22) Hadith Al-Manzilah, ‘Ali: The Wazir of Muhammad

Although Allah has informed us of several ranks which Prophet Harun, ‘alaihi al-salam, held in relation to Prophet Musa, ‘alaihi al-salam, we will be focusing exclusively on one of them only in this research: the wizarah. Musa had supplicated to Allah in this manner, as narrated by the Qur’an:

قال رب اشرح لي صدري ويسر لي أمري واحلل عقدة من لساني يفقهوا قولي واجعل لي وزيرا من أهلي هارون أخي

He (Musa) said, “O my Lord! Open for me my chest, and make my assignment easy for me. And make loose the knot from my tongue, that they understand my speech. And appoint for me a wazir from my family, Harun my brother.1

Expectedly, his du’a was granted:

ولقد آتينا موسى الكتاب وجعلنا معه أخاه هارون وزيرا

And indeed We gave Musa the Book, and We appointed his brother Harun as a wazir.2

Therefore, Harun was undoubtedly the wazir of Musa, by divine appointment. This obviously confirms a principle: the appointment of the wazir of each prophet was only in the Hand of Allah. If it had been otherwise, Musa would have simply handpicked his brother for the post without making any du’a. This fact, in turn, reveals that being the wazir of a prophet was an extremely high rank in the Sight of Allah, so high that He personally chose to make the appointments.

So, who was a wazir? What were his functions? The Book of Allah has given us an example: Haman, the wazir of Fir’aun. The Qur’an states:

إن فرعون وهامان وجنودهما كانوا خاطئين

Verily, Fir’aun and Haman and their soldiers were people who made mistakes.3

Imam al-Tabari (d. 310 H) starts the identifications:

وقال فرعون … لوزيره وزير السوء هامان

Fir’aun said … to his wazir, the evil wazir, Haman.4

Al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir (d. 774 H) follows his footsteps here:

{وهامان} وهو: وزيره في مملكته

{and Haman}, he was his wazir in his kingdom.5

Shaykh al-Zuhayli also explains the names:

فرعون ملك مصر وهامان وزير فرعون

Fir’aun was the king of Egypt and Haman was the wazir of Fir’aun.6

Shaykh al-Maraghi also states:

وهامان وزير فرعون

Haman was the wazir of Fir’aun.7

Shaykh ‘Ali Shiri, the annotator of Tarikh Dimashq, has the same submission:

هامان وزير فرعون

Haman was the wazir of Fir’aun.8

Imam al-Tha’alabi (d. 875 H) says as well:

وهامان: هو وزير فرعون وأكبر رجاله

Haman: he was the wazir of Fir’aun and the most senior of his men.9

And Imam al-Alusi (d. 1270 H) solidly stands with him:

}إلى فرعون وهامان {وزير فرعون

{To Fir’aun and Haman} the wazir of Fir’aun.10

The Salafi Imam, Shaykh Ibn Baz (d. 1420 H), corroborates everyone else:

قال بعض أهل العلم في شرح هذا الحديث : إنما يحشر مضيع الصلاة مع فرعون وهامان وقارون وأبي بن خلف؛ لأنه إن ضيعها من أجل الرئاسة والملك والإمارة شابه فرعون الذي طغى وبغى بأسباب وظيفته فيحشر معه إلى النار يوم القيامة، وإن ضيعها بأسباب الوظيفة والوزارة شابه هامان وزير فرعون الذي طغى وبغى بسبب الرئاسة فيحشر معه إلى النار يوم القيامة

Some of the people of knowledge said in the commentary of this hadith: The one who abandons Salat will be gathered with Fir’aun, Haman, Qarun and Ubayy b. Khalaf (on the Day of al-Qiyamah), because if he abandons it due to leadership, kingdom and governance, he will be similar to Fir’aun who oppressed and rebelled on account of his office. So, he (the abandoner of Salat) will be gathered with him into the Fire on the Day of al-Qiyamah. But, if he abandons it (i.e. Salat) due to position and al-wizarah, he will be similar to Haman, the wazir of Fir’aun, who oppressed and rebelled because of leadership. Therefore, he (the abandoner of Salat) will be gathered with him into the Fire on the Day of al-Qiyamah.11

Then, another top Salafi scholar, Shaykh al-‘Uthaymin (d. 1421 H), seals the list:

ففرعون غره الملك والسلطان فاستكبر هو وجنوده في الأرض بغير الحق وهامان غرته الوزارة لأنه وزير فرعون

As for Fir’aun, he was deceived by kingdom and power. So, he became arrogant - he and his soldiers - without right. As for Haman, he was deceived by al-wizarah, because he was the wazir of Fir’aun.12

In all, we know that Fir’aun was the king of Egypt, and that its armed forces owed their allegiance to him. We also know that Haman was the wazir of this Fir’aun. Interestingly, both Fir’aun and Haman were contemporaries of Musa, and his wazir, Harun. The four of them had initially lived together in the same city: Musa and his wazir, and Fir’aun and his wazir. The rank and power of the wazir are indicated in this verse:

إن فرعون وهامان وجنودهما كانوا خاطئين

Verily, Fir’aun and Haman and their soldiers were people who made mistakes.13

First, Allah mentions Haman immediately after Fir’aun – a fact that is indicative of the status of the wazir. The wazir is next in rank only to the sovereign ruler. Second, the armed forces of Egypt are identified as the soldiers of both the king and his wazir! In other words, Fir’aun was the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Egypt, and his wazir – Haman - was their deputy commander-in-chief. Needless to say, Musa was the sovereign leaders of the Israelites and his wazir, Harun, was the next in rank to him. No Muslim has ever disputed this, and none ever will till the Hour. The true followers of Musa also accepted this fact:

قالوا آمنا برب العالمين رب موسى وهارون

They said: “We believe in the Lord of the worlds, the Lord of Musa and Harun.”14

Those were their two leaders and masters. Interestingly, they also said:

فألقي السحرة سجدا قالوا آمنا برب هارون وموسى

So the magicians prostrated. They said: “We believe in the Lord of Harun and Musa.”15

The Qur’an too leaves no one in doubt:

ولقد مننا على موسى وهارون ونجيناهما وقومهما من الكرب العظيم ونصرناهم فكانوا هم الغالبين وآتيناهما الكتاب المستبين وهديناهما الصراط المستقيم

And, indeed, We favoured Musa and Harun. And We saved them both and their people from the Terrible Distress. And We gave them both the Clear Book; and guided them both to the Right Path.16

The followers of Musa were apparently also those of his wazir.

All these take us back to Hadith al-Manzilah:

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم لعلي أنت مني بمنزلة هارون من موسى إلا أنه لا نبي بعدي

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said to ‘Ali: “You are to me of the status of Harun to Musa, except that there is no prophet after me.”

Without doubt, this hadith establishes – among others – that Imam ‘Ali, ‘alaihi al-salam, was the wazir of Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa alihi. There was no other wazir for Musa except Harun. Therefore, there was no other wazir for Muhammad except ‘Ali. This fact too is confirmed in Hadith al-Wirathah, which – as we have proved in this book – has a sahih chain:

أنت أخي وصاحبي ووارثي ووزيري

You are my brother, and my companion, and my inheritor, AND MY WAZIR.17

In simpler words, Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah was the amir of the Ummah – their commander-in-chief, and ‘Ali b. Abi Talib – his inheritor – was the deputy commander-in-chief. ‘Ali, during the Messenger of Allah’s lifetime, was the deputy amir of the believers. The direct implication of this is – the moment the Prophet passed away, Imam ‘Ali automatically became promoted to the rank of the supreme amir of the Ummah. After all, our brothers from the Ahl al-Sunnah claim that the Messenger died without designating any heir, inheritor or successor. In cases like that, it is the deputy commander-in-chief (i.e. the wazir) who automatically succeeds the dead commander-in-chief (i.e. the amir)!

Apart from being the deputy leader of the nation, and the deputy commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the wazir also functions as the chief adviser and helper of the ruler. Imam Ibn Hibban (d. 354 H) records:

أخبرنا الحسين بن عبد الله القطان قال حدثنا موسى بن مروان الرقي قال حدثنا الوليد عن زهير بن محمد عن عبد الرحمن بن القاسم عن أبيه عن عائشة قالت قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا أراد الله بالأمير خيرا جعل له وزير صدق إن نسي ذكره وإن ذكر أعانه وإذا أراد الله به غير ذلك جعل له وزير سوء إن نسي لم يذكره وإن ذكر لم يعنه

Al-Husayn b. ‘Abd Allah al-Qattan – Musa b. Marwan al-Raqiyy – al-Walid – Zuhayr b. Muhammad – ‘Abd al-Rahman b. al-Qasim – his father – ‘Aishah:

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “If Allah intends good for the amir, He appoints for him a sincere wazir. If he (the amir) forgets, he (the wazir) will remind him; and if he (the amir) remembers, he (the wazir) will help him. However, if Allah intends other than that for him (i.e. the amir), He appoints for him an evil wazir. If he (the amir) forgets, he (the wazir) will not remind him; and if he (the amir) remembers, he (the wazir) will not help him.”18

‘Allamah al-Albani (d. 1420 H) comments:

صحيح

Sahih19

Shaykh al-‘Arnaut agrees with him:

حديث صحيح

A sahih hadith20

The hadith obviously establishes that the success or failure of a ruler depends very heavily upon his wazir. If his wazir his righteous, the leader is very likely to succeed. However, if the wazir is evil, the amir has very low chances of success. For instance, Fir’aun was an evil ruler. Yet, if his wazir – Haman – had been a good human being, Fir’aun’s atrocities would have been far less serious or widespread. Prophet Harun was also the wazir of his brother, Prophet Musa. This is interesting indeed. Musa was already an infallible leader. Yet, he prayed to his Lord for a wazir, and another infallible prophet was bestowed that rank.

Muhammad, on the other hand, is Allah’s most beloved and best creature. Moreover, the task given to him by his Lord was countless times heavier, more difficult, more complex and more important that those awarded to all the other prophets and messengers combined. Since the wazir of a prophet can be appointed only by Allah, it is indeed an unimaginably huge honour that He chose ‘Ali for Muhammad.

