the Prophet’s Household (a.s) and benefits from the light of their guidance, as the traditions has persuaded to do so, is rescued from the darkness of adversities and asking for help from God’s best mediators. On the contrary, one who does not follow them and recognize their status is drowned in the oceans of transgression and is doomed to the inferno.”51
• Mustadrak, Vol. 3, p.149:
…رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم قال: النُّجُومُ أمانٌ لأهْلِ الأرض مِن الغَرَقِ وأهْلُ بَيتي أمانٌ لأمَّتي مِن الاخْتِلافِ، فإذا خالَفَتْها قَبيلَةٌ مِن العَربِ اختَلَفوا فَصاروا حِزبَ إبْليسَ.
Ibn Abbas quotes the Prophet (a.s) as saying: The stars save human race from being drowned; my Household saves the nation from having conflicts. Whenever an Arab tribe opposes my Household, its people will come into conflict with each other and become the people of Satan.
Hakim has confirmed this tradition.
• Al-Sawa’iq Al-Muhariqah, p. 150:
أهل بَيتي أمانٌ لأهْلِ الأرض، فإذا هَلَكَ أهل بَيتي جاءَ أهل الأرض في الآياتِ ما كانوا يوعَدونَ.
My Ahl al-Bayt are the protectors of people on the earth. If they vanish, people will experience the promised signs.
• Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Faza’il Al-Sahabah; Al-Sawa’iq Al-Muhariqah, p. 333:
…قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : النُّجومُ أمانٌ لأهْلِ السّماءِ وأهْلُ بَيتي أمانٌ لأهلِ الأرض، فإذا ذَهبَ أهل بَيتي ذَهبَ أهل الأرض.
Ali (a.s) has quoted the Holy Prophet (a.s) as saying: “The stars are security for the inhabitants of the heavens; and if they vanished, the inhabitants of the heavens will disappear. And my Ahl al-Bayt are security for the inhabitants of the earth; hence, if they disappear from the earth, its inhabitants will vanish.52
Ahmad says: “God, the Almighty, created the earth for the sake of His Prophet (a.s) and kept it lasting with his Ahl al-Bayt’s existence.”53
What is the meaning of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s)? Who are those having such a sacred and great position to accompany the Holy Qur’an forever and being like an ark for the people’s safety? Does the term ‘Ahl al-Bayt’ include all the Prophet’s relatives and family members? Does it involve the Prophet’s wives too?
Conclusive traditions quoted from the Holy Prophet (a.s) by both Shi’a and Sunni narrators provide the answer to these questions. Many traditions have been quoted by different chains of narrators under the exegesis of the following honorable Verse in the Sunni books:
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أهل الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.
“Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House (Ahl al-Bayt), and to purify you a thorough purifying. (33:33).”
These books indicate that ‘the Ahl al-Bayt’ includes Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn (a.s). So the Prophet (a.s) does not mean all his family members and relatives when he speaks about ‘the Ahl al-Bayt’, possessing such characteristics and advantages. Many of the Prophet’s relatives, regardless of their excellent status, needed guidance. Was it not Aqil, Imam Ali’s brother, who was reproached by the Imam (a.s) due to his inappropriate request; let alone others who were not of his high rank?54 Therefore, some relatives of the Prophet’s may be regarded as his household lexically, but according to their virtues referred to in the Holy Qur’an and the statements of the Prophet (a.s), they are probably not included in the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s).
• Sahih Muslim, Vol. 7, p. 130:
عَن عائِشَةَ قالَت: خَرجَ النبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم غداة وعَلَيه مِرطٌ مُرجَّلٌ مِن شعر أسوَدَ، فجاء الحسنُ بن عَليٍّ فأدخَلَهُ ثمَّ جاءَ الحُسينُ فَدخلَ معه ثمّ جاءَت فاطِمةُ فأدخَلَها ثمّ جاءَ عَليٌّ فأدْخَلَهُ، ثمّ قالَ: ﴿إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أهل الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.﴾
Aishah says: One morning, the Holy Prophet (a.s) came out of his house wearing a cloak made of black hair. Hasan (a.s) came in and the Prophet (a.s) placed him under the cloak. Then Husayn (a.s) came and went in there. Then came Fatimah (a.s) who was placed there by the Prophet (a.s). Next Ali (a.s) came and the Prophet took him under his cloak and recited,
“Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House (Ahl al-Bayt), and to purify you a thorough purifying. (33:33).”
• Sahih Al-Tirmidhi, Kitab Al-Manaqib:
عَن أمّ سَلَمَة: أنّ النبيّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم حَلَّلَ عَلى الحَسَنِ والحُسينِ وَعَلِيٍّ وَفاطِمَةَ كِساءً ثمّ قال: اللّهُمّ هؤلاءِ أهلُ بَيتي وَخاصَّتي؛ أذْهِبْ عَنهمُ الرّجْسَ وَطَهّرهُم تَطهيراً. فقالَت أمُّ سَلَمة: وأنا مَعَهُم يا رَسولَ الله؟ قال: إنّك إلى خَيرٍ.
Ummu-Salamah has quoted that the Holy Prophet (a.s) covered Hasan, Husayn, Ali and Fatimah (a.s) with his cloak and then stated: “O Lord! These are my Household (Ahl al-Bayt) and my chosen ones. Take wickedness away from them and make them pure!”
Ummu-Salamah says, “I asked the Prophet (a.s), ‘O Messenger of Allah! Am I among them?’ He replied, ‘You are into goodness (but not among them).’”
Tirmidhi writes under this tradition: “This tradition is true and well-documented and the best one quoted in this regard.”
• Sahih Al-Tirmidhi, Vol. 13, p.200:
…لمّا نَزَلَتْ هذه الآيَةُ على النّبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : ﴿إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أهل الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.﴾ في بَيتِ أُمِّ سَلَمةَ دَعا النّبيُّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم فاطِمَةَ وَحسَناً وَحُسيناً وعَليٌّ خَلفَ ظَهْرِه فَجَلَّلَهُم بِكِساءٍ، ثمَّ قال: اللّهُمّ هؤلاءِ أهلُ بَيتي فَأذْهِبْ عَنهمُ الرّجْسَ وَطَهّرهُم تَطهيراً. قالَت أُمُّ سَلَمة: وأنا مَعَهُم يا نَبيَّ الله؟ قالَ: أنْتِ عَلى مَكانِكِ وأنْتِ إلى خَيرٍ.
