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The Verse of Ismah

The Order of the Verse

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
And the Jews say: The hand of Allah is tied up! Their hands will be shackled and they will be cursed for what they say. Nay, both His hands are spread out, He expends as He pleases; and what has been revealed to you from your Lord will certainly make many of them increase in inordinacy and unbelief; and We have put enmity and hatred among them until the day of resurrection; whenever they kindle a fire for war Allah puts it out, and they strive to make mischief in the land, and Allah does not love the mischief makers.
And if the followers of the Book believed and guarded against evil, We would certainly have covered their evil deeds and We would certainly have made them enter gardens of bliss.
And if they had kept up the Torah and the Bible and that which was revealed to them from their Lord, they would certainly have eaten from above them and from beneath their feet; there is a party of them keeping to the moderate course, and as for most of them, evil is that which they do.
O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.
Say: O followers of the Book! You follow no good until you keep up the Torah and the Bible and that which is revealed to you from your Lord; and surely that which has been revealed to you from your Lord will make many of them increase in inordinacy and unbelief; grieve not therefore for the unbelieving people.
Surely those who believe and those who are Jews and the Sabians and the Christians whoever believes in Allah and the last day and does good- they will have no fear not will they grieve. Certainly We made a covenant with the children of Israel and We sent to them apostles; whenever there came to them an apostle with what that their souls did not desire, some of them did they call liars and some they slew.[5:62-70[

The Place of the Verse

If we accept that the Qur’anic order supports the exegesis of a Verse, two matters should be taken in consideration:

First, the Verse lies in Surah of al-Ma`idah—the seal of the revealed Surahs and,

Second, the Verse comes among others respecting the manners of the Jews and Christians. Correspondingly, it carries the following meaning to the Holy Prophet (S): Convey, and fear not the Jews or the Christians. We will protect you against them. They will be too short to injure you.

Neither Sunnis nor do the Shi`ah admit such interpretation. The Verse thus adds nothing new about the Jews and Christians since the danger caused by them had been removed before the revelation of the Verse. From this cause, it is important to understand whether the place of the Verse has been as original as it was revealed or one of the Sahabah intruded to put it in this very position. We, the Shi`ah, deny clearly any supposition claiming any form of distortion in the Holy Qur’an. Yet, reports have asserted that some of the Sahabah had pursued personal inferences in choosing the places of some Verses. Accordingly, the place of the Verse had been subjectively, if not unintentionally, chosen.

Sunni Scholars’ Opinions

The following six opinions are the most common among the various theses related to the Verse and assumed by Sunni exegetes. Yet, a seventh Sunni opinion accords the Shi`ah’s interpretation.

First Opinion

The Verse was revealed in the preliminary stage of the Holy Prophet (S)’s Divine Mission. When the Lord ordered him to convey the message, he hesitated; he abstained or showed drawback. Hence, the Lord loomed and relieved. Only then, the Holy Prophet (S) conveyed.

This proposes that the Verse was revealed twenty-three years before the revelation of Surah of al-Ma`idah.
As if he deterred it, al-Shafi`i (Kitab al-Umm 4/168) uses ‘it is said’ before the reference to this opinion:
…It is said that when Archangel Gabriel first conveyed to the Holy Prophet (S) the mission of promulgating for the new religion, he hesitated and feared that people would belie him. Hence, Almighty Allah revealed, ‘O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed…’

Although many objections are aroused against this claim, we may content with the following; it is contrary to the order of the Verse. It is also inadmissible to accept such an accusation of abstinence or hesitation in carrying the Lord’s Messages so as to avoid accusation of lying or injury or killing. Qur’anic texts have attested that the Holy Prophet (S) exerted all possible efforts for conveying his Lord’s mission.

Al-Shafi`i’s Indirect Reports

In al-Suyuti’s al-Durr al-Manthur 2/298, we read the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu’l-Shaykh on the authority of al-Hasan al-Basri that the Holy Prophet said: I felt annoyed when my Lord ordered me to convey His Message, because I knew that people would belie me, but He threatened if I decline, He would subdue. That is His saying: O Apostle! Deliver… etc.”1
It has been also narrated on the authority of Ibn Jarir that Ibn Jurayj said that the Holy Prophet (S) feared people of Quraysh until the revelation of the Verse, ‘O Apostle… and Allah will protect you from the people.’ Only then, he was relieved. He said frequently, “Let them disappoint.”
It has been also narrated on the authority of `Abd ibn Humayd, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi-Hatam and Abu’l-Shaykh on the authority of Mujahid that when Almighty Allah revealed, ‘…Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord…,’ the Holy Prophet said, ‘O my Lord! I am alone. How should I behave when people unite against me?’ Then, Almighty Allah revealed, ‘And if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message.’2

In al-Nisapuri: al-Wasit 2/208, we read the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of al-Anbari that during his dwelling in Makkah, the Holy Prophet (S) used to declare only a part of the Qur’anic texts revealed to him because he anticipated that the polytheists would injure his companions and him…

The previous reports lack documentation. They are no more than sayings of al-Hasan al-Basri, Mujahid and their likes. Next, we will prove that al-Hasan al-Basri aimed at achieving something private through publicizing such wording and that he cited his saying from the Holy Prophet (S)’s sermon of Ghadir but he was too coward to report the truth.

Indirect Reports Turn into Reliable Opinions

Exegetes have realized that the Verse was revealed in the Holy Prophet (S)’s last days and realized that the attribution of an incident that took place on the first days of his mission to the exegesis of the Verse was no more than words of false scholars of the Umayyad reign or reports of doubtful documentation. Notwithstanding, they flagrantly took the Verse twenty-three years back. It is quite odd to see considerate names, such as al-Zamakhshari and al-Fakhr al-Razi, be among such exegetes. This is because they attempted to take the Verse away from the Ghadir declaration of loyalty. In truth, they have had to choose either connecting the incident to the Verse or adopting the false reports about the cancellation of the guarding of the Holy Prophet (S). This fable is however exposed by the sequence of the historical events as well as the text of the Verse. We read the following in al-Zamakhshari’s al-Kashshaf 1/659:
The meaning of Allah’s saying, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people,’ is that the Lord provides a promise of protecting the Holy Prophet (S)… against being killed only! It has been narrated that the Holy Prophet said, ‘I became disturbed when Almighty Allah ordered me to convey His message to people. He then threatened a punishment if I would abstain and guaranteed to protect me. Only then, I regained vigor.’3

Al-Razi, in Tafsir 6:12/48-50, records the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of al-Hasan that the Holy Prophet said, “I became disturbed when my Lord ordered me to convey His message to people since I realized that people, including the Jews and Christians, would belie me and that people of Quraysh would threaten me. When Almighty Allah revealed, ‘O Apostle! Deliver… etc.,’ all my apprehensions were removed.
Regarding Allah’s saying, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people,’ one may ask how it is possible to regard this statement while the Holy Prophet (S)’s face was scratched during the Battle of Uhud. There are two answers for this question: First, the Verse stands for the protection against killing. Second, the Verse was revealed after the Battle of Uhud.

Al-Razi was not honest in recording al-Hasan’s words. He added the statement, ‘including the Jews and Christians’ to the narration because he intended to take the Qurayshite people away from the Verse and dedicate it to the Jews and Christians. Yet, we should not blame him for his love for Quraysh generally and his grandfather Abu-Bakr ibn Abi-Qahafah in particular. We only demand with objective honesty. No single indication to the Jews or Christians has been shown in the reference books that comprised al-Hasan’s previous narration. Excelling at al-Razi and the others, Ibn Kathir records the following in al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah 3/53:
It has been narrated in Ibn Abi-Hatam’s book of Tafsir on the authority of his father on the authority of al-Hasan ibn `«sa ibn Maysarah al-Harithi on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Abd al-Quddus on the authority of al-A`mash on the authority of al-Minhal ibn `Amr on the authority of `Abdullah ibn al-Harith that `Ali said, “When Almighty Allah revealed, ‘And warn your nearest relations,’ the Holy Prophet (S) asked me to cook a leg of a ewe with some food and a bowl of milk and then invite Banu-Hashim. I did and they were about forty men… The Prophet (S) then said, ‘Which one of you will settle my debts and he will be my successor among my people?’ As he anticipated financial loss, al-`Abbas, like the others, kept silent. I had to keep silent as I revered al-`Abbas’s having been older than I was. In the second time, I spoke after I had seen al-`Abbas kept silent again. I said, ‘I will be it, Allah’s Messenger!’ The Prophet said, ‘Yes, it is you… etc.’
By saying, ‘which one of you will settle my debts and he will be my successor among my people?’ the Holy Prophet (S) wanted one of them to settle his debts after his death because he anticipated that he would be killed as soon as he would convey the Lord’s message to the Arab polytheists. Therefore, he aimed at nominating his successor who would guard his family after his decease. Anyhow, Almighty Allah secured His Messenger when He revealed, ‘O Apostle! Deliver… etc.’4

Ibn Kathir has slipped very much and served his fanaticism extremely; he cut off the text regarding Allah’s saying, ‘And warn your nearest relations,’ and erased the Holy Prophet (S)’s having carried out Almighty Allah’s commandment of nominating a successor. Instead, he distorted the narration saying that the Holy Prophet (S) asked the Hashimites for a successor to be the guardian of his family and settle his debts after he had anticipated that he would be killed by people of Quraysh. Hence, `Ali (a.s.) volunteered. But when the Verse was revealed, such a succession became invalid. Thus, Ibn Kathir, purposefully, disregards the fact that the Holy Prophet (S) was ordered to invite his near relatives exclusively to the religion. Neither people of Quraysh nor were the others included in this invitation. Thereupon, his anticipation of being killed or injured is mere fabrication. Furthermore, as much as I could conceive, no one supports Ibn Kathir in establishing a relationship between the Verse of `Ismah and the Verse of warning the near relatives. Besides, he does not refer to the sources from which he adopted that opinion.

As a matter of fact, for Ibn Kathir, nothing is more important that misrepresenting and fading the Holy Prophet (S)’s words at his near relatives as well as nominating `Ali as his brother, vicegerent and successor. Meanwhile, he spares no efforts in taking the Verse of `Ismah away from Surah of al-Ma`idah and the Day of Ghadir. The following is the Holy Prophet (S)’s words, which were cut off by Ibn Kathir, as quoted from al-Amini’s al-Ghadir 1/207:
In order to discriminate the accurate from the deviation, we hereinafter quote al-Tabari’s words as recorded in his Tarikh 1/207:
(The Holy Prophet said) “I have brought forth the good of this world as well as the Hereafter. The Exalted Lord has ordered me to invite you all to this matter. Which one of you will support me and will be my brother, heir and successor?” (`Ali went on narrating) I was the youngest among the attendants who utterly refused. I spoke, “I will be that one, Allah’s messenger! I will be your supporter in this matter.” The Holy Prophet (S) took me from the neck and declared, “This is my brother, heir and successor. Listen and comply with him.” The attendants went out laughing and addressing to my father, “Well, he has ordered you to listen to and comply with your son!”
(Al-Amini: al-Ghadir 2/279) Deciding it as authentic, Abu-Ja`far al-Iskafi of Baghdad, a Mu`tazilite theologist, (died in AH 240) has recorded the same narration in Naqd al-`Uthmaniyyah. It has been also recorded in the following reference books of Hadith: Burhan al-Din: Anba` Nujaba` al-Abna` 46-8, Ibn al-Athir: al-Kamil 2/24, Abu’l-Fida` `Imad al-Din al-Dimashqi: Tarikh 1/116, Shihab al-Din al-Khafaji: Sharh al-Shifa 3/37. Cutting off the last statement of the narration, he records, ‘In al-Bayhaqi: Dala`il al-Nubuwwah as well as many other books, this narration is authentically documented, `Ala` al-Din al-Baghdadi al-Khazin: Tafsir 390, Al-Suyuti: Jami` al-Jawami` 6/392 as quoted from al-Tabari and 6/397 as quoted for the six most notable Hadithists—ibn Ishaq, ibn Jarir, ibn Abi-Hatam, ibn Mardawayh, Abu-Na`i and al-Bayhaqi and Ibn Abi’l-Hadid: Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah 3/254.

The compiler of al-Ghadir then criticizes those who misrepresented the narration seeking the Qurayshites’ favor. Al-Tabari, for instance, intends to make the Holy Prophet (S)’s words about Imam `Ali obscure; he records, “The Prophet (S) then said: This is my brother… and so on.” Ibn Kathir, in al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah 3/40 and Tafsir 3/351, follows al-Tabari.

Second Opinion

A second Sunni opinion indicates that the Verse was revealed some time before the immigration to al-Madinah. Since then, the Holy Prophet (S) dispensed with the guard of Abu-Talib or al-`Abbas.
In Sunni reference books of Hadith, this opinion is commonly accepted; yet, it is of two sorts of narrations. The earlier shows, whether openly or suggestively, the time and place of the revelation of the Verse, which was Makkah, while the latter relates it to the Holy Prophet (S)’s canceling the guard, without referring directly to the watch practiced by Abu-Talib or al-`Abbas. Regardless, we ought to opt for the earlier since its origin is al-Tirmidhi’s reporting from `A`ishah. Like many others, al-Tirmidhi perceived that `A`ishah had meant Makkah. As a model of the first sort of narration, let us quote the following from al-Suyuti’s al-Durr al-Manthur 2/298-9:
It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that the Holy Prophet (S) answered those who asked him about the most intense Verse that was ever revealed to him, and he answered, “During the Hajj season, I was in Mina when Archangel Gabriel revealed to me Allah’s saying, ‘O Apostle! Deliver… etc.’ I stood at al-`Aqabah and shouted, ‘O people! Whoever supports me in conveying my Lord’s message will be granted Paradise. O people! If you declare that there is no god but Allah and I be His messenger, you will be saved and granted Paradise.’ All people, including women and children, then began to throw me with dust and stones and spew in my face shouting, ‘You are liar and apostate.’ In these moments, an inspiration came forth before me and said, ‘It is now the proper time for you, if you are the Lord’s messenger, to curse your people in the same way as Prophet (S) Noah cursed his people.’ Instead, I said, ‘O Allah! Guide my people for they do not know, and support me by making them respond to Your obedience.’ Then, al-`Abbas, my uncle, came and saved me from them.”
Al-A`mash commented that the descendants of al-`Abbas used to take pride in that situation.
It has been also narrated on the authority of Ibn Mardawayh on the authority of Jabir ibn `Abdullah that Abu-Talib used to appoint a guard for accompanying the Holy Prophet (S) whenever he would go out; but when Almighty Allah revealed, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people,’ the Holy Prophet said to his uncle, ‘Allah has protected me. I do not need a guard.’
It has been narrated by al-Tabarani, Abu’l-Shaykh, Abu-Na`im, in al-Dala`il, Ibn Mardawayh and Ibn `Asakir on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that the Holy Prophet (S) was guarded; Abu-Talib used to send men from the Hashimites for guarding him. He then said to his uncle, ‘I do no longer need those whom you are sending for guarding me.”5

In Majma` al-Zawa`id 7/17, we read the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu-Sa`id al-Khidri that al-`Abbas, the Holy Prophet (S)’s uncle, was one of those who guarded him, but when Allah revealed, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people,’ the guardians stopped.
[Al-Tabarani: al-Mu`jam al-Saghir and al-Mu`jam al-Awsat. Yet, its narrator, `Atiyyah al-`Awfi, is doubtful.]
It has been also narrated on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that the Holy Prophet (S) used to be guarded. Abu-Talib, his uncle, used to appoint men from the Hashimites for guarding him. When Allah revealed, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people,’ the Holy Prophet said to his uncle, ‘Almighty Allah has protected me against jinn and people.’
[This report is recorded by al-Tabarani. Within its narrators is al-Nasr ibn `Abd al-Rahman who is doubtful.]