Amir al-Muminin was the most qualified of all of Allah’s creatures to be the wazir – the spiritual, political and military deputy, and the chief adviser and helper - of the master of all creation. That truly is an extremely lofty merit. Without a doubt, the superiority of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib over everyone in this Ummah – apart from our Prophet – is established absolutely and perfectly through his status as the wazir of the best Messenger of Allah.

On that note, we would like to conclude our book with these words of Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 H):

ففي هذا الخبر إخبار عمر بين المهاجرين والأنصار أن أبا بكر سيد المسلمين وخيرهم وأحبهم إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ذلك علة مبايعته فقال بل نبايعك أنت فأنت سيدنا وخيرنا وأحبنا إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ليبين بذلك أن المأمور به تولية الأفضل وأنت أفضلنا فنبايعك

In this report is the declaration of ‘Umar among the Muhajirun and the Ansar that Abu Bakr was the sayyid of the Muslims and the best of them, and the most beloved of them to the Messenger of Allah. This is the reason for following him.

So, he (‘Umar) said, “Rather, we will follow you because you are our sayyid, and the best of us, and the most beloved of us to the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him”. He wanted to make clear through it that: WHAT IS ORDAINED IS TO GIVE AUTHORITY TO THE BEST, and you are the best of us. So, we will follow you.21

  • 1. Qur’an 20:24-36
  • 2. Qur’an 25:35
  • 3. Qur’an 28:8
  • 4. Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. Jarir b. Yazid b. Kathir b. Ghalib al-Amuli al-Tabari, Jami al-Bayan fi Tawil al-Qur’an (Dar al-Fikr; 1415 H) [annotator: Sidqi Jamil al-‘Attar], vol. 24, p. 82
  • 5. Abu al-Fida Isma’il b. ‘Umar b. Kathir al-Qurshi al-Dimashqi, Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Azim (Dar al-Taybah li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’; 2nd edition, 1420 H) [annotator: Sami b. Muhammad Salamah], vol. 7, p. 139
  • 6. Wahbah b. Mustafa al-Zuhayli, al-Tafsir al-Munir fi al-‘Aqidah wa al-Shari’ah wa al-Manhaj (Beirut, Damascus: Dar al-Fikr al-Mu’asir; 1418 H), vol. 24, p. 103
  • 7. Ahmad Mustafa al-Maraghi, Tafsir al-Maraghi (Egypt), vol. 20, p. 31 and vol. 24, p. 70
  • 8. Abu al-Qasim ‘Ali b. al-Hasan b. Habat Allah b. ‘Abd Allah, Ibn Asakir al-Shafi’i, Tarikh Madinah Dimashq (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr; 1st edition, 1418 H) [annotator: ‘Ali Shiri], vol. 61, p. 59, footnote # 7
  • 9. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Muhammad b. Makhluq, Abu Zayd al-Tha’alabi al-Maliki, al-Jawahir al-Husan fi Tafsir al-Qur’an (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi; 1st edition, 1418 H) [annotators: Shaykh ‘Ali Muhammad Ma’ud, Shaykh ‘Adil Ahmad ‘Abd al-Mawjud and Prof. Dr. ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Sunnah], vol. 4, p. 264
  • 10. Abu al-Fadhl Mahmud al-Alusi, Ruh al-Ma’ani fi Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Azim wa Sab’ al-Mathani (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi), vol. 24, p. 61
  • 11. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz b. ‘Abd Allah b. Baz, Majmu’ Fatawa, vol. 10, p. 249. See also vol. 10, p. 278
  • 12. Muhammad b. Salih al-‘Uthaymin, Fatawa Nur ‘ala al-Darb (Muasassat Shaykh Muhammad bin Salih b. ‘Uthaymin al-Khayriyyah; 1427 H), vol. 31, p. 111
  • 13. Qur’an 28:8
  • 14. Qur’an 7:121-122
  • 15. Qur’an 20:70
  • 16. Qur’an 37:114-118
  • 17. Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman Ahmad b. Shu’ayb al-Nasai, Sunan al-Kubra (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah; 1st edition, 1411 H) [annotator: Dr. ‘Abd al-Ghaffar Sulayman al-Bandari and Sayyid Kasrawi Hasan], vol. 5, p. 125, # 8451
  • 18. Abu Hatim Muhammad b. Hibban b. Ahmad b. Hibban b. Mu’adh b. Ma’bad al-Tamimi al-Darimi al-Busti, Sahih Ibn Hibban bi Tartib Ibn Balban (Beirut: Muasassat al-Risalah; 2nd edition, 1414 H) [annotators: Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani and Shu’ayb al-Arnaut], vol. 10, p. 345, # 4494
  • 19. Ibid
  • 20. Ibid
  • 21. Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad b. ‘Abd al-Halim b. Taymiyyah al-Harrani, Minhaj al-Sunnah al-Nabawiyyah (Muasassat Qurtubah; 1st edition, 1406 H) [annotator: Dr. Muhammad Rashad Salim], vol. 8, p. 565