Umar Ibn Salamah, the Holy Prophet’s stepchild, says: The honorable verse of “Purification” was revealed in the house of Ummu-Salamah, the Holy Prophet’s wife. The Holy Prophet (a.s) called Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn (a.s), and Ali (a.s) was behind him. Then he covered them with a cloak (kisa’) and stated: “O Allah! These are my Household, so banish wickedness from them and make them pure!” At this moment, Ummu-Salamah asked: “O Prophet of God! Am I among them?” He answered, “You are in your own place and you are into goodness, too.”55
• Mushkil Al-’athar (authored by Al-Tahawi), Vol. 1, p. 336:56
عَن أُمّ سَلَمَة: أنْزَلَ اللهُ هذِه الآيَةَ: ﴿إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أهل الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.﴾ وَما في البَيتِ إلاّ جِبريلُ وَرَسولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم وَفاطِمةُ وَالحَسنُ وَالحُسينُ عَليهِمُ السَّلامُ، فقُلتُ: يا رَسولَ اللهِ! أنا مِن أهلِ البَيتِ؟ فقال: إنّ لكَ عِندَ الله خَيراً. فَوَددتُ أنّه قالَ (نَعم) فَكانَ أحَبَّ إليَّ ممّا تطلُعُ عليه الشّمسُ وتغرُبُ.
Ummu-Salamah says: When the honorable verse (of purification) was revealed, there was no one at home except (Archangel) Gabriel, the Holy Prophet (a.s), Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn (a.s). I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Am I from the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s)?” He replied: “Indeed, you have good deeds before God.” I wished he had said ‘yes’. It was more pleasurable for me than all the things over which the sun shines and sets.”57
Dear reader! Pay considerable attention to the fact that the honorable Prophet (a.s) has separated Ummu-Salamah, his wife, from his Household (a.s). Hence when Zayd Ibn Arqam was asked, “Who are the Ahl al-Bayt? Are the Prophet’s wives among them?” He answered, “No! A wife lives with her husband for a while, then her husband divorces her and she returns to her father’s and her tribe.”58
• Al-Durr Al-Manthur, under the exegesis of the Purification Verse:
عَن ابنِ عبّاس قالَ: شَهِدْنا رَسولَ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم تِسعَةَ أشهُرٍ يأتي كُلَّ يَومٍ بابَ عَليّ بنِ أبي طالِبٍ رضي الله عنه عندَ وَقتِ كُلِّ صَلاةٍ فيَقولُ: السّلامُ عَلَيكُم وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَركاتُه أهْلَ البَيتِ! ﴿إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أهل الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.﴾ الصّلاةَ رحِمَكُم اللهُ. كُلّ يَومٍ خَمسَ مَرّاتٍ.
Ibn Abbas says: For nine months, we witnessed that the Messenger of Allah (a.s) came to the door of Ali’s house five times a day at the time of the five prayers and stated: “Peace be upon you, the Ahl al-Bayt, and Allah’s blessings and mercy! Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House (Ahl al-Bayt), and to purify you a thorough purifying. It is the prayer time. May God bless you!”
Is there not a secret here? Why does the Prophet, whose speech and behavior are always brimful of wisdom and expediency, emphasize on this issue so strongly? Not only did Ibn Abbas narrate such traditions, but also others did, such as Abu Al-Hamra, Abu Barzah and Anas Ibn Malik.59
Among the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s), Imam Ali and Imam Hasan (a.s) reached Caliphate and managed the affairs of the Muslim community, albeit for a little while. Although Imam Husayn (a.s) apparently did not take power and government, and adversaries of Islam ruled over the Muslim community in his age, as history goes on, the holy Imam in different circumstances introduced himself as an Imam deserving Caliphate.
When people of Kufah invited Imam Husayn (a.s) for an oath of allegiance writing to him, “We have no Imam,” the honorable Imam sent Muslim Ibn Aqil, his representative, to Kufah to investigate the situation.60
It is evident that if he did not believe in his own Imamate he led the nation to the true Imam, if not denying his own Imamate; rather he did the reverse.
Imam Husayn (a.s), in response to people of Kufah, wrote:
From Husayn Ibn Ali to the assembly of Muslims and believers.
Hani and Sa’id, your last messengers, brought your letters to me. I understood what you had mentioned. The majority of you had said, “We have no Imam, so come to us so that God may lead us to truth under your guidance.” I sent my cousin to you who is my trustee and ordered him to report your situation and attitudes. If he writes to me that the attitudes of your scholars and noble ones are as stated in your letters and by your messengers, I will come to you as soon as possible, God willing.
فَلَعَمْري ما الإمامُ إلاّ العامِلُ بِالكِتابِ وَالآخِذُ بِالقِسْطِ وَالدّائِنُ بِالحَقِّ والحَابِسُ نَفْسَهُ عَلى ذاتِ اللهِ.
I swear by myself that Imam is not but to practice Allah’s Book, do justice, and surrender himself to God’s will.61 Peace be upon you!
Ibn Hajar says: “The traditions exciting and persuading to holding fast to the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s), implying non-stop presence of a pious person from the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s), deserving to be followed, until the Resurrection Day. The same is the case about the Holy Qur’an, which would be proof until the Last Day. And hence the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) are safety for the inhabitants of the earth.62
• Dhakha’ir Al-Uqba, p. 17:
عَن عُمرَ إن النّبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: في كُلِّ خُلوفٍ مِن أُمَّتي عُدولٌ مِن أهْلِ بَيْتي يَنفونَ عَن هذا الدِّينِ تَحْريفَ الغالِينَ وَانتِحالَ المُبطِلينَ وتأويلَ الجَاهِلينَ. ألا وإنَّ أئِمَّتَكُم وفْدُكُم إلى اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، فانظُروا بمَنْ تُوفِدونَ.
Umar quoted the Holy Prophet (a.s) as saying: In each generation of my nation, there are just people from my Ahl al-Bayt, defending religion against distortions of exaggerators, claims of the liars and interpretations of the ignorant. Your Imams are your messengers to Almighty God. Be aware of who you choose as your messengers!
Therefore, in the Prophet’s age, the Ahl al-Bayt included Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn (a.s), but there will always be people from the Ahl al-Bayt for the safety and guidance on the earth.
The great Prophet of Allah (a.s) has considered Imam Mahdi (a.s) from the Ahl al-Bayt too; who is the last Imam is as stipulated in the following traditions:
• Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 3, p. 28:
إنّ رسولَ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قالَ: تُمْلأُ الأرضُ ظُلْماً وَجَوراً ثُمَّ يخْرُجُ رَجُلٌ مِن عِترَتي يَملِكُ سَبعاً أو تِسعاً فَيَمْلأُ الأرضَ قِسْطاً وَعَدلاً.