The second sort of narrations has been originated by the following report of al-Tirmidhi: al-Sunan 4/317:
It has been narrated on the authority of `A`ishah that guarding was practiced on the Holy Prophet (S) until the revelation of Allah’s saying, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people.’ Hence, he took his head out of his tent and said, ‘You may leave. The Lord has protected me.’ [This is a one-way narration. Nevertheless, some narrators have reported the same from `Abdullah ibn Shaqiq without referring to `A`ishah.]6

Seemingly, `A`ishah’s report proposed that the Verse was revealed in Makkah. Al-Bayhaqi, in al-Sunan 9/8, supports this claim and adds the forecited saying of al-Shafi`i in which he claims that the Holy Prophet (S) was protected against being killed only. In Tafsir 2/4/160, al-Muraghi records al-Suyuti’s earlier narration as related to Ibn `Abbas and al-Tabarani. He then comments: ‘Al-Tirmidhi had narrated that the Holy Prophet (S) was guarded in Makkah before the revelation of the Verse.” Notwithstanding, `A`ishah’s report does not imply that the occurrence was in Makkah. It seems that the phrase ‘in Makkah’ was unintentionally erased from the original copy of al-Tirmidhi’s narration.
About the report of `A`ishah, al-Suyuti, in al-Durr al-Manthur 2/291, records:
`Abd ibn Humayd, al-Tirmidhi, ibn Jarir, Ibn al-Mundhir, ibn Abi-Hatam, Abu’l-Shaykh, Abu-Na`im, al-Bayhaqi and ibn Mardawayh have narrated on the authority of `A`ishah that… etc.

Bearing the same indication of `A`ishah’s report, al-Suyuti records a number of narrations some of which hint at the fact that the incident of the guard took place in al-Madinah.
In al-Durr al-Manthur 2/298-9, al-Suyuti records:
Al-Tabarani and Ibn Mardawayh have narrated on the authority of Abu-Sa`id al-Khidri that al-`Abbas, the Holy Prophet (S)’s uncle, was one of those who guarded the Holy Prophet (S), but when Almighty Allah revealed, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people,’ the guardians stopped.
In Dala`il al-Nubuwwah, Abu-Na`im has narrated on the authority of Abu-Dharr that they were always around the Holy Prophet (S) whenever he went to sleep because he anticipated assassination, but when the Verse, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people’ was revealed, we stopped.

Many exegetes and historians have adopted this opinion. As if they admit it, al-Zamakhshari, in al-Kashaf 1/659, and al-Razi, in Tafsir 6/12/50, record the opinion attesting that the Verse was revealed in Makkah. On that account, they have indicated that the reports of `A`ishah, al-Hasan al-Basri and the others talked about an occurrence that took place in the early stage of the Holy Prophet (S)’s Mission.7
The compiler of al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah has attempted to seize the relationship between the Verse of `Ismah and the Holy Prophet (S)’s guard so as to invent a virtue for Abu-Bakr. On page 327 of part 3, he records:
Before the revelation of Allah’s saying, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people,’ the Holy Prophet (S) was guarded by a number of people. The night just before the Battle of Badr, he was guarded by Sa`d ibn Maadh. On the day of the Battle, he was guarded by Abu-Bakr alone. This man kept on unsheathing his sword while the Holy Prophet (S) was sleeping under the canopy.

Unfortunately, the compiler, by the previous words, has contradicted himself; if the cancellation of the guard took place before the immigration to al-Madinah, then the guard of Abu-Bakr and the others during the Battle of Badr would be ineffective! In addition, it is dubious to believe that Muslims used canopies during the Battle of Badr.

Finally, al-Hakim has recorded an authentically documented narration implying that one third of Muslims guarded the Holy Prophet (S) during the Battle of Badr. This is rational because they settled in the uncovered low area of the battlefield.
Al-Hakim: al-Mustadrak 2/326:
It has been narrated that as he was asked about Surah of al-Anfal, `Abadah ibn al-Samit said, ‘The Surah regarded us during the Battle of Badr. We, Muslims, were three groups. The first group was fighting the foes; the second was gathering the spoils and capturing the prisoners; and the third was guarding the Holy Prophet (S) near the tent… etc.

The following points prove the invalidity of the opinion of inventing a relationship between the Verse of `Ismah and the guard practiced on the Holy Prophet (S):

(1) The forecited discussion of the first opinion,

(2) The same narrations of the third opinion that claimed that the cancellation of the guard had occurred in al-Madinah, not Makkah, and

(3) The major reports that support the opinion involved are `A`ishah’s and the report of al-`Abbas’s having guarded the Holy Prophet (S). The others are not authenticated. In fact, the purpose of most of such reports was to disregard Abu-Talib’s role in upholding the Holy Prophet (S) and to prove that he dispensed with Abu-Talib’s guard in Makkah.

The earliest report aims at giving al-`Abbas the role of Abu-Talib of guarding the Holy Prophet (S) in Makkah so as to make al-`Abbas the person through whom the Lord protected His Messenger against people.
If truth be told, al-`Abbas, before the immigration to al-Madinah, played an ordinary role. Like the other Hashimites, he sympathized with the Holy Prophet (S) and suffered the siege imposed upon them. In addition, it is unproved that he accepted Islam or immigrated to al-Madinah like `Ali and Hamzah. What is known for everybody is that he was captured during the Battle of Badr and accepted Islam only when he, as well as the other prisoners, was released. It is to add that al-Haythami and other scholars have decided the inauthenticity of the report, which seems to be clearly weak.

Third Opinion

The third opinion involves that the Verse was revealed in al-Madinah without a definite date. Al-Suyuti records a number of narrations showing no specific time for its revelation, though he connects them to the matter of canceling the guard practiced on the Holy Prophet (S). Thereabouts, from some of such narrations, it can be understood that the Verse was revealed in al-Madinah.
Al-Durr al-Manthur 298-9:
Al-Tabarani and Ibn Mardawayh have narrated the following on the authority of `Ismah ibn Malik al-Khatmi:
We used to guard the Holy Prophet (S) at nights until the revelation of Allah’s saying, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people.’
Ibn Jarir and Abu’l-Shaykh have narrated on the authority of Sa`id ibn Jubayr that when Almighty Allah revealed, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people,’ the Holy Prophet said, ‘Do not guard me any longer. My Lord has protected me.’
Ibn Jarir and Ibn Mardawayh have narrated on the authority of `Abdullah ibn Shaqiq that some of the Sahabah used to guard the Holy Prophet (S) whenever he went out, but when Almighty Allah revealed, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people,’ he said, ‘Go to your duties. Allah has protected me against people.’
`Abd ibn Hamid, Ibn Jarir and Abu’l-Shaykh have narrated on the authority of Muhammad ibn Ka`b al-Qara¨i that the Sahabah used to guard the Holy Prophet (S) until the revelation of Almighty Allah’s saying, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people.’ The guard was thus canceled as the Lord informed His Messenger about protecting him against people.
`Abd ibn Hamid and Ibn Mardawayh have narrated on the authority of al-Rabi` ibn Anas that the Holy Prophet (S) was guarded by his companions until the revelation of Allah’s saying, ‘O Apostle! Deliver…etc.’8

Reports respecting the Holy Prophet (S)’s history prove that he sought the Arab tribes’ protection so that he would convey his Lord’s message. Ansar paid homage to him on the conditions of protecting his household and him as same as they protect they families and themselves. These reports and facts invalidate the claim of the Verse’s revelation in Makkah. Had the Verse been revealed in Makkah, the Holy Prophet (S) would not have been in need for such protection and covenant. Reference books of Hadith, Tafsir and history are filled in with numerous narrations concerning the guard practiced on the Holy Prophet (S) in Makkah and al-Madinah, especially during battles. Such guard lasted until the final hours of his lifetime. The elongated chapters about the guard practiced on the Holy Prophet (S) and the stories that took place there prove the invalidity of the opinion under discussion. What is strange is that the same persons who have recorded such reports and stories assert that the Holy Prophet (S) had canceled the guard in Makkah or after the immigration to al-Madinah when the Verse of `Ismah was revealed, for nothing more than taking the Verse away from the incident of Ghadir!

From the previous, we have to reject the reports of the total cancellation of the guard before the incident of Ghadir. We have cited al-Hakim’s report relating that the Holy Prophet (S) was guarded by a third of Muslims during the Battle of Badr.
The following report is quoted from Ahmad’s al-Musnad 2/222:
A number of the Holy Prophet (S)’s companions guarded him while he was offering prayers after the midnight just before the Battle of Tabuk.9

The Battle of Tabuk took place in the last year of the Holy Prophet (S)’s life.
Read the following in `Uyun al-Athar 2/402:
During the Battle of Badr, Sa`d ibn Maadh guarded the Holy Prophet (S) who slept in his canopy. Muhammad ibn Muslimah was his guard during the Battle of Uhud. During that of Khandaq, al-Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam was his guard. In Khaybar, the Holy Prophet (S) was guarded by Abu-Ayyub al-Ansari. It is said that he supplicated, ‘O Allah! Protect Abu-Ayyub for he protected me.’ Bilal, Sa`d ibn Abi-Waqqas and Dhakwan ibn `Abd-Qays guarded the Holy Prophet (S) in Wadi al-Qira. `Abbad ibn Bishr was the commander of the Holy Prophet (S)’s guards. When Allah revealed, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people,’ the guard was canceled.

As he had to find an answer for the reports telling that the Holy Prophet (S) was guarded during the Battle of Tabuk, the compiler interprets ‘guarding’ into ‘waiting’! `Uyun al-Athar 1/119:
Regarding `Amr ibn Shu`ayb’s report concerning guarding the Holy Prophet (S) while he was offering prayers at the night before the Battle of Tabuk, it seems that they were waiting for him. The guard of the Holy Prophet (S) was canceled since the revelation of Allah’s saying, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people,’ which was before the Battle of Tabuk. Allah, however, is the most knowledgeable.

This interpretation is clearly contrary to the many reports of the guard practiced on the Holy Prophet (S). At any rate, such reports refute the claim that the Verse was revealed in Makkah.
To sum it up, the claim of the cancellation of the guard practiced on the Holy Prophet (S) lacks evidence since it contradicts the history of his life. Besides, the continuation of the guard has been proven through many facts; the Hashimites guarded the Holy Prophet (S) in Makkah and, altogether with the rest of his companions, in al-Madinah until the last days of his lifetime.

In my conception, it seems that the attempts of connecting the Verse of `Ismah to the cancellation of the guard denotes the accuracy of the Ahl al-Bayt’s interpretation that the Verse stands for the protection against apostasy. From this cause, their dissidents have aimed importunately at citing the material protection and the cancellation of the guard as the interpretation of the Verse, which led them to be engaged in contrast. Nevertheless, they had to disregard the stories relating the Holy Prophet (S)’s having been guarded and had to overlook the Column of the Guards10 that is still facing them in the Holy Prophet (S)’s Masjid since AH 9.

Al-Albani, having admitted that the Verse was revealed in Makkah, refuted al-Hakim’s authenticating `A`ishah’s report that he himself had already authenticated. He then mentioned the report of assassinating the Holy Prophet (S) as evidence on the authenticity of the previous report.

Fourth Opinion

The fourth opinion is that the Verse was revealed in al-Madinah in the second year of the Holy Prophet (S)’s immigration after the Battle of Uhud.
Al-Suyuti, in al-Durr al-Manthur 2/291, records the following:
Ibn Abi-Shaybah and Ibn Jarir have narrated on the authority of `Atiyyah ibn Sa`d that `Abadah ibn al-Samit, once, came to the Holy Prophet (S) and said, ‘Allah’s Messenger: I have concluded a covenant of loyalty with many of the Jews, but I now declare that I disavow such covenants and declare my loyalty to Allah and His Messenger. `Abdullah ibn Ubay was present; he spoke, ‘For me, I fear vicissitudes of time. I cannot break my covenant with them.’ Hence, the Holy Prophet said to him, ‘Abu-Habbab: You have appreciated the covenant broken by `Abadah; so, you can keep it for yourself alone.’ `Abdullah then accepted. On that account, Almighty Allah revealed, ‘O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friend… and Allah will protect you from the people.’

The previous discussion of the narrations of the guard is sufficient for proving the falsehood of this report. In addition, the report was the words of `Atiyyah ibn Sa`d, not the Holy Prophet (S). Finally, the Verses remarked in the report were 51 to 67 of Surah of al-Ma`idah which no single narrator has ever claimed that they were revealed because of the story of `Abdullah ibn Ubay’s loyalty to the Jews. At length, `Abdullah was deceased before the revelation of Surah of al-Ma`idah.

Fifth Opinion

The fifth opinion is that the Verse was revealed immediately after an attempt of assassinating the Holy Prophet (S). Contradiction is the distinctive feature of the reports narrating that assassination; some narrators have told that the attempt took place during the Battle of That al-Riqa` when a person approached the Holy Prophet (S) and asked for his sword so that he would see carefully. The Holy Prophet (S) gave him his sword so negligently…etc. Other narrations have mentioned that the sword was hanged or that the Holy Prophet (S) was inadvertent or that he was dipping his legs in a well… etc.
Al-Suyuti, in al-Durr al-Manthur 2/298-9, records the following:
Ibn Abi-Hatam has narrated on the authority of Jabir ibn `Abdullah that after the Battle of That al-Riqa`, the Holy Prophet (S) rested on a well and dipped his legs therein. Meanwhile, Ghawrath ibn al-Harth decided to kill him but his companions asked, ‘How will you kill him?’ ‘I will ask him to give me his sword and I will kill him then,’ said Ghawrath. He then approached and said, ‘Muhammad: Give me your sword.’ The Holy Prophet (S) did. As soon as the man held the sword, his hands began to shiver. ‘Allah has precluded you from what you had intended to do,’ said the Holy Prophet (S). Hence, Almighty Allah revealed, ‘O Apostle! Deliver what… etc.’
Ibn Jarir has narrated on the authority of Muhammad ibn Ka`b Al-Qara¨i that the Holy Prophet (S), once, rested under a tree when a Bedouin man unsheathed his sword and shouted, ‘Who will protect you against me?’ ‘Allah will,’ answered the Holy Prophet (S). Suddenly, the man’s hands shivered and he could no longer hold the sword. [Others added] He rammed his head to a tree and his brain was scattered. Hence, Allah revealed, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people.’
Ibn Habban and Ibn Mardawayh have reported on the authority of Abu-Hurayrah that the Holy Prophet (S), once, rested under a tree, which was the most extensive because we used to select the largest tree for him during journeys. He hanged his sword to that tree when a man came and drew the sword shouting, ‘Muhammad! Who will protect you against me.’ ‘Allah will,’ said the Holy Prophet (S), ‘Put that sword away.’ Hence, Allah revealed, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people.’

