Thul-Hijjah 27, 1329
Research the biography of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny, and you will find him describing ‘Ali and Aaron as two bright stars in the heart of the skies, the eyes positioned in the face, neither of them is distinguished in his nation from the other.
1) Have you noticed how he, peace be upon him and his progeny, had insisted that ‘Ali should name his sons just like Aaron did, calling them Hasan, Husayn, and Muhsin? He (as) has said: "I have named them after Aaron's sons, Shabar, Shubayr, and Mushbir,"1 intending thereby to emphasize the similarity between himself and Aaron, and generalizing such a similarity in all areas and aspects.
2) For the same reason, ‘Ali has cherished his brother and favoured him over all others, thus achieving the goal of generalizing the similarity of both Aarons to their respective brothers, making sure that there must be no difference between them.
He, peace be upon him and his progeny, created brotherhood among his companions, as stated above, making, in the first incident, Abu Bakr brother of ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman brother of ‘Abdul-Rahman ibn ‘Awf. In the Second Fraternity, Abu Bakr became brother of Kharijah ibn Zayd, and ‘Umar was made brother of ‘Atban ibn Malik. Yet on both occasions, ‘Ali was made brother of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, as you have come to know.
There is no room here to quote all verified texts citing Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn ‘Umar, Zayd ibn Arqam, Zayd ibn Abu ‘Awfah, Anas ibn Malik, Huthayfah ibn al-Yemani, Makhduj ibn Yazid, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, al-Bara' ibn ‘Azib, ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib, and others narrating this hadith as such. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has also said to ‘Ali: "You are my Brother in this life and the life hereafter."2 In Letter No. 20, we stated how he (pbuh) took ‘Ali by the neck, saying: "This is my Brother, vicegerent and successor among you; therefore, listen to him and obey him." He, peace be upon him and his progeny, came out to meet his companions with a broad smile on his face. ‘Abdul-Rahman ibn ‘Awf asked him what pleased him so much. He answered: "It is due to a piece of good news which I have just received from my Lord regarding my brother and cousin, and also regarding my daughter. The Almighty has chosen ‘Ali a husband fot Fatima."
When the Mistress of all women of the world was wed to the master of the Prophet's progeny (as), the Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny, said: "O Umm Ayman! Bring me my brother." Umm Ayman asked: "He is your brother, and you still marry him to your daughter?!" He said: "Yes, indeed, Umm Ayman." She called ‘Ali in.3
Quite often, the Prophet (as) used to point to ‘Ali and say: "This is my brother, cousin, son-in-law, and father of my descendants."4 Once he spoke to him and said: "You are my brother and companion." In another occasion, he said to him: "You are my brother, friend, and companion in Paradise." He once addressed him in a matter that was between him, his brother Ja’far, and Zayd ibn Harithah, saying: "O ‘Ali! You are, indeed, my brother and the father of my descendants. You are of me and for me."5
He made a covenant with him once saying: "You are my brother and vizier; you complete my religion, fulfill my promise, pay my debts on my behlf, and clear my conscience."6 When death approached him, may both my parents be sacrificed for him, he said: "Fetch me my brother." They called ‘Ali in. He said to him: "Come close to me." ‘Ali (as) did. He kept whispering in his ears till his pure soul departed from his body. ‘Ali even caught some of the Prophet's saliva.7
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, has also said: "It is written on the gate of Paradise: ‘There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, ‘Ali is the Brother of the Messenger of Allah.'"8
The Almighty, when the Prophet left ‘Ali sleeping in his bed while the enemies were outside plotting to murder him, addressed Gabriel and Michael thus: "I have created brotherhood between both of you and let the life-span of one of you be longer than that of the other. Which one of you wishes to have the life of the other be longer than his own?" Each held his own life dearer. The Almighty said: "Why can't you be like ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib between whom and Muhammad (pbuh) I have created brotherhood, and he has chosen to sleep in Muhammad's bed, offering to sacrifice his own life for his brother? Go down to earth and protect him from his foes." They both came down. Gabriel stood at ‘Ali's head while Michael stood at his feet. Gabriel cried:
"Congratulations! Congratulations! Who can be like you, O son of Abu Talib? Even Allah brags about you to His angels!" Regarding that incident, the verse "And there are among men those who trade their own lives for the Pleasure of Allah (Qur'an, 2:207)"
‘Ali himself is quoted saying: "I am the servant of Allah and the Brother of His Messenger. I am the strongest in believing in the Prophet. Nobody else can say so except a liar."10 He has also said: "By Allah! I am his Brother and wali, his cousin and the inheritor of his knowledge; who else is more worthy of it than me?"11
On the Day of Shura, he said to ‘Uthman, ‘Abdul-Rahman, Sa’d, and al-Zubayr: "Do you know of anyone among the Muslims other than myself with whom the Messenger of Allah established Brotherhood?" They answered: "We bear witness, no."12 When ‘Ali stood to duel with al-Walid during the Battle of Badr, the latter asked him: "Who are you?" ‘Ali answered: "I am the servant of Allah and the brother of His Messenger."13
When ‘Umar was caliph, ‘Ali asked him:14 "Suppose some Israelites come to you and one of them told you that he was cousin of Moses, would he receive a preferred treatment than the others?" ‘Umar answered: "Yes, indeed." ‘Ali said: "I, by Allah, am the brother of the Messenger of Allah and his cousin." ‘Umar took off his mantle and spread it for ‘Ali to sit on, saying: "By Allah, you will sit nowhere else other than on my own mantle till each one of us goes his way." ‘Ali did so while ‘Umar was pleased by that gesture of respect for the brother and cousin of the Messenger of Allah as long as he was in his company.
