Part 18: Traditions explaining Sun, Moon, Stars and the firmament as the Holy Imams

Traditions that explain, Sun, Moon, Stars and the firmament to denote the Holy Imams (a.s.)

Ali Ibne Ibrahim has narrated from Imam Ridha (a.s.), that Allah says in Surah Rahman:

الرَّحْمَانُ. عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ.

The Beneficent God. Taught the Quran. (Surah Rahman 55:1-2)

The Imam (a.s.) said that it means Allah has given to Amirul Momineen (a.s.) the knowledge of all the things, which the people usually require.

الشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ بِحُسْبَانٍ.

The sun and the moon follow a reckoning. (Surah Rahman 55:5)

It denotes the accursed ones who oppose the sun and the moon, know that they suffer the wrath of Allah.

وَالنَّجْمُ وَالشَّجَرُ يَسْجُدَانِ.

And the stars and the trees do adore (Him). (Surah Rahman 55:6)

It means that the stars and the trees worship Allah. Star denotes the Holy Prophet (S) and may be due to this context the trees are the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).

وَالسَّمَاءَ رَفَعَهَا وَوَضَعَ الْمِيزَانَ.

And the heaven, He raised it high, and He made the balance. (Surah Rahman 55:7)

The sky refers to the Holy Prophet (S), whom Allah had taken up for ascension (Meraj). And the balance is Amirul Momineen, who is the scale of justice, which Allah has created for His creatures.

أَلَّا تَطْغَوْا فِي الْمِيزَانِ.

That you may not be inordinate in respect of the measure. (Surah Rahman 55:8)

That is, do not be disobedient in the matter of the scale, it means, do not disobey the Imam.

وَأَقِيمُوا الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ.

And keep up the balance with equity… (Surah Rahman 55:9)

That is, remain steadfast with a just Imam.

وَلَا تُخْسِرُوا الْمِيزَانَ.

…and do not make the measure deficient. (Surah Rahman 55:9)

And do not reduce the rights of Imam and do not do injustice upon him.

Also according to an authentic tradition from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) on the saying of Allah:

رَبُّ الْمَشْرِقَيْنِ وَرَبُّ الْمَغْرِبَيْنِ.

Lord of the two Easts and Lord of the two Wests. (Surah Rahman 55:17)

The ‘two easts’ refer to the Prophet (S) and Ali (a.s.) as the divine lights emanate from them. And the ‘two wests’ denotes Hasan and Husain (a.s.) as the lights gather in them. In the same way every Imam is ‘speaking one’ whose knowledge is concealed in the silent Imam, who is the succeeding Imam after him.

In Tawilul Aayaat there is a tradition from the same Imam on the saying of Allah:

فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِرَبِّ الْمَشَارِقِ وَالْمَغَارِبِ.

But nay! I swear by the Lord of the Easts and the Wests… (Surah Maarij 70:40)

That the ‘easts’ means the Prophet and ‘wests’ means their vicegerents.

Ali Ibne Ibrahim narrates from the same Imam on these words of Allah:

وَالسَّمَاءِ وَالطَّارِقِ. وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الطَّارِقُ. النَّجْمُ الثَّاقِبُ.

I swear by the heaven and the comer by night. And what will make you know what the comer by night is? The star of piercing brightness…(Surah Tariq 86:1-3)

The Imam said that that here ‘heaven’ denotes Amirul Momineen (a.s.). and ‘comer by the night’ is the Holy Spirit (Ruhul Qudus) who is present with the Holy Imams and who conveys from Allah the sciences which occur during the day and night and protects them from mistakes and errors, and the ‘star of piercing brightness’ refers to the Holy Prophet (S).1

Ali Ibne Ibrahim narrates a tradition from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) in the commentary on Surah Shams that: ‘Shams’ refers to the Holy Prophet (S), through whom the Almighty Allah has explained religion to the people.

وَالْقَمَرِ إِذَا تَلَاهَا.