Other narrators have reported that a person was arrested because he had tried to assassinate the Holy Prophet (S). In al-Durr al-Manthur 2/299, it has been narrated that the Holy Prophet said to the arrested man who was charged of trying to assassinate him, ‘You should have regarded me! Even if you had had such an opportunity, Almighty Allah would have prevented you from doing it.’
The inaccuracy of this opinion can be proved through the following points:

(1) According to ibn Husham, in al-Sirah 3/225, the Battle of That al-Riqa` took place in AH 4. Many years after this date, Surah of al-Ma`idah was revealed. Some reports of the incident have not defined a date and others have been logically unacceptable.

(2) The major reference books recording the story of Ghawrath and the Battle of That al-Riqa` have not referred to the revelation of the Verse of `Ismah; rather most of them have referred to the legislation of the ritual Prayer of Anticipating Dangers (Salat al-Khawf) and the practice of more watchful guard on the Holy Prophet (S) even during prayers.

These two points are sufficient for refuting the claim of the revelation of the Verse on such occasions.
Ibn Husham has mentioned that Almighty Allah’s saying, ‘O you who believe! Remember Allah’s favor on you when a people had determined to stretch forth their hands towards you, but He withheld their hands from you…,’ was revealed on that occasion.11 This is also inaccurate since the Verse is also in Surah of al-Ma`idah.
Al-Bukhari, as well as many others, has mentioned that the Verse was revealed for the Salat al-Khawf and the practice of more watchful guard on the Holy Prophet (S) due to that incident:
It has been narrated on the authority of Jabir ibn `Abdullah that the Holy Prophet (S), once, rested under a tree to which he hanged his sword in his journey back from a campaign in Najd. As each one searched for a tree to sleep under its shadow, they were waked up by the Holy Prophet (S)’s loud voice. When they approached, they saw a Bedouin man sitting before him. The Holy Prophet (S) then said, “While I was sleeping, this man unsheathed my sword; so I woke up and saw him raising it towards me saying ‘Who will protect you against me?’ ‘Allah will,’ I answered. The result then is what you see now.” The Holy Prophet (S), however, did not punish him.
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu-Salamah that Jabir ibn `Abdullah reported that in That al-Riqa`, the Holy Prophet (S) rested under a large tree that we have left for him. A polytheist came and unsheathed the Holy Prophet (S)’s sword, which was hanged to the tree and said, ‘Well, now you should fear me.’ ‘No, I should not,’ answered the Holy Prophet (S). ‘Who will protect you against me?’ said the man. ‘Allah will,’ answered the Holy Prophet (S). We then came and threatened that man. Then it was time for a prayer; hence, the Holy Prophet (S) led a group of us in a two Rak`ah prayer then the other group came instead.
It has been narrated on the authority of Musaddad on the authority of Abu-`Uwanah on the authority of Abu-Bishr that the polytheist man’s name was Ghawrath ibn al-Harth.12
The most acceptable form of Ghawrath’s story can be seen in al-Kulayni: al-Kafi 8/127:
It has been narrated on the authority of Aban ibn Taghlib on the authority of Abu-Basir that Imam Abu-`Abdullah al-Sadiq (a.s.), once, narrated that while the Holy Prophet (S) rested under a tree on the edge of a valley, a torrent came between his companions and him. Hence, the companions waited for that torrent to stop. Meanwhile, a polytheist man determined to kill the Holy Prophet (S); he attacked him with his sword shouting, ‘Who will protect you against me?’ ‘Your and my Lord will,’ answered the Holy Prophet (S). Immediately, Archangel Gabriel knocked that man down. The Holy Prophet (S) took the sword and sat on his chest saying, ‘Now, who will protect you against me, Ghawrath?’ ‘Your benevolence and humanity will,’ said the man. Forthwith, the Holy Prophet (S) left him. The man stood up shouting, ‘By Allah I swear, you are better and more benevolent than I am.’

Major reference books of Hadith have not mentioned that the Verse was revealed during the Battle of That al-Riqa` or on the occasion of Ghawrath’s attempt of assassination. Furthermore, it has been clear that after that incident, the Holy Prophet (S) ordered to guard him more watchfully even during the prayers.
The adopters of this opinion may have understood that the canceling of the guard meant that the Holy Prophetsuspected the divine protection!

The following opinions of ibn Hajar and al-Qurtubi is a part of their confusion in inventing a relationship between the Verse of `Ismah and Ghawrath’s story. Al-Qurtubi says that the Holy Prophet (S)’s having being alone during the events of the story proves that he was not guarded and, as a sequence, the Verse of `Ismah was already revealed. Ibn Hajar answers, ‘No, the Verse was revealed on that day; so, the guards’ job was canceled. Before that, the Holy Prophet (S)’s conviction was sometimes increasing and in other times decreasing. He took guards whenever his confidence decreased and canceled it when his confidence increased. During the events of Ghawrath’s story, the Holy Prophet (S)’s confidence was considerable; therefore, he was not guarded.’13

Ibn Hajar misses the fact that Surah of al-Ma`idah was revealed in AH 10 while the Battle of That al-Riqa` took place in AH 4 and that Abu-Hurayrah (the reporter of the incident) put his feet, for the first time, in al-Madinah in AH 7. He also misses that Salat al-Khawf and the watchful guard were legislated in That al-Riqa`. However, his one and only aim was to take the Verse of `Ismah away from the incidents on Ghadir Khumm.

The reports confirming that the Holy Prophet (S) was guarded during the Battle of Tabuk that took place six years after the Battle of That al-Riqa` have been already forecited. Through authentic reports, we have proved that the Holy Prophet (S) was guarded even during the conquest of Makkah that took place four years after the forecited incident. Read the following narration as quoted from al-Bukhari: al-Sahih 5/91:
It has been narrated on the authority of Husham on the authority of his father that when people of Quraysh were informed about the Holy Prophet (S)’s progress towards Makkah, Abu-Sufyan ibn Harb, Hakim ibn Hizam and Badil ibn Warqa`… The Holy Prophet (S)’s guards could capture them… etc.

Sixth Opinion

The sixth opinion claims that the Verse is generally referring to the Holy Prophet (S)’s having been ordered to convey the Lord’s message, lest he should not be regarded as conveyor.
The following is quoted from al-Durr al-Manthur 2/299:
`Abd ibn Hamid, Ibn Jarir, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Abi-Hatam and Abu’l-Shaykh have narrated on the authority of Qatadah that in this Verse, the Lord acquaints His Messenger that he will protect him against people and orders him to convey the message… etc.

To great extent, this opinion is similar to the first one. The previous topics may be enough for refutation. Besides, the reports of this opinion are not documented and not enough for achieving the condition therein.

The Opinion Agreeing the Ahl al-Bayt’s Interpretation

Let us first refer to the following narrations:
Al-Suyuti: al-Durr al-Manthur 2/298:
Ibn Abi-Hatam, Ibn Mardawayh and Ibn `Asakir have narrated on the authority of Abu-Sa`id al-Khidri that the Verse of `Ismah was revealed to the Holy Prophet (S) on the day of Ghadir regarding `Ali ibn Abi-Talib.
Ibn Mardawayh has narrated that Ibn Mas`ud said, ‘Before the Holy Prophet (S), we used to recite the Verse in this form, ‘O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord (i.e. about the matter that `Ali being the leader of the believers) and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message.’

Abu-Ja`far al-Iskafi: al-Mi`yar wa’l-Muwazanah 213:
It has been narrated that Jabir ibn `Abdullah and `Abdullah ibn al-`Abbas said that the Holy Prophet (S) felt some fear when Almighty Allah ordered him to nominate `Ali as the next leader and instruct people to pay homage to him. He anticipated that people would accuse him of favoring his cousin. Hence, Almighty Allah revealed, ‘O Apostle! Deliver… etc.’ On that day in Ghadir Khumm, the Holy Prophet (S) delivered the message to people.

As a footnote, he adds:
Al-Suyuti, in al-Durr al-Manthur, records that Ibn Mardawayh and Ibn `Asakir have narrated on the authority of Abu-Sa`id al-Khidri that after the Holy Prophet (S) had nominated `Ali as the next leader and asked people to pay him homage, Archangel Gabriel conveyed Almighty Allah’s saying, ‘This day have I completed your religion for you and perfected My favor on you… etc.’14

Al-Khatib, al-Hasakani, Ibn `Asakir, Ibn Kathir, al-Khawarzmi and Ibn al-Maghazili have narrated that Abu-Hurayrah said, “Whoever observes fasting on the eighteenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah will be granted the reward of a sixty-month fasting. It is the day of Ghadir when the Holy Prophet (S) took `Ali ibn Abi-Talib from the hand and said, ‘I am the master of the believers, aren’t I?’ ‘Yes, you are,’ affirmed people. He then declared, ‘Whoever has regarded me as his master must regard `Ali as his master.’ `Umar ibn al-Khattab then said to `Ali, ‘Congratulations son of Abu-Talib! You have become my master and the master of every Muslim.’ Then, Almighty Allah revealed, ‘This day have I completed your religion for you and perfected My favor on you… etc.’15

Sayyid al-Tabataba`i, in Tafsir al-Mizan 6/54, records the following:
Al-Tha`labi in Tafsir has recorded that Ja`far ibn Muhammad said, “Almighty Allah’s saying, ‘O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord,’ refers to `Ali. Immediately after the revelation of the Verse, the Holy Prophet (S) took `Ali from the hand and declared, “Whoever has regarded me as his master must now regard `Ali as his master.”
It has been also narrated on the authority of al-Kalbi on the authority of Abu-Salih on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that the Verse was revealed about `Ali ibn Abi-Talib. Allah ordered the Holy Prophet (S) to instruct people to pay homage to `Ali; so, he took him from the arm and declared, ‘Whoever has regarded me as his master must now regard `Ali as his master. O Allah! Be the supporter of him who will support `Ali and be the enemy of him who will antagonize `Ali.”

The following is quoted from `Allamah al-Amini: al-Ghadir 1/214:
The Verse was revealed on the eighteenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah, AH 10, the year of the Farewell Hajj. When the Holy Prophet (S) resided in Ghadir Khumm, Archangel Gabriel came to him and said, “Muhammad: Almighty Allah greets you and says: O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you (i.e. regarding `Ali succession) from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people.” The foregoing people who were more than 100,000 individuals were about to reach al-Juhafah. The Holy Prophet (S) ordered them to return and ordered the others to halt in that place. He then nominated `Ali as the leader of Muslims and told them about the divine revelation that Almighty Allah would protect him against people. For the Imamiyyah, this fact is indisputable. Yet, we should provide reports from Sunni reference books of Hadith as evidences.

Al-Amini, thereafter, refers to thirty Sunni reference books that have related reports respecting the revelation of the Verse about Imam `Ali’s succession. Let us now refer to some of them in brief:

1. Al-Tabari, Abu-Ja`far Muhammad ibn Jarir (died in AH 310): al-Wilayah. In this book, he has narrated on the authority of Zayd ibn Arqam that when the Holy Prophet (S) was back from the Farewell Hajj, he resided in Ghadir Khumm. It was the first hours of that extremely hot day when he ordered to sweep a height there and gather people. As soon as they were before him, he delivered an eloquent sermon saying, ‘The Lord has revealed to me… etc.

2. Al-Han¨ali, ibn Abi-Hatam Abu-Muhammad al-Razi (died in AH 327)

3. Al-Mahamili, Abu-`Abdullah (died in AH 330.) In al-Amali, he has related the report to Ibn `Abbas.

4. Al-Farisi, Abu-Bakr al-Shirazi (died in AH 407); he has related the report to ibn `Abbas.

5. Ibn Mardawayh (AH 323-416); he has related on the authority Abu-Sa`id al-Khidri that the Verse was revealed on that day in Ghadir Khumm for declaring the leadership of `Ali ibn Abi-Talib. He has also recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said, “In the presence of the Holy Prophet (S), we used to recite the Verse of `Ismah as, ‘O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord (i.e. regarding `Ali being the leader of the believers) and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message.’”

6. Al-Tha`labi, Abu-Ishaq al-Nisapuri (died in AH 427); he has recorded the report in al-Kashf wa’l-Bayan.

7. Al-Isfahani, Abu-Na`im (died in AH 430); he has recorded the report in Ma Nazala Min al-Qur’an fi Haqq `Ali (The Qur’anic Verses About `Ali).

8. Al-Wahidi, Abu’l-Hasan al-Nisapuri, (died in AH 468); In Asbab al-Nuzul, he has related the report.

9. Al-Sajistani, Abu-Sa`id, (died in AH 477); he has narrated the report in al-Wilayah.

10. Al-Hasakani, al-Hakim Abu’l-Qasim; in Shawahid al-Tanzil li Qawa`id al-Tafdil Wa’l-Ta`wil, he has recorded the report.

11. Ibn `Asakir, Abu’l-Qasim al-Shafi`i (died in AH 471); he has related the report to Abu-Sa`id al-Khidri.

12. Al-Natanzi, Abu’l-Fath; in al-Khasa`is al-`Alawiyyah, he has recorded the report.

13. Al-Razi, Fakhr al-Din al-Shafi`i (died in AH 606); in al-Tafsir al-Kabir 3/636, he has recorded that the Verse was revealed for `Ali. The Prophet (S) took him from the hand and declared, ‘Whoever has regarded me as his master must now regard `Ali as his master.’

14. Al-Nasibi, Abu-Salim al-Shafi`i (died in AH 652); he has recorded the report in Matalib al-Sa`ul 16.

15. Al-Ras`ani, `Izz al-Din al-Mawsli al-Hanbali (born in AH 589)

16. Al-Hamawini, Abu-Ishaq, Shaykh al-Islam (died in AH 722); in Fara`id al-Simtayn, he has recorded the report on the authority of his three masters: Sayyid Burhan al-Din Ibrahim ibn `Umar al-Husayni al-Madani, Shaykh Majd al-Din `Abdullah ibn Mahmud al-Mawsli and Badr al-Din Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn As`ad al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu-Hurayrah.