3) ‘Well, I seem to have lost control over my pen. The Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny, ordered the doors of his companions' houses overlooking the mosque to be closed for good, as a measure to protect the mosque's sanctity against janaba or najasa, but he allowed ‘Ali's door to remain open, permitting him to cross the mosque's courtyard even while being in the state of janaba, just as Aaron was permitted to do, thus providing another proof for the similarity of positions of both men, peace be upon them, in their respective creeds and nations.
Ibn ‘Abbas has said: "The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, ordered all the doors of his companions closed except that of ‘Ali who used to enter even while in the state of janaba, having no other way out."15 ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab has narrated an authentic hadith which has been reproduced in both sahih books wherein he says:16 "
‘Ali ibn Abu Talib was granted three tokens of prestige; had I had one of them, it would have been dearer to me than all red camels [of Arabia]: his wife Fatima daughter of the Messenger of Allah, his residence at the mosque neighbouring the Messenger of Allah and feeling at home therein, and the standard during the Battle of Khaybar."
Sa’id ibn Malik, as quoted in an authentic hadith, once mentioned a few unique merits of ‘Ali and said: "The Messenger of Allah turned out everyone from the mosque, including his uncle al-’Abbas and others. Al-’Abbas asked him: ‘Why do you turn us out and keep ‘Ali?' He, peace be upon him and his progeny, answered: ‘It is not I who has turned you out and kept ‘Ali. It is Allah who has turned you out while keeping him.'"17
Zayd ibn Arqam has said: "A few companions of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to have the doors of their houses overlooking the mosque. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, then said: ‘Close down all these doors except ‘Ali's.'
Some people did not like it, and they talked about it. So, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, stood one day, praised the Almighty then said: ‘I have ordered these doors to be closed save ‘Ali's, and some of you have disliked that. I have not closed down a door nor opened it, nor gave any order, except after being commanded by my Lord to do so.'"18
Quoting Ibn ‘Abbas, Al-Tabrani has said that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, stood up once and said: "I have not turned you out acting on my own personal desire, nor have I left a door open out of my own personal preference. I only follow whatever inspiration I receive from my Lord."19 And the Messenger of Allah said once to Ali (as): "O ‘Ali! It is not permissible for anybody other than your own self to be present [in the mosque] while being in the state of janaba."20
Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqas, al-Bara' ibn ‘Azib, Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn ‘Umar, and Huthayfah ibn al-Yemani, have all said: "The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, came out to the mosque once and said: ‘Allah inspired to his Prophet Moses to build Him a pure mosque in which nobody other than Moses and Aaron would live. Allah has inspired to me to build a sanctified mosque wherein only I and my brother ‘Ali are permitted to sleep.'"21
There is no room here to state all the ascertained texts narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas, Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, Zayd ibn Arqam, a companion from the tribe of Khath’am, Asma' bint ‘Amis, Umm Salamah, Huthayfah ibn Asid, Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqas, al-Bara' ibn ‘Azib, ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib, ‘Umar, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, Abu Tharr al-Ghifari, Abul Tufail, Buraydah al-Aslami, Abu Rafi’, freed slave of the Messenger of Allah, Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari, and others have all narrated the same hadith. It is also well known that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, invoked the Almighty once saying:
"O Lord! The my brother Moses had prayed you saying: ‘Lord! Remove depression from my chest, untie my tongue's knot so that people may understand my speech, and let my brother Aaron be my vizier from among my household to support me in my undertaking and participate therein,' and you, Lord, responded with: ‘We shall support you through your brother and bestow upon you a great authority (Qur'an, 28:35).'
Lord! I am your servant Muhammad; therefore, I invoke you to remove depression from my chest, to make my undertaking easier to carry out, and to let ‘Ali be my brother from among my household."22
Al-Bazzaz has likewise indicated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, took ‘Ali's hand and said: "Moses had prayed his Lord to purify His mosque through Aaron, and I have prayed my Lord to purify mine through you." He then sent a messenger to Abu Bakr ordering him to close down his door which overlooked the mosque, and Abu Bakr responded expressing his desire to honour the Prophet's command.
Then he sent another messenger to ‘Umar to do likewise, and another to al-’Abbas for the same purpose. Then he, peace be upon him and his progeny, said: "It is not I who has closed down your doors, nor have I kept ‘Ali's door open out of my own accord; rather, it is Allah Who has opened his door and closed yours."
This much suffices to prove the similarity between ‘Ali and Aaron in all circumstances and conditions, and peace be with you.