And the moon when it follows the sun, (Surah Shams 91:2)

The Imam said that ‘moon’ refers to Amirul Momineen (a.s.) as the light of the moon is from the sun, in the same way the Ali (a.s.) acquired knowledge from the Holy Prophet (S).

وَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا جَلَّاهَا.

And the day when it shows it, (Surah Sham 91:3)

It refers to the Imams from the progeny of Fatima (s.a.) and when they are questioned about the religion of the Holy Prophet (S), so they illuminate it and explain to the one who is posing the questions.

وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَاهَا.

And the night when it draws a veil over it, (Surah Shams 91:4)

The Imam said that it means those unjust Imams who have snatched the Caliphate from Aale Muhammad and sat in the gathering in which the Progeny of the Prophet were better than them and they covered the religion of the Holy Prophet (S) with injustice and cruelty.

وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا.

And the soul and Him Who made it perfect, (Surah Shams 91:7)

It means by Soul and He that created it and made it properly.

فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا.

Then He inspired it to understand what is right and wrong for it; (Surah Shams 91:8)

It means they were made to differentiate between truth and falsehood.

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ زَكَّاهَا.

He will indeed be successful who purifies it, (Surah Shams 91:9)

He achieved success whom Allah has purified.

وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ دَسَّاهَا.

And he will indeed fail who corrupts it. (Surah Shams 91:10)

And he despaired whose soul Allah has covered because of his sins and ignorance.

كَذَّبَتْ ثَمُودُ بِطَغْوَاهَا.

Thamud gave the lie (to the truth) in their inordinacy, (Surah Shams 91:11)

That is the Thamud tribe disbelieved due to their mischief.

The Imam said: Thamud denotes the group Shias who are against the true faith of the Imamiyah, like the Zaidiya etc. as mentioned at another place…

وَأَمَّا ثَمُودُ فَهَدَيْنَاهُمْ فَاسْتَحَبُّوا الْعَمَى عَلَى الْهُدَى فَأَخَذَتْهُمْ صَاعِقَةُ الْعَذَابِ الْهُونِ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ.

And as to Thamud, We showed them the right way, but they chose error (blindness) above guidance, so there overtook them the scourge of an abasing chastisement for what they earned. (Surah Fussilat 41:17)

Imam (a.s.) said that Thamud denotes the deviated group of the Shia and ‘the scourge of an abasing chastisement’ stands for the sword of Imam Qaem (a.s.), when he will reappear.

فَقَالَ لَهُمْ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ نَاقَةَ اللَّهِ.

So Allah’s apostle said to them (Leave alone) Allah’s she-camel, (Surah Shams 91:12)

Imam (a.s.) said that She-camel denotes the Imam who teaches them the divine sciences.


…and (give) her (to) drink.

That is, he has the springs of knowledge and wisdom.

فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَعَقَرُوهَا فَدَمْدَمَ عَلَيْهِمْ رَبُّهُمْ بِذَنْبِهِمْ فَسَوَّاهَا.

But they called him a liar and slaughtered her, therefore their Lord crushed them for their sin and levelled them (with the ground). (Surah Shams 91:14)

Imam said that this denotes their punishment in the second coming (Raja’t).

وَلَا يَخَافُ عُقْبَاهَا.

And He fears not its consequence. (Surah Shams 91:15)

It means that the Imam will not be afraid with the happenings of the world in the second coming (Rajat).2

In Maniul Akhbar, it is related through many reliable chains from Jabir Ibne Abdullah Ansari, Anas Ibne Malik and Abu Ayyub Ansari that: One day the Holy Prophet (S) prayed the morning prayers with us, after finishing he turned his blessed face towards us and said: O people! Follow the sun. When the sun sets take benefit from the moon and follow it. And when the moon sets follow the Venus star and Venus is not seen, follow the Faraqdan (the two stars).