17. Al-Hamadani, `Ali (died in AH 786); in Mawaddat al-Qurba, he has recorded that al-Barra` ibn `Azib said, “I accompanied the Holy Prophet (S) in the journey back from the Farewell Hajj. As we reached Ghadir Khumm, he gathered people, sat to a tree and took `Ali from the hand and said, ‘I am preferred to your souls, aren’t I?’ ‘Yes, you are, Allah’s messenger!’ asserted people. ‘Whoever has regarded me as his master must now regard `Ali as his master. O Allah! Be the supporter of him who will support `Ali and be the enemy of his who will oppose `Ali,’ declared the Holy Prophet (S). `Umar, May Allah please him, met `Ali and said, ‘Congratulations, `Ali ibn Abi-Talib! You have become my master and the master of every male and female believer.’ That was the result of Allah’s saying, ‘O Apostle! Deliver… etc.’

18. Badr al-Din ibn al-`Ayni al-Hanafi (AH 762-855); in `Umdat al-Qari fi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari 8/584, he has recorded the report respecting the Verse on the authority of al-Wahidi.

Wahhabis and the Hadith of Ghadir

It is strange to find the opinion of the Ahl al-Bayt regarding the interpretation of the Verse of `Ismah in Sunni reference books of Hadith, because it collapses the claims about Imamate and succession of the Holy Prophet (S) which people of Quraysh and their fans have spared no efforts in attempting to convince Muslims with. From this cause, Nasibis are extremely incensed for the existence of the Hadith of Ghadir on innumerable pages of Sunni reference books of Hadith. They have always wished had such reports been erased from such books. Consequently, they have showered insults and accusations at the Shi`ah and their scholars for they have always referred to the existence of such reports in such books. Instead, they should have studied such reports on the light of the Qur’an and the authentic Hadiths.
Al-Albani; in Salsalat al-AHadith al-Sahihah 5/644, has recorded the following:
The Holy Prophet (S) used to be guarded until the revelation Almighty Allah saying, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people.’ He then took his head out of the tent and ordered the guards to leave him since he would be protected by the Lord.
Al-Tirmidhi (2/175), Ibn Jarir (6-199) and al-Hakim (2/3) have narrated the report on the authority of al-Harith ibn `Ubayd on the authority of Sa`id al-Jariri on the authority of `Abd ibn Shaqiq on the authority of `A`ishah. Al-Tirmidhi, however, has regarded it as strange. Others have reported it on the authority of the same series except `A`ishah. This is in fact more accurate because al-Harith ibn `Ubayd who is the same as Abu-Qudamah al-Iyadi is rather doubtful in affairs regarding his memorization. About him, al-Hafi¨ says that although he is honest, he makes mistakes. Some of those to whom al-Tirmidhi had referred, such as Isma`il ibn `Ilyah the trustworthy, contradicted this opinion. Ibn Jarir has narrated the report on the authority of Isma`il on the authority of al-Jariri interruptedly. Hence, the report is actually interruptedly transmitted and al-Hakim’s having decided its authenticity as related on the authority of `A`ishah is inaccurate although al-Dhahbi has regarded it as authentic, too. In conclusion, the report is authentic since it has been testified by the report of Abu-Hurayrah that the Prophet (S), once, rested under a tree, which was the most extensive because we used to select the largest tree for him during journeys. He hanged his sword to that tree when a man came and drew the sword shouting, ‘Muhammad! Who will protect you against me.’ ‘Allah will,’ said the Holy Prophet (S), ‘Put that sword away.’ Hence, Allah revealed, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people.’ According to Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah 6/198, Ibn Habban, in al-Sahih, and Ibn Mardawayh have recorded the previous narration from two ways of documentation… etc.
It is worth mentioning that the Shi`ah, depending upon numerous narrations most of which are incomplete or interruptedly transmitted, have claimed that the Verse was revealed on that day in Ghadir Khumm for `Ali, May Allah please him,. This is however contrary to the forecited reports. They have cited Abu-Sa`id al-Khidri’s report, which is forged. I have proven this fact during discussing the report numbered 4922. Without studying its documentation, `Abd al-Husayn16 the Shiite has referred to of such narrations in al-Murajaat 38. Since his only purpose was to enlist any word that may serve his sect, he used to cite any narration as evidence without paying any attention to its documentation or discriminatory study. However, the Shi`ah have adopted the rule that the end justifies the means.

Beware of this man and his narrations! Moreover, he used to defraud, if not lie to, the readers; referring to the report that was falsely ascribed to Abu-Sa`id al-Khidri, for instance, the man has claimed that a many compilers of Sunni reference books of Hadith, such as al-Wahidi, have recorded that report. Even the beginners know that al-Wahidi is not one of the compilers of the four most remarkable Sunni reference books of Hadith. He is an interpreter of the Holy Qur’an who might have mentioned authentic and doubtful reports indistinctly. However, Abu-Sa`id al-Khidri’s report was doubtful because it has been narrated on the authority of extremely doubtful and neglected narrators.
After they had adopted Taqiyyah (pious simulation), the Shi`ah have deemed lawful to forge lies against Sunnis in their books and sermons. This matter is clearly unveiled in al-Khomayni’s book entitled Kashf al-`Asrar. It is quite evident that Taqiyyah is the spouse of fabrication. Accordingly, Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, who knew the Shi`ah more than anyone else did, said, ‘The Shi`ah are the biggest fabricators of all Muslims.’ I myself obviously noticed the fabrication of some of their scholars, especially `Abd al-Husayn who has deluded the readers into imagining that the authenticity of the report is beyond dispute for the Sunni scholar because of its numerous ways of narration.

Al-Khumayni has been bigger fabricator! On page 149 of the forecited book, he has claimed the revelation of Verse of `Ismah on the day of Ghadir in which the Prophet (S) was ordered to declare the Imamate of `Ali ibn Abi-Talib. He has ascribed this to Sunni scholars and decided the unanimity of the Shi`ah on that matter. Allah may reward that man as exactly as what he deserves.

Answering al-Albani, we say, first, that the style of insults and reviling at people, as well as issuing inaccurate judgments, should be eluded, for it is not rightful for al-Albani to classify the Islamic groups as to their honesty and dishonesty. Among Sunnis and Shiites, there are various kinds of people. Yet, Nasibis are excluded for they are subjected to definite rules. Al-Albani should not forget that he defended Imam `Ali (a.s.) and refuted ibn Taymiyah who wronged him and denied that the Holy Prophet said about him in the famous incident of Ghadir Khumm, ‘Whoever has regarded me as his master must now regard `Ali as his master. O Allah! Be the supporter of him who will support `Ali and be the enemy of him who will oppose `Ali.’ In the same place, al-Albani, in Salsalat al-AHadith al-Sahihah 5/330, No. 1750, has decided the authenticity of the forecited Hadith. Ibn Taymiyah would never be expected to give the Shi`ah their due since he had wronged their Imam!
On page 344 of the same book, al-Albani adds:
As I saw Ibn Taymiyah considering the Hadith17 as doubtful in its first half and untrue in its second, I have had to write down these pages and prove that the Hadith is authentic. In my conception, the reason beyond such exaggeration of Ibn Taymiyah was that he used to be hasty in deciding the inauthenticity of some Hadiths before studying them! Nevertheless, the Shi`ah have been completely inaccurate as they claimed that the Holy Prophet (S) nominated `Ali as his successor through such Hadiths. History has proven the falsity of this claim; if the Holy Prophet (S) had indeed said such a thing, it should have occurred because the source of his words is the Divine Revelation and Allah never breaks His promise.

While he criticizes ibn Taymiyah’s hastiness, al-Albani himself jumped to inaccurate conclusions confusing the legislative instruction with the divine prediction. Had al-Albani’s words been right, the Hadith that he already decided as authentic would have been invalid. In other words, the Holy Prophet (S)’s saying, ‘Whoever has regarded me as his master must now regard `Ali as his master,’ which al-Albani has decided as authentic must have been originated from the Divine Revelation, too. Hence, such a divine prediction, as al-Albani has decided, should befall and that `Ali should be the leader of Muslims who should precede him to themselves in the same way as they preceded the Holy Prophet (S). However, this matter did not take place; on the contrary, they attacked the house of `Ali and Fatimah two or three days after the Holy Prophet (S)’s departure and threatened flaming the house if the people there would not come out and pay homage to the new leader.

Finally, they forced `Ali to pay homage. All these events are as clear as the sun. On that account, the Holy Prophet (S)’s saying, ‘`Ali will be my successor’ is as same as his saying, ‘Whoever has regarded me as his master must now regard `Ali as his master.’ If the earlier is divine prediction, as al-Albani claims, the latter should be, too! Both texts refer to a legislative instruction and a guide leading Muslims to their duties so that any contrary event would not take place.

Secondly, al-Albani has decided the report dedicating the Verse of `Ismah to the event of the congregational declaration of loyalty in Ghadir as inauthentic; has he studied the reports so as to have the right to say that most of these narrations have been incompletely transmitted or doubtful? Has he investigated the ways of narrating the Hadith that was reported by al-Tha`labi, Abu-Na`im, al-Wahidi, Abu-Sa`id al-Sajistani, al-Hasakani and many others? Has he scrutinized these ways of narration before he decided that most of them have been incompletely transmitted or doubtful? Has he found that any of the narrators are neglected by him? Finally, he committed the same error of Ibn Taymiyah whom he had criticized!

In any event, al-Albani still has enough time to correct his errors. We hope that he would write down his notes respecting the discussion of the exegesis of the Verse of `Ismah and study, on his own criteria, the ways of narration and documentation that we have cited provided that he would not contradict his previous words and avoid deciding a narrator as doubtful for nothing other than having referred to Imam `Ali’s merits while he admits on the other reports relating the merits of Imam `Ali’s rivals!

Let us now refer to the ways of documentation quoted from one reference book, which is Shawahid al-Tanzil li-Qawa`id al-Tafdil18 by al-Hakim al-Hasakani—`Abdullah ibn `Abdullah ibn Ahmad al-`Amiri al-Qurayshi the student of al-Hakim al-Nisapuri. On pages 250-7, he writes down:
244. Abu-`Abdullah Al-Daynuri has narrated to us on the authority of Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Ibrahim al-Sunni on the authority of `Abd al-Rahman ibn Hamdan on the authority of Muhammad ibn `Uthman al-`Absi on the authority of Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Maymun on the authority of `Ali ibn `Abis al-A`mash on the authority of Abu’l-Jihaf Dawud ibn Abi-`Awf on the authority of `Attiyyah on the authority of Abu-Sa`id al-Khidri that the Verse of `Ismah was revealed about `Ali ibn Abi-Talib.

245. Al-Hakim Abu-`Abdullah al-Hafiz has narrated to us on the authority of `Ali ibn `Abd al-Rahman ibn `«sa al-Dahqan in al-Kufah on the authority of al-Husayn ibn al-Hakam al-Hibri on the authority of al-Kalbi on the authority of Abu-Salih on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that the Verse of `Ismah was revealed about `Ali. Immediately after the revelation, the Holy Prophet (S) carried out the divine order of conveying. He took `Ali from the hand and declared, ‘Whoever has regarded me as his master must now regard `Ali as his master. O Allah! Be the supporter of him who will support `Ali and be the enemy of him who will oppose him.’

246. A group of people have narrated the same report on the authority of al-Hibri, and al-Subay`i in his book of Tafsir has also narrated on the authority of al-Hibri. Other people have narrated it on the authority of al-Kalbi. I have compiled a book in ten volumes and entitled Duat al-Hudat Ila Ada` Haqq al-Muwalat in which I have referred to the ways of the documentation of this report in details.

247. Abu-Bakr al-Sukkari has narrated to us on the authority of Abu-`Amr al-Muqri on the authority of al-Hasan ibn Sufyan on the authority of Ahmad ibn Azhar on the authority of `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Amr ibn Jibillah on the authority of `Umar ibn Na`im ibn `Umar ibn Qays al-Masir on the authority of his grandfather that `Abdullah ibn Abi-Awfa, on that day in Ghadir Khumm, heard the Holy Prophet (S) reciting the Verse of `Ismah. He then raised his hands so upwardly that his armpits were seen and said, ‘Whoever has regarded me as his master must now regard `Ali as his master. O Allah! Be the supporter of him who will support `Ali and be the enemy of him who will oppose `Ali. O Allah! Be the witness.’

248. `Amr ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad has narrated to us on the authority of Zahir ibn Ahmad on the authority of Abu-Bakr Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Sawli on the authority of al-Mughirah ibn Muhammad on the authority of `Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-Nawfali on the authority of his father that Ziyad ibn al-Mundhir said: I was present when Abu-Ja`far Muhammad ibn `Ali (Imam al-Baqir), while instructing people, was asked by a man named `Uthman al-A`sha who used to relate al-Hasan al-Basri’s instructions, ‘Son of Allah’s Messenger: May Allah make my soul your ransom! Once, al-Hasan recited the Verse of `Ismah then commented that it was revealed about somebody whom he had not identified.’ The Imam said, “He would have told if he had wanted. Nevertheless, he feared misfortunes! Archangel Gabriel, once, descended to the Holy Prophet (S) and conveyed that the Lord ordered him to instruct people how to perform the ritual prayers; so, he carried out.

He then descended and conveyed that the Lord ordered the Holy Prophet (S) to instruct people how to fast; so, he carried out. He then descended and conveyed that the Lord ordered the Holy Prophet (S) to instruct people how to undertake the ritual Hajj; so, he carried out. He then descended and conveyed that the Lord ordered the Holy Prophet (S) to lead people to their leader so that the Lord would have His claim against them perfected. The Holy Prophet said, “My Lord: My people have still born the customs of Jahiliyah. They are filled in with rivalry and pride. The man whom I should introduce as their leader has beheaded a single man, at least, from each house of my people. I anticipate that they would apostatize from the religion if I declare that.’ Immediately, Almighty Allah revealed, ‘O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message (so completely), and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.’ When the Holy Prophet (S) guaranteed the protection of Almighty Allah, he took `Ali ibn Abi-Talib from the hand and said, ‘People: Whoever has regarded me as his master must now regard `Ali as his master. O Allah! Be the supporter of him who will support `Ali and be the enemy of him who will oppose `Ali and give victory to him who will support `Ali and disappoint him who will disappoint `Ali and love him who will love `Ali and dislike him who will dislike `Ali.’ Commenting on the narration, `Uthman al-A`sha said, ‘The best thing that I ever gained during that journey was this narration.’

249. `Ali ibn Musa ibn Ishaq has narrated to me on the authority of Muhammad ibn Mas`ud ibn Muhammad on the authority of Sahl ibn Bahr on the authority of al-Fadl ibn Shadhan on the authority of Muhammad ibn Abi-`Umayr on the authority of `Umar ibn `Udhaynah on the authority of al-Kalbi on the authority of Abu-Salih that Ibn `Abbas and Jabir ibn `Abdullah said that the Holy Prophet (S) anticipated that people would criticize and revile at him when he would convey his Lord’s instructions of nominating `Ali as their next leader. He expected them to accuse him of favoring his cousin for personal goals. Hence, Almighty Allah revealed the Verse of `Ismah. Immediately, the Holy Prophet (S) declared that `Ali would be the next leader of Muslims. That was in Ghadir Khumm.