The earth will become full of injustice and oppression and then a man from the House (a.s) will emerge. He will govern the earth for seven or nine years, making it full of justice.63
Hakim has also narrated this tradition as a true one.64
• Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, Vol. 4, p. 505:
عن عبدِالله عن النبي صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : يَلي رَجُلٌ مِن أهْلِ بَيتي يُواطِيءُ اسْمُه اسْمي...
عَن أبي هُريرَةَ قالَ: لَو لَمْ يَبْقَ مِن الدّنيا إلاّ يَومٌ لَطَوَّلَ اللهُ ذلِكَ اليَومَ حَتىّ يلي.
The Prophet (a.s) said: “A man from my Household will come; his name will be as same as mine.
Abu Hurayrah said: If there were to remain in the life of the world but one day, God would prolong that day until he (Mahdi) comes.”
Tirmidhi says: “This tradition is fine and true.”
• Muntakhab Kanz Al-Ummal, Vol. 6, p. 32:
قالَ رَسولُ اللهِ صَلّى اللهُ عَليهِ وَسَلّم: يخْرُجُ رَجلٌ مِن أهْلِ بَيتي يُواطِيءُ اسْمُه اسْمي وَخُلُقُهُ خُلُقي فَيَمْلأُها قِسْطاً وَعَدلاً كَما مُلِئَتْ ظُلْماً وَجوراً.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) said: A man from my Household (a.s) will emerge whose name and manner are the same as mine. He will fill in the earth with justice as it had been filled with injustice and oppression.
• Musnad Ahmad, Musnad Al-Asharah:
عَن عَليٍّ عَليهِ السَّلامُ قال: قالَ رسولُ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : المَهدِيُّ مِن أهْلِ البَيتِ؛ يُصْلِحُه اللهُ فِي لَيلَةٍ.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) said: Mahdi is from my Household. God will provide him with victory over night.”65
• Sunan Abi-Dawud, Kitab Al-Mahdi:
عَن أُمّ سَلَمةَ قالَت: سمِعْتُ رسولَ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقولُ: المَهدِيُّ مِن عِترَتي مِن ولْدِ فاطِمَةَ.
Ummu-Salamah quoted the honorable Prophet (a.s) as saying: “Mahdi is from my Household and Fatimah’s descendants.”66
• Al-Mu’jam Al-Awsat of Tabarani, Vol. 1, p. 56:
عَن عَليِّ بنِ أبي طالِبٍ أنّهُ قالَ لِلنّبيِّ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : أمِنّا المَهدِيُّ أمْ مِنْ غَيرِنا يا رَسولَ الله؟ قال: بلْ مِنّا؛ بِنا يَخْتِمُ اللهُ كَما بِنا فَتَحَ.
Ali Ibn Abi Talib asked the Holy Prophet (a.s): “O the Messenger of Allah! Is Mahdi from us?” The Prophet (a.s) answered: “He is surely from us. God will conclude with us as He commenced with us.”67
Another sign of the Imams (a.s) found in traditions is their belonging to the Holy Prophet’s Household.
• Hilyat Al-Awliya’, Vol. 1, p. 86:
عن ابن عباس قال: قال رسول الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : مَن سَرَّهُ أنْ يَحْيا حَياتي وَيمُوتَ مَماتي وَيَسكُنَ جَنَّةَ عَدْنٍ غَرَسها رَبِّي فَلْيُوالِ عَليّاً مِن بَعْدي وَلْيُوالِ وَلِيَّهُ وَلْيَقْتَدِ بِالأئِمَّةِ مِن بَعدي؛ فإنَّهُم عِترَتي خُلِقوا مِن طينَتي وَرُزِقوا فَهْماً وَعِلْماً. وَوَيْلٌ لِلمُكَذّبِينَ بِفَضْلِهِمْ مِن أُمَّتي وَالقاطِعِينَ فِيهِم صِلَتي لا أنالَهُمُ اللهُ شَفاعَتي.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) said: One who would like to live and die as I do and be placed in Paradise (of Eden) that is made by my Lord should follow Ali and his successors and Imams after me; since they are my Household. They are created from my disposition and given knowledge and understanding. Woe betide those who deny their excellence! Woe betide those who deny their relation to me! May God deprive them of my intercession!68
• Musnad Al-Firdaws:
عَن أبي سعيدٍ الخدري قالَ: صَلّى بِنا رَسولُ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم الصّلاةَ الأولى ثمَّ أقْبلَ بوَجهِهِ الكَريمِ عَلينا فقالَ: يا مَعاشِرَ أصحابي! إنَّ مَثَلَ أهْلِ بَيتي فِيكُم مَثَلُ سَفينَةِ نوحٍ وبابِ حِطَّةٍ في بَني إسرائيلَ، فَتَمَسَّكوا بأهْلِ بَيتي بَعدي؛ الأئمَّةِ الرّاشدِينَ مِن ذُرّيَّتي؛ فَإنَّكم لَن تَضِلّوا أبَداً. فقِيلَ: يا رَسولَ اللهِ، كَم الأئِمّةُ بعدَكَ؟ قالَ: اثْنا عَشرَ مِن أهْلِ بَيتي، أو قال: مِن عِتْرتي.
Abu Sa’id Khudri says: The Prophet (a.s) accomplished the first prayer with us and then turned to us and stated: “O my companions! The like of my Ahl al-Bayt among you is Noah’s Ark and the Gate of Repentance (Bab Hittah) of the Israelites.69 So after me, hold fast to my Ahl al-Bayt; the followers of truth from my progeny. Surely you will never go astray.”70 He was asked: “O the Messenger of Allah! What is the number of Imams after you?” He replied: “They will be twelve from my Household.”
• Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir, Vol. 3, p. 93:71
عَن الإمام المُجْتَبى: إتّقوا اللهَ فينا فإنّا أمَراؤُكم… وَنَحنُ أهْلُ البَيتِ الّذي قالَ الله عَزَّ وَجَلَّ ﴿إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ الرِّجْسَ أهل الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا.﴾
Imam Hasan Mujtaba (a.s) says: “Be pious concerning our affairs; we are your rulers indeed… we are the same People of the House about whom God said: “Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness away from you, O People of the House, And to purify you a (thorough) purifying.”