People asked about its explanation, and he said: I am the sun, my brother Ali is my Vicegerent and Vizier, and he would repay my debts and is the father of my sons and he is my successor, he is the moon. And Fatima is Zahra and Hasan and Husain are Faraqdan and said that Allah has made us and we are like the stars in the sky. Whenever a star sets, in his place another star rises. In the same way is my progeny who are with the Quran and the Quran is with them, they will not separate with each other till they meet me on the pond of Kauthar.

Ibne Mahyar has narrated from Ibne Abbas that the Holy Prophet (S) said: My example among you is that of the Sun and Ali’s is like that of Moon. When the sun sets people take benefits from the moon.

There is a tradition by Haris Aavar from Imam Husain (a.s.) in the explanation of:

وَالشَّمْسِ وَضُحَاهَا.

I swear by the sun and its brilliance, (Surah Shams 91:1)

He said that ‘sun’ means Prophet Muhammad (S) and ‘moon’ means Amirul Momineen (a.s.) who in perfection is only next to the Prophet. ‘And the day when it shows it,’ refers to the Qaem of Aale Muhammad who will fill the earth with justice. ‘And the night when it draws a veil over it,’ refers to Bani Umayyah.

There is a tradition from Ibne Abbas that the Holy Prophet (S) said: Allah has sent me with Prophethood, I told Bani Umayyah that I am the Prophet from Allah, for you. They all said: You are a liar (may Allah protect us), you are not the Prophet of Allah.

After that I went to Bani Hashim and told them that I am the Messenger of Allah, sent for you. Hearing this Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) openly and inwardly accepted me and Abu Talib openly helped me and secretly brought faith on me. Then Allah sent Jibraeel. He fixed the standard in Bani Hashim. And the Shaitan fixed the flag in Bani Umayyah and that is why they always remain our enemy and their followers will be always be the enemy of our Shias till the day of Judgement.

And the day when it shows it,’ It means that the Imams from us Ahlul Bayt will remain the owner of the earth and fill the world with justice and equity. One who helps them would be like the one who has helped Moosa to fight against Firon. And the one who will help Bani Umayyah will be like the one who has helped Firon against Moosa.

Ali Ibne Ibrahim reports on the saying of the Almighty Allah:

وَالنَّجْمِ إِذَا هَوَى.

I swear by the star when it goes down. (Surah Najm 53:1)

That the ‘star’ is the Holy Prophet (S) and that Allah is taking the oath of that time when the Prophet was going for ascension (Meraj).

Kulaini has narrated that Ali Ibne Ibrahim swore by the grave of Muhammad (S) when he had passed away from this world.

Ibne Babawayh has narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) in Amali that when the Holy Prophet (S) fell ill, his Ahlul Bayt and his companions gathered near him and said the terminal disease has affected you, who is your successor among us? Hazrat didn’t reply. The other day they again gathered and again asked the same question. So the Prophet said: Tomorrow a star will come down at the house of one of my companions and he would be my Caliph and my successor.

On the fourth day all the companions were waiting in at their houses for the star. Suddenly a star separated from the sky and due to that the whole world was illuminated, and came on the lap of Amirul Momineen (a.s.). Seeing this, the hypocrites started saying that this person has gone crazy in the love of his cousin brother (may Allah protect us) whatever he says, he says according to his whims and fancies. At this time the following verse was revealed:

وَالنَّجْمِ إِذَا هَوَى. مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمْ وَمَا غَوَى. وَمَا يَنْطِقُ عَنْ الْهَوَى. إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى.

I swear by the star when it goes down. Your companion does not err, nor does he go astray; Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed… (Surah Najm 53:1-4)

Ibne Mahyar has narrated that Ibne Kawaa asked about the explanation of the following verse from Amirul Momineen (a.s.):

فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِالْخُنَّسِ. الْجَوَارِي الْكُنَّسِ. وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا عَسْعَسَ. وَالصُّبْحِ إِذَا تَنَفَّسَ.

