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3) Hadith Al-Thaqalayn: The Prophet At Ghadir Khumm (Part 1)

Immediately after his last Hajj, on his way back to Madinah – his capital city, at a place called Ghadir Khumm, the Prophet of Allah, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa alihi, repeated his instruction at ‘Arafat to mankind. Imam Ibn Abi ‘Asim (d. 287 H) documents:

حدثنا سليمان بن عبيد الله الغيلاني، حدثنا أبو عامر، حدثنا كثير بن زيد، عن محمد بن عمر بن علي، عن أبيه، عن علي رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال :إني تركت فيكم ما إن أخذتم به لن تضلوا :كتاب الله، سببه بيد الله، وسببه بأيديكم، وأهل بيتي.

Sulayman b. ‘Ubayd Allah al-Ghilani – Abu ‘Amir – Kathir b. Zayd – Muhammad b. ‘Umar b. ‘Ali – his father – ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him:

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “I have left behind over you that which if you hold fast to it you will never go astray: the Book of Allah – one end of which is in the Hand of Allah and the other in your hands – and my Ahl al-Bayt.”1

Concerning the first narrator, al-Hafiz (d. 852 H) states:

سليمان بن عبيد الله بن عمرو بن جابر الغيلاني المازني أبو أيوب البصري صدوق

Sulayman b. ‘Ubayd Allah b. ‘Amr b. Jabir al-Ghilani al-Mazini, Abu Ayub al-Basri: Saduq (very truthful).2

As for the second narrator, this is what al-Hafiz has to say:

عبد الملك بن عمرو القيسي أبو عامر العقدي بفتح المهملة والقاف ثقة

‘Abd al-Malik b. ‘Amr al-Qaysi, Abu ‘Amir al-‘Aqadi: Thiqah (trustworthy).3

The third narrator is reliable too, as declared by al-Hafiz:

كثير بن زيد الأسلمي أبو محمد المدني بن مافنه بفتح الفاء وتشديد النون صدوق يخطئ

Kathir b. Zayd al-Aslami, Abu Muhammad al-Madani b. Mafannah: Saduq (very truthful), made mistakes.4

He did not make “a lot” of mistakes. Therefore, his mistakes were not serious, were minimal and did not affect the quality of his ahadith.

Al-Hafiz tells us about the fourth narrator as well:

محمد بن عمر بن علي بن أبي طالب صدوق

Muhammad b. ‘Umar b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib: Saduq (very truthful).5

And this is the status of the fifth narrator, according to al-Hafiz:

عمر بن علي بن أبي طالب الهاشمي ثقة

‘Umar b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib al-Hashimi: Thiqah (trustworthy).6
So, all the narrators are fully reliable, and the sanad is well-connected. As such, it is a hasan chain, at the least. This is what Shaykh al-Arnaut concludes as well:

وثالث من حديث علي عند ابن أبي عاصم في "السنة" (1558) ، والطحاوي في "شرح مشكل الآثار" (1760) من طريقين عن أبي عامر العقدي، عن كثير بن زيد، عن محمد بن عمر بن علي، عن أبيه، عنه، مرفوعاً، بلفظ: "إني قد تركت فيكم ما إن أخذتم به لن تضلوا: كتاب الله، سببه بيد الله، وسببه بأيديكم، وأهل بيتي"، وإسناده حسن.

The third is the hadith of ‘Ali, recorded by Ibn Abi ‘Asim in al-Sunnah (1558), and by al-Tahawi in Sharh Mushkil al-Athar (1760) from two routes from Abu ‘Amir al-‘Aqadi, from Kathir b. Zayd, from Muhammad b. ‘Umar b. ‘Ali, from his father, from him (i.e. ‘Ali) from the Prophet, with the wording: “I have left behind over you that which if you hold fast to it you will never go astray: the Book of Allah – one end of which is in the Hand of Allah and the other in your hands – and my Ahl al-Bayt.” And its chain is hasan.7

The above riwayah is only an abridged version of a more detailed hadith. Imam Ishaq b. Rahwayh (d. 238 H) and some other classical Sunni scholars recorded the full version. For instance, Imam al-Tahawi (d. 321 H) documents:

حدثنا إبراهيم بن مرزوق قال : حدثنا أبو عامر العقدي قال : حدثنا كثير بن زيد، عن محمد بن عمر بن علي ، عن أبيه ، عن علي ، أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم حضر الشجرة بخم فخرج آخذا بيد علي فقال :يا أيها الناس، ألستم تشهدون أن الله عز وجل ربكم؟ قالوا: بلى، قال: ألستم تشهدون أن الله ورسوله أولى بكم من أنفسكم، وأن الله عز وجل ورسوله مولياكم؟ قالوا: بلى، قال: فمن كنت مولاه فإن هذا مولاه، أو قال: فإن عليا مولاه - شك ابن مرزوق - إني قد تركت فيكم ما إن أخذتم به لن تضلوا :كتاب الله سببه بأيديكم، وأهل بيتي.