Haythami in Majma’ al-Zawa’id quotes this tradition from Tabarani and says, “The narrators of this tradition are trustworthy.”72 The same tradition is included in many other books too, such as Shawahid Al-Tanzil by Hakim Hasakani,73 Ibn Kathir Dimashqi’s Tafsir Exegesis,74 Tarikh Dimashq by Ibn ‘Asakir,75… etc.
• Al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah, Vol. 1, p. 559:
عن زياد بن مطرف قال: سَمعْتُ رسولَ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: مَنْ أحبَّ أنْ يَحيا حَياتي ويَموتَ مِيتَتي وَيَدخُلَ الجَنَّة الّتي وَعَدني رَبّي، وهِي جَنَّةُ الخُلدِ، فَلْيَتَولَّ عَلِياً وذُرّيَّتَهُ مِن بعدِهِ فَإنَّهُم لَنْ يُخْرِجوكُم بابَ هُدىً وَلَن يُدخِلوكُم بابَ ضَلالةٍ.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) said: Anyone who likes to live and die the same as I do and be placed in the eternal Paradise promised by my Lord should take Ali (a.s) and his children as his guardians (wali),76 for they never take you away from guidance and will never lead you astray.77
• Al-Sawa’iq Al-Muhriqah, p. 15:
عَن رسولِ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم : يا أيّها النّاسُ! إنّ الفَضلَ وَالشَّرَفَ وَالمَنْزِلةَ والولايَةَ لِرسولِ اللهِ وذُرِّيَّتِهِ، فَلا تَذهَبَنَّ بكُمُ الأباطِيلُ.
The Messenger of Allah (a.s) says: O People! Excellence, honor, dignity and government are for the Messenger of Allah and his Progeny, so be aware not to be deceived by untruths!
Qanduzi Hanafi narrates this tradition from Hudhayfah Ibn Al-Yaman in Jawahir Al-’Aqdayn and states, “Ibn Hanafi, in Al-Tanbih, and Zarandi, in Durar Al-Simtayn, have narrated this tradition.78 Interestingly, those who replaced the Ahl al-Bayt unlawfully, occupying the position of Caliphate, used these kinds of traditions for arguing against their rivals. Abu Bakr, for rejecting the candidate of Ansar said, “Caliphate is not known but for Quraysh.”79
Mu’awiah too, for denying Ibn Zubayr and Ibn Umar and supporting Yazid’s prospective Caliphate said, “Caliphate is only for the children of Abd Manaf (the grandfather of Banu Hashim and Banu Umayyah), because they are the relatives of the Messenger of Allah.” He added, “O son of Zubayr and son of Umar! Surely, Allah has taken you away from Caliphate.”80
Pay attention to how Mu’awiah told that God has taken Caliphate away from them, but in their own case, he says nothing of the Revelation or the Prophet’s will.
To conclude this chapter, here is just one tradition that is narrated by Qunduzi Hanafi about the names of all the Imams (a.s):
• Yanabi’ Al-Mawaddah, p. 440:
… قَدِمَ يَهودِيٌّ يُقالُ لهُ ’نَعْثل‘ فقالَ: يا مُحَمَّد! أسْألُكَ عَن أشْياءَ تَلَجْلَجُ في صَدْري مُنذُ حينٍ، فإنْ أجَبْتَني عَنها أسْلَمْتُ عَلى يَدَيْكَ. قال: سَلْ يا أبا عِمارة! فقالَ: يا مُحَمَّد… فأخْبِرْني عَن وَصِيِّكَ مَن هُو؟ فَما مِنْ نَبيٍّ إلاّ وَلَهُ وَصيٌّ وإنَّ نَبِيَّنا مُوسى بنَ عِمرانَ أوْصَى إلى يوشَعَ بنِ نونٍ. فقالَ: إنَّ وَصِيّي عَليُّ بنُ أبي طالِبٍ وَبَعْدَهُ سِبطايَ الحَسَنُ وَالحُسَينُ تَتلوهُ تِسْعَةُ أئِمَّةٍ مِن صُلبِ الحُسَين. قال: يا مُحَمَّد! فَسَمِّهِمْ لي. قالَ: إذا مَضى الحُسَينُ فابْنُه عَلِيٌّ، فإذا مَضَى عَليٌّ فابْنُهُ مُحَمَّد، فإذا مَضى مُحَمَّد فابْنُهُ جَعفَرُ، فإذا مَضى جَعفَر فابْنُه مُوسى، فإذا مَضى مُوسى فابْنُه عَلِيٌّ، فإذا مَضى عَليٌّ فابْنُه مُحَمَّد، فإذا مضَى مُحَمَّد فابْنُه عَلِيٌّ، فإذا مَضى عَليٌّ فابْنُهُ الحَسَنُ، فإذا مَضى الحَسَنُ فابْنُهُ الحُجَّةُ مُحَمَّد المَهدِي. فَهؤلاءِ اثنا عَشر.
A Jew called Na’thal came to the Holy Prophet (a.s) and said, “O Muhammad! I have some questions, which have been in my mind for a while. If you answer me, I will embrace Islam with your help.” The Prophet (a.s) said, “O Aba Amarah! You may ask me!” The man asked, “O Muhammad! Make me aware of your successor after you, for there is no Prophet without a successor. Our Prophet Musa Ibn ‘Imran (Moses) set Yusha’ (Joshua) Ibn Nun as his successor.”
The Holy Prophet replied, “My successor is Ali Ibn Abi Talib and after him my two grandsons Hasan and Husayn after whom nine Imams from Husayn’s progeny will come successively.” “Tell me their names, Muhammad,” he asked. The Prophet (a.s) stated, “After Husayn will come his son Ali (Sajjad), after Ali his son Muhammad (Baqir), after Muhammad his son Ja’far (Sadiq), after Ja’far his son Musa (Kazim), after Musa his son Ali (Riza), after Ali his son Muhammad (Jawad), after Muhammad his son Ali (Hadi), after Ali his son Hasan (‘Askari) and after Hasan his son Hujjah Muhammad Mahdi. They are thus twelve in number.81
There are various traditions about Imamate and features and signs suggested by them matching with the Twelve Imams (a.s). The variety of the traditions is much beyond those briefly mentioned here. The number of traditions is to such an extent that regardless of truthfulness and justice of narrators, they cannot be the result of a joint plot for making false information. Since different people from diverse places with various attitudes have narrated these traditions and these are mentioned in numerous books. Therefore, when such diverse individuals have narrated a single concept in different words, alteration and forgery are basically rare.