250. Muhammad ibn al-Qasim ibn Ahmad has narrated to me on the authority of Abu-Ja`far Muhammad ibn `Ali on the authority of his father on the authority of Sa`d ibn `Abdullah on the authority of Ahmad ibn `Abdullah al-Barqi on the authority of his father on the authority of Khalaf ibn `Ammar al-Asadi on the authority of Abu’l-Hasan al-`Abdi on the authority of al-A`mash on the authority of `Abayah ibn Rab`i that `Abdullah ibn `Abbas (narrating the story of the Holy Prophet (S)’s Night Ascension) said that Almighty Allah said, ‘I have assigned a vicegerent for each Prophet (S) and thus you are the Messenger of Allah and `Ali is your vicegerent.’

When the Holy Prophet (S) returned to the earth, he disliked telling people about that divine commission because they had just converted to Islam. Six days after the incident, Almighty Allah revealed His saying, ‘Then, it may be that you will give up a part of what is revealed to you and your breast will become straitened by it.’ The Holy Prophet (S) waited for more eighteen days. Then Almighty Allah revealed to him, ‘O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.’ For that reason, he ordered Bilal to declare that people must gather in Ghadir Khumm the next day. Hence, he said, ‘People: My Lord has ordered me to convey His Message to you but I feared since I anticipated that you would belie me. Therefore, He blamed me and threatened a punishment frequently.’

He then took `Ali ibn Abi-Talib from the hand and raised it so upwardly that their armpits were seen and then declared, ‘People: Allah is my Master and I am your master. Whoever has regarded me as his master must now regard `Ali as his master. O Allah! Be the supporter of him who will support `Ali and be the enemy of him who will oppose `Ali and give victory to him who will support `Ali and disappoint him who will disappoint `Ali.’ soon after that, Almighty Allah revealed, ‘This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor on you… etc.’

The Ahl al-Bayt’s Opinion

In al-`Ayyashi’s book of Tafsir 1/331, we read the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu-Salih that Ibn `Abbas and Jabir ibn `Abdullah said that the Holy Prophet (S) anticipated that people would criticize and revile at him when he would convey his Lord’s instructions of nominating `Ali as the next leader. He expected them to accuse him of favoring his cousin. Hence, Almighty Allah revealed the Verse of `Ismah.

In al-Kulayni’s al-Kafi 1/290, we read the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of Muhammad ibn Yahya on the authority of Ahmad ibn Muhammad and Muhammad ibn al-Husayn on the authority of Muhammad ibn Isma`il ibn Buzay` on the authority of Mansur ibn Yunus on the authority of Abu’l-Jarud that Abu-Ja`far Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) said, “Almighty Allah has imposed five precepts upon people, but they carried out four and neglected one. As they were unaware of the time of offering the ritual prayers, Archangel Gabriel descended to the Holy Prophet (S) and conveyed the Lord’s orders of instructing people when to offer the prayers. For the precept of the zakat, the same thing took place. For the precept of the fasting, on the tenth of Muharram, the Holy Prophet (S) instructed the people of the neighboring villages to observe fasting. Later on, Ramadan, the month lying between Sha`ban and Shawwal, was identified for the fasting. Then the rites of the Hajj descended; Archangel Gabriel said to the Holy Prophet (S), ‘In the same way as you have taught them how to offer prayers, defray the zakat and observe the fasting, you should now instruct them how to undertake the Hajj.’
Finally, the commandment of the allegiance was revealed. The perfection of the religion was achieved through the loyalty to the leadership of `Ali ibn Abi-Talib. The Holy Prophet (S) then narrated, “When the commandment of the loyalty to `Ali’s leadership was revealed to me, I thought that my people, having been fresh Muslims, would accuse me of favoring my cousin. Forthwith, Almighty Allah threatened a punishment if I would neglect the conveyance of the matter. He therefore revealed the Verse of `Ismah: ‘O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.’
Immediately, the Holy Prophet (S) took `Ali (a.s.) from the hand and declared, ‘People: Like the other Prophets, I have to respond to my Lord after He has given me this age. You, as well as I, will be interrogated. What will your answer be?’ ‘We admit that you have conveyed, advised and accomplished your mission. May Allah satisfy you with the best reward of the Messengers,’ acknowledged people. ‘O Allah! Be the witness,’ repeated the Holy Prophet (S) thrice, ‘Muslims: This man shall be your leader after me. The present must carry this command to the absent.’”

In Bihar al-Anwar 94/300, we read the following:
Muhammad ibn `Ali al-Tarazi has narrated in his book on the authority of `Abdullah ibn Ja`far al-Himyari on the authority of Harun ibn Muslim on the authority of al-Hasan al-Laythi that, once, Abu-`Abdullah Ja`far ibn Muhammad (S) said to the groups of the Shi`ah and the adherents of the Ahl al-Bayt who were present before him, ‘Do you know the day on which the Lord has constructed Islam, revealed the illumination of the religion and made it –that day- a festivity for our adherents and us?’ ‘Allah, His Messenger and the son of the Messenger are the most knowledgeable. Is it the `Id al-Fitr?’ asked they. ‘No, it is not,’ answered Abu-`Abdullah (a.s.). ‘Is it then the `Id al-Adha?’19 asked they. ‘No,’ answered the Holy Imam, ‘However, these are two holy and noble days. The day of the illumination of the religion is holier and nobler.

It is the eighteenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah. On the noontime of that day when the Holy Prophet (S) arrived in Ghadir Khumm during his journey back from the Farewell Hajj, Archangel Gabriel descended carrying the Lord’s instruction of declaring Amir al-Mu`minin’s succession and leadership. ‘On this very day, you must declare that `Ali would be the master of this Ummah so that he must be the next leader to whom people should show loyalty. He will represent you,’ said Archangel Gabriel. ‘Gabriel, my dear!’ said the Holy Prophet (S), ‘I fear that my companions will oppose since they have detested `Ali for he killed their people and will unveil their hiddens.’ Archangel Gabriel carried the Holy Prophet (S)’s words and, immediately, came back with Almighty Allah’s saying, ‘O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.’ Having been apprehensive and distress, the Holy Prophet (S) ordered to sweep the place under these trees while his feet were sore for the heat of the sun. He then ordered Muslims to gather there; so, they, including Abu-Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman and the rest of Muhajirun and Ansar, approached together before him. He then declared that `Ali must be accepted as the coming leader since this was Almighty Allah’s commission.

Al-Nu`man al-Maghribi, in Daa`im al-Islam 1/14, has recorded the following:
It has been narrated that a man, once, said to Abu-Ja`far Muhammad ibn `Ali (Imam al-Baqir) that al-Hasan al-Basri said that the Holy Prophet (S), once, said, ‘I became distressed and disturbed when Almighty Allah ordered me to convey a message. I feared that people would belie me, but the Lord threatened a punishment if I would not do it.’ Abu-Ja`far (a.s.) asked the man whether al-Hasan al-Basri had told them about that message. The man answered negatively. ‘By Allah I swear,’ said the Imam, ‘al-Hasan al-Basri knew that message completely, but he concealed it deliberately.’ ‘Son of Allah’s Messenger,’ asked the man, ‘May Allah make my soul your ransom. What was that message?’

Abu-Ja`far (a.s.) said, ‘The believers did not know how to offer the prayers that were imposed upon them in Almighty Allah’s Book; therefore, He directed His Messenger to explain it for them, and the Holy Prophet (S) did utterly. Similarly, He ordered to defray the zakat, but they did not know what is that; therefore, the Holy Prophet (S) explained it to them saying that gold, silver, camels, cows, sheep and the yields are the things applicable to the zakat. thus, he left nothing unexplored. As fasting was imposed upon them, people did not know anything about it; so, the Holy Prophet (S) explained it in details. When the Lord imposed the ritual Hajj, Almighty Allah directed the Holy Prophet (S) to teach them how to undertake it. Almighty Allah then ordered people to be loyal to the Ahl al-Bayt.

In this regard, the Almighty revealed, ‘Only Allah is your master and His Messenger and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the Zakat while they bow.’ As He imposed the loyalty to the leadership of the Ahl al-Bayt, people did not know the sort of that loyalty. Like the prayer, Zakat, fasting and Hajj, Almighty Allah ordered His Messenger to explain the meaning of the loyalty to the Ahl al-Bayt’s leadership. This order disturbed the Holy Prophetsince he anticipated that people would apostatize from the religion and belie him. Hence, he sought the Lord’s relief and, immediately, Almighty Allah revealed, ‘O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.’

After that, he, having been in Ghadir Khumm, declared the obligatory loyalty to the leadership of `Ali ibn Abi-Talib (a.s.) flawlessly and ordered the present to carry it to the absent. As the divine precepts were revealed gradually, the obligatory loyalty to the leadership of `Ali ibn Abi-Talib was the sealing. For this reason, Almighty Allah revealed, ‘This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion.’ This means that the Lord would not reveal any more precept since He has completed them.
It has been narrated that the Holy Prophet said, ‘I enjoin those who believed in Allah and believed and gave credence to me to adhere to the leadership of `Ali ibn Abi-Talib since the loyalty to him is as same as the loyalty to me. This is a binding instruction that I have received from my Lord Who directed me to carry it to you.’

The first narration has been also recorded in al-Nu`man al-Maghribi: Sharh al-Akhbar 1/101. A similar narration has been recorded in the same book 2/276 in the following form:
The Holy Prophet said, ‘Gabriel: My people are fresh Muslims. They have just left Jahiliyah. I fear that they would return to it.’ Immediately, Almighty Allah revealed, ‘O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.’ Hence, the Holy Prophet (S) gathered people in Ghadir Khumm and said, ‘People: I became disturbed for the Lord has ordered me to convey a message to you. But He threatened a punishment if I would shun. You have known that Almighty Allah is my Master and that I am the master and the leader of Muslims and that I should be preceded to their souls, have you not?’ ‘Yes, we have,’ admitted people. The Holy Prophet (S) thus took `Ali from the hand and raised him saying, ‘Whoever has regarded me as his master must now regard `Ali as his master, and whoever has regarded me as his leader must now regard `Ali as his leader. O Allah! Be the supporter of him who will support `Ali and be the enemy of him who will oppose `Ali and give victory to him who will support `Ali and disappoint him who will disappoint `Ali and make the right follow `Ali wherever he goes.’ As a result, the loyalty to `Ali (a.s.) has been incumbent upon each male and female Muslim.20

More narrations will be cited in the coming discussion of the Verse of Ikmal al-Din (the perfection of the religion). Shiite reference books of Hadith are full of such authenticated narration.

General Remarks Regarding the Other Opinions

First Remark

Except al-Tirmidhi who has recorded the narration of the guard practiced on the Holy Prophet (S) and decided it as a one-way strange report, none of the Sunni Hadithists have referred to the exegesis of Verse of `Ismah. Yet, al-Bukhari has mentioned the Verse in two independent titles—the first is in 5/88 where he has recorded `A`ishah’s report about the necessity of conveying and not concealing the revelation and the second is in 8/9 where he has recorded al-Zuhri’s report about the Holy Prophet (S)’s conveyance. In addition, he has recorded two other reports respecting the Verse of `Ismah—6/50 and 8/210. In 1/110, Muslim has recorded a report about the Verse.

As a matter of fact, such negligence does not prove or indicate the inauthenticity or the dubiety of the report. Numerous are the authentic reports that have not been recorded in the reference books of Hadith and more are the inauthentic reports that are found in such reliable books. The important point is that the compilers of these books of Hadith have exerted all possible efforts for refuting the Ahl al-Bayt while they have known for sure that the Verse of `Ismah represents a proof on the right of the Ahl al-Bayt. They would have repeatedly narrated and recorded any report that might refute the Ahl al-Bayt if only they had any.

It is thus obvious that they have had to avoid refuting the narrations of the Shi`ah and the agreeing Sunni ones. As a result, we cannot find such narrations in the six reliable Sunni reference books of Hadith.

Second Remark

Except the time of the Farewell Hajj when Surah of al-Ma`idah was revealed, the twenty-three years of the Holy Prophet (S)’s mission have been entirely mentioned in the various Sunni narrations about the Verse of `Ismah while, if truth be told, the Verse was revealed during the excluded period. This fact incites us to conclude that the purpose beyond the expansion of the narrations and the exclusion of that period has been to close the eyes before the very period in which the Verse was revealed.

Third Remark

For Shiite reference books of Hadith, all the reports that refer to the revelation of the Verse of `Ismah bring up assuredly the same reason and date. On the other hand, Sunni reference books of Hadith assume various reasons in contrary times that caused their scholars to be engaged in perplexity regarding the true reason and time. Moreover, some of such contrary narrations support the Ahl al-Bayt’s narration that is not accepted by the Qurayshite caliphs and their fans. As a rule, when all Muslims, including the Ahl al-Bayt, identify a certain reason and time for the revelation of a Verse while others refer to miscellaneous reasons and times, it will be surely understandable that the reason unanimously admitted should be accepted.

Evaluation of The Opposing Opinions On The Light Of The Verse

(1) The Matter to be Delivered

The meaning of the Verse is still ambiguous unless the verb ‘reveal’ refers to a past incident because it is in the past tense. The past tense of the verb shows that the Holy Prophet (S) already received a difficult commandment that he should deliver but he was looking for a way to convey. Hence, the Verse was revealed to stop the Holy Prophet (S)’s anticipations and order him to deliver as soon as possible whether people would admit or not, and relieve him that they would not apostatize from the religion and that he would be protected against them. This is the interpretation of the Ahl al-Bayt supported by many Sunni reports.

(2) Confirmation of The Case and Its Conditions

It is meaningless to say to somebody that he must convey the messages that you will give to him, lest he will not convey them! If there is a definite message to deliver, it will be quite true to say to that somebody that you will not regard him as conveyor of your previous messages that he had already carried if he will not carry this important message.
From Tafsir al-Mizan 6/49, the following is quoted:
Although the statement of the Verse reveals threat, it insinuates the importance of the command; if the message would be neglected and would not be carried to people, the other parts of the religion would be as if it had not been conveyed. The phrase, ‘If you do it not, then you have not delivered his message,’ is a conditional clause demonstrating the importance of the condition since the most important reward relies upon it completely. It is not an ordinary conditional clause that is usually used for specifying the result of an unknown matter. For Almighty Allah, this is inapplicable since He knows the results. The Holy Qur’an does not have probabilities whether the Holy Prophet (S) will convey or not.

(3) The Holy Prophet (S)’s Fear

The Holy Prophet (S) anticipated that the divine message would be in danger. He was too brave to fear assassination or injury because he was pious, courageous and sinless. Since the first days of the Mission, the Holy Prophet (S) knew the difficulty of his mission; therefore, he expected dangers and difficulties. Accordingly, it is illogic to say that he had hesitated or refrained from conveying the Mission before he was threatened. He feared that people might retract or object to the leadership of his household considering the decision as personal.

(4) The Interpretation of ‘People’

Al-Fakhr al-Razi, in his book of Tafsir 6/12/50, records the following:
Because the Verse (of `Ismah) ends with ‘surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people’ we understand that ‘people’ refers to the unbelieving ones exclusively.