But nay! I swear by the stars (Khannas) that run their course (Javar) (and) hide themselves (Kunnas). And the night when it departs. And the morning when it brightens, (Surah Takwir 81:15-18)

Ali (a.s.) said that ‘Khannas’ is that group who cover the knowledge of the Vicegerent of the Prophet and call the people for the love of others; ‘Javar’ is the angel who come down to the Prophet with knowledge; and ‘Kunnas’ are the Vicegerent of the Prophet who collect together his knowledge. ‘And the night when it departs’ means the darkness of the night. This was the example given by Allah for those persons who wrongfully claim themselves to be the Imam. ‘And the morning when it brightens’. It refers to the knowledge of the vicegerents, whose knowledge is more illuminated and clear than that of the sun.

Many traditions have been recorded in the explanation of ‘Kunnas’ that it denotes that Imam who after being concealed from his people would reappear again like a meteor that shines in the darkness of the night. The Almighty Allah says:

وَعَلَامَاتٍ وَبِالنَّجْمِ هُمْ يَهْتَدُونَ.

And landmarks; and by the stars they find the right way. (Surah Naml 27:16)

According to commentators Allah says that there are some signs for the people on the earth, like the mountain and other things, with the help of which they come to know the ways and are guided in the night with the help of stars. Or with the help of the Capricorn they come to know the prayer direction.

Kulaini, Ali Ibne Ibrahim, Ayyashi and Shaykh Tusi in Majalis and Ibne Shahr Aashob in Manaqib and Shaykh Tabarsi and other traditionists have narrated from Imam Baqir, Imam Sadiq and Imam Ridha (a.s.) that the ‘landmarks’ are the infallible Imams (a.s.). They are the signposts that guide in the way of religion and the ‘star’ is the Holy Prophet (S) and the apparent meaning of many traditions in this that the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘find the right way’ relate to the ‘landmarks’. It means that the Imams receive guidance from the Holy Prophet (S).

Ayyashi has narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that there is an apparent and inward meaning. The apparent meaning is through the Capricorn people in the sea and desert are guided towards the Prayer direction (Qibla) because this stars does not move from its place and it does not hide. The internal meaning of the verse is that the Holy Imams (a s.) are guided by the Holy Prophet (S).

According to some traditions ‘Najm’ refers to Imam Ali (a.s.).

It is narrated from Imam Ridha (a.s.) that the Holy Prophet (S) said to Amirul Momineen (a.s.): Ali, you are the star (Najm) of Bani Hashim.

The Holy Prophet (S) said that Allah has made the stars as a safety for the creatures of the heaven and made my Progeny as a safety for the creatures of the earth.

  • 1. The writer says: May be due to this explanation ‘the star of piercing brightness’ is a metaphor meaning the owner of ‘the star of piercing brightness’. Because when the Holy Spirit reaches them due to the Holy Prophet (S) it is based on the metaphor.
  • 2. The writer says: Explanation recorded in these tradition are very deep and secret, and are based on whatever is mentioned, that whatever stories are mentioned by Allah in the Quran are by way of warning the Ummah or to encourage good deeds. They also inform that whatever happened in the past nations would similarly occur in this nation too. Therefore as Allah sent the she-camel to the nation of Saleh as a miracle and a sign for them that they can benefit from its milk, but they rejected blessing and killed it and made themselves unfit for the blessings of this world and the hereafter. In the same Allah appointed Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and other Imams as miracle to prove the veracity of the Holy Prophet (S) and that they may signs among the creatures of Allah; but the worldly people were deprived of this blessing and got engulfed in the chastisement of Allah. Thus it has come in traditions that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) is the Naqatullah (the she-camel of Allah) and from authentic chains it is mentioned that the killer of the Hazrat would be the same as the killer of the she-camel of Saleh, the most wicked person in the past as the latter is the most wicked person in the later people. If you understand this explanation many problems in the traditions can be resolved.