As mentioned before, since the discussions in this book are brief, we here deal with a sample of traditions narrated by the Shi’a, evidencing the signs of Imamate and Caliphate with the names and personality of the Imams. Though this discussion is also a cursory one, with due attention to what preceded and the following true82 traditions, truth will be clear. It is noteworthy that in the following traditions’ documents, there are people who may be opposed because of their being Shi’a, and hence these traditions are not considered as proof, especially because the Imams themselves are included in the documents.
In response, it should be said that this objection is not acceptable since it requires that even if a just and trustworthy person narrates something he believes in it himself, then that would be untrue. Furthermore, Sunni scholars themselves quote and depend upon Shi’a scholars in their books. The late Allamah Abd Al-Husayn Sharaf Al-Din has collected the names of many Shi’a scholars whose trustworthiness, honesty and Shiism has been stipulated by Sunni scholars and narrators such as Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi… etc, have learnt their knowledge from them.83
Hakim Nayshapuri in the book entitled Ma’rifat ‘Ulum Al-Hadith, when writing about the most valid documents and the best chains of narrators, mentions some Companions of the Prophet (a.s); but at the very beginning he says,84 “The most valid documents of the Ahl al-Bayt’s traditions are narrated by Ja’far Ibn Muhammad (Imam Sadiq (a.s)) from his father, Imam Baqir (a.s) from his grandfather, Imam Sajjad (a.s) from Imam Ali (a.s), provided that the narrator from Ja’far is trustworthy.”85
Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, when speaking about the document of the famous tradition, “The phrase, ‘Allah is He besides whom there is no God’ is my fortress,” narrated by Imam Reza (a.s) from his father, from his grandfather, from the Messenger of Allah, says, “If this phrase is recited before an insane, he will surely be healed.”86
Therefore these traditions act as proof for the non-Shi’a, too. Furthermore, we naturally have two options—we either make belief that traditions about Imamate and Caliphate are only limited to those narrated by the Sunni from the Holy Prophet (a.s), or that there are more such traditions. The result of both is the same, since in the first case, no Islamic branch save Twelver Shi’a match with the tradition,87 and in the second case, (i.e. if the traditions are more than those narrated by the Sunni), these other traditions and their documents should be studied. In so doing, it will become clear that they all prove the Imamate of the Twelve Imams (a.s).
Some well-documented traditions quoted by the Shi’a and including the auspicious names of Imams (a.s) follow:
• ‘Uyun Akhbar Al-Riza (a.s), Vol. 1, p. 57:
عَن حُسَين بن عليٍّ عَليهِ السَّلامُ قال: سُئِلَ أميرُ المُؤمِنينَ عَليهِ السَّلامُ عَن مَعنى قَولِ رسولِ الله صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم : إنّي مُخَلِّفٌ فِيكُمُ الثَّقَلَينِ كِتابَ اللهِ وَعِتْرَتي؛ مَن العِتْرَة؟ فقالَ: أنا وَالحَسَنُ وَالحُسَينُ والأئِمَّةُ التّسْعَةُ مِن ولْدِ الحُسينِ، تاسِعُهُم مَهْدِيُّهُم وَقائِمُهُم، لا يُفارِقونَ كِتابَ اللهِ وَلا يُفارِقُهُم حَتىّ يَردوا على رَسول اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم حَوضَهُ.
Ali (a.s) was asked, “What did the Prophet mean by ‘Household’ when he said, ‘I leave two valuable things among you—Allah’s book and my Household?’” He replied, “By ‘Household,’ the Holy Prophet referred to me, Hasan, Husayn and nine Imams from Husayn’s progeny the ninth of whom is their Mahdi and Qa’im (the living). They would not be separated from Allah’s Book until they come to the Prophet (a.s) at the River.
• Ithbat Al-Hudat, Vol. 5, p. 218:
Shaykh Kulayni narrates from Imam Baqir (a.s), When Husayn (a.s) was martyred, Muhammad Ibn Al-Hanafiyyah (son of Imam Ali) sent someone to Ali Ibn Al-Husayn (a.s), his nephew, to tell him in privacy, “O son of my brother! The Prophet (a.s) appointed for his succession and for the Imamate the Commander of the Believers (Amir Al-Mu’minin; Imam Ali), as you know, and then Hasan and Husayn. Your father was martyred and did not make his will. I am your uncle, your father’s brother, and more deserving than you in terms of age and being Ali’s son. So do not quarrel with me about Imamate and the Prophet’s succession. Imam Sajjad (a.s) answered:
يا عَمُّ! إتَّقِ اللهَ وَلا تَدَّعِ ما لَيْسَ لكَ بِحَقٍّ، إنّي أعِظُكَ أنْ تَكونَ مِن الجَاهِلينَ. إنَّ أبي، يا عَمُّ -صَلواتُ اللهِ عَلَيهِ- أوْصى إليَّ قَبْلَ أنْ يَتَوجَّهَ إلى العِراقِ وَعَهِدَ إليَّ في ذلِكَ قَبلَ أنْ يُسْتَشْهَدَ بِساعَةٍ، وَهذا سِلاحُ رَسولِ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم عِندي.
“O uncle! Fear God and do not claim something to which you have no right. I admonish you lest you may be of the ignorant. O uncle! My father—peace be upon him—before going to Iraq appointed me as his successor; and a while before his martyrdom, he took allegiance with me about Imamate. And this is the Prophet’s weapon being with me.”
He then added, “Do not interfere with this issue lest your life may become short and your mood dispersed! Almighty God has placed Imamate and succession in Husayn’s offspring. If you want to make sure, let us go to the Black Stone (in the Holy Ka’bah) together and leave the judgement to it.”
Imam Baqir (a.s) says: “This discussion took place in Mecca. So they went to the Black Stone together and Imam Sajjad said to Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyyah, “First, you beseech God and ask Him to make the Black Stone speak and then you ask it your question.” Muhammad prayed insistently, asked God and called the Stone, but there was no response. Imam (a.s) said, “O uncle! If you were Imam and successor of the Prophet (a.s), the Stone had replied you.” Ibn Hanafiyyah said, “O son of brother! Now you pray and ask it.”
Then Ali Ibn Al-Husayn prayed and beseeched God stating, “(I adjure you) By Him Who have placed the allegiance of Imams, successors and all the people in you, tell us about the Imam and successor after Husayn Ibn Ali (a.s).” The Stone moved in such a way that it was nearly removed from its place. It uttered Allah’s Name and said, “O Allah! Imamate and succession after Husayn Ibn Ali (a.s) is for Ali Ibn Al-Husayn, son of the Prophet’s daughter—Fatimah.” So Ibn Hanafiyyah regretted accepting Imam Sajjad as Imam.