Ibrahim b. Marzuq - Abu ‘Amir al-‘Aqadi – Kathir b. Zayd – Muhammad b. ‘Umar b. ‘Ali – his father - ‘Ali:

Verily, the Prophet, peace be upon him, came to a tree at (Ghadir) Khumm. Then he came out, holding the hand of ‘Ali, and saying: “O mankind! Do you not testify that Allah the Almighty is your Lord?” They said, “Yes, we do.” He said, “Do you not testify that Allah and His Messenger are more entitled to you than yourselves and that Allah the Almighty and His Messenger are your Mawla?” They said, “Yes, we do”. He said, “So, whosoever Allah and His Messenger are his Mawla, verily this one – or ‘Ali - is his mawla. I have left behind over you that which if you hold fast to it you will never go astray: the Book of Allah – one end of which is in your hands – and my Ahl al-Bayt.”8

Shaykh al-Arnaut comments:

إسناده حسن

Its chain is hasan.9

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani also copies the riwayah of Ishaq b. Rahwayh:

وقال إسحاق: أنا أبو عامر العقدي، عن كثير بن زيد، عن محمد بن عمر بن علي، عن أبيه، عن علي، قال: إن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم حضر الشجرة بخم، ثم خرج آخذا بيد علي قال :ألستم تشهدون أن الله ربكم؟ قالوا: بلى، قال: ألستم تشهدون أن الله ورسوله أولى بكم من أنفسكم، وأن الله ورسوله أولياؤكم؟ فقالوا: بلى، قال: فمن كان الله ورسوله مولاه، فإن هذا مولاه، وقد تركت فيكم ما إن أخذتم به لن تضلوا: كتاب الله سببه بيده، وسببه بأيديكم، وأهل بيتي

Ishaq said: Abu ‘Amir al-‘Aqadi – Kathir b. Zayd – Muhammad b. ‘Umar b. ‘Ali – his father - ‘Ali:

Verily, the Prophet, peace be upon him, came to a tree at (Ghadir) Khumm. Then he came out, holding the hand of ‘Ali, and saying: “Do you not testify that Allah is your Lord?” They said, “Yes, we do.” He said, “Do you not testify that Allah and His Messenger are more entitled to you than yourselves and that Allah and His Messenger are your Awliya?” They said, “Yes, we do”. He said, “So, whosoever Allah and His Messenger are his Mawla, verily this one (i.e. ‘Ali) is his mawla. I have left behind over you that which if you hold fast to it you will never go astray: the Book of Allah – one end of which is in His Hand and the other in your hands – and my Ahl al-Bayt.”10

Then, al-Hafiz comments:

هذا إسناد صحيح

This chain is sahih.11

Imam Ahmad al-Busiri (d. 840 H) as well documents:

عن علي بن أبي طالب، رضي الله عنه: أن النبي صَلَّى الله عَلَيه وسَلَّم حضر الشجرة بخم ثم خرج آخذًا بيد علي فقال: ألستم تشهدون أن الله ربكم؟ قالوا: بلى قال: ألستم تشهدون أن الله ورسوله أولى بكم من أنفسكم وأن الله ورسوله مولاكم؟ قالوا: بلى قال: فمن كان الله ورسوله مولاه فإن هذا مولاه وقد تركت فيكم ما إن أخذتم به لن تضلوا كتاب الله سببه بيده وسببه بأيديكم وأهل بيتي.

Narrated ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him:

The Prophet, peace be upon him, came to a tree at (Ghadir) Khumm. Then he came out, holding the hand of ‘Ali, and saying: “Do you not testify that Allah is your Lord?” They said, “Yes, we do.” He said, “Do you not testify that Allah and His Messenger are more entitled to you than yourselves and that Allah and His Messenger are your Mawla?” They said, “Yes, we do”. He said, “So, whosoever Allah and His Messenger are his Mawla, verily this one (i.e. ‘Ali) is his mawla. I have left behind over you that which if you hold fast to it you will never go astray: the Book of Allah – one end of which is in His Hand and the other in your hands – and my Ahl al-Bayt.”12

And al-Busiri has this simple verdict about it:

رواه إسحاق بسند صحيح

Ishaq recorded it with a sahih chain.13

‘Allamah al-Muttaqi al-Hindi (d. 975 H) too records the hadith:

عن علي أن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم حضر الشجرة بخم ثم خرج آخذا بيد علي فقال : أيها الناس ألستم تشهدون أن الله ربكم ؟ قالوا : بلى قال : ألستم تشهدون أن الله ورسوله أولى بكم من أنفسكم وأن الله ورسوله مولاكم ؟ قالوا : بلى قال : فمن كان الله ورسوله مولاه فإن هذا مولاه وقد تركت فيكم ما إن أخذتم به لن تضلوا بعده : كتاب الله سببه بيده وسببه بأيديكم وأهل بيتي

Narrated ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him:

The Prophet, peace be upon him, came to a tree at (Ghadir) Khumm. Then he came out, holding the hand of ‘Ali, and saying: “Do you not testify that Allah is your Lord?” They said, “We do.” He said, “Do you not testify that Allah and His Messenger are more entitled to you than yourselves and that Allah and His Messenger are your Mawla?” They said, “Yes, we do”. He said, “So, whosoever Allah and His Messenger are his Mawla, verily this one (i.e. ‘Ali) is his mawla. I have left behind over you that which if you hold fast to it you will never go astray while following it: the Book of Allah – one end of which is in His Hand and the other in your hands – and my Ahl al-Bayt.”

Then al-Hindi says about it:

ابن راهويه وابن جرير وابن أبي عاصم والمحاملي في أماليه وصححه

Narrated by (Ishaq) Ibn Rahwayh, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi ‘Asim, and by al-Muhamali in his Amali, and he (al-Muhamali) declared it sahih.14

The messages in these reports are very powerfully conveyed:

Muslims can acquire true guidance after their Prophet only by holding fast to both the Qur’an and his Ahl al-Bayt together.
Muslims can remain upon true guidance after their Prophet only by holding fast to both the Qur’an and his Ahl al-Bayt together.

Muslims automatically lose the true guidance after their Prophet any moment they fail to hold fast to the Qur’an and his Ahl al-Bayt together.

  • 1. Abu Bakr b. Abi ‘Asim, Ahmad b. ‘Amr b. al-Dhahhak b. Mukhlid al-Shaybani, Kitab al-Sunnah (al-Maktab al-Islami; 1st edition, 1400 H) [annotator: Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani], vol. 2, pp. 644-645, # 1558
  • 2. Ahmad b. ‘Ali b. Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Taqrib al-Tahdhib (Beirut: Dar al-Maktabah al-‘Ilmiyyah; 2nd edition, 1415 H) [annotator: Mustafa ‘Abd al-Qadir ‘Ata], vol. 1, p. 389, # 2598
  • 3. Ibid, vol. 1, p. 617, # 4213
  • 4. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 38, # 5628
  • 5. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 117, # 6190
  • 6. Ibid, vol. 1, p. 724, # 4967
  • 7. Abu ‘Abd Allah Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Hanbal b. Hilal b. Asad al-Shaybani, Musnad (Muasassat al-Risalah; 1st edition, 1421 H) [annotators: Shu’ayb al-Arnaut, ‘Adil Murshid and others], vol. 17, p. 172, # 11104
  • 8. Abu Ja’far Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Salamah b. ‘Abd al-Malik b. Salmah al-Azdi al-Hajari al-Misri al-Tahawi, Sharh Mushkil al-Athar (Muasassat al-Risalah; 1st edition, 1415 H) [annotator: Shu’ayb al-Arnaut], vol. 5, p. 13, # 1760
  • 9. Ibid
  • 10. Ahmad b. ‘Ali b. Hajar al-‘Asqalani, al-Matalib al-Aliyah bi Zawaid al-Masanid al-Thamaniyyah (Beirut: Dar al-Ma’rifah; 1414 H) [annotator: Prof. Shaykh Habib al-Rahman al-A’zami], vol., 4, p. 65, # 3972
  • 11. Ibid
  • 12. Ahmad b. Abi Bakr b. Isma’il al-Busiri, Itihaf al-Khiyarah al-Maharah bi Zawaid al-Masanid al-‘Ashra (Riyadh: Dar al-Watan; 1st edition, 1420 H), vol. 7, p. 210, # 6683
  • 13. Ibid
  • 14. ‘Ali b. Husam al-Din al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-‘Ummal fi Sunan al-Aqwal wa Af’al (Beirut: Muasassat al-Risalah; 1989 H), vol. 13, p. 121, # 36441