This opinion is unacceptable; the word ‘people’ cannot be limited to definite ones because the Verse shows that the Lord will protect His Messenger against all people. Many indications can be inferred from the relationship between ‘people’ and ‘the unbelieving ones.’ The meaning might be that Allah will protect you against the whole people and will not guide those who intend to hurt you since they are unbelievers. It also might be that deliver the message and Allah will protect you against people, and the rejecters who are decided as unbelievers will not be guided by Allah.
The latter indication is more preferable since it is supported by a Hadith recorded in al-Bukhari’s al-Sahih 8/139:
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu-Hurayrah that the Holy Prophet said, ‘My people will be in Paradise saving the rejecters.’ ‘Who are the rejecters?’ asked people. “Whoever obeys me will be in Paradise and whoever disobeys will be with the rejecters,’ explained the Holy Prophet (S).

The comprehensive and logical meaning of ‘people’ fits the source of injury and danger, which was not dedicated to the unbelievers only. The Holy Prophet (S) was also antagonized by the hypocrites who lived among people. We have already shown that the source of danger intended by the Verse of `Ismah was, to great extent, the hypocrites. Al-Razi, however, has aimed at taking the censure away from the Qurayshite hypocrites and taking the divine commandment away from the leadership of Imam `Ali.

(5) The Meaning of Protection Against People

The promised protection intended in the Verse of `Ismah should suit the amount of danger that the Holy Prophet (S) expected. It should agree with the protection against people’s suspecting the Prophethood and accusing him of favoring and nominating his household for leadership. One of the most famed sayings that people of Quraysh used to utter was that Muhammad (S) intended to give both Prophethood and leadership to the Hashimites exclusively so as to take the other clans of Quraysh away as if Prophethood and leadership are under his control that he may give to whomever he wills.

This is the very meaning that suits the amount of danger expected by the Holy Prophet (S) who, constantly, was thinking of the anticipated actions that might occur when he would declare the leadership of Imam `Ali (a.s.). Unlike the other opinions, the protection intended in the Verse does not stand for protecting the Holy Prophet (S) against being assassinated, hurt or injured; rather it guarantees to save the Prophethood against people of Quraysh. This fact can be proven by the fact that the Holy Prophet (S)’s guard was not changed after that event. Likewise, the danger and harm were not changed, but increased!

In abstract, the protection mentioned in the Verse stands for saving the Holy Prophet (S)’s mission from his people who could rarely accept the matter and they thus decided to mutiny. Yet, Almighty Allah fulfilled His promise; on that day in Ghadir Khumm, the Holy Prophet (S) nominated Imam `Ali for the leadership and asked people to offer him congratulations and people did peacefully. Nevertheless, as soon as he departed this world, they took the Ahl al-Bayt away from the leadership, set his house on fire and forced him to pay homage to their man.

Two Questions Involving the Verse

(1) Using the Verse as Weapon Against Imam `Ali

Muslims have testified that the Holy Prophet (S) conveyed what he had received from his Lord perfectly and he suffered what no other Prophet (S) had ever suffered; yet, Sunnis accuse Shiites of claiming that he had concealed certain matters citing the Verse of `Ismah as example. We, the Shi`ah, denounce such an accusation thoroughly!
Al-Qurtubi, in his book of Tafsir 6/243, records the following:
Whoever claims that the Holy Prophet (S) had concealed any revealed issue has belied the Lord Who says, ‘O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people.’ May Allah condemn the Rafidites for they claim that the Holy Prophet (S) concealed matters that people required.

Al-Qastalani, in Irshad al-Sari 7/106, says the following:
The Shi`ah claim that the Holy Prophet (S) concealed some of the revealed issues for he feared injury.

It seems that the source of this accusation is `A`ishah’s famous saying, ‘Whoever claims that the Holy Prophet (S) concealed anything of the Lord’s Book has forged big lies against Allah.’ They have recorded this saying repeatedly so as to belie Imam `Ali (a.s.) who confirmed that he had been the Holy Prophet (S)’s successor and that he had with him the Holy Prophet (S)’s Hadith and heritage other than the Holy Qur’an. He possessed a comprehensive book that comprised everything that people would require including the amount of the compensation for a violated retaliation of a scratch! He also confirmed that the Holy Prophet (S) had foretold him about the future misfortunes that the Ahl al-Bayt would face including the attack on his house; so he instructed him what to do then.

We, the Shi`ah, believe in the previous claims. Sunni and our reference books of Hadith have included tens of reports carrying the unique standing of Imam `Ali and the special care that the Holy Prophet (S) used to give him exclusively so as to bring him up, according to a divine commission, to inherit his knowledge. We also believe that Imam `Ali is too pure, divinely purified and honest to say anything but the truth. Al-Suyuti, in al-Durr al-Manthur 6/260, has recorded the following:
Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi-Hatam, al-Wahidi, Ibn Mardawayh, Ibn `Asakir, ibn al-Najjari have narrated on the authority of Ibn Buraydah that the Holy Prophet said to `Ali, ‘Verily, Almighty Allah has ordered me to favor you and avoid keeping you away from me and to teach you so that you will perceive; and you will perceive.’ For these words, the Verse, ‘And a retaining ear will retain it,’ was revealed.
Abu-Na`im, in Hilyat al-Awliya`, has recorded this narration in which the Holy Prophet said to `Ali, ‘You are the retaining ear that perceives my knowledge.’

Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, one of Imam `Ali’s followers, was the keeper of the Holy Prophet (S)’s secret about distinguishing the hypocrites from the believers, whereas Imam `Ali was the keeper of all the secrets and knowledge of the Holy Prophet (S). All narrators have recorded that the Holy Prophet (S) foretold Imam `Ali that he would fight against the breachers, the unjust and the apostates for sake of the interpretation of the Holy Qur’an.

It seems that some of the Holy Prophet (S)’s instructions to Imam `Ali were known for people; therefore they have the courage to attack his house and force him to accept the new leader. While Imam `Ali was so mighty and courageous that all people feared him, most of those who attacked his house were too coward to face his sword—Dhu’l-Faqar. Thus, they were sure that he would not unsheathe his sword and would follow the Holy Prophet (S)’s instruction even if Fatimah al-Zahra` would be beaten so harshly that she would abort her baby. In due course, the pro-Qurayshite mercenaries and their masters rejected Imam `Ali’s claim of receiving the Holy Prophet (S)’s heritage and knowledge and denied that he had left anything for his family including knowledge, gifts or properties.

On that account, Abu-Bakr confiscated Fadak, a garden that the Holy Prophet (S) had endowed to Fatimah al-Zahra` (a.s.) when Almighty Allah revealed, ‘And give the near of kin his due.’ The ruling authorities, taking advantage of `A`ishah’s forecited saying, exceeded the limits when they claimed that anyone who would claim that the Holy Prophet (S) had instructed him/her in private is surely disbeliever!
Read the following as quoted from al-Bukhari’s al-Sahih 1/188:
It has been narrated that `A`ishah said, ‘Whoever claims that the Holy Prophet (S) concealed anything of what was revealed to him has certainly lied. Allah says, ‘O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you…etc.’21

At any rate, such wicked plot has included two flaws regarding the expansion of the indication to the matter to be conveyed and the parties of the conveyance as well as a misrepresentation of Imam `Ali and his adherents’ claims. First of all, It is untrue that the Holy Prophet (S) was ordered to convey anything that he would receive from the Lord. His knowledge received through revelation, inspiration and personal views is too comprehensive to be carried to people since they, including the believing ones, are too incompetent to receive it. Secondly, some instructions were addressed to certain individuals; hence, the Holy Prophet (S) did not publicize them. In this regard, Almighty Allah says, ‘And speak to them privately effectual words.’

Neither Imam `Ali nor has any of his followers claimed that the Holy Prophet (S) had not conveyed the Message perfectly; rather they say that he (a.s.) took people’s mentalities and intellectual capacities in consideration during the conveyance of the Message. Imam `Ali was thus so receptive that the Holy Prophet (S) conferred him with additional knowledge. Unlike the opinions of al-Qurtubi and al-Qastalani, this concept proves that Imam `Ali, Fatimah al-Zahra`, al-Hasan and al-Husayn (a.s.) were more intelligent; therefore, they received more divine knowledge. Furthermore, Imam `Ali and his Shi`ah have confirmed that the Holy Prophet (S) had conveyed many things about the Ahl al-Bayt and other topics that the Qurayshite caliphs and their fans have concealed.

The pro-Qurayshite mercenaries used to wrong and forge lies against Imam `Ali. In the same time, they overlook `Umar’s claim that the Holy Prophet (S) had not interpreted many Qur’anic texts, such as those regarding Kalalah and usury.22 This is a clear accusation that the Holy Prophet (S) had not explained the Holy Qur’an adequately.

In abstract, the fact that the Holy Prophet (S) gave special knowledge to Imam `Ali does not oppose his carrying out the Lord’s instructions perfectly because it was Almighty Allah Who, through the Divine Revelation, ordered him to give Imam `Ali such knowledge exclusively. In like manner, it does not stand against Taqiyyah that the Holy Prophet (S) practiced against definite men of Quraysh and other tribes because he was ordered to use wisdom, Taqiyyah and indulgence in order to accomplish the goals of Islam.
The following narration is quoted from al-Kafi 2/117:
It has been narrated on the authority of Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq that the Holy Prophet said, ‘My Lord has ordered me to be indulgent with people in the same way as He has ordered me to perform the divine precepts.’

In Majma` al-Zawa`id 8/17, we read the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu-Hurayrah that the Holy Prophet said, ‘Preceded by the belief in Almighty Allah, the acme of rationality is the willingness to please people.’
It has been narrated that Buraydah said, “While I was present before the Holy Prophet (S), a man from Quraysh came. The Holy Prophet (S) welcomed him warmly. When the man left, the Holy Prophet (S) asked, ‘Do you know this man?’ ‘Yes, I do,’ answered I, ‘He is the best of Quraysh in lineage and wealth. This is my opinion, what about your opinion?’ ‘He will be worthless on the Judgment Day,’ said the Holy Prophet (S).”

Al-Bukhari has given more than one title to the question of the willingness to please people. In 7/102, he records:
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu’l-Darda` that he said, ‘Although we smile in the faces of some people, our hearts curse them.’
It has been narrated on the authority of `Urwah ibn al-Zubayr on the authority of `A`ishah that the Holy Prophet (S), once, said about a man who had sought permission to visit him, ‘Let him in. He is indeed the worst of his people.’ He then received him with nice words and smiling face. When the man left, I asked the Holy Prophet (S) to explain it to me, and he said, ‘Listen, `A`ishah! Verily, the most evil people are those whom are received nicely so as to avoid their evil.’

(2) Using the Verse to Refute the Claim that the Holy Prophet (S) was Bewitched

Sunni and Shiite scholars have cited the Verse of `Ismah as evidence refuting the claim that the Holy Prophet (S) was bewitched. According to some narrations, a Jew could take the Holy Prophet (S)’s comb and some of his hairs and buried them in a well after he had spelled bewitchery on them. This bewitchery influenced the Holy Prophetso heavily that he imagined doing some acts until a man or an angel or Archangel Gabriel led him to that well. He destroyed it after he had been cured. This false accusation has been related to `A`ishah. Al-Bukhari, in al-Sahih 4/68, 7/28-9 and 164 and Muslim, in al-Sahih 7/14 as well as many other reference books of Hadith have recorded such reports.

All Shiite scholars, as well as a few Sunni ones, have had the courage to refute this accusation citing the Verse of `Ismah as one of their evidences.
Al-Tusi, in Tafsir al-Tibyan 1/384, has recorded the following:
The reports narrating the fable that the Holy Prophet (S) was bewitched are inconsiderate and baseless. He has been too elevated to be bewitched, which is a quality of imperfection making one distrust any instruction said by such a bewitched man. The Holy Prophet (S) is the Lord’s argument against people and His choice among His servants and the selected out of Almighty Allah’s wisdom. He has been saved from vulgarity and harshness as well as any ill behavior. Except those who discount the Holy Prophet (S)’s real qualities, none can dare to ascribe such tainted things to him. Almighty Allah says, ‘And Allah will protect you against people.’ He has also belied those who said, ‘You are following but a bewitched man.’

Ibn Idris al-`Ujali, in al-Sara`ir 3/534, records the following:
Unanimously, we believe that the Holy Prophet (S) was never bewitched. Our proof is Almighty Allah’s saying, ‘And Allah will protect you against people.’ Some of the opposite sects believe that he was bewitched. This is indeed contrary to the Glorified Revelation.

We read the following in al-Majlisi’s Bihar al-Anwar 60/38:
Had it been true that the Prophets could be bewitched, the sorcerers would have injured all the Prophets. This is indeed contrary to Almighty Allah’s saying, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people,’ ‘And a magician will not be successful wheresoever he may come from.’ At length, the atheists who are definitely liars used to accuse the Holy Prophet (S) of being bewitched.

Al-Nawawi is one of the Sunni scholars who refuted the accusation. In al-Majmu` 19/243, he writes down:
Reports narrating that the Holy Prophet (S) was bewitched should be refuted because they support the atheists’ accusing him of bewitchment. It is also contrary to the Qur’anic texts that belied them.
Al-Razi has narrated that al-Qadi (the judge) said that such narrations are false and must not be accepted since Almighty Allah says, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people,’ ‘And a magician will not be successful wheresoever he may come from.’ To believe such narrations means to doubt the Prophethood. Had that been right, all the Prophets and pious people should have been influenced by bewitchery.

Al-Razi, in his book of Tafsir 16/32/187, records the following:
Majority of Muslims have claimed that the Holy Prophet (S) was bewitched by a Jew. Be it known to you that the Mu`tazilite have refuted this claim, which opposes Almighty Allah’s saying, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people.’

A few Sunni scholars have adopted such opinions while the majority admit such fabrications because they have not been accustomed to refute anything said by `A`ishah and al-Bukhari be it true or false. Likewise, they have never permitted anyone to criticize such reports; therefore, they have been engaged in tens of problems regarding monotheism, Prophethood, Shafa`ah (the intercession), the first revelation and Waraqah ibn Nawfal, the ‘Handsome Pagans’ that Sulayman Rushdi betook as a principle for his Satanic Verses, the bewitchment as well as many others.

The accusation is contrary to the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet (S) and, according to many Verses, it was originated by the atheists. However, to cite the Verse of `Ismah as the refutation of the accusation is baseless, since it can be claimed that the Verse was revealed in the last days of the Holy Prophet (S) while the occurrence took place a long time before that.

To sum it up, Shiite scholars have decided that the protection intended in the Verse of `Ismah indicates guarding the Holy Prophet (S) against the apostasy of the Qurayshite people and Muslims during his lifetime. Sunni scholars have talked too much about the Verse, yet not as accurate as possible, as they thought that it indicated protecting the Holy Prophet (S) against assassination, poisoning, injury or harm. In due course, they have thought that the Verse is contrary to the reports relating that his decease was because of a piece of a poisoned meat that a Jewess had served to him; yet Archangel Gabriel was too late in informing him about that. Hence, a drop of that poison was the reason beyond his decease the next year.
In al-Shifa 1/317, `Ayyad says:
If one asks how it is possible to accept the narration reporting that the Holy Prophet (S) was poisoned by a Jewess and Almighty Allah saying, ‘And Allah will protect you from the people,’ we answer that the Verse was revealed in the year of the Battle of Tabuk while the poisoning occurred in Khaybar before that date.