This tradition is quoted from Imam Baqir (a.s) with different documents.88
• Ithbat Al-Hudat, Vol. 5, p. 263:
Shaykh Saduq, in his book entitled Al-Amali, narrates from Imam Sadiq (a.s):
إنّ جابِراً دَخَلَ عَلى عَلِيِّ بنِ الحُسَينِ عَليهِ السَّلامُ فَوَجدَ ابْنَهُ مُحَمَّد بنَ عَلِيٍّ عَليهِ السَّلامُ عِندَهُ غُلاماً فقال: مَن هذا؟ قالَ: هذا ابْني وَصاحِبُ الأمْرِ بَعدي مُحَمَّد الباقِر.
Jabir went to Imam Sajjad (a.s) and saw his son, Muhammad who was a child then. He asked the Imam, ‘Who is he?’ The Imam (a.s) replied, ‘He is my son and my successor, Muhammad Al-Baqir.’
• Ithbat Al-Hudat, Vol. 5, p. 323:
عن أبي جعفر عَليهِ السَّلامُ… سُئلَ عَن القائِم عَليهِ السَّلامُ فضَربَ بِيَده على أبي عَبدِاللهِ عَليهِ السَّلامُ فقالَ: هذا واللهِ قائِمُ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ وسلَّم … فَلَمّا قُبضَ أبو جَعفَرٍ عَليهِ السَّلامُ دَخَلْتُ عَلى أبي عَبدِالله عَليهِ السَّلامُ فَأخْبَرْتُه بِذلِكَ فقالَ: صَدَقَ جابرُ، ثمَّ قالَ: لَعَلَّكُم تَرَونَ أنْ لَيسَ كُلُّ إمامٍ هُو القائِمَ بعدَ الإمامِ الّذي كان قَبلَهُ.
Imam Baqir (a.s) was asked, ‘Who is Qa’im?’ He pointed to Imam Sadiq (a.s) and said, ‘(I swear) By God that he is the Qa’im of the Household of Muhammad (a.s).’ Anbasah (the narrator) said, ‘After Imam Baqir’s demise, I went to Imam Sadiq (a.s) and quoted Jabir’s tradition to him. He said, ‘Jabir has been truthful. You may think that each Imam is not Qa’im of his last Imam.’
Therefore, Qa’im here is not used in its special meaning, standing only for Imam Mahdi (a.s), but it has its general meaning used for all Imams, since all Imams are ‘Qa’im bi ‘amri Allah.’89
• Ithbat Al-Hudat, Vol. 5, p. 472:
دَعى أبو عَبدِالله عَليهِ السَّلامُ أبا الحَسَنَ عَليهِ السَّلامُ يوماً وَنحْنُ عِندَه فقالَ لنا: عَلَيكُمْ بِصاحِبِكُم هذا فَهُو وَاللهِ صاحِبُكُم بَعدي.
Shaykh Kulayni quotes Sulayman Ibn Khalid as saying: One day we were with Imam Sadiq (a.s) when he called his son Abu al-Hasan (Musa) and told us, “By God, he is your Imam after me.”
• Ithbat Al-Hudat, Vol. 6, p. 8:
عَن أبي الحسَنِ عَليهِ السَّلامُ أنّه قالَ: إنّ ابْنِي عَلِيّاً أكْبَرُ وِلْدِي وأبَرُّهُم وأحَبُّهُمْ إليّ وَهُو يَنظُر مَعي في الجَفْرِ ولَمْ يَنْظُر فيهِ إلاّ نَبيٌّ أو وَصِيٌّ.
Shaykh Kulayni narrates from Abu al-Hasan, Imam Kazim (a.s), “My son, Ali, is the eldest and most beloved of my children. He reads Jafr 90 along with me, while no one except the Prophet and his successors look at it.
• Ithbat Al-Hudat, Vol. 6, p. 157:
عَن صَفوانَ بنِ يحيى قال: قُلتُ لِلرّضا عَليهِ السَّلامُ: كُنّا نَسأَلُكَ… (إلى أنْ قال) فَلا أرانا اللهُ يَومَكَ! فإنْ كانَ كَوْنٌ فَإلى مَن؟ فَأشارَ بِيدِه إلى أبي جَعفَرٍ عَليهِ السَّلامُ وهوَ قائِمٌ بَينَ يَديه، فقُلت: جُعِلتُ فِداك! هذا ابنُ ثلاثِ سنينَ! فقال: وَما يَضُرُّهُ مِن ذلكَ؟ فَقَد قامَ عيسى بالحُجَّةِ وهوَ ابْنُ ثَلاث سنينَ.
Shaykh Kulayni quotes Safwan as saying: I told Imam Riza (a.s), ‘We always ask… If something happens to you, God forbid, whom should we follow?’ The Imam pointed at his son, Abu Ja’far, Imam Jawad (Muhammad Taqi) who was standing before him. I said, ‘May I be sacrificed to you! He is only three years old!’ The Imam (a.s) stated, ‘What is wrong with it? Jesus was also three years old when he rose as a proof. (Maybe prophecy is intended.)
• Mir’at Al-’Uqul (Exposition of Al-Kafi), Vol. 3, p. 383:
Isma’il Ibn Mihran says: When Imam Jawad (a.s) was taken from Madinah to Baghdad for the first time, I said to him, “May I be sacrificed to you! I am afraid about where you are going. Who is the Imam after you?” He looked at me laughing and said, “This year, my absence is not the way you think.” The second time he was taken to Mu’tasim (the Abbasid caliph), I asked, “You are going. Who will be the Imam after you?” He cried until his beard was wet. Then he returned to me and said:
عِنْدَ هذِه يُخافُ عَلَيَّ؛ الأمْرُ مِن بَعدي إلى ابْني عَلِيٍّ.
“This time, my life is in danger. After me, Imamate is for my son, Ali (Imam Hadi (a.s)).
• Mir’at Al-’Uqul (Exposition of Al-Kafi), Vol. 6, p. 205:
Imam Jawad (a.s) narrates a happening in which Al-Khidr (a.s) testifies to God’s Unity, the Prophet’s Mission and the Imamate of the Imams one by one. He then continues:
وأشهَدُ عَلى الحَسَنِ بنِ عَليٍّ بأنَّهُ القائِمُ بأمْرِ عَلِيِّ بنِ مُحَمَّد.