Likewise, Sunni scholars could not find an answer to the confusion that the Holy Prophet (S), according to many narrations, wished to die as martyr while he knew that Almighty Allah had protected him against killing.
In Ibn Hajar’s Fath al-Bari Fi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari 8/2644, we read the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu-Hurayrah that he heard the Holy Prophetsaying, ‘I swear by Him Who prevails on my soul that I wish I were killed for sake of Allah.’
Some scholars have doubted such Hadith because they deemed the Holy Prophet (S) far above wishing for martyrdom while he knew for sure that he was protected against being killed. Ibn al-Tin answered that the statement might have been said before the revelation of the Verse of protection (`Ismah) yet, this answer is inaccurate because the Verse was revealed during the Holy Prophet (S)’s early residence in al-Madinah while Abu-Hurayrah, the direct reporter of the statement, arrived there on the first days of the seventh year in al-Madinah. On the other hand, to wish for something does not necessarily require the probability of its occurrence. For instance, it has been narrated that the Holy Prophet (S), once, said, ‘I wish that (Prophet (S)) Moses had been patient… etc.’ The Holy Prophet (S) might have aimed for urging Muslims to practice jihad. This opinion, however, is the most acceptable. Our master scholar, Ibn al-Mulaqqin, has claimed that Abu-Hurayrah mighty added ‘I wish’ to the statement of the Holy Prophetic. This opinion seems to be unsatisfactory.23

Supporting the previous Hadith has been true, the Holy Prophet (S)’s wish can be real, because the Verse of `Ismah has guaranteed that people would not apostatize from the religion during his lifetime. Thus, it has nothing to do with assassination, injury or harm. On the contrary, Almighty Allah says, ‘And Muhammad is no more than an apostle; the apostles have already passed away before him. If he then dies or is killed, will you turn back upon your heels.’ This Verse indicates that he would not die normally. The Lord identifies natural death and assassination as the two sorts that the Holy Prophet (S) would counter. The only interpretation of Almighty Allah’s having confused the sort of His Messenger’s death is that He has known that the Holy Prophet (S) would be killed or the like.

The Story Of Ghadir

The Qurayshites During the Farewell Hajj

We have noticed that the Holy Prophet (S), through his sermons, words and even behaviors in the Farewell Hajj, emphasized on the present and future roles of the Ahl al-Bayt foretelling the coming of Twelve Imams who would represent, along with the Holy Qur’an, the most precious thing for the Ummah. In other words, he confirmed the obligatory compliance with the Holy Imams in all aspects of life. For instance, the Holy Imams are forbidden from receiving alms and, in the meanwhile, they should have the Khums. However, people of Quraysh could not stand the Holy Prophet (S)’s sermons, words and activities that identified the preference of Imam `Ali, Fatimah al-Zahra`, al-Hasan and al-Husayn. They understood the situation as if it had been nominating the Hashimites as the leaders of the Ummah and depriving the other clans of such position since they must keep on acting as released slaves of the Hashimites.

As expected, Sunni reference books of Hadith have neglected the Qurayshite chiefs’ reaction towards the Holy Prophet (S)’s sermons that disturbed people of Quraysh whose chiefs; such as Suhayl ibn `Amr, `Ikrimah ibn Abi-Jahl, Safwan ibn Umayyah ibn Khalaf, Hakim ibn Hizam, Suhayb ibn Sinan, Abu’l-A`war al-Salami and the others, were gloomy-faced while they saw the Holy Prophet (S) paving the way to the Hashimites’ leadership. Immediately, they acted actively to contact Muhajirun, not the Hashimites, to find a suitable treatment for such impending catastrophe!

On the other hand, Shiite reference books of Hadith have mentioned that such activities began during the conquest of Makkah and expanded during the Farewell Hajj to attain climax in Mina on the days of Tashriq. The outcome of the activities was the conclusion of a treaty that the Shi`ah call the ‘Accursed Document’ in which they agreed upon depriving the Hashimites of joining the leadership to the Prophethood. A few members of that treaty arrived slyly in Makkah and hanged the second Accursed Document next to the first one inside the Holy Ka`bah. Unlike the first treaty due to which the Hashimites were besieged in the col and was signed in the names of Lat and `Uzza—the pagans, the new document proposed a political plan to deprive them of the leadership after the Holy Prophet (S), but this time, it was signed in the name of Islam. However, Almighty Allah informed His Messenger about the details of that document and when he exposed them before the parties of that wicked treaty, they could hardly control themselves before him. Like the other Prophets, the Holy Prophet (S)’s mission was no more than constituting Almighty Allah’s arguments against people and then they are free to do anything they like.

If we believe what Sunni reference book of Hadith have mentioned about the noise that was arisen, yet intentionally, whenever the Holy Prophet (S), during the sermon of `Arafat, tried to mention the identity of the Twelve Imams (a.s.), it must have been one of the programmed activities against the Hashimites and that the Holy Prophet (S) must have reproached and informed them that he had known the purpose behind such activities.

Results of the Farewell Hajj

For people of Quraysh, the Farewell Hajj passed peacefully since the Holy Prophet (S) did not take any practical step in the course of nominating the new leader although he spoke very much about the Hashimites, his progeny, his offspring, Fatimah, the Twelve Imams and many issues concerning the Ahl al-Bayt. Furthermore, he did not demand with paying homage to `Ali— the first Imam of his household.

For the Holy Prophet (S), he believed that he had conveyed his Lord’s message to the utmost degree. Meanwhile, people of Quraysh could no longer tolerate the situation or stand any further instructions. If he demanded with paying homage to `Ali, they would distrust and accuse him of establishing a monarchy similar to that of the Romans or the Persians. Had this occurred, people of Quraysh might have lead a mutiny in which all the Arabs would participate so as to preclude the kingdom of the Hashimites beginning with `Ali and never ending!
Reference books of Hadith have actually recorded such statements that were said by Qurayshite chiefs who, as if they had never accepted Islam, understood the question as an endless kingship of Muhammad and his family.

The Holy Prophet (S) Under Pressure

During the Farewell Hajj and its momentous circumstances, Archangel Gabriel was carrying the Lord’s commands to the Holy Prophet (S). Probably, he accompanied him throughout the Hajj season and revealed to him many instructions including the words of the sermons. In al-Madinah, the angel said to the Holy Prophet (S), ‘Muhammad: Almighty Allah greets you and informs that your departure will be imminent and very soon, you will come to Him. He therefore orders you to explain the rulings of the ritual Hajj in the same way as you have explained the rulings of the prayer, zakat and fasting.’
Carrying out the commandment, the Holy Prophet (S) explained the rulings and acts of the Hajj emphasizing on the principles of Islam and the unique standings of the Ahl al-Bayt.

On the final days of the Hajj, Archangel Gabriel descended to say, ‘Almighty Allah orders you to lead your nation to their leader. Declare your will, convey to him your knowledge and the Prophets’ heritage and nominate him before all people, for I should not grasp the soul of any of My Prophets before he perfects the religion and should not leave My lands without constituting a claim against the creatures.’

Because of the tense situation of people of Quraysh, the Holy Prophet (S) began to think of an appropriate way of declaration saying to himself, ‘My people have just left the customs and tradition of Jahiliyah. If I now declare that my cousin must be my successor, they will misthink the matter.’ Hence, he decided to carry out that divine commandment as soon as he would be back in al-Madinah where he would prepare for it and seek Ansar’s support.

The Divine Revelation Stops the Caravan

Having the intention to carry out the divine commandment, the Holy Prophet (S) left Makkah. On the third day of the journey and five hours after sunrise, he reached Kura` al-Ghamim, a place situated between Makkah and al-Madinah and eight miles away from `Asfan, where Archangel Gabriel conveyed to him saying, ‘Muhammad: Almighty Allah greets you and says: O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.’

The Holy Prophetsubmitted to the Lord, stood as if pinned to the ground and ordered Muslims whose first rows were about to arrive in al-Juhafah, a village about two miles away from Kura` al-Ghamim, to stop. He wanted to carry out that serious divine commandment in the very place where it had been revealed to him. ‘Release my camel,’ he ordered, ‘By Allah I swear that I will not leave this place before I convey my Lord’s message.’ He also ordered Muslims to be there. He then rode off. Archangel Gabriel, having been next to him, watched contentedly the Holy Prophet (S)’s trembling limbs out of fearing of Allah and teary eyes saying, ‘Has it reached to threat? I will surely carry out Allah’s order. If they accuse and belie me, this will be less arduous than countering the distressing punishment in this world and the Hereafter.’

Before he left him, the angel had pointed to a small area of trees to the right. The Holy Prophet (S) left the angel and directed towards Ghadir Khumm. Some of those who witnessed the incident narrated, ‘We heard the Holy Prophet (S) calling us and we, owing to the extremely hot weather, hastened. We saw him putting a part of his cloak on the head.’

A collective prayer was declared in other than its due time. It was in fact the time to carry on another obligatory precept, which is paying homage to the Holy Prophet (S)’s Immaculate Progeny (a.s.). Whatever the reaction would be, this precept must be conveyed to Muslims. The Lord has emphasized on the conveyance declaring that was not a personal question that the Conveyor has the choice to do or not and that the Lord would protect against any mischievous response. Hence, the Holy Prophet should carry out the orders.

On that extremely hot day, the Holy Prophet (S) ordered to sweep the place under these trees where the sermon of the divine leadership would be delivered. He also ordered to establish an elevated place so that his eyes would cover all Muslims. Carrying out the orders, they placed saddles of camels on each other so as to make a minbarlike thing. Muslims approached the spring -Ghadir-, drank from its water, served their animals and performed the ritual ablution. Before offering the prayer, they had surrounded the Holy Prophet (S) to listen to what he would say. Because the place was too narrow to cover them all, many of them had to sit in the sun or in the shadow of their animals. Everybody realized that something that would be declared in the sermon had happened; something had been revealed so urgently that the Holy Prophet (S) could not wait two more miles!

According to the reports, the total number of Muslims who participated in the Farewell Hajj with the Holy Prophet (S) was about 120,000. After the Hajj, many of them must have left. Nevertheless, thousands of them took the same way that the Holy Prophet (S) took since they lived in al-Madinah and the neighboring villages. Approximately, they were 10,000.
Documenting people of Quraysh’s efforts to cover up the incident of Ghadir Khumm, Imam al-Sadiq says, ‘How strange misfortunes `Ali ibn Abi-Talib had to face! He had ten thousand witnesses; yet he could not save his right! People usually save their rights by two witnesses only.’24

Muslims did not have to wait too long; they saw the Holy Prophet (S) ascending the minbarlike stone and beginning with the Name of Allah. He modulated an honorable poesy about the glorification and praising of Almighty Allah. Subsequently, he apologized to the attendants for driving them to halt in such a poor place and for asking them to listen to him in such an intolerable weather. He notified that Archangel Gabriel had come to him in al-Khayf Masjid to carry the Lord’s commandment of nominating `Ali as their new divinely commissioned leader.

He said, “When the commandment of the loyalty to `Ali’s leadership was revealed to me, I thought that my people, having been fresh Muslims, would accuse me of favoring my cousin. Forthwith, Almighty Allah threatened a punishment if I would neglect the conveyance of the matter. He therefore revealed ‘O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.’ There is no god but He Whose timing is unexpected and injustice is unavailing. I acknowledge my slavery to Him, testify His godhead and convey what He has revealed to me, lest an unavoidable catastrophe will strike me and none will save me. People: I am close on responding the invitation of my Lord. What will you say?”
“We all acknowledge that you have perfectly conveyed and advised,” said people.
“Do you acknowledge that there is no god but Allah, Muhammad being His Messenger, Paradise is true, Hellfire is true and the Resurrection is true?” asked the Holy Prophet (S).
“Yes, we do,” confessed they.
Pointing to his chest, he said, “So do I.” He then added, “I will precede you and you will join me on the Divine Pool the width of which is as expansive as the distance from Sana` (Yemen) to Busra (Syria) and its cups are as many as stars and its water is whiter than silver. Think how you will regard me in the two weighty things.”
“What are the two weighty things?” asked a man.

He answered, “The major weighty thing is Allah’s Book one of whose edges is in the Lord’s hand while the other is in yours. If you keep it, you will neither slip nor go astray. The minor weighty thing is my progeny—my household. I adjure you by Allah not to disregard my household. I adjure you by Allah not to disregard my household. I adjure you by Allah not to disregard my household. These weighty things will never separate each other until they join me on the Divine Pool. I have implored to my Lord to keep this bond. Precede them not, lest you will be perished. Shun them not, lest you will go astray. Teach them not for they are always more knowledgeable than you are. People: Do you know that Almighty Allah is my Master and I am the master of the believers and I am preceded to yourselves?”
“Yes, we do,” declared people.

The Holy Prophet (S) then asked `Ali to stand up to his right. He then raised his hand so highly that the armpits of both were seen. He declared, “Whoever has regarded me as his master must now regard `Ali as his master. O Allah! Be the supporter of him who will support `Ali and be the enemy of him who will oppose `Ali and give victory to him who will supports `Ali and disappoint him who will disappoint `Ali and turn the right to `Ali whenever he turns. People: Be it known to you that Almighty Allah has nominated `Ali as your leader making the obedience to him obligatory upon Muhajirun, Ansar, their followers, Bedouins, urban, non-Arabs, Arabs, masters and slaves—young and old.”
“What is the like of the loyalty to `Ali?” asked a man.
“To be loyal to him is to be loyal to me,” said the Holy Prophet (S), “`Ali must be preceded to the souls of those whom I was preceded to their souls.”

Elaborately, the Holy Prophet (S) went on interpreting the ranks of his infallible progeny and the Twelve Imams saying, “`Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn and nine individuals from his progeny shall be, respectively, with the Qur’an and the Qur’an will be with them. They will never leave the Qur’an and the Qur’an will never leave them until they will join me on the Divine Pool.”
More than once, he called Muslims to witness that he had conveyed the Lord’s messages, and they did, and he demanded them to carry the message to those who could not attend that assembly, and they promised to do it. He then answered the questions of everybody.