I testify that Hasan Ibn Ali is the successor of Imam Hadi, Ali Ibn Muhammad, and the Imam after him.
وَأشْهَدُ عَلى رَجُلٍ مِن ولْدِ الحَسَنِ لا يُكَنّى وَلا يُسَمّى حتىّ يَظْهَرَ أمْرُهُ فَيَمْلأُها عَدلاً كَما مُلِئَتْ جَوراً.
And I testify to a man, the son of Hasan (Imam Askari) whose name and nickname are unknown until his emergence, when he will make the earth full of justice as it was filled with oppression and injustice.
• Mir’at Al-Uqul (Exposition of Al-Kafi), Vol. 4, p. 50:
عَن مُحَمَّد بنِ مُسلِمٍ قالَ: سمِعْتُ أبا عَبدِاللهِ عَليهِ السَّلامُ يَقولُ: إنْ بَلَغَكُمْ عَن صاحِبِكُمْ غَيبَةٌ فَلا تُنكِروها.
Muhammad Ibn Muslim quotes Imam Sadiq (a.s) as saying: “If you were informed of your Imam’s Occultation, do not deny it.”
• Mir’at Al-’Uqul (Exposition of Al-Kafi), Vol. 4, p. 52:
عن ابي عبد الله عَليهِ السَّلامُ: للقائم غيبتانِ إحداهما طويلةٌ، والأخرى قَصيرة. فالأولى يعلَمُ بمَكانه فيها خاصةٌ من شِيعَتِه، والأُخرى لا يعلَم بمَكانه فيها إلاّ خاصة مَواليه في دينِه.
Imam Sadiq (a.s) says: “Imam Qa’im (a.s) has two Occultations—short and long. In the first one, nobody knows about his place except particular Shi’a; and in the second one, no one except particular Companions (special friends) know about his place.
Muslims in the Occultation period, for determining their duties, refer to trustworthy and knowledgeable jurisprudents that deduce Islamic laws from Allah’s Book and the Imams’ Sunnah.
An honorable Tawqi’ (letter from Imam Mahdi) that Shaykh Saduq narrated from a person called Ishaq Ibn Ya’qub reads:
وَأمّا الحَوادِثُ الواقِعَةُ فارجِعوا فِيها إلى رُواةِ أحادِيثِنا فإنَّهُم حُجَّتي عَلَيكُم وأنا حُجَّةُ اللهِ عَليهِمْ.
And when something happens, refer to the narrators of our traditions who are my proof for you, and I am Allah’s proof for them.91
And at the end of this letter we read:
وَأمّا وَجهُ الانتِفاعِ بي في غَيبَتي فكالانتِفاعِ بالشَّمْسِ إذا غيَّبَها عَن الأبْصارِ السَّحابُ. وإنّي لأمانٌ لأهلِ الأرْضِ كَما أنَّ النُّجومَ أمانٌ لأهْلِ السَّماءِ. فأغْلِقوا بابَ السُّؤالِ عَمّا لا يُعنِيكُم ولا تَتَكلَّفوا عِلْمَ ما قد كُفِيتُم وأكْثِروا الدُّعاءَ بِتَعجيلِ الفَرجِ فإنّ ذلِكَ فَرَجُكُم.
And benefiting from me (The Imam) in the Occultation time is like benefiting from the sun while it is covered by the clouds. I am safety for the inhabitants of the world as the stars are safety for the inhabitants of the heavens. Avoid irrelevant questions (useless for your fate) and do not try to know what is unnecessary. Pray a lot for hastening my reappearance, which is relief for you.92
And do not die unless you are Muslims. 2:102.
God does not ask or order His servants to do something impossible. He also does not give an order which is not enforceable, since it would be nonsense, and nonsense is rare for the All-knowing.
Also, various traditions state:
سَتَفْتَرِقُ أُمّتي إلى ثَلاثٍ –أو اثْنَتَينِ- وَسَبْعينَ فِرْقَةً كُلُّها فِي النّارِ إلاّ وَاحِدَةً.
My nation will soon be divided into seventy three groups—or seventy two according to other traditions—all of which will be placed in Hell save one group.
These prove the existence of one saved group, too. On the other hand, since all the groups and sects, except the one believing in Twelve Imams are invalid, the one saved group is probably the Twelver Shi’a.
Some traditions state that the majority group is the saved one. Regardless of the weak documentation, these are in contrast with some other traditions and the Qur’anic Verses. Furthermore, the majority cannot be the criterion for truth. Two groups such as the Hanafite and the Malikite, or the proponents of compulsion or free will, may be the same with regard to number, but none can be the majority. How is it possible to know the truth in this case? So, considering this tradition as valid, the majority should probably be the one, which is true.
Shaykh Saduq—May God bless him—in his book entitled Man La Yahzaruhu Al-Faqih, Vol. 1, p. 376, quotes the Holy Prophet (a.s) as saying:
المُؤمِنُ وَحدَهُ حُجَّةٌ وَالمُؤمِنُ وَحدَهُ جَماعَةٌ.
A believer alone is proof (hujjah) and the majority.
God, the Exalted, says about Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham):
إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ كَانَ أُمَّةً قَانِتًا لِلَّهِ.
Surely Ibrahim was an exemplar (ummah—nation), obedient to Allah.
In his exegesis of verse 128 of chapter (Surah) Baqarah, Qurtubi gives the meaning of majority for ‘ummah’ (nation), saying that ummah can be one person in case he is followed in good deeds. The same meaning is true of God’s statement about Ibrahim (stated above). See Qurtubi Exegesis (Tafsir), 2nd ed., Dar Al-Sha’b 1372, Vol. 2, p.127.
The Holy Prophet (a.s) said about Zayd Ibn ‘Amr Ibn Nufayl, “He will be raised as a nation per se.” (Mustadrak Hakim, Vol. 4, p. 438) There are also other traditions, which make the identification of the saved group possible.
Caliphate after me will be up to thirty years and then will turn to kingdom and monarchy.