As soon as he finished, Archangel Gabriel descended carrying Almighty Allah’s saying, ‘This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion.’ The Holy Prophet (S) thus thanked and praised Almighty Allah for the perfection of the religion and the completion of the grace and His satisfaction for the conveyance of the next leadership of `Ali. Only then, he left the minbar and ordered to establish a tent in which `Ali would sit to receive all Muslims whom would obligatorily congratulate him for the divinely commissioned leadership. Even the Holy Prophet (S)’s women were ordered to congratulate.
`Umar ibn al-Khattab was the first to congratulate, ‘Congratulations, son of Abu-Talib! You have become my master and the master of every male and female believer.’
Seizing the opportunity, Hasan ibn Thabit, the poet, asked the Holy Prophet (S) to permit him to compose some verses on the occasion. Blessed be you! Say your verses,’ said the Holy Prophet (S). Hence, Hasan poetized:

On the day of Ghadir, their Prophet called them
In Khumm; How great the Prophet’s call was!
Saying, Who is you master and leader?
They answered and showed no negligence
Your Lord is our Master and you are our Leader
And none will disobey you in this regard
He said: Stand up `Ali, for I will appoint you
The Imam and the guide after me
This is the leader of him whose master was I
Hence, be faithful and sincere followers of him
And then he prayed: O Allah! Support his supporter
And be the enemy of him who will oppose `Ali25

The story of Ghadir reported in Sunni reference books of Hadith is, to great extent, similar to what Shiite books have reported.26 For instance, read the following report as quoted from Muslim’s al-Sahih 7/122:
Yazid ibn Hayyan al-Taymi has narrated that Husayn ibn Sabarah, Muslim ibn Zayd and I went to Zayd ibn Arqam. After we had sat before him, Husayn asked, “Zayd, you have really attained great benefaction because you saw the Holy Prophet (S), listened to his words, participated in his campaigns and followed him in prayers. Now, Zayd, please narrate to us what you have heard from the Messenger of Allah.”
Zayd spoke, “Son of my brother, I swear by Allah that I have become old-aged, my days have become very old and have forgotten some of these narrations that I used to memorize directly from the Messenger of Allah. You therefore should accept what I will tell you and should not ask me things over my ability.” He then added, “One day, in a place between Makkah and al-Madinah called Khumm, the Messenger of Allah delivered a speech to us. After statements of praising and thanking Almighty Allah as well as statements of preach and reminding of Him, the Holy Prophet said, ‘O people, I am no more than an ordinary person and the messenger of my Lord (i.e. the angel of death) will shortly come to me and then I will respond. Among you, I have left two weighty things: first, the Book of Allah that includes right guidance and illumination. Preserve in the Book of Allah and hold fast on it. Second, my household; remember Allah concerning my household, remember Allah concerning my household, remember Allah concerning my household.’
Husayn asked again, “Zayd, who are the Holy Prophet (S)’s Household? Are his wives included with his household?”
Zayd answered, “His wives are included with his household, but his Household are those whom are forbidden to receive alms after him.”
Husayn asked, “Who are they?”
Zayd answered, “They are the family of ´Ali, the family of ´Aqil, the family of Ja`far, and the family of `Abbas.”27

Al-Hakim, in al-Mustadrak 3/148, records the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of Zayd ibn Arqam that the Holy Prophet said, “I am leaving among you the two weighty things—Allah’s Book and my household. They will not leave each other until they join me on the Divine Pool.”
Although this report is authentic according to the criteria of Muslim and al-Bukhari, they have not recorded it in their books.

Although, Muslim and al-Hakim have recorded the same report, al-Hakim used words carrying that Imamate will persist to the Resurrection Day.
Ibn Kathir, in al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah 5/408, has had a different opinion:
In his way back to al-Madinah after having clarified the rituals of the Hajj, the Holy Prophet (S) addressed a remarkable sermon under a tree in Ghadir Khumm on the eighteenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah. In this sermon, he demonstrated many things. He also referred to `Ali ibn Abi-Talib’s merits—his honesty, decency and close standing to him. By this, the Holy Prophet (S) removed what many people had born in their hearts against `Ali. Abu-Ja`far al-Tabari was so interested in this sermon that he compiled a two-volume book in which he mentioned its ways of narration and different forms. Likewise, Abu’l-Qasim ibn `Asakir, the grand scholar, has recorded many narrations appertained to the sermon.

For Ibn Kathir, the matter is no more than an attempt to remove the malice that some Muslims had against `Ali ibn Abi-Talib; therefore, he ordered them to halt in Ghadir Khumm in order to prove `Ali’s honesty and innocence. The Holy Prophet (S) mentioned `Ali’s merits so as to ‘remove what many people had born in their hearts against `Ali.’ In this sermon, ‘He demonstrated many things.” That is it.
Such a style is expected from an author belonging to the tribe of `Abd al-Dar that Imam `Ali had killed their best knights during the battles of Islam, but not an author respecting Islam and having any amount of love for `Ali ibn Abi-Talib! For this reason, Wahhabis adore Ibn Kathir and publish his books.

Al-Juhafah and Ghadir Khumm

Why was the divine commandment revealed on the way to al-Madinah, in the heart of the desert and in the hottest hours of that day?
Almighty Allah wanted to say to His Prophet (S), ‘There is no difference between Makkah and al-Madinah. Wherever you declare the leadership of your progeny, people of Quraysh may object and mutiny. They have always hated your household. Because your mission is to convey, the place and time are now quite suitable for conveyance. Convey and I will protect you against people of Quraysh so that you will be able to fulfill the mission of conveyance. I will withhold their hearts and mentalities, shut the mouths of their devils and preserve your Prophethood. Then, I will respite them as they will persecute your progeny so that My will regarding your Ummah and progeny will come to pass. At that time, I will send al-Mahdi who will fill in the earth with justice after it was filled in with injustice for I cannot be questioned concerning what I do and they shall be questioned.

From this cause, another question may be cited: How did the Lord protect His Prophet (S) against people of Quraysh that none of them attempted to object? Most of the Qurayshite chiefs were in Makkah; yet, some of them were in the caravan, which also included some Muhajirun who were loyal to their clans’ chiefs, not their Prophet (S). How could they say nothing and control their nerves? How did they testify the Holy Prophet (S)’s conveyance? How did they promise him to tell the absent about what occurred there? How did they respond to him and congratulate `Ali for that leadership?

To answer, Almighty Allah wanted to preserve the message and constitute His claim against people. Out of His omnipotence, He caused people of Quraysh to keep silent in Ghadir Khumm. They took the question as one of the declarations of the Farewell Hajj said repeatedly by the Holy Prophet (S) who was still alive; so, when he would die, they would have another manner. When they tried to speak out and object, the Lord sent down a backed clay on al-Nadr ibn al-Harith—their spokesman and sent him to death, and sent down fire on another and, too, sent him to death. These two sorts of heavenly punishment were enough to make people of Quraysh stop cutting the road of the Ahl al-Bayt’s leadership.

On the other side, the Holy Prophet (S) found rest for he had conveyed the Lord’s message utterly and declared the divine commission of nominating `Ali for leadership. The matter deserved a celebration. This time, the process of conveyance was accomplished peacefully, people of Quraysh did not object, Jabir ibn Samarah was not infected with temporary deafness when the Holy Prophet said ‘my progeny’ or ‘`Ali’ or ‘Banu-Hashim’ and no mutiny was shown, unlike the incident of al-Madinah that took place only four days before the Holy Prophet (S)’s final departure when they rejected to fetch him a pen and a paper so that he would record a document protecting them against deviation forever.

According to Shiite narrations, the Holy Prophet (S) ordered them to congratulate so as to confirm their commitment to the nomination.
Sunni reference books of Hadith have reported that Abu-Bakr, the Qurayshite caliph, felt extremely sorry for he had ordered to attack the house of `Ali and Fatimah (a.s.) two or three days after the Holy Prophet (S)’s departure. In Majma` al-Zawa`id 5/202, we read the following:
It has been narrated that `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf said, “I visited Abu-Bakr in his final ailment… He said, ‘I am not contrite for anything except three deeds that I wish I had not done… I wish I had not attacked Fatimah’s house even I would be engaged in a war…’

The story in brief is that when Abu-Bakr became the caliph, he summoned Imam `Ali to pay homage, he objected and accused them of betraying the Holy Prophet (S). Meanwhile, Abu-Bakr was informed that a number of Ansar and Muhajirun were holding a meeting in Fatimah’s house. `Umar suggested that the house should be attacked and the group should be threatened a burning if they would insist. `Umar ibn al-Khattab led a group and attacked the house of Fatimah (a.s.). They surrounded and placed firewood around the house. Some of those who were in the house were supporting Imam `Ali’s situation while the others were there for offering consolation on the Holy Prophet (S)’s decease. All of them, however, were threatened burning if they would refuse to come out. Practically, firewood were set on fire around the house. Because he had to carry out the Holy Prophet (S)’s instruction, Imam `Ali did not want to fight them. Fatimah al-Zahra` went out so that they would revere her and go back. On the contrary, she suffered insults and was beaten by the lash of some of them so heavily that her baby was aborted… etc.

In due course, `Ali and Fatimah (a.s.) decided to seek Ansar’s support demanding them to fulfill their pledge to protect the Ahl al-Bayt in the same way as they protect their families. Imam `Ali asked Lady Fatimah al-Zahra`, the ailing, to ride on an animal while al-Hasan, al-Husayn, Zaynab and Umm-Kulthum accompanied them passing by the celebrities of Ansar for two nights. Answering Lady Fatimah, they said, ‘Daughter of the Holy Prophet (S): Had we heard your words before paying homage to Abu-Bakr, we would never have accepted anyone save `Ali.’ Yet, she answered, ‘My father did not leave any excuse for anyone on that day in Ghadir Khumm.’28

Lady Fatimah al-Zahra`’s speech was a copy of her father’s. Indeed, she was a part of him and too immaculate to speak like ordinary people since she was godly in creation, thinking, feelings and manners. Correspondingly, her father said, ‘Very, Allah is satisfied whenever Fatimah is satisfied and enraged whenever Fatimah is enraged.’ She thus imitated her father when she refuted Ansar’s excuse showing that their answer had been political while the divine claim is more elevated, prevalent and advanced than political games. As Almighty Allah named the leader of the Ummah, no one has the right to choose. All people are thus required to submit since the claim of their Lord has been constituted on them.

According to the conception of the divine conveyance, the declaration of Ghadir was a never-ending divine action while any opposite act can be effective in political conceptions only. As a matter of fact, the politically powerful acts are still futile and meaningless even if they persist for years, centuries, or until the advent of Imam al-Mahdi.

  • 1. Al-Wahidi: Asbab al-Nuzul 1/438.
  • 2. Al-Wahidi: Asbab al-Nuzul 1/139 and al-Tabari: Tafsir 6/198.
  • 3. Al-Nisapuri: al-Wasit 2/208.
  • 4. A similar narration is recorded in al-Sirah 1/460.
  • 5. Al-Tabarani: al-Mu`jam al-Kabir 11/205.
  • 6. Al-Hakim, in al-Mustadrak 2/313, has reported the same narration from `A`ishah regarding it as authentically documented; yet, Muslim and al-Bukhari did not record it.
  • 7. Al-Suhayli: al-Rawd al-Anif 2/290, al-Qastalani: Irshad al-Sari 5/86, Ibn al-`Arabi: Sharh al-Tirmithi 6/11,174, Al-`Ayni: `Umdat al-Qari 7/14,95, Ibn Jazzi: al-Tashil 1/244, al-Nuwayri: Nihayat al-Irab 8/16,196 and 19/18,342, al-Nisapuri: al-Wasit 2/209 and al-Damiri: Hayat al-Hayawan al-Kubra 1/79.
  • 8. In Tarikh al-Madinah al-Munawwarah 1/301, Ibn Shaybah has related the same report to `Abdullah ibn Shaqiq and Muhammad ibn Ka`b Al-Qarazi. Al-Tabari, in Tafsir 6/199, relates it to `Abdullah ibn Shaqiq. For ibn Sa`d, he also records the report in al-Tabaqat 1/1/113. Similarly, al-Bayhaqi records it in Dala`il al-Nubuwwah 2/180.
  • 9. In Kanz al-`Ummal 12/430, the report is related to `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`As. In Majma` al-Zawa`id 10/367, it is decided as authentic.
  • 10. Ibn Husham: al-Sirah 4/21.
  • 11. Ibn Husham: al-Sirah 3/227.
  • 12. Al-Bukhari: al-Sahih 5/53. Also, al-Hakim’s al-Mustadrak 3/29 referring to the legislation of Salat al-Khawf and the practice of guard that is more watchful on the Holy Prophet (S). He has also decided the authenticity of the report according to the criteria of Muslim and al-Bukhari who though did not record it. For Ahmad, he has referred to Ghawrath’s story in al-Musnad 3/364, 390 with reference to the legislation of Salat al-Khawf disregarding the revelation of the Verse. Refer to 4/59 of the same reference book. Except the reference to the revelation of the Verse, many details of the story have been written down in al-Haythami’s Majma` al-Zawa`id 9/8.
  • 13. Ibn Hajar: Fath al-Bari 8/2752.
  • 14. Al-Hasakani: Shawahid al-Tanzil 1/157 N. 211, Ibn `Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq 2/85 Chapter: `Ali ibn Abi-Talib’s Lifetime, N. 585-6.
  • 15. For more details, see the consecutive works that dealt with the Hadith of Ghadir, such as Ibn `Uqdah: al-Risalah, al-Tabari: Hadith al-Ghadir, al-Darqutni: Hadith al-Ghadir, Al-Dhahbi: Hadith al-Ghadir, `Ubaydullah al-Hasakani: Hadith al-Ghadir, Mas`ud al-Sajistani: Hadith al-Ghadir. For further information, see al-Amini: Kitab al-Ghadir and Hamid Husayn al-Lakahnuwi: `Abaqat al-Anwar as well many reference books of Hadith.
  • 16. `Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din al-`Amili; the compiler of the famous book of al-Muraja`at as well as many others.
  • 17. ‘Whoever has regarded me as his master must now regard `Ali as his master. O Allah! Be the supporter of him who will support `Ali and be the enemy of him who will oppose `Ali.’
  • 18. Revised by Shaykh Muhammad Baqir al-Mahmudi.
  • 19. `«d al-Fitr; the feast of breaking the fast is the festival marking the end of Ramadan and falling on the first day of Shawwal. `«d al-Adha; the feast of sacrifice is the festival marking the culmination of the ritual Hajj season and falling on the tenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah.
  • 20. A similar narration has been recorded in al-Ayyashi’s book of Tafsir 1/333.
  • 21. The same report has been repeated in al-Bukhari’s 6/50 and 8/210, Muslim’s 1/10 and al-Tirmidhi’s 4/328… etc.
  • 22. Later on, more light will be focused on these topics.
  • 23. A similar discussion has been recorded in Badr al-Din al-`Ayni: `Umdat al-Qari 14/95.
  • 24. Al-Hurr al-`Amili: Wasa`il al-Shi`ah 18/174.
  • 25. Shaykh al-Saduq: Kamal al-Din wa Tamam al-Ni`mah 276, al-Tabrasi: al-Ihtijaj 1/70, al-Nisapuri: Rawdat al-Wa`izin 98, Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari: 117.
  • 26. For details, see al-Amini: al-Ghadir.
  • 27. Also, Ahmad ibn Hanbal: al-Musnad 2/366.
  • 28. Shaykh al-Saduq: al-Khisal 1/173.

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