This tradition is of great controversy because (1) it is in contrast with other traditions stipulating by the Sunni themselves, (2) all the sources has quoted it from Sa’id Ibn Jumhan, and as Tirmidhi states, “We know this tradition only from Sa’id Ibn Jumhan about whom Abu Hatam says, “Traditions quoted by him are written but not adduced.” Ibn Mu’in comments, “He has quoted some traditions from Safinah, no one else has ever quoted.” Al-Bukhari says about him, “There are eccentric matters in traditions quoted by him.” (See Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib) Moreover, Ibn Hazm writes in Al-Muhalla (Vol. 5, p. 185), “Sa’id Ibn Jumhan is not famous for fairness, but his traditions are said to be of no value.“
The same is true about the tradition:
لا يَزالُ هذا الدّينُ قائِماً حَتىّ يَكونَ عَليكُم اثْنا عَشرَ خَليفَةً كُلُّهُم تَجْتَمِعُ عَليه الأُمَّةُ.
The religion will always remain established until twelve Caliphs around whom all the people congregate will come.
This tradition is only quoted by Abu Dawud on the authority of ‘Isma’il Ibn Abi Khalid on the authority of his father, Abu Khalid, on the authority of Jabir. The concluding part of it, which says, “around whom all the people congregate,” seems to be added by the narrator himself, as is evident from Tabarani’s tradition in “Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir” (Vol. 2, p. 208). For Tabarani quotes this tradition in two forms from Ibrahim Ibn Humayd from Isma’il Ibn Abi Khalid from his father from Jabir Ibn Samarah like this:
قال رسول الله : لا يَزالُ هذا الدّينُ قائِماً حتّى يَقومَ اثنا عَشرَ خَليفَةً.
The Prophet (a.s) said: “The religion is always established up to the time when twelve Caliphs will come.”
‘Isma’il said he doubted whether his father said, “The nation will congregate around them.”
As is evident, ‘Isma’il was doubtful, whereas Almighty God says:
وَإِنَّ الظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِي مِنْ الْحَقِّ شَيْئًا.
And surely conjecture does not avail against the truth at all. 53:28.
In other words, doubt is not useful in getting the truth. And then this groundless guess is narrated in Marwan Ibn Mu’awiah’s tradition, who was, according to the testimony of Ibn Mu’in, a hypocrite person (Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib, Hydar Abad Press, Vol. 10, p. 98). The hypocrisy in documentation is apparently transferred to the context too.
Furthermore, Isma’il Ibn Abi Khalid was an uneducated person, having excessive mistakes. His father Abu Khalid who is also mentioned in the document is not so familiar to Rijal scholars (Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib). Moreover, supposing that the tradition is valid and true, based on other traditions, the phrase: تجتمع عليه الأمة: should mean that the nation should congregate around them as a responsibility. Or as Qanduzi Hanafi says it means after the advent of the last Caliph, Imam Mahdi (a.s), people will congregate around all of them.
Anyway, what is intended by this tradition is not that all the people will swear allegiance to them, as is proved by the tradition “لا يضرهم من خذلهم”. Also according to the testimony of the master Sunni scholars and successive traditions, Imam Ali (a.s) and Imam Hasan (a.s) are among these twelve Caliphs, though not all the Muslims congregate around these two honorable Imams.
أنّ النبيّ مَرِضَ مرضَةً ثَقيلَةً فَدَخَلتْ عليهِ فاطِمَةُ وأنا جالِسٌ عندَهُ ولمّا رأتْ ما بهِ مِن الضّعفِ خَنَقَتْها العَبرَةُ… وَهوَ أنّه ضَربَ عَلى مَنكِبِ الحُسَينِ وقالَ: مِن هذا مَهدِيُّ هذهِ الأُمّةِ سلامُ الله عليهِم.
The Prophet (a.s) got seriously ill. Fatimah came to him while I was there. Seeing the Prophet’s weakness, Fatimah got lump in her throat…the Prophet tapped Husayn on the shoulder and said: “Mahdi is from Husayn’s progeny. Peace be upon them all.”
The tradition under discussion is also not well-documented, since, first, Abu Dawud says, “I narrated it from Harun Ibn Al-Mughirah.” It is not clear who narrated on the authority of Harun Ibn Al-Mughayrah to Abu Dawud. So the tradition is interrupted. Second, Sulaymani has said about Harun Ibn Al-Mughayrah Ibn Al-Hakim, “His traditions should be closely investigated.” Ibn Habban has said, “He may make mistakes.” (Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib, Dar Sadir, Published in Hiydar Abad, Vol. 11, p.12) Thirdly, in this tradition’s documentation, after Harun Ibn Mughayrah, there is Amr Ibn Qays about whom Abu Ubayd Ajuri quotes Abu Dawud as saying, “There is mistake in his traditions.” (Tahdhib Al-Kamal, Al-Risalah, Vol. 22, p.205, No. 4437) Dhahabi in Mizan Al-I’tidal says, “His traditions are groundless.” (Dar Al-Ma’arif, Vol. 3, p. 285, No. 6669) and Sulaymani says, “He is doubted.” (Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib, Dar Al-Fikr, Vol. 11, p. 12) It is thus clear that what Azim Abadi has mentioned in Awn Al-Ma’bud fi Sharh Sunan Abi Dawud as the result of arguments, stating that Mahdi (a.s) is from Hasan’s progeny and that he is related to Husayn (a.s) on his mother’s side is completely wrong, because, first, the result of arguments is possible when the truth of all of them is proved, while our study made it clear that the tradition of Abu Ishaq as quoted in the present versions of Sahih Abu Dawud is invalid from different aspects. This meaning is expressed in no other way either. Second, numerous traditions stipulate that Mahdi (a.s) is from the progeny of Husayn (a.s) and that he is from the ninth generation of Husayn’s children. This is incompatible with concluding statement of the author of Awn Al-Ma’bud. Basically, it seems that these two traditions quoted by Abu Dawud, that is the tradition implying that the name of Mahdi’s father is Abdullah and another one saying that Mahdi (a.s) is from Hasan’s progeny, are fabricated by the proponents of Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Hasan, known as Al-Nafs Al-Zakiyyah (The pious Spirit). Even some people like Al-Mansur Al-Dawaniqi, the Abbasid caliph, before the establishment of The Abbasid dynasty, had named him Mahdi and sworn allegiance to him. However Muhaddith Qumi, in his book entitled Muntaha Al-Amal, says, “Abu Al-Faraj and Sayyid Ibn Tawus have frequently narrated that Abdullah al-Mahz, the father of Al-Nafs Al-Zakiyyah, and all his family denied his being the promised Mahdi.” (See: Muntaha Al-’Amal, Section on the murder of Muhammad Ibn Abdullah) The tradition, “There is no Mahdi except Jesus” is the reaction of their opponents. Impiety and worldliness have caused many calamities and altered many facts.